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Stanton West | Songbird

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Joe Craven Paul Simon The Avett Brothers

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Folk: Folk Pop Jazz: World Fusion Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Songbird

by Stanton West

Folksinger and Story Teller Stanton West is a mix of Folk, Jazz, & World Music.
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Come & Get It
4:05 $0.99
2. South for the Winter
4:28 $0.99
3. Black-Eyed Susan
4:37 $0.99
4. Caravan
5:47 $0.99
5. Ray of Sunshine
3:49 $0.99
6. Wedding Day
4:19 $0.99
7. Dig a Hole
4:02 $0.99
8. Spiders in the Window
4:11 $0.99
9. The Route
4:03 $0.99
10. Grateful
3:25 $0.99
11. Wallowa Mountains
4:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Songbird will take you on a magical adventure around the world highlighting instruments and rhythms from many different cultures. It is my story. It is your story. It is the expression of the idea that no matter how different we may appear we are all in this together.

Our journey starts where it often does. Where all is well with the world. Then calamity and chaos create pandemonium. Hard times and turmoil are endured, then a love story blooms into a shining moment when everything comes to light...and we are better for it.

Each song is a chapter in an autobiographical tale of an injured bird who flees the nest, has many adventures amidst friends and foes, and comes home transformed.

This album inspires and reminds us of what is truly important, to follow our dreams, to be fearless when we're afraid, and to bring out the best in others. It is the search for who we are and what we will become. Seeking truth and our place in a world that is not always friendly or welcoming to strangers.
-Stanton West


Quoth the Craven
“Producing someone else’s music for a recording can be challenging and exhilarating - for starters. The content, perspective and spirit of both artist and producer does a dance that surprises each other in the process. There are many ways to arrange and package a song or, in this case, a collection of songs that were consciously tied to one another to tell a story of movement, hardship, redemption and realization. Decisions must be made and the commitment of a path clearly taken. Each song a chapter and each chapter an opportunity for lesson and growth. As I arranged and created the landscapes of these stories of Stanton West's, I learned more about him and myself than I ever imagined. As the project continues, now the immersion as a supportive listener is inviting you”. - Joe Craven


All songs written by Stanton West
Arranged by Joe Craven & Stanton West
Produced by Joe Craven
Recorded on May 14-19, 2017 by Steve O’Neill at Foxtail Sound
Stanton West: Guitars, Banjo, Flutes, Vocals
Joe Craven: Percussion, Fiddle, Tenor Banjo, Octave Mandolin, Mandolin
Jonathan Stoyanoff: Bass
John R. Burr: Keys
Hattie Craven: Backing vocals on Dig A Hole
Steve O’Neill & The Craven Family: Wedding Parade


TRACK LIST:
1. Come & Get It (all is well, foreshadowed)
2. South for the Winter (the songbird hatches)
3. Black-eyed Susan (take flight on a call to adventure)
4. Caravan (migration)
5. Ray of Sunshine (fall in love, meet mentor)
6. Wedding Day (crossing the threshold)
7. Dig A Hole (put down roots)
8. Spiders in the Window (blown off course)
9. The River Knows the Route (the path home is shown)
10. Grateful (transformation and the power of gratitude)
11. Wallowa Mountains (return to the nest)

LYRICS:
1. COME & GET IT
If you want it you can have it come and get it
If you want it you can have it come and get it
If you want it you can have it
Just come on up and grab it
If you want it you can have it come and get it

The board is set in place, the pieces movin
The curtain came up and now we're groovin
It's time to live your mission
To be your grandest vision
Decide instead of
Wishin go and
Do it

Step up to the gate & let her open
You’ve got to hurt to heal, I ain't joking
I will show you and suggest that the future will be blessed
and we’ll all be there before you know it

Out in the fields you can see it's time to mow
Out in space Leo's putting on a show
Sing in stereo and let the people know
High upon the mountain
You can sing it

These days know truth and are auspicious
Running like molasses so delicious
Go be your highest self
Give the world new wealth
Start if from a seed unto fruition


2. SOUTH FOR THE WINTER
I met this gal who sang like a bird
She had long legs and she whistled her words
With a little round tail and two rosy breasts
She had red on her wings and
She wore a long white dress
She was elegant and royal
and anything but common
She had five shades on top and one on the bottom
She wore a gold crown and her hair was spotted
With chestnut and she flew in the Autumn

like...
Songbirds and Bluejays
and so flies the crow,
warblers, and sparrows
and glaucous winged gulls
Whenever they fly,
and often they go
South for the winter
and north for the Pole

Her voice sang a song that was deep and hollow
When she got mad she would hoot like an owl
growing great horns and screech and Peafowl
Up all night and sleep for an hour
Her genus and species were hard to make out
She was a rufous, olive, slaty adult
She had a dark crest with a ruby red chin
a long broad bill and dove shaped wings

She wore a green belt and hers eyes had rings
when she sung others would sing
she'd knock on the door all raucous & laughing
The pintails, the shovelers, and Woody's be quacking
Love's for the birds the wrens and dodo's
Birds were once lizards a long time ago
Lizards are things that happened to grow
into something else like people you know


3. BLACK-EYED SUSAN
On a midnight bus from a good ol’ boy town
Wheels keep turning as they’re leaving downtown
She’s tire of losing and going solo
Coming in third in a two man race so
Now she’s leaving old friends behind
She’s got lots of baggage and it is so unkind

Black-eyed Susan couldn’t sew up her holes
A patchy bird, a dark-eyed junco X3

I said your acting kind of strange
She said I always act this way
Her only wish she had more roots than branches
I gave her my number on a book of matches
She took with her to pass the time
A birders handbook, a field guide


4. CARAVAN
The campfire glows for the fiddler tonight
The kids are dancing with the light in their eyes
The night it sparkles for its wandering sons
So it’s woven sweaters for everyone

The leaves are falling to the ground
Dry and twisted and orange and brown
I have no home and I have no king
Open spaces are calling me…

Like gypsies on a wagon
Hobos on a train
Old boat on a river
Hippies in a van… in a caravan

Harmonica Joe slings his pack on his back
The old steel train is running the track
He hops on board as the steam whistle blows
Chugging through the mountains of Idaho

I strum my guitar on the river of diamonds
I’ve got a big straw hat because the sun is shining
I shut my eyes for an hour or two
Floating down the rive of the old Kickapoo

I’m riding the highway in my captains chair
I’ve got the tunes cranked up I’ve got the wind in my hair
The road is long and I’m driving slow
Through the sage brush desert down to Mexico


5. RAY OF SUNSHINE
I can tell your in a room by the sound of your laugh
I'll always remember the day that we met
I had a watermelon
We were at a potluck
It was Halloween
& we fell in love

You are my best friend
My greatest lover
Your cookin in the kitchen
an my biggest supporter

You Love to dance
on your little feet
You're not afraid to laugh out loud
You care about the trees

You are so crafty
Content & Happy
I'm getting sappy
Shining all the time
I Love your family
I think your funny
You call me honey
Your my ray of sunshine

I can tell your in a room by the sound of your laugh
I'll always remember the day that we met
I had a watermelon
We were at a potluck
It was Halloween
& we fell in love

You keep my fire burning
Your always learning
You see the good in everyone
& you can read a map

You are hard working
Your body is curvy
You always smell like coconut
& your gentle yet tough


6. WEDDING DAY
A lot of villains envy me because I hold the key
to their gold, young & old, it belongs to me

Wooden voices are calling me from this place in this yonder tree
From the mountains come from we
Throwing roses and planting seeds
A patchwork quilt of our ancestry
A humming bird and a humming bee

A honey whistle and a bride to be
A barefoot wedding for you and me
A sun white dress and a flower bouquet
On your wedding, your wedding day


7. DIG A HOLE
I work too much, but I ain't got no money
I don't laugh at all though Life is funny
I barely Love though I have a big heart
I mend & sew, but I keep falling apart

Dig a hole, deep in the dirt
Dig a hole, move some earth
Dig a hole, plant your roots

You can't blame the weeds if your garden won't grow
You can't blame the boat if you refuse to row
You can't blame the yarn if you can't knit a sweater
You can't blame your Life if it won't get better

You can read all the books
You can travel the world over
You can always search and you will never discover
That what you need only you can give you
It's not money or things, it's much more trivial

Summers too hot
Autumns too short
Winters too grey
Spring is too wet
I have so much though I am so unthankful
I have 2 hands, but only have on handful


8. SPIDERS IN THE WINDOW
There was a 3-ring circus on the outskirts of town
There were devils, and lions, and foxes all around
Down in the hollow there stood an old cabin
There lived a white-feathered heron with the temper of a dragon
He smoked his hooch from bones made of a rabbit
That rabbit gave him trouble now that rabbits gone and had it

There were spiders in the windows in that cabin down the hill
Where I aged 100 years and barely lived at all
The horses ran away they were all made of wood
I ran with them though I swore I never would

Cause when you want it so bad you can't be happy without it
when you get it you don't want it you don't even care about it

Now I'm long gone but those spiders haven't left
There's songbirds in their webs and birds don't fly when they're dead
Would you take heaven on Earth if you walked through hell to get it?
The fire that melts butter melts steel and then bends it
I was down and out so I'm heading up and in
The place I'm going don't believe in sin
I've never been a hunter though I often like to gather
I don't like the sight of blood or the smell of a battle


9. THE RIVER KNOWS THE ROUTE
It’s been an uphill battle on a bumpy old road
The further you get, the further you go
So you wander over yonder where everything is for sale
and you come back with nothing, but your legs between your tail
Take what you want and leave the rest
Cause when you only take the good, you end up with the best

Over the hills and far away
Your too busy running and I’m standing in place
Spinning around every which way
We’re always moving forward, but never moving straight

It’s all downhill from here
What’s done is in the mirror
It’s Love instead of fear

It’ll work itself out
I have no doubt
The River Knows the Route

I have always been a fan of the philosophy
That if you ignore the problem it’ll go away
I Am Who I Am every single day fear is
knowing who you are and not living that way
You can paddle up the
River till your blue in the face
But the River always wins when your
swimming that race


10. GRATEFUL
To rainbows and peonies, starlight and epiphanies
To good songs and rad girls, short, long, tall, and curly girls
To good friends and friends of theirs, old guitars and polar bears (asian pears)

To cold rivers, and deep lakes, and big ole beavers in wild places
To skinny dipping’ and laughing more.

These are the things I Am Grateful for… that I am truly grateful for.


11. WALLOWA MOUNTAINS
There’s a place I go on the Grand Ronde River where the trout they love my flies. I swear to you if there’s a heaven I will go here when I die.

I love the winter in Wallawa, but I do enjoy Spring, Summer & Fall.
I left my green heart in Oregon, I long for Wallawa

Upon a hill in a Blue Mountain sundown there’s a cabin out in the woods.
The fire keeps warm in the cold of December as the snow falls on the shed.

The flowers bloom the the high plains desert. The view goes on and on and on. The turbines spin and they blow the sagebrush and at night you can see all the stars.

WHERE THE SONGS CAME FROM:

All these songs came together to tell the story of the Heroes Journey, which is a common template used in story telling. Basically, a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow blessings on his fellow man. Tie it all together with the bird concept/theme and you have the new album, Songbird.

COME & GET IT (ALL IS WELL, FORSHADOWED)
The first song on my new album came to be with the help of both organizational and Intuitive Creativity. I was setting up for a gig at the Acoustic Cafe in Eau Claire, WI when the chorus just hit me! I just started singing it, “If you want it you can have it come and get it…” The first thing I did was write it down so I wouldn’t forget it. I always keep a notebook nearby. The next day I was listening to my favorite evolutionary astrology report on the radio. The report was reiterating the same concept as the chorus that came to me the night before. I wrote down all the main ideas and then organized them into verses so that they rhymed and made sense and voila, I had a song. The main idea, the chorus, was backed up with supporting ideas from the verse. This was the fastest I have ever written a song. The definition of Auspicious is showing or suggesting future success is inevitable.

Nov 9, 2014 Astrology Report
The board is set. The pieces are moving. Yesterday the Curtain opened with Mercury entering Scorpio. Today Venus in Scorpio, our need for Deep Feeling and Truth is triggering our need to radiate and express our unique Vision/Mission in the World, Jupiter in Leo. Tomorrow, our need to find our power and step-up, Mars in Capricorn, engages the gatekeeper of the Collective Unconscious, Pluto. Open up to healing. Open up to Love. Open up to forgiveness. Open up to faith. Open up to magic and mystery. Open to the Ancestors wisdom. Truly love yourself. Emerge victorious by keeping the integrity of your Heart real, honest, forthright, and focused. Auspicious these days are, saturated like a sponge of maple syrup. Let’s make the best use of this energy and maybe our individual actions could help the whole of our culture to happily mature just a bit more. The gardening calendar says to mow. The space calendar shows the Leonid meteor shower peaking on the 17th.

I played a Xaphoon which is a bamboo saxophone made in Hawaii. I also played my -string banjo. John R. Burr played piano and was going for a Longhair thing. Joe rips it up on snare drum!

SOUTH FOR THE WINTER (THE SONGBIRD HATCHES)
Track 2 on the new album is called South for the Winter. I hadn’t written a song in 11 months. I took some time off from touring and forced myself to spend some time writing. I wrote one song a day for seven days in a row. Out of those seven songs I had two that I was happy with. All the others I put away to work on later or take pieces that work to make yet another song. South for the Winter is a song that I had been wanting to write for many years. I sat down with a Field Guide to North American Birds and wrote down a bunch of terms and phrases describing birds. I anthropomorphized the bird and created a character and a song was hatched.

Joe turned this song into a waltz and added some new chords. He played his Octave mandolin which is such a rich sounding instrument. John R. Burr makes the piano sing like a bird. Jonathan Stoyanoff's upright bass solo really sticks out and I love that he sings along to it. I really had to go outside of my comfort zone and sing pretty.

BLACK-EYED SUSAN (TAKE FLIGHT ON A CALL TO ADVENTURE) is a song I wrote while sitting outside of Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, OR. I had a cousin who was trying to escape her life by hooking up with a man she met online. I empathized with her feeling of needing to run away from a dissatisfying life. The only thing she has with her to pass the time on her long bus ride is a Birds of North America field guide. She flips through the pages to ease her weary mind.

When writing a song you need to be careful to make sure that what you are saying is what people are hearing. In this song I sing, “Black-eyed Susan couldn’t sew up her holes, a patchy bird, a Dark-eyed Junco”. What most people unintentionally hear is, “Black-eyed Susan couldn’t sew up her holes, Apache Bird, a Dark-eyed Junco. I was trying to describe someone who had a lot of patches on her clothes and ended up making the main character of the song a Native American. By the way, a Black-eyed Susan is a flower and a Dark-eyed Junco is a species of bird.

This tune turned into a Reggae/Ska thing and the John R. Burr takes you to new places with the organ. Jonathan Stoyanoff on fretless electric bass. Joe added a bridge that really helped the song to breath.

I wrote the song CARAVAN (MIGRATION) as an effort to express my longing for the freedom I felt when exploring public lands like National Forests and Parks. Public land is more prevalent in the Western States and becomes less and less the further East you go. I had just moved back from Washington State to Wisconsin and was having a hard time finding free places in nature to hang out in. Gypsies, Hobos, Boats, and Hippies are all things that represent a lifestyle of a roamer and wanderer. I wanted the song to have a Django Reinhardt feel to it.

I asked Joe to turn this into a Django Rhienhart Gypsy/Jazz thing so he put it in a minor key and added a bridge. He played mandolin, octave mandolin, tenor banjo, and fiddle on this tune. That's a lot of MoJoe!

RAY OF SUNSHINE (FALL IN LOVE, MEET MENTOR) is a Love song plain and simple. I have known my wife for 20 years and had written Love songs for her before. I was running out of fresh ideas. I was going through old journals, songs, and junk drawers looking for inspiration when I found a love letter I had written to her when we first met. It was titled 22 Things I Love About You. I did some finagling and turned it into a song.
22 Reasons I Love You:
1. I can tell you are in a room when I hear your laugh
2. The day we met
3. You are my best friend, greatest lover, and biggest supporter
4. Your thoughtfullness for others
5. When we met you had an 8-track player and composting
6. I admire you for trying new things and going new places
7. You are constantly learning
8. You're cheeks smell like coconut
9. You don't need a recipe to cook a good meal
10. You Love to Dance
11. Your little feet
12. You are not afraid to laugh out loud
13. You are a hard worker
14. I can have fun with you anywhere
15. You are a great navigator
16. You do not need a lot to be content
17. You see the good in everyone
18. We don't always need to be together, we are supportive of each others individual goals
19. Your curves
20. Your gentle and tuff
21. Your family
22. You are funny

This song has John R. Burr tearing it up on both piano and organ. I played an archtop guitar. This one changed the most drastically from the DEMO's I sent Joe. It was definitely the hardest for me to sing on the whole album. It has a n awesome dance beat and a celebrate life vibe.

WEDDING DAY (CROSSING THE THRESHOLD)
As an ordained reverend I have officiated over 30 weddings. I basically just followed the advice, “write what you know about”. Do I know about weddings? I Do.

Joe added Djembe, shaker, and talking drum to this to give it an afro-beat. Jonathan Stoyanoff on fretless electric bass. I played 6-string banjo.

DIG A HOLE (PUT DOWN ROOTS)
I was 31 years old before I got my first “real job”. I had my first kid and the pressure to be responsible was overwhelming. One month after I started hanging out in my cubicle I wrote the first line to the song Dig a Hole, "I work too much but I ain’t go no money… " The job lasted a year and I’m back at it trying to live a life that feels authentic to my being.

Joe hits the sweet spot with the mandolin on this song. His daughter, Hattie, sing beautiful harmonies. He ended up turning one of the verses into a bridge. I play a nylon string guitar.

SPIDERS IN THE WINDOW (BLOWN OFF COURSE) is a song with a lot of tension and turmoil. It is in a minor key. After I left the corporate cubicle world I tried out organic farming. I quickly learned that being a farmer and being a musician are about as opposite lifestyle as you can get. A farmer is tied to land. A musician roams. The two lifestyles were incompatible. I wrote this song on the last day that I lived in the house I thought I would live in for the rest of my life when I bought it. The whole time I live there a spider lived in the window. It somehow lived in there through all those cold Wisconsin winters. Again, what I thought I wanted was not actually what I wanted and I had to learn the hard way. “When you want it so bad that you can’t be happy without it, then you get it, you don’t want it, you don’t even care about it”.

Spiders is a Cha Cha. John R. Burr on piano. Joe with another fabulous moment in mandolin history. I added the flute and it gave the song a haunted feeling.

The song THE RIVER KNOWS THE ROUTE (THE PATH HOME IS SHOWN) is actually about a creek. I was sitting creekside watching the Autumn leaves flow by and noticed some would follow the current and others would get stuck in the Eddy. This song is a long and indirect way of saying, “Go with the flow”.

This is totally a reggae song. We are chilling on an island in the middle of the river mahn. The organ solo by John R. Burr is one of my favorite moments of the album.

GRATEFUL (TRANSFORMATION) is a song about things I am grateful for. I had been hearing a lot about the power of gratitude and how to get what you want in life you need to be grateful for what you have and more of it will come your way. This song has been featured multiple times on Wisconsin Public Radio show Simply Folk. The only other time I was on a nationally syndicated radio show was when I called in to Car Talk to find out what was wrong with my 1984 Chevy Vandura Country Cruiser.

This song is a celebration. And boy do I Love Asian Pears! I play nylon string guitar. Jonathan Stoyanoff plays a Jaco Pastorius style bass. It reminds me of Paul Simons Graceland. We recorded it tuned to 332Hz instead of the traditional 440Hz. I read that that frequency resonates with humans better. Joe added a Socca dance beat and we agreed this would be the one song on the album that had a fade out.

The last song on the album is called WALLOWA MOUNAINS (RETURN TO THE NEST). This mountain range is in Oregon south of the city of Walla Walla Washington. It’s a love song about a beautiful landscape. It works in a song because it is fun to say.

This is an old-timey bluegrass number. Jonathan Stoyanoff on upright bass. I play a dreadnaught guitar. Joe added a bridge to the end of this tune and played mandolin, fiddle, and tenor banjo. He also added bongo and beatbox.

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