Power Down Devices

by Larry Hirshberg

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about

After years of recording records as if I were painting a canvas, or writing a novel, I sat down in the middle of a turn-of-the-20th-century ballroom in Butte, Montana late one night and had Clark Grant, of the Missoula studio House of Watts, record me playing and singing acoustic. The session resumed the following morning and Power Down Devices is the result. I've been performing strictly solo acoustic shows for the last five years or so, and this record is exactly what I sound like live. No overdubs!

credits

released September 1, 2013

Larry Hirshberg wrote and performed all the songs.
Clark Grant, of House of Watts, produced and engineered the recording.
Mastered by Headroom Mastering.
Graphics assistance by Mae Foresta of Night Owl Imagery.

Thanks to Clark Grant, Britt Arnesen, Laura Waters, Carey Eyer, Donna Mollica and Tom Catmull for helping me maintain this rickety house of songs, and to Judy and Debbie for dancing in it.

The image on the front cover is called Mesmerizing The Chair, and is from a book published in 1931 entitled The Book of Knowledge. It is public domain, and it is awesome! Thanks to Nancy Thornton for putting it in front of me.

Power Down Devices is dedicated to Dixie, on her way out.

tags

license

Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

about

Larry Hirshberg Missoula, montana

The years reveal what the moments are made to conceal.

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Track Name: Cycle of Redemption
Katie was a wide-eyed traveler, she never missed anything.
She'd listen in the valleys, was a part of what was happening.
Separated from her power (whatever that may be)
Katie kept right on walking, until she was redeemed.

My buddy just took it easy, down into a world he fell.
Tumbling, stumbling, falling - poison in his well.
Somehow he drank that potion. He stood and played that scene.
Did it every day for decades, until he was redeemed.

Chorus:
Cycle of redemption
Cycle of relief
All the way from trouble
Back to breathing free
Keep on moving forward
It's really round and round
Invest your sadness wisely
Make your dark days count

A woman sits dark and moody, under a broken sky.
Half a world is threatening thunder, the other half is blue and white.
I watch her slowly rise up, wondering what her movement means...
Then I see her lightning smile, and I know she's been redeemed.

Choruses
Track Name: There It Is
Last time I saw it
The mountain hadn’t moved
The fleet it hadn’t sailed yet
The sky was still blue

The last time it happened
I lifted off and flew
The ground became distant
The stars became new

I have not been waiting
I kept on pushing through
Obstacles that blocked my way
Now have been removed

The last time you showed me
That look so deep and clear
Everything got dirty
For the next few years

Refrain:
What I mean by dirt is Earth
When you look at me that way
The ground it opens and bursts forth
Finally, today’s the day!

Chorus:
There it is there it is there it is there it is… etc.
Track Name: Kettle On
There's a line of red - the night is done
Put the kettle on
What the wind just said – you gotta walk, no run
You put the kettle on
You're alone at home and the house is old
Put the kettle on
Residue of a dream – it makes you cold
So put the kettle on

You have a problem, now you're hand to chin
Put the kettle on
Chairs, table, a friend and then begin
You put the kettle on
Grind it out - your nose is making sparks
You are building Rome and this is how it starts...

Room temperature you go nowhere
In the dark you think you need some air
Light a fire underneath your stairs
(climbing's come and gone)
Screaming, steaming finally you're there
(cause you put the kettle on)

Put the kettle on (repeats)
Track Name: Buying And Selling
Chorus:
This buying and selling, it’s all too much
It’s all about your coin in my cup
This selling and buying’s got me screwed up
Walk away if you must.

I bought a roof and I bought a meal
I thought that I was the king of that deal
I sold an hour or two of my strength
Hoping to keep what was real at arm’s length.

Chorus

I bought a morning when I was awake
Mumbled some words and they rhymed with awake
I sold a few, hey what a surprise
'Cause most of what people are buying is lies...

Chorus

(Bridge)
Capitalism, it’s got a name
But it’s bigger than that, it’s an old game
Something for nothing might work once or twice
But always and forever there’s the cost and the price…

Chorus
Track Name: Variations On A Theme
What you had you don’t have no more
What you don’t have, man, you don’t need
What you don’t need went out that door
It’s a variation on a theme

Help me help me someone said
There’s someone’s hand on someone’s knee
Sun came up in someone’s bed
It’s a variation on the theme

Kept you warm and kept you fed
Decorated all your trees
Sun went down in someone’s bed
It’s a variation on a theme

A child, children, one or two
Took their shape and skinned their knees
Work and sleep was all you knew
Variations on a theme… BUT THEN…

The opposite of light broke through
The cracks that you had never seen
Thought you’d fix it didn’t you
Dark variations on a theme ...

Variations variations….

Variations on a theme
It’s the same old married thing we’ve all seen
Trouble comes into the house
Someone’s staying, someone’s getting out

What you had, girl you don’t need
It’s a variation on a theme
The opposite of light broke through
Thought you’d fix it, didn’t you?
Track Name: Simple Space
She wants a place, a simple space
To close the door, and nothing more.
Everything will be just so,
Shut the door, away she goes….

She’ll go inside, it’ll coincide
With all the things in her mind
She’ll breathe the air, the patterns there
Will stitch themselves into something rare…

Chorus:
But the problem with her little plan
A little thing she calls her man
The other noise within the dream
Their little girl, the little queen
The job she wakes for every day
The house they bought, they have to pay
Stuff is piled on the couch
The floor, the counter, baby, she wants out…

But in her room it’s all still there
The door won’t hide what’s sewn inside
The needles point to things undone
The three of them, Earth, Moon and Sun…
Track Name: Quicksilver, Oxygen, Gold
I WAS DOWN AND DONE IN
NOW I’M UP AND RUNNIN’
SOME FEELINGS NEVER GET OLD
I WAS DOWN AND DONE IN
NOW I’M UP AND RUNNIN’
QUICKSILVER, OXYGEN, GOLD


QUICKSILVER RUNS AWAY
OXYGEN’S HERE TO STAY
GOLD PRETENDS TO MAKE IT WORTHWHILE
QUICKSILVER FOR SPEED
OXYGEN TO BREATHE
GOLD FOR THE HONEY IN YOUR SMILE

I WAS DOWN AND DONE IN
NOW I’M UP AND RUNNIN’
IT’S HARD TO DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD
I WAS DOWN AND DONE IN
NOW I’M UP AN’ RUNNIN’
QUICKSILVER, OXYGEN, GOLD

QUICKSILVER KILLS YOU
OXYGEN FILLS YOU
GOLD IS THE WEIGHT IN YOUR CHEST
RISIN’ AND FALLIN’
LISTEN: CLARITY’S CALLIN’
THAT OLD GENTLE FLAME IN THE WEST

I WAS DOWN AND DONE IN
NOW I’M UP AND RUNNIN’
SOME FEELINGS NEVER GET OLD
I WAS DOWN AND DONE IN
NOW I’M UP AND RUNNIN’
QUICKSILVER, OXYGEN, GOLD
Track Name: She's Singing About Whiskey
You chicks you sing about whiskey.
I’ll drink your song about whiskey.
Sing me a verse about sorrow.
I’ll spike my coffee with it tomorrow.
Write me a line about down and out.
I swallowed all of what you’re singing about.
Your half-pint chorus sounds like old Jim Beam.
I sipped that chorus now I’m old and mean.

It’s afternoon you’ve got another song.
This one’s about some boy who’s come and gone.
The bottle’s square, the cap is on the floor.
Guitar is thirsty so she sings one more.
I remember putting out that fire.
I remember when the ground was higher.
You’ve written all the broken lines again
You girls are tempting me to descend.

Young ladies write your lived-in whiskey songs.
I’ll pour them down my throat, they're already gone.
Track Name: Pony Or A Hearse
Before you were a child you were living in the dark
Terrifying beauty on display – you had no part
The war was being fought and the love was being made
You were just floating there in your mother's shade...

Chorus
You can hear the birds and they're singing like dessert
Your ear's against the door and you listen 'til it hurts.

Rolling down the road, several years and several jobs
Lovers were convenience stores you'd pull up and rob
Looking out the window every night the light was gone
Loading up the car you were always moving on

Chorus

Then you were attracted by surprise to you know who
Everything blew open like a freight train passing through
Breathing on a sunny afternoon was effortless
Until you suffocated and you lost your consciousness

Chorus

Now it's up to you to sing your own next verse
Are you gonna ride a pony or a hearse?
You can hear the birds and they're singing like dessert
Your ear's against the door and you listen 'til it hurts...

Chorus

Subtlety and cleverness don't always get you in
But as long as you are nice you might get to try again...
Track Name: It Starts With Sleep
The dreamer talks
The talker sings
The singer plays
The player dreams...

So put your fingers under.
Lay down your arms.
Tell your legs to stop.
The sheep are on the farm.
Make your preparations.
Fill your head with sky.
It starts with sleep.
Or your well runs dry.

The dreamer talks
The talker sings
The singer plays
The player dreams...

So power down devices.
Make safe the child's zone.
Permission must be granted
Butterflies are on the throne.

Make your preparations.
Fill your head with sky.
It starts with sleep.
Or your well runs dry.

The dreamer talks
The talker sings
The singer plays
The player dreams...
Track Name: Mark The Time
YOU ARE ABOUT TO SLEEP, YOU’RE IN MY ARMS
YOUR TENSION IS RELEASED
NOTHING IS TOUCHING YOU, YOUR BODY’S OFF
I THINK YOU’RE OUT TO SEA

Chorus:
DON’T SLEEP WITHOUT ME, MY LOVE
I MARK THE TIME BETWEEN EACH BREATH
DON’T SLEEP WITHOUT ME, MY LOVE
AM I LYIN’ BY MYSELF WITH YOU AGAIN?


YOU ARE ADRIFT NOW, OF THAT I’M SURE
NO WORDS ARE IN YOUR HEAD
I KNOW YOU’RE TIRED, BUT I MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE
AND I WHISPER TO THE BED

CHORUS

YOU ARE ABOUT TO SLEEP, YOU’RE IN MY ARMS
YOUR TENSION IS RELEASED
I KNOW YOU’RE TIRED BUT I MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE AND MOVE
AND I WHISPER TO THE SHEETS

CHORUS