Strange and Beautiful Things

by Orit Shimoni

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1.
STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL THINGS Look around, all you see are constellations, Patterns of abuse and patterns of migration Following the stars, trying to hide their scars, It’s either magic or it’s not, don’t matter, The miracle still shines in every splatter and in stroke Of tragedy or joke, Strange and beautiful things have come over me – It’s not a blessing, or a beating, It’s not confessing or believing, It’s a “Here I am,” and “There it is” Look around all you see is inspiration, Good people and good vibrations coming to your door, Well, who could ask for more? And every day’s another combination Of human being, butterfly, a molecule, a whole damn nation, Whatever you can see – Strange and beautiful things have come over me.
2.
KEEP ON RUNNING Your skin and my skin, Just gloves for the hands of fate, Eternity announcing time in small, specific dates, And it’s too damn big for me to know the finer choice, Too much chaos, too much noise to hear the one true voice, So I keep on running, keep on running, keep on running We feel the pull, our minds are full Of all the hopes and dreams and schemes And the force of all four winds blows Through our minds and we begin To long for running, long for running, long for running, They say soul mates when they meet too soon, Can’t handle it, are bound for doom, Too much a mirror, too much the same, The pain outweighs the higher gain, I’ll smoke another cigarette, You’ll drink another beer, We’ll start to measure time again, We’ll swallow down our fear, And we’ll take turns running, take turns running, take turns running, yeah, we’ll keep on running keep on running keep on running
3.
SONG FOR TOWNES I lay me down in a room where a man like me was already dying, And I thought, “why do we choose the demise of ourselves as rebellion?” If the calling is God, then the muse is the Devil, Something’s wrong with this path, something’s not on the level, It’ll nip at your heels and give without warning, Close your eyes and pray you’ll be here in the morning, Well, it’s a sordid affair, hardly right, hardly fair when it gets you, But the sounds just come out, and it’s too late for doubt, you just go, If the calling is God, I say the muse is the Devil, Something’s wrong with this path, something’s not on the level, There are too many thoughts that flood in without warning, Close your eyes and pray there’ll be some truth in the morning, There’s salvation in bits, in the kindness of strangers and friends, And if you just push on through, there’ll be more when you get ‘round the bend, If the calling is God, then the muse is the Devil, Something’s wrong with this path, something’s not on the level, Hearts can twist from their core and turn without warning, Close your eyes and pray there’ll be love in the morning, Well, if it makes you feel free, how can you disagree with the theory That to live is to fly, you just can’t deny that it’s true, If the calling is God, I say the muse is the Devil, Something’s wrong with this path, something’s not on the level If you rise to the sky your wings will melt without warning, Close your eyes and pray they’ll be there in the morning, And if it all goes wrong and if I have no place to fall, At the end of the day, it’s still you that I wish I could call, If the calling is God, and the muse is the Devil, And if they both point at you, I can only just revel At the beauty I’ve seen, and the songs for the showing, That will be here when I’m not in the morning.
4.
GEORGE STREET I’m walking on George street with my feelings mixed, I thought that by now this whole chasm would be fixed, I know this is your place, and so it shall be, But I had to come here just to set myself free, And you spoke much about it so it’s always been dear, And I’ve come full of memories, though it’s my first time here, And all I can do, boy, is sit by this pier And send you my love, hon, and shed us a tear, And it’s not that I’m worried, I know it’s alright, Time keeps moving I can’t put up a fight, I’m not gonna win it, and if I’m gonna lose, I might as well try not to carry these blues. I’ll always love you, hope you’re doing ok, But as much as I can I’ll stay out of your way, I came to George Street to get you off my mind, But I guess that you’re staying and I guess that’s just fine It’s not that I’m worried, I know it’s alright, Time keeps moving, I can’t put up a fight, I’m not gonna win it, and if I’m gonna lose, I might as well try not to carry these blues…
5.
DELICATE TIMES These are delicate times, they can see all our thoughts, And that’s just what they’re after, to snuff out the laughter, Well, isn’t it good that it’s out in the open, Gaping and broken for all to see? These are dangerous days, the clock’s ticking faster, And knowledge is burning too fast for learning, Well isn’t it good that that we quicken our pace, Keep up with the race to know we’re alive, And far from me to say I’m anyone, It’s all so vague, it’s all so here-and-gone, But maybe, if you lend a hand, I’ll give you mine, These are dangerous times, I don’t know what to do, If to sit around waiting, or try participating, Well, isn’t it good just to go with the flow, Use what we know and hope for the best? Far from me to say I’m anyone, It’s all so vague, it’s all so here and gone, But maybe if you lend a hand, I’ll give you mine, I’ll give you mine There are sumptuous moments, I don’t know if they’re real, They’re as transient as memories, fleeting as dreams, Well, isn’t it good that it’s so hard to clasp, When it’s out of our grasp, that’s when it’s free.
6.
Sally 02:34
SALLY Sally, I thought you were so beautiful, I wanted to know what your eyes wouldn’t show ‘neath those perfect eyelashes and glitter and glow, Suffice it to say that I was a fan, I would have kissed you if I were a man, It didn’t occur to me that I can, Just as soon as I saw you, my courage ran, And besides I was too busy dreaming of dresses and rings To consider the sheer openness of things, I wanted smooth legs and smooth arms, Smooth man, with sweet charms, What I wouldn’t do for my dreams to come true, Sally, I say this in vain, Attraction and jealousy are almost the same, Either way I was left feeling shame When that perfect complexion caused a sweet sort of pain, Sally, I still got a picture of you, It’s got nothing to do with the girl I once knew, And maybe that’s why we take pictures always So we can freeze things in frames and then silently gaze, Oh, can we all just agree that beauty is quite a great mystery And I just want to understand How to grasp it with my little ugly hand, Sally..
7.
SHARP TONGUED GIRL You fly into the room with your arms and hands waving, Nobody misses your entrance, Your voice is low but manic, your words are suggestive, You’ve conquered us all with your tits and your wits, But when the night is through and the laughing ones exit, You turn to me and admit, That you’ve been forsaken by those who should love you, And this ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl, This ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl You painstakingly tell me of your alleged transgressions, I grimace and tsk as you do, I don’t understand how anyone would hurt you, When you are so smart and so true, They wanted your pleasure, when they caused you but pain, And when you spoke up they said, “Don’t come again,” Isn’t it obvious that they are wrong, But this ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl, This ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl I try to listen as precisely as I can, I nod my head to your rhythm, I can’t help suspect that I understand What you’re saying to me, And you’re saying to me that We’re both so afraid of being made fools, For the choices we’ve made and for breaking the rules, But we weren’t rebelling, we were just being honest, And this ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl, This ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl You want it easy now, you want to rest, I think you just need love, and I will confess That I’d love you if I could, but there is no way Cause I’ve got to be a sharp-tongued girl in this world, And I want to love you for all that you say, To offer solution and show you the way, But you’re already liberated, and ain’t it a drag, That that don’t make you feel any more free, This ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl, This ain’t no world for a sharp-tongued girl
8.
STILL LEARNING Well I’m unhappy, and that’s nothing new, It seems to have a lot to do with you, If it’s this rotten, then it’s best to leave, It’s not the loss of love, but the bad fit that I grieve, I’m still learning how to love, I’m still learning how to love. You may think that I’m a traitor, A coward and a liar and a cheat, But when something is truly this possessing You just can’t help your own two feet, I’m still learning how to love, I’m still learning how to love I think everybody’s lying all the time, Well that’s no easy way to go, But in my heart there’s only one answer, And I thought, I just thought you should know That I’m still learning how to love, I’m still learning how to love
9.
One Voice 02:49
ONE VOICE One voice is dealing with the distance to the past, One voice is dealing with the present and it’s moving fast, One voice is trying to record it all, All the realisations as they rise and fall, As they rise and fall And the body it just wants a quiet night, A night that’s free from pain, a night that’s free from fright And, hey, a little pleasure wouldn’t go astray, It’s the only treasure, so many people say, So many people say, I’ve got some symptoms of growing old, But I’ve always had them, or so I’m told By friends who have lasted long enough to know, You know I never see them coming, But I hate to see them go, Well, here I am, what do you want of me, The stage instruction’s vague and I’m all apology, Ah, hell, there’s no director, are you kidding me, There’s nobody behind me And the stage’s just scenery, The stage’s just scenery, I’ve got some good ideas, I guess But I’m having trouble getting up and getting dressed, I just want a little more support, You know, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m just a little out of sorts, Cause one voice is dealing with the distance to the past, One voice is dealing with the present, and it’s moving fast, One voice is trying to record it all, All the realisations as they rise and fall, As they rise and fall
10.
SWEET BY AND BY In the sweet by and by, This old heart won’t be racing, There’ll be sweet arms embracing And the soul won’t be cold And that long stifled cry Will be a sweet lullaby There’ll be no need to sigh In that sweet by and by If the bullets push through us And the war cries are heard, The blood that seeps from us Will render all absurd Cause it won’t mean a thing If you were pauper or king, When the end comes to take us We all get the same wings I’ve always loved that old gospel somehow, Never needed it much, like I’m needing it now, Sweet by and by, come and take me away, Cause I’m all full of sorrow and you’re so far away If that meteor hits, and everything shatters There will be such relief, cause nothing will have mattered And the dust that we came from will be the dust we’ve become, And all of our anguish will be in pieces and crumbs, Don’t be afraid, cause there ain’t nothing we can do, And there’s enough love around us to carry us through, And whatever the shackles whatever the yoke, When the sweet by and by comes it will all be a joke, I’ve always loved that old gospel somehow Never needed it much like I’m needing it now Sweet by and by come and take me away Cause I’m all full of sorrow, and you’re so far away.

about

Orit Shimoni - Strange and Beautiful Things

Sometimes songs kick around on stage for a good few years before they make it on to an album. They wait until the right time and place to be recorded. Such is the case for the collection of songs in this, my tenth album. Each album I have recorded has been under what I consider extremely fortunate circumstances, in various cities that my road has brought me to, with some of the wonderful musicians who live there. Each studio has its sound, and each recording has had its parameters defined by time, budget and the musicians at hand. I have chosen, for each album, the songs that I felt would suit those parameters best, often wrote new songs for it once a sound was established, to mix in fresh, often unheard material, and each collection has represented a time and place in my touring life. To listen back, for me, is to remember the people and moments involved in the creative process that making a recording entails, as well as the many hosts and homes whose hospitality accommodated my process.
The songs on Strange and Beautiful Things were ones that, from their inception, wanted a full band sound, and Toronto was the place for that to happen. Working with Douglas September at Second Exit Studio was a privilege and pleasure thanks to Douglas’s attentive ear, well-honed engineering and mixing skills, his stylistic consultation and his steady air of calm confidence, professionalism, friendliness and generosity. The musicians I invited to participate on these recordings are all people I am lucky to call friends, each with their exquisite talent and ear.
The album took four years to complete from bed-tracks to final touches, due to the comings and goings of my tour life. And what better collection to mark and celebrate my tenth release into the musical world, to coincide with ten years of living on the road. To say I am grateful is an understatement. The determination and vision of all the musical contributors make me feel like one of the luckiest singers and songwriters on this strange and beautiful planet I call home, and which keeps inspiring me.
To you, my listeners, who have come to my shows, clapped hands, tapped feet, smiled, laughed and cried with me, and who have supported my musical existence by purchasing my music, offering meal or room, or even a hug, I remain eternally grateful.
Yours in song,
- Orit

credits

released April 5, 2020

All songs written and composed by: Orit Shimoni (copyright 2019)
Album produced by: Orit Shimoni

Musicians:
Orit Shimoni: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar on track 6, backing vocals on track 9
Douglas September: electric guitar on tracks 2,4,7, 10, effects, pedal steel, short wave and electronics on track 3, textures on track 7, electronics on track 6, banjo on track 10, and backing vocals on track 4
Paul Brennan: drums on all tracks except track 5
Bob Cohen: electric guitar on tracks 2, 4, 6, bass on tracks 1, 5, 6, 9, additional acoustic guitar on tracks 4 & 8
Clela Lee Errington: backing vocals on tracks 2, 7, 8, 10
Tim Hamel: trumpet on tracks 1, 3, 8
Steve Keeping: drums on track 5 & 9
Howard Rabkin: bass on track 4, pedal steel on tracks 4 & 7
Christina Rzepa: cello on track 5
Meg Tennant: backing vocals on tracks 2, 7, 8, 10
James Thomson: upright bass on tracks 2, 3, 7, 8, 10
Ken Yoshioka: electric guitar on tracks 3 & 8 harmonica on track 3

Recorded, Engineered, and Mixed by: Douglas September at Second Exit Studio, Toronto, Canada
Cello recorded by Christina Rzepa at Quiet Keep Studio in Vancouver, Canada
Mastered by Martin van de Vrugt at Ragged Mountain studio in Deventer, the Netherlands
Cover by: Oliver Tamgnini www.tamagnini.de

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Orit Shimoni

A DIY songstress with nothing but a suitcase, guitar and merch, using only public transit, Orit has performed non-stop for 11 years across Canada and Europe, in venues festivals, and even on trains, while carving out an extensive network of musical colleagues, friends, fans, and music-industry enthusiasts.
Her radio-charting albums just keep on coming. Each one different, each one true.
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