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New Lincoln Bio: Songs of Love & Power

by Anthony Oscar

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1.
In the centre of the fire is an ember glowing red When I see it, I remember how I felt when Grandma said, “There are two weak wolves inside you, you will choose which one live & the one you let go hungry will teach you to forgive.” Life is born out of the battle between heaven, hell & earth Martyrs tend to teach & travel, get tangled up in death & dirt If I had a nickel for every time I heard somebody say “I have also had a hard time in my silent, private way,” I would help some peaceful movement, help my neighbours learn the names of everybody on our block & on weekends we can watch the game. Instead of church all day on Sunday, stay inside & watch TV The sunsets might be cotton candy, but this ain’t air you want to breathe ‘cause deep down here in Cancer Alley, a dozen different ways to die chemicals can soften bullets, bleach the blood or let it dry— Don’t bore me with your new statistics, or try to tell me what makes me tick, I don’t trust a soul in this world. Everyone I know is sick. What can I do? My dad is not well, we do not have time for this We all mess up & make mistakes & betray Jesus with a kiss— How am I supposed to trust you? I guess that is up to you, You could read Paul Ricoeur or follow that flame burning deep inside of you. We all need something from each other, we all could use more time in love Listen to what is being offered, lessons spelled out up above: All the stars & all the planets, all the asteroids & comets, too All the supernova fusions built the bones of me & you Me & you & all the children who make up the wide world we know Teach & tug & twist & take me places where I need to go. I try my best not to get worried about the evil things I do, I have learned it is best to bury—who decides what’s good & true? I do not know how to admit I know being bad is my choice, But love’s as hard as trying to quit shutting down some other’s voice If they expose what I have done, we have all caused pain & lied I’ve fought this war, I thought we won, just let this one story slide… There must be some more pressing issue everyone could focus on I will do my best to improve if this whole thing just moves along & this is how we whitewash history, dye it pink or green or blue let it run right down the drain until the sewer backs up with truth. They might laugh & spit & taunt me, “This has all been said before,” Then cut my throat & let me watch my own blood spill out on the floor. People think I am a downer, but Lincoln told me to be real, appreciate that pride & power smother love & fuel fear. Fear is what we use to defend idols we love to create, Don’t despise me, I don’t worship lies designed to force feed hate.
2.
Love & Power 02:59
I woke up & felt a warning this morning As if we were all under the same spell There was a parachuting man in my dreams It seemed the weather had a certain story to tell Come over if you have a message for me Don’t write letters to the house anymore The phones are tapped, but nobody believes me So rap out this rhythm when you knock on my door Crawl over my quiet body There’s more to war than what comes back from the field I was born to be a scout Because my hand shakes when I drop my shield. Rose gold floss spins out of the sky An eagle glides above us for hours I have blackened both of my eyes While fooling around with love & power
3.
Ever A Need 05:40
Is there ever a need for me to get lonesome when I’ve got two feet to walk down to the station, over to my neighbour’s find the first person to talk? Find the first person who’ll sit down & listen to me tell my story again— maybe if I don’t insist on solutions I might just find a new friend The rain has been one of my closest companions, cooling me when I’m too hot— I feel like a fool when my brain overheats & my soul gets tied into a knot There’s no use pretending that my heart ain’t broken, been dragging it around for years singing these songs & poking these places where I tend to bury my fears Well, take me downtown, take me to the station, take me some place safe to talk— Maybe we can meet up as the sun starts setting over the lake for a walk The year has been lonely, the money comes slowly, keep rolling over more bad news Light me a candle, place it on the mantle: my prayers are like lighting a fuse I’m sorry I misunderstood what you said, my head is a heavy surprise & I know that sometimes I can be dismissive & my eyes have been known to tell lies I know I could offer a bit more compassion, I know I could give you more love— it’s hard to feel hardened, I miss how you soften my heart like an old baseball glove Thank you for the cardinals & crows in my garden, this piano misses you, too I wish I could hear you sitting, reading, writing or just taking in the view Now, it’s time to go down to those fourteen stations where the spirit meets the bone lower my head & make my confession there’s no need to go it alone
4.
Quick Script 03:57
When I drove north up to see you I had two voices/choices in my head The car grew cold while my mind burned a line From new Orleans to the edge of your bed Careful came the questions & I walked with trepidation while I wondered whether you would want some wine heavy round your shoulders, a new york winter whisper, you seemed two steps further, safer down the line Sometimes I feel I’m following a script Slanted, cursive & written very quick With a mouthful of tricks & a mouthful of roses nobody knows this or owes me anything sundown was behind us & some thin ice seemed to warn us or remind us what we have is what we hold the cold & the wine froze my worries, warmed my spine & I watched as you let yourself unfold she shakes me down & takes me to the places where the river chisels & causes the clay to collapse carves me out a shelter fit for any weather so my body knows it’s time to relax
5.
Rain’s been blowing around again, my darling & I’m not going anywhere Hear the violin strings sighing, See the meteors falling through the air (& we’re all singing every little thing is gonna be alright) Sunrise spilling through the window I’ve been waking early too With a cup filled up with coffee Hair pulled back, I’m in a suit You know the weather here is manic Another storm is coming soon A puzzle half-forgotten on the coffee table In the window is a bowl full of fresh fruit I need to gather up my horses & bring the clothes in from the yard there is a line squall out on the horizon & you know my voice doesn’t carry too far Every morning’s pregnant with disaster Evening comes in velvet golden hues I was purple as an adolescent I’ve been learning to grow into the blues Most of my friends know I make music & those who don’t might not know much at all about me or the world that keeps me busy, taking notes, trying to synthesize it all night falls on me with a careful question does the world need what I want to give I’ve been violet ever since I can remember but the bluesmen have taught me how to live ‘cause we’re still singing every little thing is gonna be alright
6.
Here & Now 03:55
When you cant deal with the weight of the real & you want to find an out The times reveal a terrifying truth, What’s the use? We’re born with doubt Take on a tornado, take me out of town Take me away on a train, take me deeper underground Chain me up, chain me down, change my mother’s wedding gown Tear the straps & sleeves away, I want to stay In the here & now There are women, I’m afraid, who might take a lover’s name To escape the life she lives in & men who will possess their wife’s life until death do them part it’s the game they’ve been given he’ll restart with fresh flesh pour some brandy, take some sex, press his branding iron hot against her neck feel the fight underneath what she’s been led to believe all those needs are begging to be released in the here & now in the end, he will defend every tear he said he’d mend he has lost every friend, but knows not how he curses & he cries, rejects anyone who tries left surprised, on his lonely bed he dies in the here & now
7.
Simple Peace 04:26
I woke up this morning humming a tune Wrote it last night, dreaming of you No matter how, it’s always nice to see you Standing there, sun in your hair Flowers all around you, Your smile made me smile & I put my arms around you then I heard music drifting in from someplace far like someone strumming something like this softly on guitar & I found myself humming something, too. This little song to tell you I love you … Dreams are long roads I end up walking through Places I’ve never known Spaces I’d like to take you Sometimes I like to stay asleep Happy in a dream It’s easier to get along, or so it seems When I wake up, I want to go back inside my head It takes a lot of coaxing to get me out of bed Something to take the edge off, Something to pick me up, Someone to read the tea leaves left at the bottom of the cup I know I’m not perfect, but I still try to be It’s worth it when I get to feel That quiet simple peace
8.
A Decent Man 05:36
There is far too much hanging On the moment tonight You know I used to be dangerous They never treated me right For not believing in their heaven Like a panhandling fool I have no need for that religion Their money or those schools You know if I was your mother, I’d have a lot more to say You don’t see me as a brother, You never listen anyway You’ve got a chip on your shoulder & your head in the sand You don’t just learn by getting older How to be a decent man I’ve been beat down by the bullies, The police & the goons I’ve gotten up to speak my piece & watched you walk out of the room you think that time is your weapon, but time will wait & let you die you won’t hear the president ever ask you to be a decent guy all the flags are at half mast they should be flying upside down people begging as you drive by & families dying all around So ask yourself why you are preaching from a gospel full of hate do you really think that jesus teaches to discriminate? You know I’m tired of explaining But not as tired as my friends They’ve been out here all night waiting Tomorrow, they’ll be here again ‘cause you pretend you never promised forty acres or a mule you betray them just like Judas Lie & say they broke some rule You want to know what my name is, You want to make me act right You know I only was dangerous Because I wasn’t well liked & people thought I was stranger than how they liked to live their lives, but it was them misbehaving & getting whipped by their wives Now you’re hanging on this moment Waiting for me to make a move I’m long done with playing games, sir It’s you who has something to lose But if you admit you’ve lost it, Be quiet, breathe & settle down Read & listen to your prophets Teach you how to be a better man
9.
Patterns 04:53
I’ve been here before, but not like this I’m starting to realize everything I’ve missed the shadows are dark, the higlights are bright I never paid attention to the small points of light there are stories in the stars & once the clouds are gone I stay awake to read them from dusk til dawn the sun heats up across the land I cross myself & try my best to understand who my neighbour is & what I’ve done wrong & what it means when I decide to put it in a song ‘cause I’ve been doing this forever, ever since I was a child words are how I’ve learned to tame the ways I’m wild my teacher told me “Tony if you want to get well to heal a broken heart, you’ve got to trust yourself” I’ve been trying to do, I struggle & I grieve over lost loves & opportunities I’ve only got this one life, twenty four hours a day I do my best in my own way I know I’ve hurt some people with my words & my fists I have broken promises, it’s hard to admit I’ve brought people down to the depths with me down into a dark, cold & stormy sea & there are dragons in the dungeons, three saints in the fire questions I ain’t asked since I left the funeral choir I wanted to be a coast guard so that others may live well, telling my truth is how I’ve learned to forgive when the baby is born with not much more than hope love is our lifeline, hold on to the rope but somewhere along the way something or someone might fall out of line looking up from the bottom, got a long way to climb might feel a bit broken, maybe a bit confused afraid of just about anything that might bring back the blues so I look for the light, the path, the way, the practice go tell it on the mountain it’s all about praxis the circle I have learned goes round & round yeah, I learn from my mistakes & then I fall back down & then I get back up with care & support if you’ve got my back, know that I’ve got yours circles & cycles can be broken, for better or for worse it helps to recognize the patterns first I am grateful for the stories, the hymns & the tunes I have picked up along the way with you & everyone who has given me a moment or an ear I love you & I’m thankful to be together here & those who have gone to a place someday we all will go sprinkle me with a little bit of what you know

credits

released November 4, 2022

engineered by morgan orion
all songs written & performed by Anthony Oscar at Studio Alvar except
Morgan Orion - aux percussion & bass on Ever A Need
morganorion.bandcamp.com
Lee Garcia - snare on A Decent Man
bass by Michael Ford on Love & Power
cover photograph by Garrett DeBell garrettdebell.bandcamp.com/album/tall-tall-hill
cover art by Anthony Oscar
spiritual advisement by Leonard Cohen with some serious smelling salts & a heater
beats by casio

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Anthony Oscar New Orleans, Louisiana

folk songs
joke songs
news songs
blues songs

new orleans, la

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