Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 2

by Piñataland

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about

In the press

“Instrumentation that is old-time Nashville by way of gypsy caravan, and songs that celebrate both the heroes and misfits of American history (mostly the misfits), and point toward visions of our country that are best described as collapsed potentialities rather than where it actually went. Basically, the sound of what America might have been if it had zigged instead of zagged at some indefinite point in the past.” —The Whatever

“Epic swatches of spaghetti-western, Appalachia, and folk sounds revive obscure tidbits of history with an enthusiasm that speaks more to deep-seated fascination than gimmickry…. Piñataland takes its time to craft evocative tracks, rather than just playing up their inherent quirkiness.” —The Onion

“Piñataland’s stylishly anachronistic sound draws as much inspiration from books and newspaper accounts of past disasters as it does from equally antiquated strains of folk music. The title of the group’s upcoming release, Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 2, perfectly captures the Brooklyn outfit’s quirky, occasionally ominous, out-of-time portent.” —TimeOut Chicago

“If the idea of “historical rock” scares you, don’t let it. These songs have a casual thoughtfulness and in many cases a sense of humor that matches their utterly unique subject matter. This cd takes awhile to get to know, but stick with it: the payoff at the end is worth your time.” —Lucid Culture

“In these troubled times, do we need a band that puts the chaos of history in perspective, one that finds the silver lining in the dark stories of the past? Perhaps,but Piñataland is not that band, choosing instead to plunge the listener into a strange, bygone world of failed utopias, crackpot dreamers and bizarre observations.” —Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn

credits

released August 8, 2008

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Track Name: Ashland
I'm following the river
Over dark and bloody ground
Past the white-haired colonels
And ancient Indian mounds

I have no traveling companion
Just the voice of Charles Manson
Singing "forever" on the radio
and I do believe I'll make it to Ashland

Naomi Judd is on the phone
She's askin' what I'll want to eat
And if I'll find those bones
That sleep beneath her quiet streets

My traveling companions
Are whistling through the canyons
And Henry Clay on the radio
Sings "no North, no South, no East, no West
In Ashland
In Ashland
In this chosen land
In this promised land

Our traveling companions
Are the ghosts we've abandoned
We listen for their secrets on the radio
And I do believe we'll find them
In Ashland
Track Name: The Fall of Sam Patch
It’s a beautiful world outside the factory doors
Over by the falls there are rough spots that we love
But in the forest garden by the cedars of Lebanon
You comb this wilderness for the tools of the entrepreneur
For the man of leisure
For the poet and the painter
Smooth out the edges with the civilizing hand of art

But I’ve got a plan to make my art here
Watch me fall into the water
I want to jump from the cliffs of Jersey
Some things can be done as well as others

It’s a beautiful world full of roots and tangles
We could all get drunk on the overgrown scenery
You’ve made your point with your taste and progress
But the scene of science don’t mean nothing to me

But I’ve got a plan to make my art here
Watch me fall into the water
I want to jump from the cliffs of Jersey
Some things can be done as well as others

But I’ve got a plan to make my art here
Watch me fall just like an arrow
I want to jump into the chasms of Jersey
Some things can be done as well as others
Track Name: The Ballad of John Banvard
We’re selling off Glen Ada by the pound
Moving west to Watertown to die in South Dakota
Fleeing from the Barnum side
I watch the Mississippi flow. That river that I know so well
I thought it saved me ‘cause it carried me so far

Through my designs the river unwinds
The crank turns as lines form outside
There’s no time to lose so the show moves to Boston
And then New York is mine

And you wouldn’t think to stop here
You’d probably be inclined to carry on with so many miles to cover
So many miles to cover
When just a three mile painting can show 3000 of the mighty Mississip
Pay no attention to the others. You pay no attention to the others

But that is not enough for me
My river flows across the sea
I meet with Queen Victoria. London and Paris adore me
And still the audience wants more. There’s imitations by the score
But none of them can touch my paintings of these shores

Through my designs the river unwinds
The crank turns as I play the guide
And now I’ve toured the world
Sketched the Nile and Palestine
And the ol’ Mississp’s brung a million to me

And you wouldn’t think to stop here
You’d probably be inclined to carry on with so many miles to cover
So many miles to cover
When just a three mile painting can show 3000 of the mighty Mississip
Pay no attention to the others. You pay no attention to the others

But my museum can’t survive a war that’s waged with ads that lie
That bastard Barnum touts his fakes as artifacts
And all of the sudden I am poor. Investors pounding at my door
The Broadway drags me down and then it’s time to pack

And you wouldn’t think to stop here
You’d probably be inclined to carry on with so many miles to cover
So many miles to cover
When just a three mile painting can show 3000 of the mighty Mississip
Pay no attention to the others. You pay no attention to the others
Track Name: Dream of the New Mary
She does not know the life she made
She did not see it when it moved
She lies there spent and disarrayed
And the New Mary falls asleep
And dreams the world has been remade
She dreams that all around us
Heaven’s last great gift to mankind

It has a soul that you can see
It brings us peace when things are wrong
It gives us suffrage, grace and rights
It grinds its gears and war is gone
It shows us there’s a world beyond
The air is filled with voices
We can prove it with heaven’s last great gift to mankind

We walk along
We never know they’re trying to tell us something
Though we think that we are all along
They’re trying to tell us something now

But the New Mary cannot stay
She feels her body start to wake
And the voices filled with love
Fade away and get replaced
She tries to hold on to the dream
But she hears shouting, breaking
A soul escaping
As we smash heaven’s last great gift to mankind

We’ll never know
We’ll never see
They’re trying to tell us something
Every second, every minute, every hour, every day
They’re trying to tell us something
Though we think that we are all alone
They’re trying to tell us something
Bring us to a world we’ve never known
They’re trying to tell us something

Heaven’s last great gift to mankind
Circuitry of God to help us all connect the spirit world
Goodbye to all the lives we lost, the votes, we want the world to hear us
Now we’ll never know, we’ll never know
They’re trying to tell us something now
Track Name: The Sky is Blue, the Highway Wide
Earlier that morning I had a fever dream
Ronnie was just standin’ there sayin’ things aren’t what they seem
Not what they seem, boy
Not what they seem

So Ronnie grabbed the steering wheel and pointed us due West
We left that motel far behind, hearts beatin’ in our chests
We were blessed
We are blessed

The tears from days ago, just a memory to me now
The sky is blue the highway wide
And God above he moves in such mysterious ways
I know that now
Yeah I know that now

Playin’ cards in Vegas, the dealer knows my hand
Those hearts are gonna take me
All the way to the promised land
The promised land, boys
The promised land

And when a woman’s lies betray you
And darkness fills your life
I saw the light of the Lord on the edge of a knife

And the angel Maroni
Has shown himself to me
In that hour of desperation
The truth did set me free
Set me free, boy
Set me free

Set me free

The tears from days ago, just a memory to me now
The sky is blue the highway wide
And Ronnie says that God moves in such mysterious ways
I know that now
Yeah I know that now
Track Name: Centralia
I do not blame the match that lit it
40 years on now it’s hard to even take a look around
But I’m sitting down

There’s hardly anyone remaining
Each one has taken that cracked and smoking road away from town
So I’m sitting down

And I’m asking you to stay
Though the fear of disappearing grows a little every day
The hollowed earth, the acrid clouds, the future burned away
Mistakes that smoulder underground
But I’m sitting down

I had a dream that I’d been walking
It looked like Northern California
The sky a brilliant blue. And everything so green
I finally felt free.
When I looked down my hands were smokin’
I threw hot stones into the ocean
I’d carried them for miles
Through mountains and ‘cross plains
Kept hot all the while
By fire in my veins

So post a sign for kids six feet and under
You cannot ride here. You are not tall enough to reach the ground
So I’m sitting down

And I will cough each time the smoke surrounds me
But I will not choke here. I’ll wait the thousand years ‘til it burns out
I’m sitting down

So don’t tell me that you care
When you’ve spent your life on nothing ‘cept pretending you’ve been spared
The horrible indignity of thinking life is fair
You’ll disappear without a sound
I’m sitting down
Track Name: In Old New York
The evening rays cross the sloping ridges of the Bronx
Down to the sound I make my way o’er the moss and slippery rocks
The northwest winds behind me
The stars overhead will guide me across the water of the Harlem River

My compass spins towards the magnet of your smile
As I wade and slog through the marshes of our silent isle
The beavers may regard me suspiciously
The puma may eye me deliciously
But he won’t keep me from my intended course to you

So meet me by the tallest tree where 34th and 5th will be
I’ll take you on a quiet spree in old New York

Lightning strikes as the Hudson rises into view
Take my hand don’t let this thunder bother you
The rain may pour down all around us
The tide may rise up to greet us
But we’ll just sink out baskets in and pull up our meals

So meet me where the bloodroots grow
Where Washington Square Park will go
There’s time enough for you to know ‘bout old New York

We’ll dream upon the sandy shores
In the shadow of the sycamores
One day we will be no more in old New York
Track Name: If Ice Were Warm
Collectibles in boxes in basements where no one ever goes
Or skeletons in glass display cases with endless daily shows
If lies were miles I’d travel far but they would travel farther
And all the ice and the snow would never feel like home

Millionaires, explorers and scientists plunder what they see
They take the tent, the dog, the woman. Then they take you and me
And if I’d been older I’d be dead and take my place beside you
Inside the warmth, inside the crowds, inside the city lights

If ice were warm and soft like silk I’d wrap myself inside it
But I’d miss the warmth, I’d miss the crowds, I’d miss the city lights

An artifact, a fish out of water, a sad pathetic case
A handicap, a hunter an outlaw that no one wants to chase
And lies have helped me travel far but they have traveled farther
From New York City, ‘round the world and back again
Their bags all full
They come back bags all full
Track Name: The Settlers
I know you feel it too
This little buzzing in the air
There’s nothing left to do
But head straight up into the glare
And all the old guys gather ‘round
To watch us lift off from the ground

The curvature so wide
The borealis shimmers sweetly
The great wall that divides
So far below I see it faintly
And all the old guys send their love
As we shine down from up above
Memphis, Paris, Timbuktu
We won’t see anymore of you

I’m gonna write a song
About the space between two places
On red dirt we belong
So uncover all those dusty faces
And see the young girls swim canals
As ice floes melt into water clouds
I’m forgetting all I’ve seen
As the land turns from red to green

In time we won’t even know the names
Of those towns spread out across the plains
Let’s climb that mountain to the western zone
As the sky opens up and soaks our bones
Track Name: El Niño
I can hear African drums, Hawaiian guitars, Balinese gongs
But I will not listen
When you tell me that this was once all water here
I don’t remember
We grew up to live on the land
I love the Midwest
The wide open spaces
But I never believed in the weather until I saw glaciers

Grabbed through a cable that lays in the sea
I reach round the world at incredible speeds
And sometimes I pretend I’m in Iceland
But it’s just Coney Island on a grey winter morning
I just stand with my back to the Cyclone and look out at the ocean

Northern lights, well I’ve never seen them
But I’d swear on my life that they could transform me
There’s just sea and sky when our songlines run free in the wild

And it moves through the internet like a great white whale
Too big for the land and so small in the sea
That I’ll never find it, unless it finds me
And I’ve got a Balkan band waiting on the ocean floor
They got routed through Thailand
They can’t wait anymore

So there’s a small temperature change in the eastern Pacific
That seeds the sky
And through there’s a hurricane watch ‘cross the whole Eastern seaboard
I feel alright

‘Cause I don’t understand why there aren’t more accidents
Why there aren’t more heartattacks
Why everything’s working
When nothing is waterproof and everywhere leaks are appearing

We grew up to live on the land
Polynesias and Yukons, Persias and Tuscanys
Manchurias, Saharas, Amazons and Outbacks as well
And I’ll be in New York
At least I think it’s New York
It’s getting so hard to tell