Ghost Town

by Matthew Connor

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about

The songs of Ghost Town were written as a teenager, between the ages of 16 and 19. Going back and revisiting them felt in many ways similar to finding a long forgotten high school journal buried in a box: awkward, even embarrassing, yet strangely comforting.

These new recordings were done in my bedroom; idling garbage trucks, clanging radiators, and upstairs neighbors with improbably loud footsteps all make cameos. I'm currently working on a full length album of new material in a proper studio, to be released later this year, but I hope in the meantime you enjoy this collection of songs about long ago, far away towns and the ghosts that still inhabit them.

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Ghost Town is dedicated to Jim Grimsley and Scott Heim, whose work inspired and informed these recordings.

credits

released 26 April 2011

All songs written, performed, and recorded by Matthew Connor.
Mastered by Clint Sand at 0xf8 Studios, www.0xf8studios.com.
Cover photograph by Nicole Elkins.

Become a fan at www.facebook.com/matthewconnormusic !

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Track Name: All That There Is
there's a picture on the refrigerator
and it smiles at me each morning before my coffee and cream
and in the afternoon there'll be a letter in the mailbox
and the little red light will be blinking on the answering machine
and every day starts with all that there is
which always makes me notice all that there is not

there's a phone pressed tight against my head
but tonight i want a hand instead, i want to be in the same place
but then again maybe it's best you can't see me now
'cause i've got the dumbest smile stretched across my face
'cause tonight didn't start with "we need to talk"
so maybe it won't end with "i hope you understand"

and you think love is all i need
and you think love is all you need to give
and you think sometimes you have to bleed
just to know you've ever really lived
and you think love is all i need
well, i think you need some explainin'
see, it's not just a matter of loving
it's a matter of
sustaining

there's a fear that grows with every breath
that maybe this is really all that's left, and this might seem a little strange
but how different would this one life be if you were to say farewell to me?
i mean, how much would really change?
'cause every day starts quiet as a dream
and ends quiet as a nightmare

'cause you think love is all i need
and you think love is all you need to give
and you think sometimes you have to bleed
just to know you've ever really lived
and you think love is all i need
well, i think you need some explainin'
see, it's not just a matter of loving
it's a matter of
sustaining

there's a picture on the bedside table
but i sleep facing the other direction
and i hope you understand
Track Name: See You Again
we drove clear across the world all in one Saturday night
and i didn't want to touch the radio so i grabbed your hand and held tight
and our little town grabbed at the windows with arms that knocked the clouds away
and we talked from Carolina to Dakota with nothing at all to say
and you were so impressed by me, yeah i had you fooled back then
and i wonder if you'd be impressed by me now
if i were to see you again

i remember your eyes were soft and sleepy even when i made you smile
they were soft when i pulled in that filling station to stretch my legs for a while
and you sank into the seat and curled into the night as if it was your first and your last
and i was so content right then just to watch you i left the engine running while i pumped the gas
and you laughed with such urgency and said, "you could've just killed us, man"
and i wonder if i could still make you laugh like that
if i were to see you again

oh, and maybe it's 'cause we'd both been crushed that we were so heavy with hope
that we held onto each other so tight while the world begged us to let go
yes, and maybe we'd both still be hopeful if i'd only hung around
but the higher i floated into the air, the smaller you looked on the ground
and i hear the view's not much better down there, they say you're looking worn and thin
and i wonder if i'd recognize you now
if i were to see you again

can't be angry at Virginia for having such bright stars
can't be angry at my friends who call to tell me how you are
can't be angry at the road, it's always calling me away
can't be angry at your little arms, they weren't strong enough to make me stay
can't be angry at the world out there for leading you to hatred and sin
but i can wonder if your eyes would still be soft
if i were to see you again
Track Name: Day Is Done
oh, the day it is done and the night it is clear
the watchful eye of the world cannot see us here
people say what they say, and do what they do
but tonight it's just me, and tonight it's just you

so sing your secret song and i'll keep every word
i know mama didn't buy you no mockingbird
and i guess i'll never buy you no diamond ring
and we'll just have to get used to that kind of thing

i never asked for you to be proud of me
or to hold me up before anyone
and i never asked for you to keep the nights from getting colder
only to hold me when day is done

oh, your lips they are sweet, but they move far too much
they speak such gentle words, yet are harsh to the touch
and in the dark they still fumble for my mouth and my hands
tell them be still now, i want you to hear me and understand

forget my lips and shoulders, my hands, my hair
the love that you seek, it's not hiding there
just drill a hole straight through the center of my chest
put your lips up to that spot, forget all the rest

i never asked for you to be proud of me
or to hold me up before anyone
and i never asked for you to keep the nights from getting colder
only to hold me when day is done

with the morning i'll be invisible again
there will be no record of me on your skin
so you can strike me down in daylight, when you see me turn your eyes
but when night comes we'll be the only two people alive

i never asked for you to be proud of me
or to hold me up before everyone
and i never asked for you to keep the nights from getting colder
only to hold me when day is done
Track Name: Anchor
storm clouds sitting on the other side of the bay
i guess i'll stop and watch before they move this way
before they wrap the shore in rainy little shrouds
some days you make me feel like i am newer than those clouds

but lately i feel like an anchor
slipping through the deepest black
and i don't know if i'm holding you steady
or if i'm just holding you back

you and i, we sail to strange and distant shores
but every place we land i know you've seen before
how boring they must look the second time around
even the lightning never touches the same spot on the ground

and lately i feel like an anchor
slipping through the deepest black
and i don't know if i'm holding you steady
or if i'm just holding you back

those clouds are rolling now to touch this side of the bay
they reach for the sand the way December reaches for May
i want you to protect me, yet still be the storm i need protection from
i want you to believe, or i want you to pretend that
clouds can do more than hide the sun

but lately you seem like an anchor
buried in the waves once more
and i'm floating miles above you
rocking sweetly like a cradle back and forth
back and forth
Track Name: I Will
all the sonnets my hands could shake
they would never sound quite right
and all the strokes my brush could paint
would never look or feel like tonight
no, your eyes, they will have no song
they will only rage, fierce and still
and i will, i will
i will never fall in love with you

lately i just want to sleep
but my eyes won't seem to close
it's like my head's trying to learn something
that my heart already knows
it's like i've somehow ripped a hole
just to have a space to fill
and i will, i will
i will never fall in love with you

and you should know i try
and you should know this is killing me

i get lost each time you smile
that don't mean i want to be found
but i've been flying for so long
that when i land i'll kiss the ground

you gotta know i try
babe, you gotta know that it kills
oh, it kills
but i will, i will
i will never fall in love with you
Track Name: Hymn
someone carved the letter J into a tree
and suddenly i think i know what they mean
and up above are hearts carved into limbs
that sing like silent hymns to kites and birds and fallen tire swings
and the roots under me are a frayed tapestry
and the grass sits as silent as a grave
and the sun is in misery, i know that if you were here to see it
you'd describe it the same way
and if you were with me, we would stand and we would sing
some new sweet, sweet hymn
but maybe without arrows those hearts aren't hymns at all
but elegies, serene and small

once i knew a girl whose eyes were green like summer leaves
and looking back at her i have learned
that green is neither jealousy nor envy, really
it is just a prize that blue and yellow have earned
and if it's jealous at all then it's jealous of fall
when the leaves lose their sense of loyalty
yes, her eyes in the summer, they were loyal
and in the autumn they were loyal still, but not to me
and she was just the first, every season must rehearse
its own sweet, sweet hymn
yes, others came and went since then and i do not pretend
i'm not jaded when a summer ends

lately i can't seem to sleep, but when i do i seem to keep on
having the same strange dream
if only i could call you now, sing into your machine
to see if maybe you could tell me what it means
there's a bridge and a creek, and there's you next to me
there's a man who is missing both his hands
and he's staring right at us, but we don't seem to notice
even if we did, we wouldn't understand
and somewhere far away a car radio is playing
a sweet, sweet, hymn
and every morning when i wake that hymn is in my brain
and i carry it around all day

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.
For love is strong as death, yes, love is strong as death.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm."

when i woke today that man was in my room
and that is when i knew that i needed you
he was standing by the door, his hands were gone just like before
his face was in the shadows, too
and at first i was scared, though i knew he was there not to hurt me
but show me something new
and if i ever sleep again, i know that i'll see him then
or maybe i'll just finally see the truth
and someone carved the letter J into a tree
and suddenly i think i know what they mean