Author Archives: candlepower

make it beautiful

May 14th, 2014 by

album cover1. blue dime
2. new year’s day
3. one word answer
4. gravity loses
5. my war for you
6. the speed of light / river of love
7. lean in
8. you in you
9. one word answer (unplugged)


May 13th, 2014 by

released may 2014
produced by scott kauffmann, brian t. murphy, and alex foote

guitars:  brad lyons, alex foote, rob ritchie
piano, keyboards, accordion, glockenspiel:  brian t. murphy
bass:  brad lyons, ben mars
drums, percussion:  mason ingram
vocals:  scott kauffmann, melanie penn, joely pittman layton, brian t. murphy, brad lyons

recorded in NYC and vermont in 2010 and 2013
engineered by brian t. murphy
mixed by md thompson for ivory tower productions, houston, tx

additional engineering by chip fabrizi and alex foote
additional mixing by oscar zambrano

all songs by scott kauffmann
except “the speed of light” (julie miller) / “river of love” (t-bone burnett)

copyright © 2014 by scott kauffmann

thanks to brian, alex, mike, mel, and all the players for musical mentoring
marten and val hoekstra, and sam shammas, for generous encouragement
eric reed for musical friendship and support
john henderson, esther baird, and skip matheny for really listening
brooke and como for hospitality and feasting
shifra, evan, and amelia for making me want to be a better man

design and cover photo by jason locy
artist photo by tim cox
website by skip matheny

buy at noisetrade and bandcamp

blue dime

May 12th, 2014 by

new morning, same sweat
bruises along the horizon, no word yet
this is my new mercy
some days drowning, some days only wet

devil comes, he’s asking around
so i throw down my weapons and follow without a sound
this is my new worship
two arms stretched out to you and one foot underground

i need a sign
a blue dime

don’t need a miracle scene
or the everyday—maybe something in between
this is my new power
turning holy wine into gasoline

i have everything to lose
and no one left to fail
i need a bullet through the clouds
so i can step on through and ride your vapor trail

twenty years worth of trouble in ten
but every night you fill this shattered cup again
this is my new prayer
take all this pity and pain and make it beautiful, amen

new year’s day

May 11th, 2014 by

it’s new year’s day
little lonelier than yesterday
little tougher than the movies say
that’s ok
it’s a new square one
and now we’re tilting back toward the sun
but winter cannot be outrun
till it’s done
so it’s gonna get colder

good news grows in the telling
or it fades away
i’m telling this story to you
so we can make a better one someday

ghosts overhead
we were taught to never leave behind our dead
we learned to live between the words misread
and unsaid
but life is made of second acts
no overtures or fade-to-blacks
we put these burdens on each other’s backs
so let’s relax
and help each other lay them down

the only way out of winner takes all
is we all promise never to win
now we both know who we’ve been
two villains two heroes
two absolute zeroes
two fighters two leavers
two untrue believers
too strong to get out
and too tired to stay all the way in

victory is semisweet
so many nights awake in full defeat
too many memories i can’t repeat
and can’t delete
so no more empty threats
we outlived the romeos and juliets
forever making new regrets
but love forgets
and the first two words are the hardest

one word answer

May 10th, 2014 by

here’s a letter to the world that always wrote to me
where good men followed dreams into the book of history
i was so naive that i did not believe
just how bad a good man i could be

cause i need a one word answer
an all day sunrise
a clear blue conscience
a perfect getaway
i’m always on the wrong side of yesterday

i could reach the mountaintop and cue the violin
i could turn a promise into a tailspin
i would hardly mind if i could only find
someplace where a loser still could win

gravity loses

May 9th, 2014 by

when the call comes in the lights go out
we’re back inside this hurricane
tomorrow won’t go down without a fight
tonight is all that’s left out here on memory lane

what would it take for you to believe
i’m on your side, on your side
this runaway train is locked from the inside
i go along whenever you’re the one tragedy chooses
i’ll be holding on
i’ll be standing strong till gravity loses

you pass those nights when sleep won’t come
so you stand up and shoot out the light
feels like Jesus can’t bleed fast enough to keep the pace
and it’s one too many chutes and no more ladders in the night

my war for you

May 8th, 2014 by

my love for you is an act of war
a lights-out struggle on a trap door
you can call me a friend or your enemy
but i will never go quietly

it’s all i have even when it’s not enough
my war for you is an act of love

we’re a work of art, we’re an act of will
we’re a shooting star and a poison pill
you’re the life support, you’re the heart attack
you’re two steps forward and free fall back

i will fight for you
till you turn around
i will win you
i will bring you back
when you run aground

i never lie down with hope to spare
but come tomorrow it’s always there
come tomorrow it’s always there

the speed of light / river of love

May 7th, 2014 by

time and space are relative
einstein said back when he lived

the only thing that doesn’t change
makes everything else rearrange
is the speed of light, it’s the speed of light
your love for me must be the speed of light

the man in the moon said the earth was blue
you don’t have to leave to know that’s true

i had to run before i knew how to crawl
the first step was hard but i’ve had trouble with them all
but now the night grows darker and the day grows dim
and i know i never will see you again
and i almost made you happy

there’s a river of love that runs through all times
but there’s a river of fire that burns with no light
the flame is the pain of dreams gone up in smoke
from the lies we deny and we breathe until we choke
but there’s a river of love that runs through all times

“the speed of light” was written by julie miller and appears on her record “broken things.” 

“river of love” was written by t-bone burnett and appears on his self-titled record.
sam phillips’s version appears on “the turning.” 

lean in

May 6th, 2014 by

well i’ve heard it said we only hurt the ones we love
i guess nobody loves you more than me
but you say instead i’m a snow white dove
made for someplace more than i can see

today i’m as old as my dad when i was born
some days i can’t see doing forty years again
unless i can feel your spirit strong and real
holding up my back against the wind

so i can lean in

i know where it says if i reach up my hand
that you’ll pick me up every time i fall in
but how can i see you coming for me
when every night i’m down in here again

tell me it’s all right, tell me it’s my time
tell me there’s a plan somewhere with my name
i might have seen a lot of darker nights than this
but tonight i’m gonna need a brighter flame

now God i won’t ask you for new promises
or to take away this cup you’re gonna send
just tell me that one again, where the punch line says
you’ll be waiting for me at the end

the good me

April 24th, 2014 by

the good me cover1. come here and get me
2. rock paper scissors
3. second skin
4. white on white on white
5. gas and silver
6. grace bomb
7. someone’s always standing
8. five lines
9. safe boys
10. all the girls in london (have sad eyes)
11. that kind of goodbye


April 16th, 2014 by

released october 2002 
produced by matt goldman and scott kauffmann 

engineered, mixed, and mastered by matt goldman

scott kauffmann:  vocals, acoustic guitar 
kenny hutson:  acoustic guitar, parlor guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel, lap steel, mandolin, dobro 
troy stains:  acoustic guitar, electric guitar 
danny stephens:  organ 
alex peterson:  bass, electric guitar, vocals 
matt goldman:  drums, percussion, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals 
lydia peterson, angie booker, michael johnston, terri evans:  vocals 
mike thompson:  e-bow electric guitar, keyboards 

all songs by scott kauffmann © 2002

design by josé reyes

buy at noisetrade and bandcamp

you in you

April 1st, 2014 by

chanel and cigarettes
a baby aspirin moon
hanging on above
our perfect thought balloon
but we’re not what we were
cause you’re not who you are
this may be your flame
but it’s everybody’s scar

and i know you believe you’ve got nobody else to be
maybe i believe it too
but then in a trick of the light i see
a little bit of you in you
and me in me

you’re the one i love
you’re the warmest snow that ever fell
but when i look at you
i see you buried under a spell
you’re the only one
you’ve never made to cry
ask me if i’ve given up
and i’ll say every night; i do every night

and now we’re surrounded
on the battleground
love will conquer all
losing every round

and i know you believe you’ve got nobody else to be
maybe i believe it’s true
one day when i need no light i will see
every bit of you in you
and me in me

come here and get me

April 12th, 2006 by

i got a floodlight burning inside of my head
i’ll take a candle inside of my hands instead
i want soul leaking out between my teeth
want my feet on the ground and clouds beneath

you said come, i said yes
everything since is just one big mess
i’d sell off diamonds for sand if you let me
so please i’m asking just come here and get me

i’m always out looking for something new
looking past the world’s most beautiful you
now dreams and angels sound good in a song
i want them in our life, back where they belong

why should i ride this flat lifeline
as it rises ten feet a mile
you wouldn’t waste a life like mine
i know it’s not your style

it was easier to give you my soul
than one short day i want to control
i think that’s all i’ve got left to say
wanna get on the road while it’s called today

rock paper scissors

April 11th, 2006 by

well i walk a road of rough stone and foolish pride
on my back my failed glory
i know i have a second chance, but i want a first one
i just want another way to tell our story

thank God life’s not lived by playground rules
and we could will ourselves to love some more
i threw it all away and you came back like a boomerang
you said baby what else are promises for

rock burns a hole through paper dulls the blade of scissors cut the rock in two

everywhere i turn i see a new horizon
and i always think i’m gonna pass the test
cause you’re the only place the sun will rise in
and it always seems like i wake up facing west

so i’m still walking with my foolish pride
it’s still too big to carry alone
if i ever thought i could deserve you
i could not love this rough stone

you put your hand in mine, i reached out for another
and all i touched was you

second skin

April 10th, 2006 by

ten pm, 60 degrees and a 20 knot wind
whitecaps all go quietly in the moonlight
two kids choose between cigarettes and baby food
tonight they get it right

come back let me in
be my second skin

by tonight the tourists are all gone
every time they leave it brings you down
every year you change your prayer a little
make it so you’ll grow to love this town

out on the pier tonight there’s christmas lights
and they sprayed all the bars with snow
you had a chill all day but out in the bay
there on the water something glows

out the door by the dance hall floor and you’re running
just then the band counts out sweet jane
your heart opens like a parachute and you’re turning
we just need a tiny word to love again

is it the holiday
that makes us this way
just how lost we are but there’s something
farther inside us to say

it’s a perfect world we’re in
you’re my second skin

white on white on white

April 9th, 2006 by

when i fell asleep the neighborhood dogs were barking
they’d picked up the trail of the hope that came here to die
and the airplanes circled like fireflies in the twilight sky
now it’s long after midnight and i can’t go near the bedroom
i’ve broken the deal with myself that i would not cry
but just like every night, tonight the flag will fly

and i can’t leave things behind me like you do
so i only have two options left tonight
and i choose pity and surrender over voodoo
and pledge allegiance to my flag of white on white on white

i know what i said about the highest mountain
i know i said i’d swim the deepest sea
thought I’d rescue my coins from the fountain and wish for free
but you always put those poetry promises behind us
you only wanted the person that i could be
you only wanted a glimmer of kindness
and that was too much for me

i have a plan to get you back for sure
stick a needle in my heart and hope it’s breaking yours

gas and silver (for daguerre)

April 8th, 2006 by

an image inside a box
everything a blur
time erases anything that walks
anything but her

experiments in the night
a fading face
summoned by candlelight
he brings to the bedside a black case

“mama i cannot expect that you will understand
that this is not a miracle but a mystery of science
just a little gas and silver, no sleight of hand”
then he stands and throws apart the curtains wide

everyone’s gone home
the ticking clocks
father and son
he pulls an image from a box

“papa i know how cruel it was to lose her by degrees
but it gave me time to find a way to keep her here beside us
it’s only gas and silver and our memories”
and he presses down the truth into an open hand

grace bomb

April 6th, 2006 by

you knew mom when she was still a girl
a grain of sand waiting patiently inside a pearl
mercury to my moon, shining bright
every day it’s kisses, tears and dynamite

you’re the gut punch, pop gun, upper case e
you’re the window back into the good me
you’ve got angels baby singing harmony
little grace bomb aimed at me

mirrors only hang on the wall and show your skin
but you follow me everywhere and show me all the way in
some days i’m a hero, burning red
some days i’m the monster underneath the bed

whatever time in this life we’re apart
you have to know you always had my heart
no doubt you’ll break it time and time again
i’d rather tell you now than tell you then

one snowy night we’ll take a walk downtown
see that baby in a manger with a tiny crown
look into his eyes, does he look like you
he should, he loves you more than we do

someone’s always standing

April 5th, 2006 by

all she can hear is voices in the house
and her mother welcoming a guest
ceiling fan spins, cicadas sing
and two hearts beat inside her chest

all she can see is a graduation gown
and a tiny pink line that left her no doubt
high stakes, long odds
and a very short list of ways out

just a boy and a girl, and a good enough chance
when the music stops, somebody still stands
someone’s always standing

the minister’s wife knocks on her door
she has a famous nose for the scent of sin
a couple of words and an elegant smile
closes the door and comes in

there in her room and face to face
she’s ready to hear about heaven & hell
the minister’s wife can read her mind
she says i have another story to tell

the minister’s wife reaches into the past
and pulls out her secret little A
same sounds, same list
in a bedroom forty years away

all she can see is the snow on the sill
doctors and nurses and the minister’s wife
all she can hear is the machines going still
and the perfect sound of another life

five lines

April 4th, 2006 by

five lines i would not cross
five vows i’d stand behind
in the morning there’s a breath where the day’s not lost
and then i’m looking back at my five lines

i would never take your name in vain
never make her sleep alone again
never spend a whole day wrapped in fear
never follow a thought so far i can’t come back again
and you’d never take your hand away from here

i’m gonna love comfort less than the truth
remember what the truth is anyhow
and always cherish honor love protect and obey
half as proud and twice as brave
and you’ll see me like i really was that way

now lines and vows don’t come at any cost
quick to draw, cheap to make, and easy to leap across
two hands folded above two knees
you’d think i could do it with ease

i know it’s been a long time since i prayed
i can only keep the promises you made