The New Silence

by Alec Betterley

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about

"The New Silence" is a collection of songs inspired by tales of traumatic experience and its aftermath. Largely influenced by stories of veterans of the post-9/11 wars, the songwriting looks at the question of what happens when the spotlight on traumatic experiences fades and the individual who endured the trauma lives with the mental wounds. For more on the story, here is a video about the project:

vimeo.com/163188500.

Directed/filmed by Tafadzwag Chiriga (www.tafchiriga.com) with assistance from Tom Cryan.

About payment:

This is a not-for-profit recording project. The songs were largely inspired by interviews I conducted and by stories that were put in the public realm, including StoryCorps recordings, newspaper articles and a variety of oral histories I found online.

If you have the means, I encourage you to buy the record. I am charging for the music with the hope of recouping at least some of what I spent to make the project. While the record was produced entirely by me (mostly in my apartment) and the overall budget was comparatively low for a full-length LP, days of studio time, mixing, mastering, cover art, etc. all added up to pretty large costs. Making back some of the money will enable me to continue recording more music!

If I can cover the costs of my own financial investment in the project, my second step will be to give some additional compensation to some of the musicians I worked with - all of whom were paid, though some only received stipends, not what I'd consider fair payments for the work they did.

If all of the above can be covered, any money will be donated to charities serving veterans and survivors of trauma.

Also, I offer immense gratitude to the Puffin Foundation for providing a grant for me to cover some of the project's expenses, and to Wildacres of North Carolina for hosting me for a 2 week residency in August 2015 during which I recorded, mixed and wrote in the beautiful solitude of western North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest.

With love,

Alec

credits

released May 1, 2017

Musicians:

Alec Betterley - Upright and grand pianos, AKAI MPC, Fender Rhodes, Nord electro 2, electric guitar, acoustic guitar & other things.
Caitlin Claessens - Vocals (11)
David Dawda - Electric bass (1, 2, 5, 12)
Noa Fort - Vocal harmonies (4, 11)
Ari Friedman - Pedal steel (10), Electric guitar (2, 4)
Megan Keely - Vocals (1)
Sarah Lee - Vocals (3)
Allan Mednard - Drums (9, 12)
Gabriela Pelosi - Vocals (6, 12)
Tess Power - Drums (1, 5, 8)
Michael Riddleberger - Drums (2, 6, 7, 11)
Colin Summers - Electric guitar layering (5, 6, 12)
Shu Wang - Violin (5, 7, 8, 10, 12), Vocals (4, 11)

All songs written by Alec Betterley © 2016 BMI #550278448.

Produced and mixed by Alec Betterley with ears/assistance of Luke Hemingway Duffy, Colin Summers & Danielle Warman.

Recorded in Alec's apartments and pals' apartments in Brooklyn, NY

&:

Drums (6, 11) and vocals (7, 8, 10) recorded by Danielle Warman at Chiller Sound, New York, NY - chillersound.com

Grand piano (1, 5, 8, 10) recorded by Rohzan Razman at RiRo Muzik, Brooklyn, NY - riromuzikstudio.com

Drums (1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12) recorded by Joe Rogers at Room 17 Brooklyn, NY - room17studio.com

Childhood upright recorded at Mom and Dad’s in Delmar, NY (7, 10, 13)

Artwork by Gregory Hedderman:www.instagram.com/gregoryhedderman/.

Mastered by Josh Bonati: bonatimastering.com.

For related projects and releases, please visit:
alecbetterley.bandcamp.com
myfriendother.bandcamp.com
toysandtinyinstruments.bandcamp.com

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Track Name: Guardians of the Alone
Sun rise high,
might it rescue me
might it save now
and forgive me all I've done
drive me out of this space forever

Sun go down
leave me powerless and poor
I've my doubts that I'll
ever find that door
I'll be lost right here forever

Find the light to change
what's over, give them peace
and send me home forever
Find the light to make us one
and bring them peace
for all of them
the guardians of the alone
go with grace

Sun come up
bring me out of all these dreams
give me love,
bring me back
the clearest streams
let me leave that way forever

Sunlight spread
let them see all of my scars
drive me down
but we're never going far
and I'll be left right here
forever

Find the light to change
what's over, give them peace
and send me home forever
Find the light to make us one
and give them peace to all of us
the guardians of the alone,
go with grace.
Track Name: Purity
I try to be so pure just to love you
it’s a long way down
it’s a long way to the ground
I try to be so pure up above you
it’s a way to breathe
and it’s a prayer for you and me

In your fine black veil and your lace now
it’s a long drop down
to the water, to the sea
so try to give me all that is new now
give me bread to break
and give me all your purity

I’ve been waiting for the end of it all
find me in ruins up against the wall
I’ve been waiting for the end of this way
find my little purity we’ll float away

I try to be so pure just to love you
it's a long way around
it's a long way underground
and if I'll be so pure up above you
it's a way to see and
it's a love for you and me

I’ve been waiting for the end of it all
find me in ruins up against the wall
I’ve been waiting for the end of this way
find my little purity we’ll float away

Keep me quiet for a long long time
in the dark part of town where I know you’re mine
never will they find me
never will they find me here
I'll keep quiet for a long long time
in the dark part of town where I know you're mine.
never will they find me
never will they find me
here.
Track Name: Midnight Blue
When you were so fragile and new
mama paint your room a midnight blue
silver stars on the ceiling for light
might the new moon guide you at night
might the new moon guide you at night

And there I lay with a little one's skin
kept sutured all the wishes within
worshipped gods that never would I see
I can kneel but I’ll never be free
I can kneel but I’ll never be freed

From then to now, a broken trail seen
a trashed road and their eyes still from me
lifeless side with my sisters I'll ride
through the cities, a new silence inside
through the cities, a new silence, we ride

You and me in a backseat so dark
rivers washed by the cry of the lark
we dug daily just to find all our heart
midnight blue will forever be ours
midnight blue will forever be ours

Have mercy on me,
have mercy on me
have mercy on me
have mercy on me
wash the violence from my hands
have mercy, have mercy on me
wash the violence from my skin to the sea
have mercy, have mercy on me.
Track Name: This Bridge
This bridge
is lit
seen from miles away
big weight
blank form
wants love
wants more
more.

This bridge
is quiet
no peace
inside
Store bags
half way
to home
to home
home.

When the lights go down
When the lights go down
Then I’ll find you there
Then I’ll find you there.
Track Name: Star People
Star people will they rise, will they rise once more?
star people will they rise, will they rise once more?
I'm alone, I'm alive, I'm alone,
sun will rise, I'll be here on my own

Star people will they hide, will they hide once more?
star people can I hide there behind your door?
here in pride, hide in shame, here in pride,
lost my love, silently by my side

All the broken names
did they find their ways
shine the lines of graves
never let them fade from me.

Holy rain up high
into stars we ride
we'll walk clean beside
all their little eyes
don't you look away from me.
Track Name: To Run You Homeward
Carry me past canyons
cross the white walls
beds in place, they run away
carry you from cribs to grass
to lay your body down
where have you played?
gather up the anchors
just to wash them hung and dried
for what you’ve made
firelight to hold you tight
and shift your channels forth
into the gray

Send me starry silence
it’s a rainy roll to ride on silver wings
will you be a bird for them?
will you be a bird and when?
learn to love
from all you’ve changed
every way
now to run you homeward where you’ll stay.
Track Name: Deliverance
Deliver me
keep me packed up and pretty for you
deliver me
bring me back now
forever anew
deliver me
to the soft trees
up and down the rows kept perfect
lie me there
and I’ll be waiting for you

Deliver me
and release me mother father be brave
deliver me
lay beneath me all the love that you saved
deliver me
on my weak knees
ashes to the lost breeze
give me no gods
I don't want them anymore

Deliverance
I’ll be setting free forever
Deliverance
throw these ashes to the river
Deliverance
will they liberate me
Deliverance
will they pray now for me
pray now for me
pray now for me?

Deliver me
sew my mind shut to never be seen
deliver me
and show the pictures
that they keep from the screen
deliver me
handle with care
my heart in a box
and wrap me tight
and I’ll be suited up
and tidy for you

And if I’m gone
make me into what you
want me to be
a symbol song
break my body
and you’ll fade it from me
now keep me close
keep me memory all cradled
until I’ll be alive
and around where
do you want me to be?

Deliverance
I’ll be setting free forever
Deliverance
throw these ashes to the river
Deliverance
will they liberate me
Deliverance
will they pray now for me
pray now for me
pray now for me?

You will never be alone again
promise you that, promise you that
I will never be alone again
promise me that, promise me that
You will never be alone again
promise you that, promise you that
I will never be alone again
promise me that, promise me that
promise me that, promise me that
promise me that, promise me that
promise me that, promise me that.
Track Name: Every Room Empty
You’ve got a long way to come through these walls,
but I won’t cause you any harm
don’t you believe what you’ve heard, let them fall
and I won’t bring you any harm
give me my friend something sacred to hold,
cause I’ll never give you no harm
peace for to fight with and flame when it’s cold
I’ll keep you safe, and
I’ll never bring home the harm

I’ve got a face made from silver and stone
but I’ll never bring you no harm
Make us to one now and never alone
you’ll never see any harm
come now, I’ll cradle you, make you all mine
I’ll never hold you in harm
held in this silence, can I make you mine
I’ll keep you warm
and I’ll never send you the harm.

Every room empty
and every heart bare
make me all over again
all of my sisters might
meet me down there
make all over for them

We were all children once
forward to fear
and I held my hands to the harm
we could run carefully,
hide 'neath the trees,
but I’d never hurt you, no harm
find me back there in the
shade and the green
running away from the harm
captured in beauty
you radiant one
I’d hold you close and
I’d never bring you the harm

Every room empty
and every heart bare
make me all over again
all of my sisters might
meet me down there
make all over for them

I cannot cry now
but I can be with you in silence and sleep in this peace
I cannot face you
but I can be near you in silence and fortune and grace.

Every room empty
and every heart bare
make me all over again
all of my sisters might
meet me down there
make all over again
make me all over for them
make me all over and then.
Track Name: Resolution
We
we shall not fear
and I’ll resolve to save you vanished,
huddled here,

you
you guard this love
so take these ashes
store them safely up above
up above

Fade
the skies we’ve seen
until this resolution breaks
and I’ll come clean,

find
in days of new
there is a quiet
world that
we can wade into
into

Now and for the first time
I’ll resolve to never take this love
for granted any longer
and I know
that when the lights fade low
then we’ll clear the windows
lock the doors in
isolation
find our resolution

From dusk til dawn
I’ll watch the water wear the stones
and then be gone,

sleep
the finest blue
and I’ll wait quietly
and cradle this
for you

Mourn
the little loves
I can’t do anything
but try to get enough,

give
repeat these days
under the roof high sun
I’ll meet you in the haze

Now and for the last time
I’ll resolve to never take this love
for granted any longer
and I know
that when the lights fade low
then we’ll clear the windows
lock the doors in isolation
find our resolution.
Track Name: A Light About To Go Out
When they’d lay me down
they’d give their words to me
I’d climb into their rooms
in their cradle be
and when the dark night fell
and the breath was slow
they’d send me off to dream
where the wild winds blow

There a little light was about to go out
what will I find?
what will there be all for me
a little light was about to go out,
turn it down low, and
I’ll let you follow me there.

When you’d lay with me
our bodies burned bright
you’d shovel embers round
in our frightened eyes
and when the dark night fell
and the breath was hot
you’d send us off to dream
we’d find all we’d sought.

But a little light was about to go out
what did we find?
what was there left for you,
a little light that could never go out?
Turn it down low
and I’ll let you follow me there.

Now they find me gone
vacant, homeless eyes
I’d climb into their rooms
in their cradle lie
I don’t want to rise
I don’t want to cry and
I don’t want to see you, my love
I’ll give up this fight.

I’m a little light now about to go out
what did I find?
they left me here to be
a little light now about to go out
turn me down low
and I’ll let you follow me down.
Track Name: Finally
Tuck me in
into sleep
and away
where i’ll keep
me a clown
me a prince
they surround
ever since
a little picture
where i’m never alone
aren’t we?
a little everywhere
you never will see
finally.

and they be
with me with me
endlessly
climb the trees
green the waves
far away
everyday
a little picture
where im never alone
aren’t you
a little everywhere
the skies are all blue,
finally.

this all was made for me
this all was made for me
this all was made for me
everything you see.

lay me down
up, away
leave my ship
for today
sail the sand
climb a cliff
never won
set adrift
a little picture
where i’m always alone
always be
a little everywhere
you’ll never believe
finally.