Bells Will Ring

by John Donovan

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    Order your physical copy of the newly remastered album. Bells Will Ring was first released by John Donovan in September of 2010. The album has been mastered by TW Walsh (twwalsh.tumblr.com/discography).

    Includes unlimited streaming of Bells Will Ring via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

In the early years of the United States, the personification of a typical American revolutionary (or of the nation as a whole) was a cartoon character named Brother Jonathan. He was eventually overtaken in popularity by the Uncle Sam character, who surfaced during the war of 1812. Still, Brother Jonathan kept an American legacy. During the Civil War (1861-1865), "Johnny" became common slang for a typical soldier who had gone off to fight. One of the most popular folk songs of the Civil War was "When Johnny Comes Marching Home."

On July 30, 1865, shortly after the Lincoln assassination and the end of the Civil War, a paddle steamer named Brother Jonathan took to the sea off the coast of northern California. It had been overloaded with gold and was precariously weighed down, so it was especially vulnerable to the large storm it soon faced. The ship went under after striking an uncharted rock, and took with it 225 lives and its huge cargo of gold.

That is what Bells Will Ring is about: loss, tightly-knotted irony, the consequences of passion, and the surreal conversations that are always taking place between past and future. But it is also about the cracks between these things, through which we find joy and relief and love.

"Let love and friendship on that day, Hurrah, Hurrah!
Their choicest treasures then display, Hurrah, Hurrah!"

Thanks for listening,
-John

Bells Will Ring was first released by John Donovan in September of 2010. It was originally mixed and mastered by John in the free audio editing program Audacity. The album has now been professionally remastered by TW Walsh (twwalsh.tumblr.com/discography).

credits

released 21 December 2012

Artwork by Katie Lochhead (klochhea@slu.edu)
Drums on track 6 by Ryan Soles
Trumpet on track 7 by Andrew Utz
Alto Sax on track 7 by James Buchanan
All else by John Donovan

Mastered by TW Walsh
Produced by Jumproping Bird Records

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Track Name: 1865
1865
I'm up, I'm alive
I'll be outside to greet you soon
I see the golden kite
I see the waiting light
the crowing winter afternoon
and oh,
the city in the sand
and oh,
the mask in your hand

1864
We were so young and poor
We gave our troubles to the sky
We fell into the sea
We fell under the trees
We fell in love to pass the time
and oh,
the stars were everywhere
and oh,
the sunset on your hair

1865
The wind is in your eyes
The earth is shaking under you
and it's so very clear
that there's nobody here
who knows me better than you do
and oh,
my pockets full of thread
and oh,
the animals they fled
and oh,
your footprints by the stream
and oh,
a fire in your dream
Track Name: Impossible to Name
Somewhere after sunrise
and before the end of time
you were painting love on water
when I heard your heartbeat chime
In your right hand was a feather
In your left hand was a flame
and when I spoke to you,
you were impossible to name

I fell into an honest trap
I fell right on the floor
I was dragged out to the same place
I've been dragged out to before
Now that is where I'm waiting,
thrown out in the rain,
and that is where I'm finding you
impossible to name

I keep dialing the wrong number
and you keep picking up
I keep talking about something
but you can't remember what
Your eyes may be familiar,
your face inside a frame,
but here I am still finding you
impossible to name

If I had never known you,
if our paths had never crossed,
I never would admit it
but I surely would be lost
so I try to call out to you
but my confidence is tamed
and here I am still finding you
impossible to name
Track Name: All of the Walls
All of the voices throughout my life
join together in one great sound
and all of the roads I've ever taken
come together and loop around
And I never said I was a martyr
but now that's all you talk about
and all of the walls in this great city
they know me well but the keep me out

And all of the people I've never talked to
hiss at me when I turn my head
and all of the nightmares I haven't had yet
are waiting for me to return to bed
And I never said I understood you
I just said that you've got what I want
and all of the walls in this great city
they know just how to disappoint

And all of the things that will come after
are all that I can think about
Will you fall into my story
or will you find a different route?
Well I never said I would know the ending
I never said I had a plan
but all of the walls in this great city
are growing higher as fast as they can
Track Name: Brother Jonathan
Oh brother, brother Jonathan
Brother Jonathan
Tell me where did you go
when the light was low
Brother, will I see you again?

Did you go, did you go down the long dirt road?
Did you go down the long dirt road
to the southern field
where the angels kneel
in the light of a silver glow?

Or did you go, did you go where the poor boys play?
Did you go where the poor boys play
where the lightning hits
and the mountain splits
and the hours float away?

Oh when you, when you return once more
when you return once more
the birds will sing
and bells will ring
from shore to solemn shore

Oh brother, brother Jonathan
Brother Jonathan
Tell me where did you go
when the light was low
Brother, will I see you again?
Track Name: Away
So farewell to you now
So farewell to you
So farewell to you now
So farewell to you
Don't you see, see the light
burning out in the night?
So farewell to you now
So farewell to you

And I may not have seen it right away
but you're just like a stormy day
And I may not have seen it right away
but you're just like a boat floating away

So farewell to you now
So farewell to you
So farewell to you now
So farewell to you
Track Name: Watching the Clock Again
The West pins down the windy South
in a sibling's grip and it can't slip out
the sky runs back behind the clouds
and I'm watching the clock again

Hesitations like the floor
a summer breeze swings the door
and I think I'm alright but I can't be sure
so I'm watching the clock again

Hidden in the morning dew
is a beautiful memory waiting for you
You never told me but I know it's true
you may never come back again

Conversations overheard
flock like every fearful bird
and ring in every piercing word
you may never come back again

Well they took you in and they chained your wrists
You were thrown around by a hundred fists
After the springtime hit
you never were the same again

Up and down don't mean a thing
I see you there, you hear me sing
After the sky caved in
you never were the same again

And if I told you I was a stray
would you send someone to take me away?
You know you couldn't name a price I wouldn't pay
to make you come back again

'Cause the things that stay moving when you're not around
are driving me slowly into the ground
and I'm hoping that someday you'll hear this sound
and it'll make you come back again
Track Name: I Saw a Cloud
I saw a cloud
it looked like you
I sat and watched
all afternoon
until the wind took you away
across the city

I caught a plane
as soon as I could
I chased your cloud
around the world
until at last you stopped in Prague
in the Czech Republic

The city shone
the moon was bright
and then your cloud
flew out of sight
so I took a train and followed you west
straight through to Paris

Right when I
got off the train
my weary eyes
were filled with rain
and I couldn't see just where the rain
was falling from

I asked around
no one had seen
this cloud that I
was following
the rain stopped, the sky was clear
and I walked downtown

The sun rose
that early hour
I ventured up
the Eiffel Tower
and I looked for you every direction
all morning long

and I saw a cloud
it looked like you
I sat and watched
all afternoon
until the wind took you away
across the city