Alice Howe

by Alice Howe

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released May 1, 2009

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Alice Howe Boston, Massachusetts

Singer-songwriter Alice Howe is at once timeless and original. Treasured by audiences across New England and the Pacific Northwest, the Boston native joins a soulful, impeccably tuned voice with crafted poetry. Her songwriting is rooted in place and memory, raised on old English ballads and 1970s California folk yet entirely her own. ... more

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Track Name: Change
I see dark clouds gather as the air fills with water
As I stand looking out at the mountains all around
And the trees whisper love songs to the huge grey sky
I feel a change in the weather; feel a change in my life

And I know that times will change
And I know that it can’t stay this way
But I don’t want to wait forever
I want it now, now, now…

We light up upon arrival, lay our backs against the mountain
Dip our hands in the water; turn our faces to the sky
Breathe in green, blow it out, like a warm, gray river
Rest our heads on each other, feel the beating of our hearts

My own, dear love, in this world of changes
Won’t you stay like this for our whole, short lives?
Don’t let nothing change this love, don’t let northing change your heart
Let us find ourselves, but never grow apart

And I know that times will change
And I know that it can’t stay this way
But I don’t want to wait forever
I want it now, now, now…

I drive north all night on a long, straight highway
Just to see the trees around me in a long, sweet dream
Just to wake in the cradle of my childhood, baby
Just to hear a white-throated sparrow on my windowsill

And I try to stand my ground as I look towards the future
And we find ourselves apart again with different lives to lead
But after a summer of love it has been proven to me
That the test of time is one that we will pass

And I know that times will change
And I know that it can’t stay this way
But I don’t want to wait forever
I want it now, now, now…
Track Name: Phoenix
I get off the plane, pick you out in the crowd
With your bright red tee shirt and your blue jeans
And the hot, dry wind lifts my face to the sky
Where the horizon glows with a million lights
And the whole way home, we speak of our mothers
And the family that awaits us on the east coast
It feels that no time has passed between us, my cousin
Just like we knew that it would
But you teach in a trailer
And the Astroturf fields don’t cushion like grass when you fall
And all of the front yards are red dirt and gravel
You wake up at 5:30, you try to stand tall

But here the speed limit is 75
And you can drive with your eyes shut cuz there’s no one in sight
And the cactus fields are silent at night in the desert…
But the school can’t have kids hanging around
Why don’t you pack your things up and get out of town?
If you go home to a family that don’t want you there
That isn’t our problem, stay out of our hair
…Porque hay frutas y drogas para vender
Pero no hay libros para aprender

We drove west for two hours in the bright light of the morning
With MIA blasting on the stereo
And we followed in footsteps that are often so distant
To a concrete city on a hillside
How strange to feel admiration and pity
For these people who have run from the real world
And our eyes search the hills for some sort of message
That we were meant to arrive here
But you told me a story about some poor kid
Who can’t afford glasses so he just sits and stares
He may try to keep up, but you can’t slow down
You’re just tied to the system, it’s not that you don’t care

But here the speed limit is 75
And you can drive with your eyes shut cuz there’s no one in sight
And the cactus fields are silent at night in the desert…
But the school can’t have kids hanging around
Why don’t you pack your things up and get out of town?
If you go home to a family that don’t want you there
That isn’t our problem, stay out of our hair
…Porque hay frutas y drogas para vender
Pero no hay libros para aprender

Y yo he viajado al desierto
Y es un mundo diferente que el mio en el este
Y my primo, estás cambiando
Y yo tengo orgullo de ti, y de que estás haciendo

But here the speed limit is 75
And you can drive with your eyes shut cuz there’s no one in sight
And the cactus fields are silent at night in the desert…
But the school can’t have kids hanging around
Why don’t you pack your things up and get out of town?
If you go home to a family that don’t want you there
That isn’t our problem, stay out of our hair
…Porque hay frutas y drogas para vender
Pero no hay libros para aprender
Track Name: Close For Comfort
I wake up at six in the morning; turn on the light above my bed
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes; shake the cobwebs from my head
And as I stumble to the bathroom I head my mother on the stairs
Hear the snow drip off the rooftop; drag my fingers through my hair

But melancholy songs have characterized me
But it is time break that habit, it’s time to reveal
All the details of my mundane day, the things that make me want to say
That life is not so full of sorrow as all these folk songs say

So I tie my shoes on the third try
And I press my contacts to my eyes
And I walk out in the morning
With something of a smile

Let’s get personal
Let’s embarrass ourselves
Let’s get personal
Let’s lay it all out
Let your guard down, take off that frown
Open up to me, tell me your story

I bike home at three o’clock with my coat tied ‘round my waist
With my right pant leg rolled up and a scarf around my face
It ain’t spring quite yet outside, but I’m addicted to the ride
And I don’t mind that it’s so cold, cuz I’ll hot on the way home

Let’s get personal
Let’s embarrass ourselves
Let’s get personal
Let’s lay it all out
Let your guard down, take off that frown
Open up to me, tell me your story

I sit with my legs crossed for hours at the desk on the third floor
With a pen in my knuckles and a bolt across the door
And as I look out at the garden I see the crows scatter in the sky
Feel the words waking up on my tongue again
See a song in my mind’s eye

But I can’t get it down, god damn
I won’t stop until I can
Can’t let it stay inside my head
Better be on paper instead

So I write these words on the third try
Feel so relieved that I could cry
As I lean back and close my book
With something of a smile

Let’s get personal
Let’s embarrass ourselves
Let’s get personal
Let’s lay it all out
Let your guard down, take off that frown
Open up to me, tell me your story
Track Name: My Own Again
I do not wish to undermine
All the love I have received
But I have written songs for others
And now it’s time to write for me
And I have made a habit of
Using music to praise the ones I love
But there comes a time when I must find
How I have changed who I will be

And I cannot say that it’s been easy
Being left behind this way
But I have tried to hold my side
And be satisfied by what you say
And it may be a painful blessing
That I have had this time to see
That all I want is right before me
And only joy I do foresee

Gone are the days when I would ask for love songs
I will write them to myself now
I will adore my own reflection
I will cradle my own head
I will be my own again…

If there is one thing I will leave
To all the women I will know
It is to never pour yourself completely
Into someone else’s cup
Do not forget where you have sprung from
And who you were before you knew
That what they said about this feeling
Was never anything but true

Gone are the days when I would ask for love songs
I will write them to myself now
I will adore my own reflection
I will cradle my own head
I will be my own again…

This is no tale of bitterness
Nor is it one of my revenge
For at this time I have no motive
To be anything but sweet to you
I have simply rediscovered
The joys of my own company
And I may not be young forever
But at this time I feel so free

Gone are the days when I would ask for love songs
I will write them to myself now
I will adore my own reflection
I will cradle my own head
I will be my own again…

Let is be like this
Let my eyes be opened as I grow
Let you remain as perfect as you appear to me
Let my retain myself alongside this
Track Name: Fathers and Mothers
Where were the first eyes that blinked in the darkness
And smiled at the ancient stars
Who spoke the first name, kindled the first flame
Healed the first battle scars
Who climbed to the top of a mountain that we drive across now
and swore that she could see the whole world
And we will plant seeds
But we will not be amazed anymore
That a whole life could be contained in such a small thing
And we will plant seeds
And we will watch at the window
And the ageless sight will make us cry but we will not know why anymore

And oh,
I have looked at the world through a waterfall
And I have been chilled to the bone by these same waters
And oh, I
I have felt these smooth stones
And I have felt all the ages of this world in my bones
And oh, all my trials will be over before too long
And oh, all my fears will fade into the sun

No one promised us at our births
That it would be easy to survive in this world
And as we grow older, and we feel the weight on our shoulders grow
We have learned to lean on one another
And now we can barely remember the days when our responsibilities passed to others
And we could go to bed at 8 o’clock at night
But we all have fathers
Who one way or another have taught us to be strong
And we all have fathers
Who by their own accord or by the will of god
May not be with us for long

And oh,
I have looked at the world through a waterfall
And I have been chilled to the bone by these same waters
And oh, I
I have felt these smooth stones
And I have felt all the ages of this world in my bones
And oh, all my trials will be over before too long
And oh, all my fears will fade into the sun

When did I first learn that tulips grow from bulbs
That we plant two inches underground
When did I first see that the seeds of the chestnut tree
Are sharp on the outside and gleaming underneath
And that the grapes that grow on the backyard fence
Are mine for the taking and mine to boil down into jelly with my mother’s help
And we all have mothers
Who imagined our arrivals
Before we knew that there was a place to arrive
And we all have mothers
Who have no choice but to watch us grow
And who know that they must stand aside

And oh,
I have looked at the world through a waterfall
And I have been chilled to the bone by these same waters
And oh, I
I have felt these smooth stones
And I have felt all the ages of this world in my bones
And oh, all my trials will be over before too long
And oh, all my fears will fade into the sun

What was here before a foundation of stone
Was built to last a lifetime or more
When did we forget the worth of the unbroken earth
In the name of a road that takes us ever further west
And now we can barely remember the days when the horizon
Did not display the ambitions of humankind
But we will build things
And they will be reclaimed by the earth
When we leave them unattended
And we will build things
But we cannot guarantee that our monuments
Will be preserved in history

And oh,
I have looked at the world through a waterfall
And I have been chilled to the bone by these same waters
And oh, I
I have felt these smooth stones
And I have felt all the ages of this world in my bones
And oh, all my trials will be over before too long
And oh, all my fears will fade into the sun
Track Name: The Realization
I don’t doubt that you love me
That you think of me every day
That when you see my face, you see your eyes in mine
You hear your voice in my throat when I sing
But it’s strange to wonder if my love is enough to make you change
And it’s strange to realize that we are flawed human beings

And you can fly all around the world
And you can live out every fantasy that you’ve ever dreamed of
But you can’t forget that the pillow where you lay your head
Is in our hands and on our legs
That hold you up when you can’t stand yourself
But I’ve never known a habit quite like yours
And sometimes I don’t know how to talk to you anymore

There was a summer that I spent in a sea of green
When I nearly lived in the forest and bathed in every stream
And I filled a book with those stories
That I swore to god were real
Where the cattails came to life and the frogs would speak
But it was strange to find that the clearing was empty in the moonlight
And it was strange to realize that where I expected a hundred eyes, it was dark

And you can fly all around the world
And you can live out every fantasy that you’ve ever dreamed of
But you can’t forget that the pillow where you lay your head
Is in our hands and on our legs
That hold you up when you can’t stand yourself
But I’ve never known a habit quite like yours
And sometimes I don’t know how to talk to you anymore

And I know that illusions cannot last until I grow
And I know that we will all pick the fruits of what we sow
But where does that leave me?
What should I see in my heroes who have failed me?
Is it a curse that I have that my love for them outweighs my pain?

And I know that you are a dreamer
But that your mind is deep and strong
And that you see the world in sap green and vermillion and burnt sienna and scarlet lake
But it’s strange to have to ask you to just talk to me, and hear me
And it’s strange to be afraid that this won’t change for me

And you can fly all around the world
And you can live out every fantasy that you’ve ever dreamed of
But you can’t forget that the pillow where you lay your head
Is in our hands and on our legs
That hold you up when you can’t stand yourself
But I’ve never known a habit quite like yours
And sometimes I don’t know how to talk to you anymore