Fern Canyon

by Anna Gordon

supported by
Sarah Shay
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Sarah Shay Anna Gordon is an incredible talent; her vocals are hauntingly beautiful, her lyrics poetry. Let this amazing album break your heart and heal it at the same time. Favorite track: Bury Me High.
R
R thumbnail
R OMG! I was so ecstatic about the new long-awaited release that I pre-ordered without even listening to the sample first. Among other things, I love the many instances of tight vocal layering that turn melodies from single lines into colorful braids. This is a step-up in sophistication for her. For example, compare the subtleties in "Bury Me High" on this album with the older released version. Favorite track: Backseat.
David Johnson
David Johnson thumbnail
David Johnson My favorite thing about Anna Gordon is that she's not afraid of life's darknesses. Not only that, but she brings them to life in such a beautiful and bittersweet way. This album was released at perhaps the darkest time in my life to date and was a catalyst for me to reach out for help. Thanks for sharing your perspectives on loss, pain and sorrow, Anna. And for the strength you show. It's encouraging! I highly recommend this album - it's a rich experience to listen. Favorite track: Cancerian.
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about

This album was recorded in 2016 in little wooden cabins in Western Washington, and you can hear a few creaks, some waves from the Puget Sound, and some seagulls. This album was also recorded with strep throat. It is a snapshot of a poignant moment in time. I came of age as I wrote these songs from the ages of 18 to 21.

Thank you to Ariel, Kee, and Ric for making this recording happen. Special thanks to Johanna and Spirit House, Debra, Blaine, Colin, Chrissie, Clara, Amanda, Kasi, Roxy, Abbi, Irene, and all who financially and spiritually supported this album.

Front cover photo by Blaine Ewig.
Back cover and inside photos by Colin Brown.
Silkscreen prints by Anna Gordon.
“My Branches” screen print based on a photo by Blaine Ewig.

credits

released November 2, 2018

Anna Gordon - vocals, guitar, cello, piano, percussion
Kee Curlee - bass

Produced by Anna Gordon
Recorded by Ariel Peake in wooden cabins across the Pacific Northwest
Edited by Ariel Peake at K&A Studios
Mixed by Ariel Peake and Anna Gordon at Robert Lang Studios, Seattle, WA
Assistant Engineer - Kee Curlee
Mastered by Ric Vaughan

All songs written by Anna Gordon
Released on Spirit House Records

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Anna Gordon Seattle, Washington

ethereal folk songs laden heavy with storyful lyrics ~ deep, dark waters

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Track Name: Streetlights
when the streetlights are out
i have no doubts
all the constellations
wash away all my frustrations
when the streetlights are out
i have no doubts
my troubles, they don’t last
i don’t worry about my past
present or future
nature or nurture

when the streetlights are out
i have no doubts
clear speckled inky sky
and then i never wonder why
and my head clears
for a thousand years
of light and Gemini
and Aquarius fly
held together in a gentle web
that cradles the sighs in the empty ebb

when the streetlights are out
i have no doubts
it’s just the section before my street
where sanity and clarity meet
above the field of tall wheatgrass
where i can watch the Big Dipper pass
and the Ram and the Bull tilt and whirl
in the lapse of time, in the eyes of a girl
where the lights are out
where there are no doubts
Track Name: A Labor of Love
i made a home in my heart for us
cleared off the shelves gathering dust
i made a place to take you in
though i know you don't mind
the rain or the wind
i filled in the cracks and fixed up the wounds
i made a warm little spot for you

i made a place for your troubles and pain
i had everything to lose, everything to gain
for you, i even made a bed
gave you somewhere to rest your weary head
i made some space, i made sure you could fit
i dug a hole where the blood runs thick

i dug a hole in my heart for us
they were lying when they said
"all you need is love"
i dug a hole in my heart for us
but it wasn't enough
i dug a hole in my heart for us
oh, it was a labor, a labor of love

i would give you everything you could need
if you'd only stay with me
i would give you everything i could give
a heart, a home, a place to live
but my heart's such a mess
and i can't really blame you,
hold, control, embrace, displace, or contain you

i made a home in my heart for us
i must be crazy, it was far too dangerous
i dug a hole in my heart for you
you just kept digging
you pushed right on through
i dug a hole in my heart for us
oh, it was a labor, a labor of love
Track Name: Backseat
woke up in the backseat
i'd been bending my knees
and i can't even feel my feet
my legs are so goddamn weak
takes an hour just to walk it off
takes an hour just to make the thoughts stop
i'm starting my list today right at the top
where am i gonna eat, gonna sleep, gonna be?
how am i gonna eat, gonna sleep, gonna be?

woke up in the backseat
i gotta find something to eat
don't have much more than stale bread on me
i gotta turn to someone's charity
call all the people who i thought were my friends
when no one answers my resolve starts to bend
i'm getting tired of 'rely' and 'depend'
those are things that i don't even wanna know
but i know i can't do this on my own

went to sleep in the backseat
hide my head underneath the sheet
so the policeman doesn't see me
when he does his nighttime rounds on the streets
once i spent nearly three months in bed
now i can't find one place to lay my head
i don't know if i ever get any rest
it still feels like there's nowhere to go
it still feels like there's nowhere to go

woke up in the backseat
i'd been bending my knees
i gotta find something to eat
make sure the policeman doesn't see me

woke up in the backseat
i don't know if i ever get any sleep
doing my nighttime rounds on the streets
i lather up, i rinse it out, i repeat

woke up in the backseat
take a walk and find somewhere to be
feeling forsaken and terribly beat
i go to sleep in the backseat
Track Name: On The Mend
won’t you please get out of my head?
you’ve been running around it for weeks on end
don’t you ever get tired? please take a rest
don’t you ever run out of breath?

honey, you’ve been looping endlessly
in these wide, wide circles all around me
coming in close just to brush past my skin…
you’ve got no idea ‘bout the state i am in

so, fill me up with love
won’t you fill me up with love?
fill me up with love!
so that i can feel something
so that we may begin
to bind ourselves again
we blind ourselves again

won’t you please get out of my bed?
there’s a steady stream of unsteady men
and i’ve been occupying my time with them
just to soothe some inner emptiness

honey, without you i don’t feel whole
i need you here to have and to hold
cause in your absence there’s a push and a pull
from the seams trying to mend themselves in my soul

so, fill me up with love
won’t you fill me up with love?
fill me up with love!
so that i can feel something
so that we may begin
to bind ourselves again
we blind ourselves again
Track Name: Cancerian
i am a fighter
i'm in the ring
and i have always been
since the beginning

i am a warrior
which means strength
but to what length?
sometimes i feel faint

i am a wanderer
but at what cost?
sometimes i feel home
sometimes i feel lost

i am a cancer
and i spread
i'll meet up with you
on your deathbed

i am a Cancer
hiding in my shell
but i’ve got claws
made to give you hell

i am a lover
with an open heart
carrion in the sun
to be torn apart

i am a lover
and a fighter too
i've got to be both
to keep up with you

i am a creator
with great big plans
i’m gonna build my world
with these little hands

i am a sorceress
and i cast my spells
into the endless void
of the wishing well

i am an ocean
pulled by the moon
i go back and forth
but i'm gonna rise soon
Track Name: Bury Me High
when i die bury me high

take my ashes
spread them where i had good luck
take my ashes
spread them where i was brave
do not bury me
i do not want to feel stuck
do not bury me
don't you put me in no grave

when i die, let me fly
over the mountain down the mountainside
and when you lay me down real slow
lay me down under the undertow
when i'm finally old and gray
take me to places far away
let me go, and for me sing:
"at last you're part of everything."

let a teaspoon go
in the streets of Seattle
where i grew up
had little luck (but i was brave)
let another go
in the State Capitol
and all my friends there will feel me in the air

when i die bury me high

take my ashes
spread them where i had great love
take my ashes
spread them where i was made
do not bury me
of flight, i've not had enough
do not bury me
don't you put me in no grave

reunite me
with the earth we all come from
please divide me
so at last i can be one
carry me to the beaches
of oceans my feet often kissed
take me to the reaches
of the woods that i have missed

fly me on a plane
to France or Greece or Spain
Argentina or Brazil
ain't been yet but surely will
and if i like the Caribbean
let a spoonful mix in with their sands
and if i fall in love in the Netherlands
let another one out into their winds

when i die bury me high

take my ashes
spread them where i had good luck
take my ashes
spread them where i was brave
do not bury me
i do not want to feel stuck
do not bury me
don't you put me in no grave

when i die
bury me high
Track Name: Addict's Plight
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am young and i may never be again
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am the oldest i have ever been
and i’m dying every minute
so i might as well be living

the world told me to stay pure
they said, “all you’ve got is this!”
condemned them all, the easy cures
but it was my own consciousness
with which i could experiment
with which i made a happy mess
(with which i would’ve done no less)
and stepped closer to my happiness

so will you
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am young and i may never be again
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am the oldest i have ever been
and i’m dying every minute
so i might as well be living

the world told me all these lies
said, “your body is a temple, and you are God”
but shoved chemicals and pesticides
down my throat - ain’t that a little bit odd?
my own business, they poke and prod
but it’s not your body, you can’t play God
i’m my own person, or have you forgot?
and i reserve the right to let me rot

so will you
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am young and i may never be again
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am the oldest i have ever been
and i’m dying every minute
so i might as well be living

pass the joint, or a cigarette
with my lungs full it’s easy to forget
pass the joint, or a cigarette
keeps my mouth busy and it pacifies my head
cause i’m dying every minute
so i might as well be living

i used to fear the addict’s plight
and only wished to depend on myself
and for a life, feather-light
but it was too heavy to deny some help
i am not strong, i barely upheld
myself inside that shrinking shell
and maybe now i’ll go to Hell
but at least i always loved my life well
and lived everything honestly and heartfelt
and i’ve met up with myself, unparalleled

but you, you can’t say the same
you were too caught up in that “world” game
too afraid of death to get busy living
you’ll never know the life you're missing

so will you
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am young and i may never be again
pass the whiskey, pass the gin
cause i am the oldest i have ever been
and i’m dying every minute
so i might as well be living

pass the joint, or a cigarette
with my lungs full it’s easy to forget
pass the joint, or a cigarette
keeps my mouth busy and it pacifies my head
cause i’m dying every minute
so i might as well be living
Track Name: Hallucinations
i keep hallucinating
nothing's right, nothing's wrong
all the world is moving
just keeps moving right along

maybe i’m just hoping
there's something more but then it's gone
i keep hallucinating
the world is off and then it's on

i keep finding empty spaces
and my brain keeps filling them
all the neat and straight lines i see
well my head just makes them bend

i keep hearing voices echo
but i don’t know who’s talking to me
there are ghosts inside my bedroom
they watch me while i sleep

i keep hallucinating
i talk to you but you're far away
and it feels far too strange
it feels like you: you never stay

i keep hallucinating
i can't describe it any other way
i am going out of my mind
but i think it keeps me sane
Track Name: My Branches
i was a guest in your succulent realm:
a ship lost at sea, and i at the helm
your rivers ran deep, through the grooves in your skin
and i rowed through them all in a small plastic bin
through rapids and white waterfalls
i rowed through them all, i rowed through them all

i’m too scared to touch in your fragile museum:
all these treasures on display, it ain’t enough just to see them
i wandered through your branches and pines
left only footprints, but took what was mine
through cedar and white alder trees
all tangled in leaves, all tangled in leaves

i climbed your geography
to find what made you
and what made me
i held you close to my skin
so that we might lose track
of where we begin

i felt like a child at play in the grass:
curious hands picking up, and then putting back
the whole world ached to reach back for me
but i hid from its fingers in the trunk of your tree
through windstorms and white splintered wood
you’ll shelter me good, please shelter me good

i climbed your geography
to find what made you
and what made me
i held you close to my skin
so that we might lose track
of where we begin

but why don’t you ever explore
my branches, my rivers,
my forests, my shores?
you never left a footprint or mark
save a set of initials
you carved in the bark
Track Name: Please Refrain
late last night you came a-knockin’
on my bedroom door
told me that you‘d spent time thinkin’
about what we were before
admitted to your dumb mistakes
said "i will do whatever it takes"
and i just stood there, eyes all wide
contemplating letting you inside

you said
"all i know is that i've got no place to go
and i'm stuck out in the cold"

i said "i don't know. no i don't know
if i should believe it
just cause you told me so"
cause i have felt the painful sting
of love and loss and other things
but lately i've been feeling numb
cause i have chosen to play dumb
to love and loss and other things
got them all wrapped up in the reins
and they won't bother me no more
cause i have closed and locked my door

late last night while you were talkin’
on the threshold of my home
you told me you were growing tired
of feeling so alone
asked if we could just be friends
or even if we could just pretend
and i just stood there, eyes all wide
said, "honey, that's what i have tried
and tried and tried and tried and tried to do
but back then it depended all on you
and you ignored me
like you always seem to do"


you said
"all i know is that i've got no place to go
and i'm stuck out in the cold"

i said "i don't know. no i don't know
if i should take you back
just cause you're all alone"
cause i have felt the painful sting
of love and loss and other things
but lately i've been feeling numb
cause i have chosen to play dumb
to love and loss and other things
got them all wrapped up in the reins
and they won't bother me no more
cause i have closed and locked my door
yes, i have felt the painful sting
of love and loss and other things
stop appealing to my sympathies
no, i am not the one you need

you said
"all i know is that i've got no place to go
and i'm stuck out in the cold"
well you should have thought of that before
you chose to walk right out my door
but it was golden summer then
the golden sun, it graced your skin
bet you felt wild and free
the minute you were leaving me
you thought you would be immune
to winter's frozen afternoons
or that easily you could outgrow
the cold, the ice, the sleet, the snow
and pretend it was all a golden glow
but you can’t do that, honey, i should know

please don't come around my door
please refrain from knockin’ more
you'll find another place to go
but it's not here, you oughta know
Track Name: Follow Me
follow me down to the forest floor
where the deer may roam and the blue jays soar
and make of yourself an offering
to the forest floor in the midst of spring

leave behind your worldly things
and know not what your path may bring
but if you find yourself in doubt
fear not, my friend, all paths lead out

no need to go the safest route
where little adventure comes about
i do not walk through the crowded streets
no, the forest floor carries my two feet

follow me down to the oceanside
to sit in the waves with the incoming tide
and make of yourself an offering
to the ocean waters in the mist of spring

leave behind your worldly things
let the salt flow in your wounds and sting
but if you find yourself in doubt
fear not, my friend, you’ll soon wash out

no need to endure the withering drought
that’s not what this sweet life’s about
i do not walk through the desert no more
no, i walk in the sand on the ocean shore

i walk through the dirt on the forest floor
and i do not fear my life anymore.

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