Between Blood and Ocean

by Courtney Swain

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credits

released May 1, 2019

Written by Courtney Swain
Produced by Vince Welch
Engineered by Bradford Krieger at Big Nice Studio, and Dave Minehan at Woolly Mammoth Sound
Mastered by Randy Roos at Squam Sound
Artwork by Chisato Tanaka
Album layout by Scott Siskind

Courtney Swain - voice, piano, keyboards
Asher Kurtz - guitar
Jed Lingat - bass
Kyle Harris - drums
Tim Doherty - guitar on Sweet Snow

The songs on this album were written on Martha’s Vineyard during a residency awarded by the Turkey Land Cove Foundation. Thank you for the incredible opportunity.
Thank you: Vince, for all the hours you spent on this and for believing in me. Asher, Jed, Kyle, and Tim, for bring these songs to life. Brad, for all the fun we had making this record. Josh, for letting us come over to record your Prophet. My family and friends for their love and support. Chisato Tanaka, Kazuki Saito, and Riki Nitabaru for sharing their worlds with me to create the artwork and visuals for this album.

Thank you to all my patrons for their generosity. Stefan Hagen, Andy Swain, Brad Smith, Peter Lazzarino, Elena Mertus, Clare Jones, Andrew King, Luciano Senes, Michelle Monette, Clay Walnum, Sam Downey, Jarod Fedele, Scotty Quill, Sigurd Skjeggestad Dale, halfleanred, Oliver Rose, Michael Berg, Childish Japes, Michael Roberson, Sam Braun, Steve Hardy, Fred Lessing, Daniel Baisi Hadad, Andrew Clark, Jefferson Ogata, Glenn Hughes, Dan Vado, Ben Levin, Jean-Luc Putaux, Leonard Trinceri, Vince Welch, Justice Cow, Charlie Giargiari, Paul Crane, Dustin Benton, Shahar Zivan, Daniel Jarvis, Rolf Kjellby, Make Weird Music, Sergey Goncharov, Andy Mallaby, Jacob Mreen, Hugo Maurier, Avery Escobedo, SKuby, Tommy Guerin, Victoria, Cole McBreen, Feron, Stephane Montgomery, and Nick Stevens.

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Courtney Swain Providence, Rhode Island

“A gorgeous blend of overwhelming vocal talent, modern keyboard techniques, and contemporary sophistication.”
— New England Noise

Photo by Rich Ferri

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Track Name: Uranium City
Muted blue shadows in gentle lines
Cobblestone of frozen land
Dragging pasty brush strokes along the plains
Fractured ice with omens peeking behind

Uranium city
How much longer do we have
Uranium city
How far do we have to go

Are we going East or West
I don't know
I've lost track of when to open eyes
And when to close
Just another crack in my peeling heart

Uranium city
How much longer do we have
Uranium city
How far do we have to go

And we're seeing from a bird's eye view
That keeps us entertained
And we're trying not to look at things
That stir up the set
There is so much empty land
If only we could brave the cold
But our courage fogs up
With all the feelings we held back

Are we going East or West
I don't know
I've lost track of when to open eyes
And when to close

How much longer do we have
How far do we have to go
Track Name: Sweet Snow
Branches grow
From our tongues
They weave a shade
From the sun
Slip the children
Into frost
Lean on twigs
Make 'em snap

Snow fall like sugar
White out our vision so we can see
What's closest to us
That we never learned to love enough
The single mistakes
Trivial like the snowflakes on your tongue
If they were so sweet
We'd never ask for spring again
Track Name: I'd Kill
White plastic salty slick
Groped by half the world
Heads hum unslept, unrest
Wings folded sideways
Haven't seen them spread in years
Where's the exit to this pack house

I'd kill to carry what you have
I'd kill to flush my cheeks rose
I'd kill to waddle like a cow
I'd kill to grow another

Masochistic fairy tales we're bred to believe
I'm a princess past her shelf life
If I see another girl showing off her precious pea
Imma snap and go pick a fight, like

"What did you do that I didn't do to deserve meaning in this crowded swamp?"

I don't wanna go home every night trying to believe
All alone, maybe I'm better off

I'd kill to carry what you have
I'd kill to flush my cheeks rose
I'd kill to waddle like a cow
I'd kill to grow another half
Track Name: Don't Look At Me
Train tracks shriek as we round the curve
Doors glide wide open to another birth
Of the same old day being part of the herd

Step tight one foot in front of the other
Suit, tie, right style, let go of the rudder
We'll beat the sunrise by the time we boot

Don't look at me

All the white elephants got together
To build this ship so let go of the rudder
What's one more day missing out on the sun

Your dreams called, said they can't wait any longer
They found someone else who's a better lover
So get back to work, go crunch some numbers

Don't look at me
You're not one of us
Track Name: Snowflakes
In that moment I stopped being afraid
I could turn off the light because I knew
That you're in the shadows waiting for me
And the moonlight's enough to guide my way

I'll grow stronger so I stand tall
Tall enough to reach the tip of your tongue
You needn't say more than trace the shapes
'Cause I'll be able to make out the rest

Snowflakes dance alone in the night
Gently pulsating with star light

From now on the door's ajar
I've learned it's easier to accept
The wind take me away to a new place

Snowflakes dance alone in the night
Gently pulsating with star light
As the dawn breaks they kiss the ground
A carpet of love for where you stand

Snowflakes dance alone in the night
Track Name: Silver Needle of Pine
Every day in the dim lit room
He felt her skin turn white
Cold and moist like dead fish
Staring out of tarnished water
He cast is line
To bring her back to her mind
Silver needle of pine
Tapped above her lip

Am I ready to go
You're not ready to go

Her static breath began to hum
Soon rushing out in song
Then tumbled out a skull-full of tears
Was it joy or something wrong
The agony of waking up the dead
Silver needle of pine
Tapped above his lip

I'm ready for you to go
It's too late to go
Track Name: Hekla
Black triangle spears the mist
Congealing in and out of lore
There's nothing left on the scarred ground
All painted ash in this empty field

Angry red torrents
Wiping clear all in its path
I'll be hear 'til the end
Worshipping the slopes

Watch it dominate the landscape
Even the wind treads lightly
Silence ringing in our ears
Waking the whispers
In broad daylight

A doomed servant with no front or back
An incoherent dragon foaming at the mouth
There's no one left to howl or gasp
So I'm kicking 'round the blame in this empty field

Oh Hekla
Are you smiling or just scowling
Or just a pile of rocks
I'm skeptical but not faint hearted

Dominate the landscape
Even the wind treads lightly
Silence ringing in our ears
Waking the whispers
In broad daylight
Track Name: Black Sheep
I woke up feeling like I missed the memo
The trees were done-up for a party in white
The glare off of the immaculate blanket
Reveals the baggage inside

I keep circling around
To see if the trouble's still there
It's been couch surfing in my head

I wish I could melt into the landscape
But black sheep can't hide in snow
I tried so hard to make amends
But black sheep can't hide in snow

I think I'm sick from all the feelings I chugged
I'm weeping into my tea
What do you do when you've done terrible things
Should I check WebMD?

I keep circling around
To see if the trouble's still there
It's been couch surfing in my head

I wish I could melt into the landscape
But black sheep can't hide in snow
I tried so hard to make amends
But black sheep can't hide in snow
There's no way out of here unscathed
'Cause black sheep can't hide in snow

I tried so hard to make amends

I'll trek out to the snowy docks
To contemplate my life
And when the frostbite feels too real
I'll head back inside
Track Name: White Trees
Every time I hold you i'm obsessed
Dazzled by the flashing red lights
Clamoring my mind I hit a wall
Of amnesia
As every thought flies into the cloud

Thousand pupils blazing wide
Exploding black rings
Fireworks, lightning
Frozen in white trees

This morning I opened you all the way up
Emasculate your sweetest voice that pulls me back
Floating in glass, divine deisgn
How did I?
Ever live without you by my side

Thousand pupils blazing wide
Exploding black rings
Fireworks, lightning
Frozen in white trees

Stereocilia locked in frenzy
Intoxicating dreams
Acid rain, hurricane
Frozen in white trees

I can see the world in your eyes
Hold still while I reach inside
Track Name: Sand Angels
Ten fingers from the dusk
The sun's turning the West white
So strange
A day alone feels like an age
In other people's arms

The wave's footprints are soft
Meander like my thoughts
Shipwrecks and wrath are out at sea
While playful tongues are lapping at feet

I'm spreadeagle on the beach
I wish that you were here
But I'm learning to be selfish
All by myself
Drawing angels in the sand

No words will make it past
The wind's heavy-handed laugh
The breeze and the sand and sea and sky
Have nowhere to be
And no given time

I'm spreadeagle on the beach
I wish that you were here
But I'm learning to be selfish
All by myself
Drawing angels in the sand

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