Dreams & Ghosts: A Family Album

by Avery Hill

Released September 1, 2015
Independent
Released September 1, 2015
Independent
How can understanding the lives of our ancestors help us make sense of our own lives? Like a photo album, DREAMS & GHOSTS presents musical snapshots of one family history, tapping into universal themes of growing up, being brave and finding purpose.
  • 04:00 Download Lyrics
    Hello & Goodbye

    Oh I’ve lived on this hill for many a year

    Many a year have I

    And each day I walk down the hill into town

    Just to say hello and goodbye

    I walk by the baker, I walk by the school

    I go read the paper, just to see what’s in the news

    When it gets dark, I walk back up the hill

    Back up the hill do I

    For I have done what I wanted to do

    I have said hello and goodbye

     

    Oh I’ve lived in this town for all of my life

    All of my years have I

    I know everyone and I call them by name

    When I say hello and goodbye

    I shake hands with my neighbor, I wave to my friends

    I go see the preacher just to make my amends

    When it gets dark, I walk back up the hill

    Back up the hill do I

    For I have done what I wanted to do

    I have said hello and goodbye

     

    Oh I’ve lived on this hill for many a year

    Many a year have I

    And today is my favorite day of the week 

    Just to say hello and goodbye

    I go kiss my wife, tell my kids to behave

    Then I go with them all to put flowers on my grave

    When it gets dark, I walk back up the hill

    Back up the hill do I

    For I have done what I wanted to do

    I have said hello and goodbye

  • 04:36 Lyrics
    93 Lewis Street

    There’s a hook that hangs in the kitchen

    I can see the water drippin’

    Through the cheese cloth from berries hidden within

    And a cuckoo calls from the wall

    Along side five others in the hall

    Old grandfather clock resides over them all

     

    Poppy is down with his tools

    Scornin’ the women upstairs talking like fools

    He says “Down here in the basement, boys, that’s where we keep it cool.”

    Nana’s in the garden outside 

    Picking plums and rhubarb for her pies

    If you think you’ll get away with just one slice, don’t even try

     

    On 93 Lewis Street I hear the stories 

    of those who came before me

    When I leave, I carry them with me 

    to remember my family

     

    Oh when the wind blows and the sun shines in the sky

    Oh when the river knows your face as well as mine, I know why

     

    On 93 Lewis Street I hear the stories 

    of those who came before me

    When I leave, I carry them with me ...

     

    I’m lying in a pile of leaves

    Can’t be more than twelve or thirteen

    I look out and up into that tree

  • 03:45 Story Lyrics
    Summer 1957

    Headlights crawl across my ceiling

    Wait for mom and dad to get home

    But I never could sleep on these hot summer nights

    So I creep the carpet down stairs on tip toe

     

    By day, I play ball on the green grass lawn

    Drink from red Coke bottles and chew pink bubble gum

    But here in the black of our living room

    I am in orbit around a single white sun

    Who will I find when I turn the knob?

    A gigantic alien? The Thing? Or the Blob?

     

    Now the moon perfectly framed in the window

    The screens leave the night exposed, I settle in

    With a glass of milk and a plate of oreos

    Waiting for the show to begin

     

    Tonight, it’s the Creature from the Black Lagoon

    A man in a fish suit on the screen

    But I’ve never been so afraid in my life

    I can’t bear to look, but I can’t wait to see

    His face when he surprises her in the hotel

    And the look of disappointment when she cries for help

     

    Now the moon perfectly framed in the window

    The screens leave the night exposed, I settle in

    With a glass of milk and a plate of oreos

    And I don’t want the show to end

     

    Sometimes I wonder - is that what I have?

    Am I just another mistake from the lab

    And could I be an alien and could that be why

    My numbers and letters at school make me cry?

     

    Headlights crawl across my ceiling

    Mom tucks the sheets around my bed

    But I can never sleep on these hot summer nights

    And I don’t want the show to end

  • 04:13 Lyrics
    I Want to Know You

    Lovers come and lovers go, I watch them ebb and flow

    With the tides of the night

    Rare are those who bear their minds, who never tire of this life

    Who dance with the tides of the night

    I met you beneath the stars and that is when I knew

    I wonder just who you are, I wonder what it is to know you

    In the tides of your life

     

    I want to know you, my dear, to know you

    Your dreams, your doubts, your sorrows, your pouts

    And everything inside and out

    Because to know you, my dear, to know you

    Would be like sitting by the fire just to watch the flames that inspire you

     

    I don’t know how long I will want to sing this song

    I don’t know if you will want to sing along

    But just for tonight, won’t you stay? Oh babe, we can’t go wrong

    I couldn’t live another day without taking this chance to say:

     

    I want to know you, my dear, to know you

    Your hands, your feet, your messy, your neat

    And everything makes you complete

    Because to know you, my dear, to know you

    Would be like sitting ‘neath the sky just to watch the stars that shine for you

     

    I don’t know how long I will want to sing this song

    I don’t know if you will want to sing along

    But just for tonight, won’t you stay? Oh babe, we can’t go wrong

    I couldn’t live another day without taking this chance to say:

     

    I want to know you, my dear, to know you

    Your dreams, your doubts, your sorrows, your pouts

    And everything inside and out

    Because to know you, my dear, to know you

    Would be like sitting by the sea just to watch the waves bring you to me

  • 04:11 Lyrics
    The Other Side of the Water

    Lo, what limbless trees in a calm, warm summer’s breeze

    Straight and sorrowful spires

    Standing as they smolder, skeletons of choking soldiers

    Fallen to the fire

    On the other side of the water

     

    What splintered and reaching hands are their roots emerging from the ash

    Their bodies half in their graves

    Who is guarding their ghosts? Are they angels or demons or both?

    How will we know who’s been saved

    On the other side of the water?

     

    The kingfisher cries, he chuckles and rises and falls

    His call echoes

     

    The soil is seared, its moisture has disappeared

    Cracked, crumbled to dust

    The kingfisher cries again, he chuckles and rises again

    Rises as he knows he must

     

    On the other side of the water, on the other side of the water

    I can still hear their drums

    On the other side of the water, on the other side

    That’s where I come from

  • 04:52 Story Lyrics
    Road to Colorado

    They say a man in his prime is a true sight to see

    Enough to make boys jealous and women swoon

    He swaggers through the town and he mounts his gallant steed

    And rides off beneath the rising moon

    Once there was a time when I was such a man

    These days I find I must convince myself that I still am

     

    As is usually the case, the trip was conceived

    By the most important women I know

    My mother, my sister and my wife all agreed

    We should vacation in Colorado

     

    How lovely, they said, to take the babies along

    All their bottles, and their cloth diapers, too

    My brother-in-law said he, too, would have gone

    But for a “pressing business matter” to attend to

    How this ride would - I knew it was up to me

    To take charge of my steed and herd

    So I loaded up the bags with a cowboy’s dignity

    In a 1919 Hudson 7-passenger

     

    On the road to Colorado, don’t know how, but I know why

    On the road to Colorado, another line across my brow for this family of mine

     

    Now it’s every cowboy’s dream to be out on open plains

    Without a care, without a single doubt

    Till babies need to a eat, and their mothers to complain

    You’re left without a choice but to dismount

    If you’d never tried to find a tree in Kansas for to rest

    Then my friend, believe me, you’ve been spared

    It’s only flies you’ll find, they’ll be happy to attest

    To their keen sense for simple human fare

     

    On the road to Colorado, don’t know how, but I know why

    On the road to Colorado, another line across my brow for this family of mine

     

    Now it’s true I have no horse, I have no hat, nor pair of boots

    And they say a man is just a man

    But lately I sense God and this road are in cahoots

    Against me, though I do the best I can

     

    We reached Wichita and stopped at the local inn

    To execute our grandest operation

    The clothesline held the diapers, the sterno stove was rigged

    To treat bottles to proper sterilization

    And in the morning as we left, those damn diapers still not dry

    I protested, but alas, to no avail

    Were hung out the car windows and with all my manly pride

    The white flags of truce thus did prevail

     

    On the road to Colorado, don’t know how, but I know why

    On the road to Colorado, another line across my brow for this family of mine

     

  • 05:22 Story Lyrics
    Lover's Leap

    They say up on that ledge, high above the river’s edge

    Where lovers take their flight

    A young Indian maiden who couldn’t have her lover true

    Flew into the light

    But how can you be so sure

    That it was really love she leapt for?

    Have you ever been up there?

    Have you ever had to bear 

    The burden of what you see from that height?

     

    If I took a lover’s leap off into the mighty Mississippi

    It’s just because I know

    Sometimes you have to be your own hero

    Blood is what reminds us

    And water is what guides us home

     

    I can see her over there, moonlight spills upon her hair

    He’s bent down on one knee

    Then everything turns cold, she looks as if she’s seen a ghost

    Who says “You’re not where you should be”

    But how can you be so sure

    It was really a ghost she left for?

    Have you ever held a map, walked along some distant path

    You can only see in your dreams?

     

    If I took a lover’s leap off into the mighty Mississippi

    It’s just because I know

    Sometimes you have to be your own hero

    Blood is what reminds us

    And water is what guides us home

     

    I hear her voice out on the wind, I feel her blood beneath my skin

    And she’s not the only one

    Their stories are not mine to tell, but I’ve got dreams and ghosts as well

    I can hear the songs they’ve sung

     

     

     And we can never be so sure

    But I’d like to think it’s life we leap for

    ‘Cause I wasn’t trying to say no

    But sometimes that’s the only way to know

    To say yes to what comes next

     

    So if I took a lover’s leap off into the mighty Mississippi

    It’s just because I know

    Sometimes you have to be your own hero

    Blood is what reminds us

    And water is what guides us home

NOTES
Each song immediately sets the tone for the story it tells, from bluesy resonator guitar on album opener "Hello & Goodbye" and songbook-era crooning of "I Want to Know You" through to sweeping, ghostly sounds of "God Save the Watchman" and horse-trotting cowboy tempos of "Road to Colorado". Some songs capture the voices of specific characters within their stories, as in tender-hearted yet not-so-innocent "Summer 1957" and hopeful, adventurous "Missouri". Others use Hill’s own voice to make sense of her story within the context of her family history, as in the powerfully introspective "Lover’s Leap", as well as to invite listeners directly to ask themselves “what do you find in the lines leading right here to you?”, as in the culminating "Who Are You From?".

While the songs of DREAMS & GHOSTS stand alone as distinctly human stories on their own, together they represent the breadth of Hill’s writing abilities in different musical directions and the depth she is willing to travel to uncover what these stories have to offer. They are rooted in the original purpose of folk music to capture stories of real people, but go a step further to find the meaning in these stories that could help make us a better collective people.

Hill recorded and self-produced DREAMS & GHOSTS in Portland, Oregon, at Medicine Whistle Studios with engineer Dan Rhiger. The album was mastered at RFI Mastering in Seattle, Washington. She hand-picked local talent to support her studio work, including Skip von Kuske of Portland Cello Project on cello and mandolin; JP Garau on piano; up-and-coming independent artists Kelly Bosworth on harmony vocals and Anna Tivel on fiddle; Richey Bellinger on resonator guitar; Bernardo Gomez on bass; Chris Stewart on guitar and snare; and her brother, Jono Hill, on the duet Missouri. For the final track, the traditional call-and-response The Work I Do, Hill assembled a choir that included local legend Anne Weiss.