Heartifacts : Boatmen Waiting on the Wind
BOATMEN WAITING ON THE WIND This album could be the songs that boatmen hum to themselves while waiting for the wind to pick up. Or it could be the daydreams fishwives have while listening for the end of summer. Along with a distinguished array of guest stars, it seems to be populated with an intriguing cast of characters some of whom you may feel like you've met before in the Greyhound station across the street from the mental health unit; a barbarian named Floyd whose repressive doctrines seem to draw out more than they repress, an ancient ghost, a depressed musician, an acordion playing marionette, one guy who believes that if the music stops the angels will die. Some are borrowed from older literature or religions. Quasimodo makes a cameo in the tune 'Sarah de la Mer'. Don't look for Sarah in the Catholic book of saints. She belongs to the Gipsies. 'Your Cruelest Blow' is an ironic lament that references a couple of Coleridge's most famous poems and features the majestic string ensemble work of Jim Singleton and Nancy Buchan. It's a very long album and it's worth making it to the end if only to hear Buchan's soulful fiddle marching off into the distance on the enigmatic Dylan Thomas influenced piece, 'The Gilt of the Christmas Lilly' but there are many fascinating stops along the way including forays into exotic jazz styles, salsa, reggae and psychedelic zydeco. From the seascapes in the opening number to the glass world of 'The Gilt' you'll feel like you've been on a strange, beautiful journey. - Frances Tabor Scroll down to read the imaginative lyrics Tabor alluded to. HEARTIFACTS OFFBEAT MAGAZINE: '...one of the freshest and most essential voices in instrumental music today. - Michael Dominici BEATLICKS (Memphis): 'The lyric of 'Honeysuckle' sounds like it was written over a long weekend by Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. The verses have that driving polysyllabic roll of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick period but with Simon's gentler delivery.' - Dennis Formento RELIX MAGAZINE: 'one of the best, and most refreshing 'unknown' bands I've heard in a long, long time.' - Mick Skidmore ATERNATIVES (Gulf Coast): 'Easley belongs to the Orphic line of musical artists who report to society in music from the subterranean and sub-rational lode of the unconscious whose music is intuitive, ecstatic and oracular.' - Judy Beck GAMBIT MAGAZINE (New Orleans) : '...One of the most intriguing figures to emerge on the New Orleans Music scene in recent memory... Easley's quivering, John Coltrane meets-Buddy-Emmons licks also have earned him guest slots on recent CDs from Mem Shannon, Brian Blade and Coco Robicheaux...His band, Heartifacts,...takes it's cue from mid '70's Grateful Dead.' - Scott Jordan DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE: '...new, effective voice...' (referring to Easley in their review of Brian Blade Fellowship's eponymous release.) THE NEW YORK TIMES: '...one of the crucial elements that give his (Brian Blade's) records a swelling texture and a warm, major-key Americana: the pedal steel guitarist Dave Easley...' - Ben Ratliff 'A very necessary development, that's what you've happened on. I am delighted to be acquainted with you and your style.' - Dave Chamberlain - D.J. WRFG, Atlanta AWARDS AND ACCOLADES: Â¨OffBeat Magazine 1997 Best of the Beat Award: Dave Easley was Best 'Other Instrumentalist'. (2nd place went to Pete Fountain). Dave has also been nominated each year since. Â¨New Orleans Magazine named Dave Easley a 'New Orleans Jazz All Star' in 2003. Â¨OffBeat Magazine 1997 Best of the Beat Award: 3 Now 3 was named Best New Progressive Jazz Band. Â¨Gambit 1997 Big Easy Awards: 3 Now 3 was named Best Emerging Artist. Â¨MP3: #1 Song Sarah De La Mer (Psychedelic) during June 1999. Â¨MP3: # 5 Song Magic Ball (Reggae) during June 1999. Beatlicks: (Memphis based literary journal) Heartifacts:::: The first time I saw this band they rolled through a repertoire that included John Coltrane, the Grateful Dead & a sizeable portion of the very extensive real estate in-between. Leader, Dave Easley, is an unassuming prodigy. His endless vocabulary of rock, blues, psychedelic, and jazz licks make him one of the most familiar players on the New Orleans music scene, where he is a runnin' partner of Coco Robicheaux. He's also a member of bassist James Singleton's creative jazz powerhouse, 3Now 4. Easley is gifted with one of the great inexhaustible musical imaginations in this city. During one 3Now4 set at the Dragon's Den, he took two long solos with a brief excursion by tenor saxist, Tim Green, sandwiched between... what amazed me was not the length of Dave's improvisations, but that he seemed never to repeat a single phrase. The music just kept tumbling out of that pedal steel like snowflakes, no two riffs ever the same, produced as effortlessly as breathing. THE ICICLE MAN is the Heartifacts' second disk. A brief list of worthy tunes: 'Not Giving Up:' the vocal is more chanted than sung, kind of like a Grateful Dead hymn, with Hawaiian effects on the guitar. 'The Eerie Road' starts like a Hendrix-inspired blues march, and Dave's steel takes on the quality of an acid six-string. The lyric of 'Honeysuckle' sounds like it was written over a long weekend by Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. The verses have that driving, polysyllabic roll of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick period but with Simon's gentler delivery. 'Ollie' skanks or maybe skinks along with the great Michael Skinkus on the bongos. The title track features another sensitive and articulate local percussionist, Andrew McLean, on tablas. - Dennis Formento Informal Comentary by Some Prominent Figures in the New Orleans Music Scene: It's astonishing, really. Beautiful. I can't believe I didn't hear your band sooner.' - Christina Diettinger 'Is the 'Icicle Man' Dave Easley?' - Coco Robicheaux and John Magnie (Independently and unbeknownst to each other.) '...many tremendous gifts to give the listener...stories that leave one thinking...very involved stories and poems, intertwined with serious musical content, yet all the songs are very accessible. Another gift is that I've listened to this record three times in it's entirety, and I found some other tidbit I missed on the last listen... This is a CD I'll listen to again and again.' -Tim Green (saxophonist) HEARTIFACTS & GUEST STARS P.O. Box 850702 New Orleans LA 70185-0702 Heartifacts is a band based in New Orleans, Louisiana fronted by writer, guitarist, singer and pedal steel player Dave Easley. The Heartifacts core band consists of Ethan Leaming (The Great Mr. E.) on guitar and vocals, Dave Easley (Mellow D.)(Together they comprise the Mr. E.-Mellow D. Guitar Section [Mystery Melody]); Thomas McDonald (from Anders Osborne, B-Goes, and Peabody) on bass and vocals; Karl Budo (from New World Funk Ensemble) on drums. Other occasional members and recording guest stars include Theresa Andersonn on vocals, Cori Walters on Drums, Michael Skinkas (from Michael Ray & the Cosmic Krewe, New World Funk Ensemble, Dreamland, and Smilin' Myron) on hand percussion; and Elisabeth Gill (B-Goes) on background vocals and auxiliary percussion. Maria Griener, and Irene Sage on background vocals, Thomas Tymphony on bass, Jim Singleton (3 Now 4) on acoustic bass and Nancy Buchan (Coco Robicheaux) on fiddle. Partial Dave Discography: Heartifacts-Boatmen Waiting on the Wind (Independent), The Icicle Man (Soon to released on Sound of New Orleans Records) Brian Blade Felloship - Brian Blade Fellowship (Blue Note Records, Produced by Dan Lanois), Perceptual (with Joni Mitchell on vocals, also Blue Note Capitol) Coco Robicheaux - Louisiana Medicine Man (Blues Album of the Year 1999, OffBeat Magazine, Orleans Records), Hoodoo Party (Also Orleans Records) Royal Fingerbowl - Happy Birthday, Sabo! (TVT Records) Mem Shannon - Spend Some Time With Me (Shanachie Records) 3 Now 4 - 3 Now 4, Book of Spells (both Independent) Denise Mangiardi - River of My Own (Crow Hill) Irene Sage - Irene Sage (Independent) Paul Christian - Pan (Cannon Music) Frankie Nola - Frankie Nola (Independent) Lauren Pickford - Sutrees on the River (w/Rosie Carter Cash) Monk Boudreaux/Anders Osborne - (Shanachie Records) Shannon McNally Run For Cover (Independent) More Press Relix Magazine (cont.): There's not much I can tell you about The Heartifacts-Witch Doctors of the Soul except that they are one of the best, and most refreshing 'unknown' bands I've heard in a long, long time. This five-piece hails from New Orleans. Their sound is not overtly commercial, but it's got musical integrity, vitality and melody. Strong jazz tones add to the band's fluid and inventive improvisations. There's plenty of substance to the songs which run the gamut of styles from folk-rock and jazz through psychedelia and funk. The band is led by pedal steel guitarist, Dave Easley, who manages to make the pedal steel guitar sound like anything but a country instrument. A well recorded 90-minute demo tape features some excellent original tunes by Easley as well as some innovative modern jazz workouts such as 'Favorite Things' and 'A Visit to the Zoo.' According to Easley, Deadheads love the band's music, and it is easy to see why, as it has that free-flowing air of spontaneity. In fact, in the segue of 'The Water Came Up High/Gypsy Mother' there's a slight spacey psychedelic phase before slipping into neo-African rhythms and back to jazz-rock-come-psychedelia. - Mick Skidmore Alternatives: ...Easley belongs to the Orphic line of musical artists who report to society in music from the subterranean and sub-rational lode of the unconscious whose music is intuitive, ecstatic and oracular...Easley writes intuitively, from Surrealist-style cues: dreams, alpha-state visions, automatic drawing. His experiences and readings steep in the unconscious to soak up their language and meaning...Easley's non-linear approach yields consistently potent, telling lyrics: 'The water came up high but didn't knock the lions from the sea wall. Deep into the night angry dogs gave their call For tender charges behind the gates, Or ancient times still resplendent in their skulls.' ...Shuttling into the unconscious also enables wordplay, free association and Lewis Carroll inversions. From the Native American viewpoint, 'the West was lost if the West was won.'... ...Reggae, rock, salsa, blues, folk, Middle Eastern, country and more weave their way into The Heartifacts' modern jazz/psychedelic core - not for novelty, but for their intrinsic, if sometimes oblique, pertinence to the material. The setting for each poem seems to choose itself in an intuitive process that Easley 'can't explain.' Again, this non-conscious process has a multi-leveled effect... poignant in it's beauty, truth and mystery ... When genres are served straight, folklorically, they're often coupled with decidedly non-traditional, even paradoxical, material... ...What makes The Heartifacts 'witch doctors of the soul'? From below consciousness, The Heartifacts bring unarguable visions that bond us; from before history, the pre-patriarchal imprint of social harmony; from around the world, regional and sub-cultural rhythms and sounds. Their medicine music shrieks, whispers, laments, caresses, warns, celebrates and reveals. And makes you feel good. - Judy Beck Angel Food - Dave Fumitaka Easley Go in this truck to the apple lands Where warm sun hung like tinsel on your laden limbs And forget love's piracy like shifting sands Forget the waves that threw them reeling on the shore. Then throw the core into a bottomless lake That reflects a cloud-sail sky forever And think whenever it rains the drops are falling from my eyes. Ring, like waves, the island, the lake, and the rippling, crying sea, Carrying it's tears inside your heavy chest, Time packed layers on your briny sand In the ceaseless rhythm of the twilight strands Prepare the food of angels and be careful to tomorrow's wind Spin words like houses brawny against the Litigating natures of those scurrying ferrets dressed in human skins, With their corsair ambitions and seraphim grins Who say you'll die the day before your sorrows are done. As swans grow restless near the season's end, My fear is you'll fly away the day before your life begins And miss the angel food as it's first chords begin to spin From some celtic harp or mountain mandolin That stills the dark hued country where the witching water swells In torrents swift as lion's paws through valleys steep as citadels, Trills through all the timberlands and sings into the valleys Or in the canyons of the city Echoes in the alleys. Fishwives listening for the end of summer, Boatmen waiting on the wind Hear the angel food as it's first chords begin to spin From some celtic harp or mountain mandolin That stills the dark hued country where the witching water swells In torrents swift as lion's paws through valleys steep as citadels, Trills through all the timberlands and sings into the valleys Or in the canyons of the city Echoes in the alleys. Sara De La Mer - Dave Fumitaka Easley The crowing of the cock woke the ghost of Saint Sara When the face of the clock was just a blur in slumbered eyes Caught in the thread of a sleep yet unraveled from the cloak of night as dark as black Saint Sara was wise. Woah, Sara "What to you Saint Sara is the purpose of shame?" "Oh, I never feel ashamed on purpose and it's only a name put by followers of God and Freud on sycophantic games." I want to take my complaint to the gypsy saint But she has no fax or answering machine. There's a room full of candles where the faithful gather But a gaje like you boy, she's never seen. Wonder at the weight of the centuries when they stir The memories of Sara de la Mer or the instincts of the birds. Oblivious to the world like Quasimodo in a spell The god of love was swinging on a liberty bell. While Eros clanged convincingly the garden overgrew. The cock could see no place to roost but the colors they were true. Ohhh, Sara, "What to you, Saint Sara, is the rhythm of the world?" "Oh, the drum might have an answer if you played it right But the earth will shed it's owners like the day will shed the night." Floyd the Barbarian - Dave Fumitaka Easley I was passing notes from the underground to anyone that cared. Floyd the Barbarian censored me and I knew that he was scared. He said I could make a dirty living stealing people's dreams And even dreams of animals whose naps are full of people on leash In swank obedience schools. He said, "Your life spins out like a piano roll. Your every breath is tattooed to your soul." I said, "I'd like to interpret the score a bit, Make a break where I see fit, Find a cave that the waves have formed Where ancient man ate from the ocean swarm To let my fossilized memories swim back where they were born." Floyd said, "Sorry, you'll have to wait till you're old and you retire To ruminate like an ungulate and rest when you desire. Learn to love this mad ferris wheel, there's no way to disembark From so many tons of welded steel just spinning in the dark." Floyd the Barbarian left my strength in clippings on the floor Where the jawbone of some ungulate was hanging over the door Which I was half afraid to open to see what might come in, Some fossil eating fossil ever lonely for it's skin. Lover's Pantomime - Dave Fumitaka Easley This sore fisted beauty was going nowhere in the lover's pantomime But to pound the walls in fury at the passing time. Around her hollow desert cheeks were wrapped the silences of the hunters and the hunted Who don't speak so they might live another hour. But, they might not. Can you decide if I'm qualified To dance in your lover's pantomime? I cried, "I'm qualified to let you feel me inside." I said, "Welcome to my abode." She said, "So that's what it is. I would have died guessing." I said, "Well, you get what you pay for." She said, "I hope you didn't start a recession." She removed her crucifix and it sparkled in the evening's dying light. I whispered sweet suggestions in her ear and she whispered back that she might But she might not. Can you decide... Don't Go Lejos - Dave Fumitaka Easley The band they went on break and the last to leave the stage Was a stone dead ringer for a blank page. They said, "Now don't go lejos." He was already too far gone. If you couldn't believe his lines, you'd never believe his song. Now the silence was too empty, so the crowd began to holler, But it was still not quite enough, like a Canadian half-dollar. There was nothing left to gamble, you could see it in his face, His face as scarred and pitted as a Mexican highway. His tank was so full of empty, he always had to keep on moving on. â€-Cause whatever there is now it could soon be gone. Somehow he half died halfway in the middle of what was still going on, Left a half a glass of beer and an unfinished song. Then he got so much into the Lord, you could only talk to him ship-to-shore. But his heart was still as reamed out As a Juarez whore. Since I was in a position to see things as they were I just closed my eyes, cause it was all a blur. He said, "life's a blurry vision that begins with the morning dew. If hate can make you rich love can make you just as blue as the sea, Like the one that's drowning me." Your Cruelest Blow - Dave Fumitaka Easley Hit me with your cruelest blow. Hit me with another. Make me write a dejected ode. Man was born to suffer. For us the bard was weather-wise. Sir Patrick's storm poured from my eyes. But you're too old to tyrannize And I'm too young to be so wise. If hurt was silver and pain was gold And loneliness love's bastard, You made me mine the mother lode And now I'm only in your laughter. Your love haunts me like an albatross. It grew upon me like cool green moss. It grew inside me like a thundercloud. It rests upon me like a black shroud. Hit me with your cruelest blow. Hit me with another. Make me write a dejected ode. Man was born to suffer. If She Were I - Dave Fumitaka Easley She said she thinks she's not the only one Who was ever infected by the sins of Siam. She had a feeling that in some scene of recovery I'd walk back to her house like someone who knows the road from long before, Walk back to the story of the ancient mind. Arrested then by the eternal silence And gentle plurality of wildflowers, Could I then just gather all the songs in place That were sung by the wind in it's nascence of equality, And all the fantasies that echo like a stone church All in a bottle? I sank for dreams when the stars would come out And all the dream long the night was deep enough for a sky of pearls. She doesn't tell a living soul, But lovers invade her apartment then and stay until the nights are thin of stars. If you were I and I were he, we'd stay until the season's end. And the children say that summer's like a train. It barrels off till you hear it roar again. His golden rod came up with a tawny breath of hay And sat there like a summer day. And she was calling him the satin andro-man. His sky was smoking like a cigarette. If she were I and I were you, and caterpillars flew... Ah, but fear stands back to wait another day. I would have you know that growing pains just grow away. And the children say that summer's like a train. It barrels off till you hear it roar again. Don't Assume - Dave Fumitaka Easley An accordion rippled through the air like droplets of the sun. A black haired girl with eyes like Father Time began to run. A man with a pipe dream in his head said to his son, "I was told the war was over but I still can hear the drums." In a car parked in the road I saw three smokers in a trance. They were waiting by the hour to see if the dead can dance. A voice spat out of a cottonmouth as I pulled around, "Don't assume that you're not dead just â€-cause you're not under the ground." A man stood by beside the tomb oblivious to the rain, By the set of his jaw as he shook his cane, And the pain in his throat as he shouted out a curse I knew he felt I'd be better off dead so I started feeling worse. I asked him if his anger came from deep within. He said it came up from a place that I've always been But I never had the guts to let the sound of it out. He said, "Don't assume that you're not dead just â€-cause you're walking about." An arrow pointing down a cul-de-sac said Yankee Stadium. As I repaired my radiator with a stick of chewing gum I wondered if the sign commission knew of it's gross error And I grieved that Jimmy Hoffa never had a pallbearer. Well, I was afraid to die so I got some pictures of my brain. They said I didn't have a tumor and I wasn't insane. Now my doctor bill's so high that I've been forced to give up eatin'. Oh, don't assume that you're not dead just â€-cause your heart is still beatin'. Strings and strings of marigolds were found around my tomb Placed there by those who knew me since I came out of the womb. And I have irises that flower every spring but not for long. Don't assume that you're not dead just â€-cause you hear me sing this song. Five psychotic marionettes were carved out from the tree That grew up on the spot where they buried me. Four dance tangled rhythms at the ends of tangled wires And one will play accordion till the day that he expires. Magic Ball - Dave Fumitaka Easley So many big kids playing with the big magic ball So few that hear the magic call Or see the future in store for all As we bounce a little further down the big magic hall. There's peril in the poisoned wind as we end this plastic death century And faith is the last hope calling through the distant fog at the dance of misery Where we etch the fateful letters in the plastic tomb Of the seventh generation dead in it's womb Squander the last of the distant wilds As hunger settles in on a desert child. Hunger ever lingers in forgotten hordes Like the desert flies on their vapid eyes. Vapid are the lords of plenty who sit on their boards Toy with fortunes as the planet dies. Perhaps some may remember when Daniel met the beasts in the lion's den. Now denial meets the tidal wave of human need as the forests meet the chainsaw of human greed. On and on, the big ball crawls. And no one seems to hear the cry. For bags of money the forests fall. For miles of plastic we poison the sky. And the rich buy cars and swimming pools and houses everywhere So they've more places to hide from the thunder and the tide when the chest inside is bare. Sound the drums of war against the hunger of the poor and the hunger of the rich who ever hunger for more. Bloody Gold - Dave Fumitaka Easley "No, no," she whispers and cries, "Don't hear the blood dripping lies Of what a man must be While the women are just to watch and see As if you're on a TV screen Where the injury is simply seen and never felt, Where villains die and witches melt, And men put notches in their belts." "No, no," she whispers to me, "There's far less salt in the Sargasso Sea Than unshed tears that never rain On the rugged face that shows no pain and thus no love." "Rise above," I hear her say, "Don't waste even a day or an hour or a second On the stage where matters are reckoned By impressive display, Or worse. Kneel and nurse the wounds decaying and old And don't fill your hungry soul's purse With bloody gold." Olduvai - Dave Fumitaka Easley I began to make a wild lush tea. I watched her silver glisten. I didn't know her full surname And called her just to listen. Her companion was a gleaming ghost Who said, 'I should have told you back at Olduvai Not to turn in the wrong direction.' Max the organ player held her hand And they ran off to Mexico Where the silent seers called out to them, 'Come see where a better light shall have been, Wear this hat of a Mexican dragon Whose bones were found a long time ago. I see it still fits you and all your problems That were never buried yet never show.' The gleaming ghost turned then to me and said, 'Things I should have told you a long time ago.' 'You were down by the river at Olduvai Gorge with your tools and opposing thumb. I should have told you way back then All the troubles that would come. I remember you at the Pantheon With your Aolean harp to strum. I should have told you way back then All the troubles that would come. You were by the green Ionian sea Waiting for the ships of Agamemnon. I should have told you way back then All the troubles that would come.' The Gilt of the Christmas Lily - Dave Fumitaka Easley She was thinking of a tide pulling in a glass world And time was winking in her forgotten ear. The seer of the evening was a pale, thin goat With a monocle of Belfast lightning. And the talking windlass of the deerhound land Was the gilt of the Christmas lily. There in the snow-bearded corner of elation Sat a wind-blown elkherd with a smile of rain. I saw with the still face of a glass-eyed slayer that the season was passing from the land. In the wind gate silence of the eastern moon Show me the woman who sewed to her womb The eyes of the Christmas baby. If I were the winter I'd drown this sad sleep in a forest of moaning of the Christmas sheep Till by and by a new song would distill From the cloud of the dead that the Fog still keeps in a shroud. Though never very loud.