Despair?

by Come Gather Round Us

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about

Come Gather Round Us -- side project of Catherine Feeny and her husband, producer Sebastian Rogers -- recorded their second album in the fall of 2009 over the course of 4 days in front of a small studio audience. Due to scheduling conflicts, Despair? wasn't mixed until the summer of 2010. After almost a year away from the recording, ideas came fast to the four band members about how to enhance, but keep the integrity of the original recording.

"We used a lot of restraint," said Rogers. "We had connected with so many exciting players in Portland, but we wanted add one strong element to each song, not six."

"We kept it simple, says Feeny. "We'd both been down that other road, and this was about exploring something different—making more with less."

Despair features all originals - four by Feeny, five by Rogers and one by Mike Danner - with songs that range from "Home" (Feeny), the stripped opener with just the right touches of accordian and a double bass about a struggle to find peace amid feelings of hopelessness and dislocation, to "Holy White Ghosty", a personal and open letter to a generation of political and social moderates and their untapped power. Other standouts include "Windchime" (Feeny), about the clarity that comes from a self-imposed trip to the deep end, "Freedom or Death" (Rogers), a calling out of American ethnocentrism and media censorship and "Frontline", starting at South by Southwest, a first person account of chasing the dream. With threads of raw, sensual and politically charged songwriting throughout, and helmed by two of the best unsung singer-songwriters of their generation, Despair? stands to be one of the strongest collection of original folk pop songs released in 2011.

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released February 14, 2011

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about

Come Gather Round Us Portland, Oregon

COME GATHER ROUND US was born in January 2009, but conceived months before by husband and wife team Catherine Feeny and Sebastian Rogers in the throws of a 12,000-mile U.S. living-room tour. Jon Neufeld (Black Prairie) and Mike Danner round out the line-up of this passionate demi-prog protest-folk outfit. ... more

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Track Name: Home
I don't have a heart
I don't have a thing to say
I don't have a thought that's kind or generous today

I don't have a reason
or a means of escape
I don't have a thought that's kind or generous today

Home, take me home
Tell me, where might I belong
Home, take me home
Tell me, which way did I come from

I was dreaming of the ice
And swimming for the ocean
I don't dream of flying
but I dream of falling
Home
Track Name: Windchime
I left all my records down south, and my warm clothes in a dusty box
My world's a blown-out, empty house
And it comes as a shock to know, that I'm the one who made it that way

Help me, help me, I've fallen
Can you hear me calling?
I'm like a windchime, singing for the sunshine
I want the world to know
I can do better, than this

Mother, you've a kind hand and a cold hand
We are split in two, I've the best and the worst parts of you
And judgment is a slippery sword, it's a treacherous weapon to use
We turn it on the ones we love and then cry for the blood that they lose

chorus

And it's easy to fail in the eyes of the empire
But there is a different story to tell

You must speak words of love to yourself
So you can speak words of love to everyone else
Give gifts of love to yourself
So you can give gifts of love to the ones you love
Track Name: Freedom or Death
You won't decide for me, who is my enemy
You can't stop me, I will sing my love for Islam
Cause I learned from Ghandi, and Jesus he spoke to me
Of freedom or death, freedom or death

When Russian children grew, they were told all about me and you
We, the evil empire creeping over the world
Where is their evidence, we just spend our money on defense
500 billion a year

Empires, they invade and occupy, impose their ideologies
You know, the Afghans they will die until they've kicked us out
Cause like you they are all about, freedom or death, freedom or death

Ten years ago they showed, on British television
The luckiest Nut in the World, you should check that film out
Of course, you'd have to use the internet,
Cause it's not been shown on American TV networks yet

You'll learn just how they put the world in debt
Lover, did they get you yet?
You've earned your credit rating, hell they've got your arse now
So you cry freedom or death
Freedom or death
Track Name: Holy White Ghosty
I am somewhere in the middle of these fundamental hardlines
Bending themselves backwards 'til they touch
There's just one fundamental thing, makes me want to stand and sing
That's The Source
But if you drink the blood of Christ, and it makes you feel superior
Then it's just wine

Holy, Holy white ghosty
Your old man upstairs got a lot of love its true
He loves your enemies as much as He loves you
Stop your bickering, listen to your Holy Father
You goddamn kids

To my drunken friends, you're beautiful, I don't mind
The way your mouths flap open all the time
But I mourn the loss of your ears, when conversation disappears
But it's just the wine, the goddamn wine

Shhh -- I hear quiet voices singing
What chance have we? We are the moderate minority
And who can use a moderate heart
To fight with the insanity of our leaders and our enemies
But there's more of us than we believe
We are an army, don't be scared to speak out openly
But don't just tell them they're wrong, you gotta be in love with everyone
Holy white ghosty
Track Name: Floating World
And if you dive the sea will open up
Cover you with arms of airless love
And if you can not breathe then you will know
You were never meant to sink so low

I could tell you all the dreams I've been dreaming
But you know them without knowing them, it seems
They're like characters in a book I am writing
They know their own way, know their own way

The underlord will greet you with a trident
Take your life or send you on your way
And if you wake a-wishing to remember
You'll know that you must fight another day

I could tell you all the dreams I've been dreaming
They might make you cry or make you laugh
I could your pour you out a glass of what I'm thinking
You might take a sip and hand it back

And when they forge a foot for you of iron
You'll realize it was coming all the time
They will not let you leave now, so beware
Of becoming too beloved to folks down there

In the floating world, nothing ever changes
In the floating world, nothing remains the same
In the murky depth of bluish light and shadow
You lose something, you won't see it again
Track Name: Despair
She is a heavy blanket
It's the ultimate in cowardice
To crawl under and stay there
I've been her lover in that dark, dark lair
Despair

Embracing existence takes a brave, brave soul
Life gives you tough love, makes you be responsible
Despair says - put yourself inside me
There's so much comfort down there
Despair

Life is demanding of your bleeding heart
For hope and love you must believe
Despair asks nothing, you just lie back and grieve
Your struggle's over she will always be there

I don't want to be my mother crying, wetting the floor
Screaming how she can't take no more
But I don't want to have a trigger that flips the darkness on
Leaving me empty like a smoking gun

Sometimes my skin and my soul, they won't play
Then one harsh word from you, and she just drags me away, 'til you say
Heaven's sake brother don't you dwell in the place
Man, push her arms from 'round you, slap that bitch in the face
Heaven surrounds you, but you got to fight to be there

The devil is despair
Track Name: Janey's Flying
Oh, Janey's flying
She got up from her seat, spread her arms and took a big leap,
And now, now Janey's flying.

And now's shes floating around up there in the air,
Completely unaware, that it's impossible
And now she's cruising down the street
Except she's about ten feet above it all,
She's passing cars and bicycles
Cuz she can go fast, I hope she can last
I'm afraid she might fall -- it's why I don't call
And I bet I look real small from up there, real small

Ooh here's what she done for me, she touched my heart
She touched my heart for me, and tore me apart

Oh, Janey's flying
There she goes, I bet she don't even know how unkind it was
to leave me behind, here on the ground,
while she gets to be heaven-bound
Oh but looks here she comes, she's giving me a smile and a fly-by
but i think it means goodbye

chorus

Oh, Janey's flying
I bet she's going 50-miles an hour
She's passing buildings and towers
Dodging clouds and dodging planes
And Lord, she looks like one of them angels
Track Name: Modern Mythology
We can bring an army, or a loaded gun
Or a mountain of paperwork blocking the sun
The word of the law and the men who explain it
Some who can change it, Some who can break it

The gas chamber is primed
Species go in two by two in a line
The hours of suicide watch are extended
We have been chosen to rule

Sleep now and don't be a fool
Take your modern mythology

We can insure you invest you and pension you
You can keep spending when working is done
We can protect you from the foreign governments
All that we need is your trust and your sons

God eats out of our hands
Just keep on breeding and ploughing the lands
Nature's been swell but her contract has ended
We have been chosen to rule

Sleep now and don't be a fool
Take your modern mythology

You should be afraid
You could lose everything for which you've paid
But sleep now and you will be saved

Take your modern mythology
Track Name: Frontline
Cathy and I drove night and day down to South by Southwest
I walked my weary feet around, smiled my very best
Felt like I was grabbing for honey, arm deep in a bees nest

I talked an hour away with Karl from Wave Machines
He was buzzing from a showcase, victory had sharpened his dreams
We talked about my battle scars and outsider schemes
He said, "You and Cath, you could really build this thing,
Get that machine working for you. You guys --
Wouldn't you guys be great in the Albert Hall?"
And I thanked him for his kindness and said...

You'll never make the machine work for you, delusions of grandeur
You make work well as a part of that old machine
But I don't, so I won't be giving my heart no more
To that longheld, corrupted dream

That drink feels good in your throat, but it hurts your head
That pen feels good in your hand 'til the ink runs red

You know it's not that I don't care
I care too much, that might be the thing
Just found that we can't play the game no more
And since then we been fighting on the frontline of a war
We're on the front of a war
We're on the frontline
And I hope not, but it feels to me like we might be the last line of defense

Soda, you're an old fashioned eccentric
A veteran and a native of everywhere
There must be more than sugar rushes making you tick
Gave him a ride to the west coast, but we never found out his trick

I like watching singers when they're tired out
Their hearts are beating close to mine
My heart's addicted to that frontline
Track Name: To be a Rabbit
Not a good day, not a good day to be a rabbit
Shaking, drinking coffee, getting stressed out by the internet
Gotta pay for this hole, this heat
Gotta care for this soul, these teeth

The wind blows, I feel it in my long feet
I can smell the hunger chasing after fresh meat
The hedge is high and it's hard to see
I don't trust my senses, this is what undoes me

And you will learn to run
You will learn to hide
You will learn to smile
You will learn to lie
You will learn to want
You will learn to try
Remember time is short in this life

We gather when the sun goes down to share our wishes
And if we learned to speak perhaps some day someone could hear us
We gather when the sun goes down, we share untruths
We say that we will leave, but we are too afraid to

And we say we will go underground