The Ledges


The Ledges - CD
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The Ledges - CD
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Track Listing

1. Wouldn’t Be the First Time

2. Cold Air

3. I Don’t Know Why

4. Go Forth & Multiply

5. Miles

6. 15 Acres

7. You Don’t Know Me

8. Where’s My Baby

9. One More Time

10. I Wanna See Something New

11. Take Your Burden to the Lord


About The Ledges

This is the sound of fortunate confluence.

A new school master of old time music, Rayna Gellert, partners with Americana godfather Kieran Kane.

They gather in an upstate New York bunkhouse, with fiddles, banjos, guitars, Kieran’s famed octave mandolin, five microphones, and vague directives, and they emerge with songs that edify and fascinate.

The certainty of decades melds with discovery’s first blush, in a whirl of tune, tone, touch, and timing. All of this happens along the banks of the Great Sacandaga Lake, in an area known as “the Ledges,” where rocks meet deep water.

And it’s all a marvel of rhythm, melody and harmony, at once unsuspected and ordained, containing a level of assured simplicity that can only be attained by those capable of roaring complexity.

Anyway, this thing is at once gorgeous and funky, easy and pulsating, luminous and flannel.

As we said, fortunate confluence.

Rayna Gellert is a child of Elkhart, Indiana, a town known for building saxophones and producing Country Music Hall of Fame vocalist Connie Smith. Steeped in traditional music from birth and inspired by father Dan Gellert, she emerged as a folk music force, recording with Robyn Hitchcock, Tyler Ramsey, Sara Watkins, Abigail Washburn, Scott Miller, Loudon Wainwright III and many more, and making waves as a member of string band Uncle Earl.

Kieran Kane grew up just north of the Bronx, fascinated by Bo Diddley and bluegrass. He moved to Nashville in the late 1970s and found favor as a songwriter. Then, he and Jamie O’Hara formed the O’Kanes, a “one of these things is not like the other” duo that somehow scored six Top 10 country singles with harmony-heavy, deeply rooted music that would today be disallowed from coming within 500 feet of a terrestrial country radio antenna.

After the O’Kanes’ brief but satisfying chart run, Kane became an unlikely independent record company boss man, running Dead Reckoning Records and releasing acclaimed solo albums and brilliant works by Kevin Welch, Tammy Rogers, Mike Henderson, The Fairfield Four, David Olney, and others. Dead Reckoning provided an alternative to the contemporary country music of the late 1990s and early new century, and it provided a blueprint for what would become the Americana music movement.

Kane and Gellert met at the 2015 edition of Warren Hellman’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

“I watched his set and thought, ‘Who is that person, and why aren’t we playing together,’” Gellert says. “To hear someone so great yet so restrained, that’s so rare. It blew my mind.”

She sent him a song called “Perry,” and the two soon worked together to produce her Workin’s Too Hard album.

“Immediately, I could tell that we were feeling the groove in exactly the same place,” Kane says.

In the cautious early summer of 2017, the two set off for Kane’s Sacandaga cabin, with less than a handful of songs and hopes of writing a handful more. Those hopes were realized along the Ledges, and Kane and Gellert recorded the realizations together in real time, with nothing between them but microphone stands stacked upon cinder blocks.

The result is a reinvigoration of Dead Reckoning Records, and a resplendent, acoustic, avant-garde variant that could be called alt.Americana. It isn’t like anything else you’ll hear this year, yet it is reminiscent of so much that we treasure in American roots music.

It is the embodiment of soulful musicality.

It is the very definition of harmony.

It is the sound of fortunate confluence, and it’s pretty to hear.

- Peter Cooper, Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum


Produced by Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert

Mixed & mastered by Charles Yingling

Cover illustration: John Henley

Design: Jonah Gellert

Special thanks to Bartlett Audio for their microphones and technical support


Lyrics

All songs written by Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert (SESAC/Little Duck Music & ASCAP/Willow Garden Music)

Except "Take Your Burden to the Lord" (PD, from Washington Phillips)

 

1. Wouldn’t Be the First Time

river is risin' from all of this rain

thinkin' about higher ground

pack up a few things be on my way

wouldn't be the first time

 

grey skies pourin' like the end of days

water’s up to the door

if all i've built washes away

wouldn't be the first time

wouldn't be the first time

wouldn't be the first time

if all i've built washes away

wouldn't be the first time

 

in the span of our breath in the pulse of our blood

plans we hope will not fail

pray for rain might be given a flood

wouldn't be the first time

 

i've seen this before i know how it ends

won't last forever i know

when the sun comes out i'll start over again

wouldn't be the first time

wouldn't be the first time

wouldn't be the first time

when the sun comes out i'll start over again

wouldn't be the first time


 

2. Cold Air

cold air

underneath the front door

cold air

slippin' through the cracks

cold air

scratchin' at the window

ain’t no holdin' it back

i’ve been waiting so long

waiting till you're alone

closer to you closer

i'll be with you soon

(chorus)

i see you there you'll see

you can’t hide from me

hear me listen i breathe

i know you know i'm here

(chorus)

closer to you closer

i'll be with you soon
 

3. I Don’t Know Why

i don't know why i get to hold you

but i do

I don't know why i get to miss you

but i do

i never could’ve seen it comin'

i still can't believe it's true

i don't know why i get to love you

but i do

 

don't you believe everything that you hear

don't you believe everything that you know

i don't know why i get to love you

but i do

 

i get to see you in the morning

when you rise

and any day i get to see you

i'm all right

i never could’ve seen it comin'

i still can't believe it's true

i don't know why i get to love you

but i do

 

an impossibility no one would guess

who would believe it's as simple as this

i don't know why i get to hold you

but i do

i don't know why i get to miss you

but i do

i never could’ve seen it comin'

i still can't believe it's true

i don't know why i get to love you

but I do


 

4. Go Forth & Multiply

i see

i see

see the creatures that swim

see the ones on dry land

see the birds on the wind

see that it is good

go forth and multiply

go forth and multiply

go forth and multiply

go forth and multiply

 

i see

i see

see the fruit on the vine

see the wheat in the fields

see the rain coming down

see that it is good

(chorus)

 

i see

i see

see the ones who believe

see the ones who deny

the ones that cannot decide

see that it is good

(chorus)

 

i see

i see

see the captive and free

see the cruel and the kind

see the troubled in mind

see that it is good

see that it is good

(chorus)

 

5. Miles

miles and miles and miles without you here

i wend my way and spend my days alone

til you come back

til you come back

 

the minutes drift away in mindless chores

the floor to sweep the coffee’s on the stove

til you come back

til you come back

 

i don’t know why the roses haven’t bloomed

trimmed and watered waiting all through june

til you come back

til you come back

 

a blur of days is all that i can see

morning slides to night and starts again

til you come back

til you come back


 

6. 15 Acres

you always smiled when i'd talk about

15 acres i can't live without

just a couple miles west of town

a little place where we could settle down

 

i came to you with an open heart

i saw nothing keeping us apart

all laid out so clear in my own mind

no better way for us to spend our time

i never thought you would turn me down

 

i remember how you held my hand

when we went out to walk that piece of land

up on a hill beside a stand of trees

that's where i knew the house was meant to be

i never thought you would turn me down

 

i never heard the words you had to say

never felt it when you pulled away

never thinking bout what you might need

took for granted you'd be here with me

i never thought you would turn me down

 

7. You Don’t Know Me

say you don’t like it seein’ me with another man

how you gonna change it if you don’t do the best you can

lyin’ such a long time don’t say you’re sorry now

you don’t know

you don’t know me

 

what you been doin’ well it takes a lot of nerve

treatin’ me like a woman who don’t know what she deserves

you work for your money and you reap what you sow

how you gonna get me back honey don’t you know

you don’t know

you don’t know me

 

8. Where’s My Baby

where's my baby when i need her

where's my baby now

where's my baby when i need her

where's my baby now

lit out a-walkin’

everybody’s talkin’

where’s my baby now

 

well she went to church last sunday

dressed up in her sunday shoes

didn't come back till monday

oh lord what did she do

 

left to see her mama

lives just down the road

when i stopped by for supper

mama said she never showed

(chorus)

 

stepped out tuesday evening

to see those city lights

sure must love those shiny things

they keep her out all night

 

afternoon on thursday

she met lucille for tea

after breakfast friday

she still ain't come home to me

(chorus)

 

come next sunday morning

i know just what i'll do

keep my baby by my side

and hide those sunday shoes

(chorus)

 

9. One More Time

one more time before i go

let me feel all that i can feel

one more time before i go

 

the longer i sit here

the longer i wait

the harder it is for me to choose

by the time that i make up my mind

it might be too late

(chorus)

 

given all i had to give

i took all i could take

wandering these rooms like a ghost

i see all i have to lose

all I must forsake

(chorus)


 

10. I Wanna See Something New

why did you tell me you love me

why did you lie

love’s not a toy not a plaything

keep in inside

everybody’s seen everything i’ve seen i wanna see something new

everybody’s seen everything i’ve seen i wanna see something new

 

all of the days we were happy

just you and me

took everything that i gave you

what did you need

everybody’s seen everything i’ve seen i wanna see something new

everybody’s seen everything i’ve seen i wanna see something new

 

i want what i want when i want it

and i want as much as i can get

and if i can’t get what i want when i want it

give me something that i haven’t tried yet

 

i should’ve know when i met you

i saw the signs

no man alive who could please you

i was so blind

everybody’s seen everything i’ve seen i wanna see something new

everybody’s seen everything i’ve seen i wanna see something new


 

11. Take Your Burden To the Lord

if this world from you withhold

all its silver and its gold

and you have to get along with meagre fare

just remember in god’s word

how he fed those little birds

take your burden to the lord and leave it there

 

leave it there oh leave it there

take your burden to the lord and leave it there

if you’ll trust him and never doubt

he will surely bring you out

take your burden to the lord and leave it there

 

if your body suffers pain

and your health you can’t regain

and your soul is almost sinking in despair

jesus knows the pain you feel

he can save and he can heal

take your burden to the lord and leave it there

(chorus)

 

if your enemies assail

and your heart begins to fail

don’t you forget that god in heaven will answer prayer

he will make a way for you

he will guide you safely through

take your burden to the lord and leave it there

(chorus)