make it beautiful

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)

credits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

you in you

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