Roses on the Vine

by Christine Fellows

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about

Fellows' 7th full-length solo album
vinyl and digital
to order a vinyl copy by mail, contact info@vivatvirtute.com

credits

released November 16, 2018

Produced by Christine Fellows and John K. Samson
Recorded and mixed in Winnipeg by Cam Loeppky and C. Fellows
Additional recording by Christine Bougie, Shotgun Jimmie, Keri Latimer, and Greg Smith
Mastered in Ottawa by Philip Shaw Bova
Lyrics and songs © 2018 by Christine Fellows (SOCAN)
Artwork: C. Fellows
Layout and design: Mike Carroll
Photography: Leif Norman
Label painting by Radler Carroll Biebrich

Christine Bougie: lap steel guitar
C. Fellows: vocals, ukuleles, mandolin, keys and synths, percussion, field recordings
Shotgun Jimmie: electric guitar
Keri Latimer: theremin
Keith McLeod: mandolin on Me and Carmen
Alex McMaster: Dutch Blitz cello arrangement
Ford Pier: Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home string arrangement
John K. Samson: electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, vocals
Greg Smith: electric bass
Jason Tait: drums, percussion, drum machine, electronics
Leanne Zacharias: cello
C. Fellows plays ukuleles by Beardsell Guitars

Financial support from Canada Council for the Arts and Winnipeg Arts Council, and residency support from Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Winnipeg Public Library made this project possible. Shary Boyle and Lesandra Dodson inspired many of these songs. Dutch Blitz was commissioned in 2015 by Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall for Torn from the Pages, a celebration of Miriam Toews. The string arrangement for Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home was originally commissioned by Gryphon Trio. Wavelight was commissioned by Erika MacPherson for her film Heimþrá (In Thrall to Home).

Dutch Blitz cites Miriam Toews’ novel All My Puny Sorrows.
The chorus of Evening Train borrows melody from Benjamin Britten’s Pastoral, and cites Evening Quatrains, by Charles Cotton.
One More for the Road cites Wallace Stevens’ The Poems of Our Climate.
Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home cites Kathleen Raine’s poem of the same name.

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about

Christine Fellows Winnipeg, Manitoba

Christine Fellows finds music in sounds we tend to take for granted: the voices of the people we love, the sounds of the spaces we move through as part of our daily lives. Fellows is based in Winnipeg, Canada, where she collaborates with artists from all disciplines to create and produce performance works and recordings. ... more

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Track Name: Cocoon
Frail cocoon, don’t stir too soon, winter’s nearly over
An interior life is a superior life, the best that you can hope for

Don’t wrestle out, unfurl your wings and flutter out of sight
Those branches lie thick with webs to snare you in midflight

Moonlight, find me,
draw me from the deep

I long to be
released

Leave the porch light on tonight, the moths will surely gather,
confused and frantic, wild and blind, forever ever after

Don’t wrestle out, unfurl your wings and flutter out of sight
The owls will swoop and pluck you straight out of the sky—

Moonlight, guide me,
keep me in your reach,

I live to be
complete

Frail cocoon don’t stir too soon, winter’s nearly over
An interior life is a superior life, the best that you can hope for
Track Name: One More for the Road
The imperfect is our paradise.
Note that, in this bitterness, delight,
Since the imperfect is so hot in us,

Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

—Wallace Stevens, The Poems of Our Climate

Nothing more here
Flowers in a bowl
Snow outside the window
You here, in the hall
Searching for the ceiling

Nothing more here
Clean and snowy air
White flowers
Nothing more
Wheeling out to greet them:
One more for the road? One more for the road?

Still, one could want a little more
Still, one could need a little more.
Still, one could want a little more.
Still, one could need so much more.

Nothing more here
Newly fallen snow
A simple bowl of flowers
Perfectly composed

Flawed words
Stubborn sounds
Searching for the ceiling
One more for the road?
One more?
Track Name: Roses on the Vine
Come on, Gwen. Where’ve you been?
Are you feeling right? You got so thin.
What sets you running when you hear us coming?
You can’t hide from a landslide.

Maryanne, still so young. New Year’s Eve, in ’91.
You held his hand and looked around.
You could take that chain down.
You could take that chain down.

Bleeding heart and clover blooming, roses on the vine.
When it’s raining hard, darkness glooming,
I could change my mind.
I could change my mind.

Come on, Jean. You’ve got to get up.
Let’s comb that hair. You’re looking rough.
The nurse is coming, she’ll bring you something.
You could put your foot down.
You could put your foot down.
You could put your foot down
Track Name: Me and Carmen
my best friend, her name is Carmen,
she likes me more than all those
dirty rotten bastard kids
ever did

me and Carmen, we don’t need ‘em,
together we go arm in arm
wherever we go,
me and Carmen

every morning on the way to school
they torment us and call us names (they’re mean
and rude), but me and Carmen,
we will show them

all night we are as free as owls
flying high above the trees and houses,
hunting mice and squirrels,
together

when we’re twenty-three, me and Carmen,
we’ll live in houses side by each with one big garden,
and no one else,
just me and Carmen

there’ll be no one else, just me and Carmen
and the squirrels and the mice,
and the houses and the garden,
the trees and the other owls,

but no one else,
just me and Carmen
Track Name: Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home
Home, home, all souls home
Dead to the graveyard, living to the lamplight
Old to the fireside, girls from the twilight
Babe to the breast, and heart to its haven
Lost ones home
—Kathleen Raine, Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home

twilight casts its spell
the forest sighs and trembles
children, shadows long,
hurry down the lanes,
swinging through the gates

Home, young ones home!
Home, strayed ones home!

sailors ride dark swells,
drunkards drink their fill
sad girls bathe in lamplight,
glassy-eyed and pale,
no one to regale

Home, all souls home!
Home, lost ones home!

feather and fur reclaim the night,
creep and prowl
scatter in haste at dawn’s first light,
heed the call

Home, night owls home!
Home, small beasts home!
Home, strayed ones home!
Home, young ones home!
All souls home!
Track Name: Evening Train
high-tops, flip flops
three tall girls, school uniforms in blue,
yellow, green, multiplied, strangers
underground

out of focus, out of frame
three tall girls, gum snapping, cut the line,
divided, multiplied, strangers
underground

the day’s grown old, the fainting sun

they hold hands, make plans
map the middle distances and yawn,
divisible by one, strangers
underground

the day’s grown old, the fainting sun
the day’s grown old, the fainting sun
Track Name: Sunrise
If we can’t rely on one another, might as well climb down from the ledge and wait for sunrise, then try again tomorrow. Throw open that window wide. You won’t find us waiting here for sunrise to remind us. If we can’t rescue you, then what do we do? Turn out the light. Bring on the night. Turn up the sky. Turn it up.

If we can’t believe in one another, might as well concede defeat and lock the shutters, wait for sunrise to cauterize our sorrow. Step back from the window. See the outline to your own redaction flanked by sunbeams. If we can’t rescue you, then what do we do? Turn out the light. Bring on the night. Turn up the sky. Turn it up. Let the bird sing.
Track Name: Unleashed
We are caged animals.
We are caged animals,
ears flat, lip curled back,
a blind attack waiting to happen

We are savage nemeses.
We are holy warriors,
red-eyed, throat clutched tight,
a ringside cheer in a dirty fight.

We are brazen animals.

We enrage our enemies
with rousing elegies.
Forthright, head held high,
shining knight in a losing battle.

We are noble meddlers.
We are gory foreigners,
newborn, careworn,
shorthorns in uniform.

We are a fearsome pedigree.

(And now we have a reason to howl, bound together, muzzle to jowl.
Blood is thicker than desire, and the tide is rising.)
Track Name: Passage
If I take the medication. If I lose my hair. If the slightest hesitation takes me anywhere, let it pour. Let it be forgotten.

If you dare to wish me well and I disappear. If your reckless second-guesses drive me out of here, let me pour. Let me be forgotten.

Crawl through the gaps in the curtains. Howl through the night. Sail down the hallway out of sight.

If I offer up my body. If I dare to lose. I can take the shape of anything they want me to.
Track Name: Dutch Blitz
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Untroubling and untroubled where I lie, The grass below; above, the vaulted sky. –John Clare, I Am!

Stamp out the fire, circle the plough. Comb through the ashes. Squint at the clouds. Mother, my daughter, sister and me, in a hurry. We’re seeds from a catalogue tossed in the mail, spilling from rental car, subway, and air. We sprout from the windows, grow through the stairs. We worry.

Let me lie. Open up the door.
Let me lie. Don’t need you no more.
Untroubling, untroubled where I lie.

Shake me awake when I slacken the reins. Sing to me sweetly past cornfields and trains. Trail on together, forever, forever. Circle our wagons. Gather in tight. Follow each other through darkness and night. Lift up our rifles, squeeze in between the hedges.

Let me lie. Open up the door.
Let me lie. Don’t need you no more.
Untroubling, untroubled where I lie.
Track Name: Vanishing Point
The vanishing point is on me. One blinking island—a light
In the darkness there’s a sign, the vanishing line is mine

I cannot reach tomorrow, see your face or breach your sorrow
There, in the corner of the sky, a waving hand takes flight

The vanishing point is on me.

Clear the orchard, clear the rise
A line vanishing, a line vanishing
Clear the airport, clear the sky
A line vanishing, lines vanishing
Clear the table, close the door
Speak your name, step toward—
Track Name: Wavelight
Everyone we leave behind, pennies tossed in fountains, the casual accumulations of our calcified desires. We breach in narrow pools of daylight, hulls shot through with wavelight. Wind sighing, hearts full sail, never dreaming we could fail.

Waterfall, waterfall, who will heed your thunderous call?

This ever-changing rearrangement of prickling devotions, calving off and rising up from the glacial divide. Every crystalline persuasion hangs frozen for a moment, before our noisy clatter breaks the silence and its thrall.

Waterfall, waterfall, who will heed your thunderous call?
Waterfall, waterfall, pouring out into the sea.
Track Name: The Swimmer
In memory of Faron Hall (1964-2014)

The swimmer is gasping for shore,
he has no more to say.

Don’t chase him back under the bridge,
forgive his mistake.

He saved those he could—
if you can, then you should. Carry on.

By the banks of the river we belong.

You are not alone. The world is your home.
Everywhere you go, you’ll always ring clear to me.

This current’s so desperate to feed
on our emptiness,

Shopping carts running aground
in the muddy depths

Stung by the heat of our failure,
sink into place

The swimmer is swimming away.

You are not alone. The world is your home.
Everywhere you go, you’ll always ring clear to me.

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