The Bethlehem Tapes

by Clara Engel

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    Your purchase allows me to keep making music. Thank you! ~CE

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06:09
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about

I was traveling without a guitar. I was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I got to play a beautiful old guitar that Sarah Shown let me use. I only like old acoustic guitars, the warm gold weathered sound.
These 7 songs were not meant to make an album. Some I'd been carrying with me for a few years. Some of them weren't finished. They all came together in one afternoon of just playing, no pre-meditations. All I had for Heaven of Leaves was a poem, no music. It was born spontaneously as I played around on a very out of tune banjitar.

So this is me singing and playing, accompanied by Taylor Galassi, one afternoon in late September 2009.
-Clara
www.myspace.com/claraengel

credits

released 24 April 2010
All songs written by Clara Engel

Clara Engel: Voice, Guitar, Banjitar, Percussion
Taylor Galassi: Cello, Accordion.

Engineered and mixed by Taylor Galassi.

Cover Image by: Tochter von Peter

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about

Clara Engel Toronto, Ontario

“Clara Engel’s voice comes to me from that deepest of all places, imaginative space, from which she visually retrieves an inner landscape converted by breath into the rock equivalent of poetry. Rarely has a voice sounded so authoritative, so unapologetic in its disclosures, so sure of its direction in going home into song,” - British poet Jeremy Reed ... more

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Track Name: Accompanied By Dreams
you said that I would be
accompanied by dreams
that would make this place
less sinister to me
but you lied
i'm terrified

you said that we would reap
a brilliant harvest from this grief
you said that life
is just one long
unburdening
but it never rained
it's autumn in our veins

you said that you would leave
a small, bloodied offering
that would make this night less ravenous for me
but if i breathe
the night will swallow me

you said that you would bend the bars
and let me rest a while in your arms
when the next war comes
and they bomb the last eden of stars

if i lie
would you let me inside
or should i wait
for another lifetime
if i lie
would you let me inside
or should i wait
for another lifetime
Track Name: Trembling Dust
trembling dust
rising into clouds
shudder of ghostship wrecks
coming down
i'm smashing the gavel
that gravity pounds
lash me, darling
if i've gotten too proud
but i believe i'm finally found
i believe i'm finally found

in the kingdom of the worm
you can eat the dream from my eye
eat the kisses from a mouth ravaged
by bitterness and lying
when i get tired of breathing, love
and spitting this fire
won't you roll me, roll me
into ashes on the ground
i believe i'm finally found
i believe i'm finally found
Track Name: I Only Bet on the Rain
I only bet on the rain
who wins?
I win again!
I spit a joyful curse
into the sky
we can't all be winners,
and mother, I try

Digging through these wastes of flesh
I found a rose
Born of sweat and fever's afterglow
Plant me like a seed within a stone
I'll wait another liftetime
To be born

I only bet on the rain...

Digging through the mud
I found a bell
It summoned all the butterflies
In hell
Blackened wings indifferent to all pain
Begging
Singe me
Burn me
Engulf me again

I only bet on the rain...

Play my songs on spoons and rusty cans
On a deserted beach
Come hold my hand
Lose my soul, my spleen for you
On the burning sand
Mold me, mark me, bruise me
I'm clay in your hands
Track Name: Hole in the Sun
blast to dust
the pale wings of prayer
lay this body down
limbs bound
eyes shut tight
lay this body down

little bird
little bird
where have you gone?
i flew home through a hole in the sun

play my vertebrae like a lyre
notes are gonna rise like stars
through the concrete and smoke and barbed wire
notes are gonna rise like stars

little bird
little bird
where have you gone?
i flew home through a hole in the sun

dream the last beast you'll dream of
and fly through her eyes
lay this body down
hold me tight as i let go of my eyes
lay this body down

little bird
little bird
where have you gone?
i flew home through a hole in the sun
Track Name: Heaven of Leaves
comb the night
with an eye
you stole from me

scrape the light
from a river bed
that bleeds

starlight claws
a caress down a wounded tree
dressed in a flesh
so soft and shivering

i stand inside your world
and learn to see

it's a golden night
that has forsaken
me
Track Name: Light Years
Light's tooth edge cuts a ribbon of red in the flesh of the dawn. Cold earth cracks, ditches make beds. There was a war. Which side was I on?
In a few light years we'll come home.
Digging through mortar and dust of bricks, we found our mother buried in coal. We found our father buried in snow. They kissed our eyes, gave back our names, and told what was left to keep warm.
And in a few light years we'll come home.
You're the cold wind rushing through the holes in my eyes. You're the rifle and the rose in my bones. Limbs fly like flowers in a storm. In a few light years we'll turn the coals. In a few light years we'll come home.
Track Name: Skywalk to Crescent Town
I'd like to leave here tonight
Kick the star spurs in my sides
I'm your shadow beast
I will ride
I will ride

Blossoms that burst into fire
Open a wound in the sky
Starlings, jackdaws, vultures and kites
Have found a trap door in the night

All birds will leave earth tonight
Kick the star spurs in my sides

A dizzying flash
Bluebells hammering wide
Your nails, your teeth in my side
Archways dilate
Gusts of light in my eyes
Rows of parched houses
Catching on fire
I'd like to leave here tonight
Kick the star spurs in my side
I'm your shadow beast
I will ride
I will ride
I will ride