A HANDFUL OF ASHES

 

Now available for purchase or streaming through Bandcamp

1. A Handful Of Ashes (20:40)

2. The Hook And The Point (11:37)

3. Simple Answers (5:07)

4. Laugh Gently (2:50)

5. At The End Of The Day (3:04)

Total Time: 43:29

 

(lyrics below, after credits)

(notes after credits!)

 

Written 2006-2015.

Recorded at any opportune time, 2014-2015, @ Phantom Airship 7, Portland, OR.

 

All Songs written and performed by Greg Segal. Accept no substitutes.

All rights reserved so don't be greedy or stupid.

 

Instruments:

vocals, drums and percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards, clarinet, trumpet, cello, recorder, homemades (many categories), digital concrete, violin, and most likely some other things I've forgotten.

 

Photos:

front: Lulu Segal

back, and photo treatments: GS

 

Special thanks to Chrissy for taking the kids out on multiple occassions so I could record acoustic instruments

 

A HANDFUL OF ASHES

 

I have been on a journey

I have come back to tell

I have brought back the gold

But now beyond the spell

 

I look down and I see

In my hand mocking me

Only nothing and dreams

And a handful of ashes

 

How I bled for the insight

How I strove to excel

How I thought Iíd found knowledge

But now beyond the spell

 

I look down and I see

In my hand mocking me

Only nothing and dreams

And a handful of ashes

 

Now Iím older and cautious

I look back very far

I remember the process

All the ecstatic scars

 

And I see it has value

And it does have a place

Maybe not how you wanted

But thatís not a mistake

 

The mistakes come with dogma

And no room for dissent

Metaphors crowned as fact

Steal away innocents

 

Who will not be so pure

As they live for the day

They discover a leash

They will then hand away

 

And those who will come through

With no master or chains

Will find in the end

Small respect for their pains

 

No one waits at the threshold

Celebrating return

As you look for receivers

The treasure has turned

 

(instr. break)

 

Now back in a world

Where to win is to follow

Mysteries preordained

Victories proudly hollow

 

There is no point to tell

What will not be believed

And no way to express

Dreams that canít be relieved

 

You are nothing and no one

Youíve been outside for years

There is no point pretending

You mean anything here

 

Thereís an alley for heroes

Thereís the ground for the lame

And no honest intent

Can be free of the game

 

I look down and I see

In my hand mocking me

Only nothing and dreams

And a handful of ashes

 

 

THE HOOK AND THE POINT

 

Why leave me here

And not deliver?

By such extraordinary means, it seems

Was my life changed

 

Maybe that was the hook

But it wasn't the point

My stubborn streak ran deep

 

There still were things I could believe

Forces I could not percieve

 

Where insanity, myths and religions are born

That was the ocean where I swam

 

In destiny and prophecy

In hidden reasons behind everything

 

In secrets and in rightness

In patterns and in visions

 

I was too young to think

That things could be and yet

Be different

 

Like thunder and earthquakes were not god

The unknown was a deep facade

A blank a mirror and behind it

Moved the massive flow of all

 

How could it not be personal

Look there in the mirror

It's me

 

And so perhaps direction

Was what was really meant

By who and how I do not know

A summons came, I went

 

To end up where

Nowhere it seems

 

To search for meaning

In your dreams

Is near to finding

Heads can lead to tails

 

I know I felt like I was called

And consolation is a stall

 

But maybe things mean something

Yes things may still mean something

After all

 

SIMPLE ANSWERS

 

Most simple answers are lies

Most simple answers

-Surprise!-

Don't tell the whole story

 

How can they

 

Condensations and conundrums

Meditative koans

Shortcuts and fables

Poetry and textbooks don't work the same way

 

And why should they

 

Most simple answers are true

Most simple answers tell you

Answers and questions and answers and

Bottom line points of reflection

 

Don't show all

 

And how could they

 

Watch as all points (watch as each point)

Swallow

All other points (cancels its opposite point)

 

Leaving you here

 

Asking why

 

And why shouldn't you

 

LAUGH GENTLY

 

I once looked

For a ring

For an hour

I thought it was lost

But it was on my other hand

 

And I once looked

For a hat

That was on my head

 

I once looked

For glasses

I was wearing

 

It's OK to laugh

I did

Laugh gently though

 

After all

Don't you know

This could easily happen to you

 

Maybe it already has

It could be happening right now

In ways of which

You are currently unaware

 

So laugh gently

I do

It still happens to me sometimes

It could happen to you too

 

Any day, any time

It could happen

Laugh gently

I do

 

 

AT THE END OF THE DAY

 

At the end of the day

What is it you need

Gold to tarnish and sit or

Common ground for your seed

 

The ends are just trophies

The means are what feed

Hidden gold to pass on

And the cycle continues

 

Philosophy sits

Like a last meal gone bad

Not much of an escape

For what's driving you mad

 

You might like an answer

But I can't give you one

I have only found ways

To keep on keeping on

 

For better or worse

Bringing new lives and roles

Hidden gold to pass on

And the cycle continues

 

 

SOME SIMPLE NOTES

This was the album I returned to active duty with, after about eight years off. It's heavily personal, but I took all the specifics out so that it would be easier for anyone to identify with. It's about having a calling, that comes in a way so extreme you can't ignore it. You step up for it, arrange your life around it... and nothing seems to happen. What then?

I was watching Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell "The Power Of Myth", and Campbell mentioned an old fairy tale motif, where the hero goes away on his quest, brings back gold from the forest, steps out with the prize to take to the people, and it's all turned to ash. That's the metaphor I hung the album around.

The title track is kind of a lament, laying out what's happened, what's been learned. (Tech note: the jangle stick and stomping platform heard at the beginning of the track were built especially for use during the first few lines. Two days of work for those few seconds. Totally worth it!)

"The Hook And The Point" is about the possibility that what draws you into a situation isn't necessarily what you're really there for.

"Simple Answers" starts with a visit to an old man/mechanic archetype, when the vehicle for traversing the philosophical byways breaks down. Essentially, you have to contemplate your way out, there is no quick fix to be bought. The song itself talks about how any philosophical viewpoint can be made to reverse itself if carried far enough, leaving you to then still have to make your own decisions.

"Laugh Gently", though not the last song, is actually the punchline of the album. You may search long and hard and for an answer, only to find it's right there with you and very simple. This is not an excuse or a reason to become cynical or derisive though- it basically happens to everyone at some point.

"At The End of The Day" is an epilogue, where there is a kind of universal settling going on. It's not ideal, perhaps; and in fact it may merely be the setup for the same thing to happen to someone else all over again, etc. ad infinitum. But that's the actual pattern of things. And regardless of what happens to us individually, the pattern itself goes on.