Honest

by Ordinary Elephant

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about

“Keep kind all that rises from your chest to your tongue. Don’t ever let your words undo the work you’ve done,” sings Crystal Damore on “Worth the Weight,” a song that beats at the heart of Ordinary Elephant's potent new album, Honest. In the song, it's a two-line enjoinder from an adult to a kid. In life, though, it's a mission statement for ourselves as much as for others. And the work that Crystal, along with her husband Pete, has done on Honest is both filled with kindness and worthy of praise. With her on acoustic guitar/lead vocals and him on clawhammer banjo/harmony vocals, Honest is worth so much more than its weight, and Ordinary Elephant makes every kind word count as it rises from their chests to their tongues.

credits

released May 3, 2019

Crystal Hariu-Damore - Vocals, Guitar
Pete Damore - Vocals, Banjo, Octave Mandolin

Will Kimbrough - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandola, Organ
Michael Rinne - Bass
Neilson Hubbard - Piano, Percussion

Produced by Neilson Hubbard
Engineered & Mixed by Dylan Alldredge at Skinny Elephant Recording
Mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master Studios

©2019 Ordinary Elephant. All rights reserved.
All songs written by Ordinary Elephant (©2019 Bean Sown Music/ASCAP) except Jenny & James Written by Ordinary Elephant (©2019 Bean Sown Music/ASCAP) and Wes Collins (©2019 Whoompleytunes/ASCAP).

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Ordinary Elephant

International Folk Music Awards 2017 Artist of the Year Ordinary Elephant captivates audiences with their emotionally powerful and vulnerable songs, letting the listener know that they are not alone in this world. "Two become one, in song...hand-in-glove harmonies surprise the listener with focused intensity and musical mastery," says Mary Gauthier. ... more

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Track Name: I Come From
Eggshell white
Paint in your hair
Dirt beneath your nails
Years on the back of your hands

Some things can wash clean
And some, will stick around

Blades of St. Augustine
Scattered across the driveway
It still feels like Sunday
When I hear a cajun band

Every chamber of my heart,
bears the mark
Of what I come from
Sometimes our world falls apart
But I guess that’s what it takes
To find the part that cannot break

Wooden table on a concrete slab
The fish were red and the crabs were blue
Every five gallon bucket
Carries a piece of you

Some things can wash clean
And some, will stick around

Spilt beer and a deck of cards
An old bed sheet for a tablecloth
Some of those days are lost
But most I still come across

Every chamber of my heart, bears the mark
Of what I come from
Sometimes our world falls apart
But I guess that’s what it takes
To find the part that cannot break

I come from hard work
I come from never giving up I come from you
I built cities from sidewalk chalk
Sailed the world in a cardboard boat
I hope I always dream that big
I put the whole damn kitchen
In every pot of cold mud soup
I hope I always put everything I got
Into what I do

Some things can wash clean
And some, will stick around

Every chamber of my heart, bears the mark
Of what I come from
Sometimes our world falls apart
But I guess that’s what it takes
To find the part that cannot break
We cannot break
Track Name: Scars We Keep
Excuses are easy
When everything’s on the line
These Montana magpies
With their black and their white

Feathers sitting
Side by side
Bring an unknown offering
Of something we should try

Was he a monster or a martyr
It depends on who you ask
But once it’s done
You can’t take it back

How can I keep my mind open
If my eyes are closed
It’s hard to hide the hate
When there is no love to show

How can I nail a man up
For the color of his skin
Knock him down, make him pay
For my father’s sin

I am starting to see
We are all the color of the scars we keep

“I’ll show you when you’re older”
My father always said
But he never did
Get old enough for that

Every sunday afternoon
Denim shirt, cowboy hat
Out in the sun
Throwing shadows and an axe

There’s a tool for every job
And a job for every man
Be careful
What you put in your hands

How can I keep my mind open
If my eyes are closed
It’s hard to hide the hate
When there is no love to show

How can I nail a man up
For the color of his skin
Knock him down, make him pay
For my father’s sin

I am starting to see
We are all the color of the scars we keep

These times are hard
And it’s harder to heal
When where you were born
Decides what you fear

It’s time to be a brother
Not my father’s son
I was born to be a bigot
But that don’t mean that I am one

I put my boots on just the same
And when the day is done
I pray
For you, my son

How can I keep my mind open
If my eyes are closed
It’s hard to hide the hate
When there is no love to show

How can I nail a man up
For the color of his skin
Knock him down, make him pay
For my father’s sin

I am starting to see
We are all the color of the scars we keep
Track Name: The War
I don’t smell your bourbon today
Just car exhaust and a drizzle on the dirt
Waiting on the city bus
At Constitution and 21st

A kid sits down with his face to his phone
If you were here I can just hear what you’d say
“Try being 19 in ‘69 boy”
Spitting Sunny Brook right in his face

You shot ‘em down in ‘73
The war was all but over
Took a month to make it home
And 6 more before you could hold her
Somewhere on these city streets
You lost your will and your composure
The war is anything but over

You’d take me once a week to walk that wall
That does not bear your name
Relive the war, relive the return
To the girl who never took your name

As far as I can tell
That was the only thing she didn’t take
The girl and the war always left me
Not knowing what to say

You shot ‘em down in ‘73
The war was all but over
Took a month to make it home
And 6 more before you could hold her
Somewhere on these city streets
You lost your will and your composure
The war is anything but over

Haven’t seen you around in a spell
I hear you’re drying out, and raising hell
A friend locked you in at the Stardust
Poor man’s rehab is a cheap motel

Sometimes an outsider knows what you need
Better than anyone you’ve ever tried to be
No one picks a fight they think they would lose
But some battles you don’t get to choose

You shot ‘em down in ‘73
The war was all but over
Took a month to make it home
And 6 more before you could hold her
Somewhere on these city streets
You lost your will and your composure
The war is anything but over
Track Name: Shadow
There’s a pizza crust in the parking lot
And a black bird with a new batch of friends
The engine’s off, my seatbelt’s still on
Gathering up the energy to go in

There’s a shopping cart, in the 4 o’clock sun
Telling the light where to land
Fingers back and forth between the steering wheel and the seat
I wish that cart could talk to my hands

I know where to go, I don’t know how
I am just a shadow trying to get off the ground

Grocery store greeter, bright yellow vest so you can see her
Waiting to be hospitable
I do my best to reciprocate and fake a frugal smile
I’m not sure who’s more uncomfortable

The produce is impossible, can’t make decisions on a good day
What am I supposed to do now
All these artificial people, in this artificial light
Hell I don’t feel like myself anyhow

I know where to go, I don’t know how
I am just a shadow trying to get off the ground

I see myself, in the freezer door glass
I see myself in what’s behind it
Suspended on a shelf, waiting to expire
Or be brought back to life

There’s a tap on my shoulder, a concerned voice in my ear
“Is there something I can help you find?”
I guess I look confused, or a little bit lost
Or maybe it’s just how I look in this light

I know where to go, I don’t know how
I am just a shadow trying to get off the ground
Track Name: Jenny & James
Jenny was a good woman
James was a gentleman
They pushed hard against the pushback
They loved liked porcelain

It was a work of art
That got stronger under fire
Got judged for being what it was
It was worth the fight

Don’t forget what you come from
Don’t forget what you come from

Jenny showed up at sixteen
James was born right down the street
To a name that told him
Who he should be

There were things you didn’t do
And people you didn’t talk to
But Jenny and James
They didn’t care who knew

Don’t forget what you come from
Don’t forget what you come from

Jenny kept a diary
James just kept it in
Everybody’s got their own way
Of dealing with where they’ve been

They left before you got here
But she left her words to read
And I’ll give you her name to remind you
Of who you can be

Don’t forget what you come from
Don’t forget what you come from
Track Name: Harriet
In the days when horses rode
And man made the wind
The north became our leader
When the west turned its back on the sun again
We moved like whittled water
Sped by narrowed stone
In the days when horses rode

Our feet squeezed their barrel chests
Their feet barreled through the dirt
No line between man and beast
And we were one with the earth
Down narrow mountain passes
You’d never make it through alone
In the days when horses rode

Oh my sweet Harriet
She turned like a rhyme
That you hear and can’t forget
Faster than your last drink goes dry
Fast enough to save your life

Unbroken spirits carried home
Broken men & broken bones
Hooves and heroes gathered
In the middle of the main road
Breaking the news we’d known for weeks
To women and children with tear-stained cheeks
In the days when horses rode

Oh my sweet Harriet
She turned like a rhyme
That you hear and can’t forget
Faster than your last drink goes dry
Fast enough to save your life

Me and my mare went back to work
Tending the farm and the pasture
Till she walked alone past the boundary line
I knew not to follow after
There were things that were hard to believe
And things that you had to
In the days when horses rode

Oh my sweet Harriet
She turned like a rhyme
That you hear and can’t forget
Faster than your last drink goes dry
Fast enough to save your life
Track Name: I'm Alright
I’m alright
My bones have served their time
I’m alright
It’s you who’s on my mind

Kettle whistle has the harmony
You’re singing the melody
“Keeps you ever gentle on my mind”

You pour the water, pull it together
I know it’s getting harder
To see me where I am

I’m alright
My bones have served their time
I’m alright
It’s you who’s on my mind

Clock ticking on the kitchen wall
Faucet dripping like a wake up call
To every second falling away

You talk us down, turn up the music
But I worry about you getting used to it
The radio can only go so loud

I’m alright
My bones have served their time
I’m alright
It’s you who’s on my mind

Doorbell ringing, third time today
I hear you whisper “it’s OK
She could use some company”

I see both your faces face the truth
Of who you love becoming who you lose
I think you could use some company too

I’m alright
My bones have served their time
I’m alright
It’s you who’s on my mind
Track Name: Worth the Weight
The window and the wood frame your frame
Thinking things only a kid can
You’re six years old, but someday
You’ll be standing where I am
More of a man
More you won’t understand

You will wonder if it’s worth the weight
The worry that wears you down
Half your life spent figuring out
How to make the other half count
And you can count, on asking yourself
If what you’re doing is enough
If you’re anything like me
When you grow up

Scattered puzzle on the table
Big picture starting to take shape
Every piece has a place to fall
But you’ve got mistakes to make
You’re green enough to bend
Pure enough to break

You will wonder if it’s worth the weight
The worry that wears you down
Half your life spent figuring out
How to make the other half count
And you can count, on asking yourself
If what you’re doing is enough
If you’re anything like me
When you grow up

You will question the fight
And how it is won
You will fight the question
Of whether it can be done
But keep kind all that rises
From your chest to your tongue
Don’t ever let your words
Undo the work you’ve done

Sunlight through the kitchen window
Your shadow stands up taller than you
I’m 36 years old, but someday
I will stand up taller too
If all the talk I talk
Is something I can live up to

I still wonder if it’s worth the weight
The worry that wears me down
I’m still figuring out
How to make it all count
And I can count, on asking myself
If what I’m doing is too much
To let you be who you want to be
When you grow up
Track Name: Rust Right Through
There’s an old yellow house sitting on my dash
In a picture I took, sunlight for a flash
The whole family out front
‘Cause that’s what you do

Sitting on concrete steps I grew up climbing
I take ‘em two at a time now
But I still reach for the rail
‘Cause that’s what you do

There’s a comfort in keeping and keeping to a path
Doing what I know and knowing what I have
The safety of a rail gives my hands something to do
But one day this rail is gonna rust right through
One day it’s gonna rust right through

There are places to go and milestones to meet
Each one that I reach says something about me
It’s what they want to hear
‘Cause that’s what I do

I’ve kept my head down, kept my mouth shut
Anything to keep me from screwing up
Holding on to their version of me
‘Cause that’s what I do

There’s a comfort in keeping and keeping to a path
Doing what I know and knowing what I have
The safety of a rail gives my hands something to do
But one day this rail is gonna rust right through
One day it’s gonna rust right through

Middle of this highway, same old drive
In what might be, the middle of my life
I’m where I am supposed to be
That’s what they say

When I doubt that what I have to say could ever count for much
Giving in to what I really need feels like giving up
But I’m done giving up on myself
Holding on to what they say

There’s a comfort in keeping and keeping to a path
Doing what I know and knowing what I have
The safety of a rail gives my hands something to do
But one day this rail is gonna rust right through
One day it’s gonna rust right through
Track Name: If I Am Being Honest
You said “Is someone gonna come to my school?
Will I have to hide underneath my desk?”
You shouldn’t have this kind of weight
To get off your tiny chest

I don’t have all the answers
Even though you’ve come to think I do
And if I am being honest
I just don’t want to lie to you

TV screen is screaming
In colored pictures telling a story in black and white
You say “Why would they do that to him?
He isn’t even putting up a fight.”

I don’t have all the answers
Even though you’ve come to think I do
And if I am being honest
I just don’t want to lie to you

Do I hide you from the headlines
Do I hide you from our past
Do I show you often enough
That you have every right to ask

You’re all tucked in, and I’m reaching for the light
You say “I don’t want to sleep by myself
What if you can’t hear me and I need you to save me?”
I look at you and wonder who will save us from ourselves

I don’t have all the answers
Even though you’ve come to think I do
And if I am being honest
I just don’t want to lie to you
Track Name: Hope to Be That Happy
Alarm clock on her bedside table
Bright red numbers bigger than your head
She couldn’t see ‘em otherwise
She said she might never go to bed

She’s got her teeth tucked in a tumbler
Bright white smile floating in the night
She couldn’t flash that grin otherwise
But you’d still see it in her eyes

I hope to be that happy
I hope to be that happy
When the E on the eye chart gets blurry
And I turn in my keys
When there is more behind
Than in front of me

She once was a dancing girl
New York City chorus line
Then she went on down to Texas
He told her that’s where the stars really shine

Black and white wedding day picture
Hung proudly in a frame of gold
She doesn’t cry when she speaks of him
She makes you laugh telling stories that he told

I hope to be that happy
I hope to be that happy
When the E on the eye chart gets blurry
And I turn in my keys
When there is more behind
Than in front of me

Here I am in New York City
I told her I should make my way down
She said “I’ll take you out dancing
Out at the old Horseshoe Lounge”

At the end of our Sunday night phone call
She said “Thank you for talking to me
There are no telephones in heaven
But I heard there might be TV”

I hope to be that happy
I hope to be that happy
To leave behind every place I’ve been
For all the places I can be
When there is more behind
Than in front of me

I hope I will know
All that matters
Is right in front of me