keepsake

by Shohei Kobayashi

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about

Hi, all! I hope this finds you well.

This past summer, I visited Paul Laxer at his house for a day to record this batch of songs. We worked, we ate some tacos, we hung out with his dogs, and we recorded a little more. And that was it. Nothing fancy. It's not polished, it's not perfect, but I think it's honest -- a document of what I might sound like on any given day.

I was thinking about the past six years of performing these songs for all of you, and I was inspired to give you something in return for all your gracious attention, something that would feel like we were sitting in your living room again, and I'm playing the songs I always play. A simple keepsake for our time together.

This recording is really a bookend for me, for now -- an older way of singing, an older way of writing songs. I plan to come back to songwriting one day. There are so many things I've learned from standing on stage a solo songwriter that I will carry with me as a conductor and performer for the rest of my life. However, I could not have learned those lessons if I didn't have friends like many of you who cared to listen and respond to me in real-time -- in living rooms, in coffee shops, in bars, in concert venues... So, really, these recordings are for all of you.

I hope this record can be whatever you need it to be and more.

with all my love,
shohei


PS: I contacted my dear friend Corinne Monaco just a month or so ago about designing some album artwork for me. I'm so happy with how it turned out. Any inquiries about her work may be sent to cmonaco212@gmail.com

credits

released December 21, 2015

Recorded in Paul Laxer's home
Portland, OR
May 23, 2015

Engineering and mixing: Paul Laxer (paullaxer.com)
Guitar and voice: Shohei Kobayashi


album design by Corinne Monaco

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Shohei Kobayashi Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Track Name: Prayer for High Places
Pity for the ample notion
"All is said and done"
Carry me with all your failures
And you won't move no one

And if I can see my reflection
In those pearly gates
Help me keep my eyes wide open
Despite my trying face

And if there is indeed a heaven
And I get in someway
I don't need clear streets of gold
If the good Lord sings with me
The good Lord sings with me
The good Lord sings with me
Track Name: Quiet
When I die, burn the body
I don't want to suffocate
Under six feet of lamentations
Sorrow and dry weight

Don't you ever sing alone
In the quiet of the tile echo
Ever sing alone
Cause the quiet cannot keep you
No, quiet never keeps you quite at home

And on the off-chance that there's no heaven
Send my ashes to the sea
So at least I'll reach the ends of the earth
and the water will remember me

Don't you ever sing alone
In the quiet of the tile echo
Ever sing alone
Cause the quiet cannot keep you
No, quiet never keeps you quite at home

I'll only die when you've forgotten
I'll only fade if you're away
I'll only sing when you are listening
I'll only laugh if you're okay

We can kiss when no one's looking
Hold hands when they're nearby
We can sing until it's light out
We can dance until we die

No you'll never sing alone
In the quiet of the tile echo
Never sing alone
Cause the quiet cannot keep you
No quiet never keeps you quite at home
Track Name: Paranoid (eaglesong)
An eagle circles high and in spiral descends.
It's after me. It's after me,
a twisting, whistling flier -- the sky, oh, it rings!
It's grimacing. It's grimacing,

and it spins and it spins and it spins,
and it spins and it spins and it spins.
All too quick I call it quits.
Let it hit. Let it hit!

A twister rips its way through his stablest ends.
It's after him. It's after him.
A heavy, steady grip pulls and flips him with ease,
but still, the trees -- a gentle breeze.

At this point, I believe, I believe.
I believe that I will never be
ever free from what I see
holding me, holding me!

Holding me, holding me,
what I see holding me.
Holding me holding me--
only me holding me!
Track Name: On your own [explicit]
You walked that road alone 'though you were told that it was cold.
You walked that road alone seeing if it would lead you home.
Yeah, it was warm.
They were the ones who felt the storm.

You walked that road alone despite what all the people said.
You walked that road alone. You heard that you might come out dead.
Full speed ahead.
Alive you were instead.

You walked your road alone. They said that their way would be fun.
You walked your road alone. Had you gone with them you would've had to run,
but you said, "F-ck that
I want to see the sun.
I want to watch it rise.
So, I'll call you when I'm done.
I promise I'll call."
Track Name: traveller heart (fragment)
Is that my skin getting tired? Something pulls on me.
We're misaligned but I feel better leaving bits of me behind--
Save the flowers and the wine.
I'll keep those to hold at distant times.

He knows your traveller heart better than I did, than I do still.
In case you're lost, I'll leave a trail.
Pray I'm better at the start.
Track Name: away from me
Her cries were heavy,
all her hope was left to hang.
Blown by the breeze now,
swept to her knees now.

My friend, she gazed at the ocean
with utmost devotion,
steady, still.
When will you let go?

I promise you there are a gentle few, a gentle few.
I promise you, you will find love. You'll see.
You'll find a love away from me.

Take a look at what I've done.
I broke, I broke two hearts.
I thought I built this structure strong
upon the morals I've held for so long.

My love, she stared at the ceiling
with an unfamiliar feeling,
lonely, blue.
Will you be OK? Honey?

I promise you there are a gentle few, a gentle few.
I promise you, you will find love. You'll see.
You'll find a love away from me.

I'm sorry I'm so uncertain.
I'm sorry I left you both hurting.
I'm sorry I'm so uncertain.

I promise you there are a gentle few, a gentle few.
I promise you, you will find love. You'll see.
You'll find a love away from me.
Track Name: No Use
It's taken a while, a few years, to get where we are.
"Don't blow it," he said to himself, "like you have in the past."
Get lost in the fog in the city, set yourselves apart
from the rest of the world. Let the coil uncurl;
the tension won't last.

Oh, this is probably nothing. You're daydreamin' kid!
You'll never find love after doing what you did.

I've gotten really good at giving up hope. No means no, I know.
I know when to stop now, but I don't know when to go.
I've gotten really good at giving up hope. No means no, I know.
I know when to stop now, but I don't know when to go.

His talking sounds stupid. He's certain that she's had her fill
of the vaporous nonsense escaping his idiot lungs.
Some paranoid whispers in his head now worry him still.
He's paralyzed thinking, self-confidence sinking.
He knew this was done.

Oh, this is probably nothing. You're daydreamin' kid.
You'll never find love after doing what you did!

I've gotten really good at giving up hope. No means no, I know.
I know when to stop now, but I don't know when to go.
I've gotten really good at giving up hope. No means no, I know.
I know when to stop now, but I don't know when to go.

Maybe, just maybe I ought to say,
maybe, just maybe on a different day,
maybe, just maybe. No. It's as clear as can be.
You'll find plenty of others far better than me.

It's just sleeping gets lonely sometimes,
and you might be the best I'll ever find.

Oh, I've gotten really good at giving up hope. No means no, I know.
I know when to stop now, but I don't know when to go.
I've gotten really good at giving up hope. No means no, I know.
I know when to stop now, but I won't try anyhow.
Track Name: Remember, Home
She tends to ponder a blue winter scene
through the summer, through the autumn, through the spring.
December's cold is all she knows, but she's warm.
She's warm.

She takes to finding a place of her own
when her family's all together in the snow.
She braves the storm, no jacket on, alone --
alone.

She looks good in green,
alive, flushed at her cheeks.
Her breath is all she sees.

"Remember, remember--
remember, home--
home is waiting."
Track Name: tomorrow, too
I would smile a little wider if I were you.
I would wake up a little lighter if I were you.

Seek solace in, solace in snow.
Keep close the comfort, the comfort of cold.
See how the shiver lifts your shoulders to your ears and down again.
Now, shiver-lift your shaking lips, lift softly at the ends.
See how the shiver lifts your shoulders to your ears and down again.
Now, shiver-lift your shaking lips, lift softly at the ends.

I should smile a little wider and follow through.
I should look up a little brighter and follow you.

Seek solace in, solace in snow.
Keep close the comfort, the comfort of cold.
See how the shiver lifts your shoulders to your ears and down again.
Now, shiver-lift your shaking lips, lift softly at the ends.
See how the shiver lifts your shoulders to your ears and down again.
Now, shiver-lift your shaking lips, lift softly at the ends.

Now we'll smile a little wider to start anew,
and we'll wake up to a brighter tomorrow, too.