Grandmother's Tea Leaves

by Emily Bezar

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05:06
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06:22
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04:52
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06:05
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about

Emily Bezar's debut album is a lush, expansive study of musical lyricism and the power of intuition. Drawing on her background in classical singing, electronic music and jazz-tinged piano, she creates songs that might better be described as monodramas and concert arias. This album was Bezar's unrestrained response to years of academic music study and the astringent esthetic of much post-WWII classical composition.

She reveals herself here as a maximalist, unafraid to project wildly avant-garde passages and almost hyper-romantic gestures onto an undercurrent of graceful elegance. Critically acclaimed as a totally unique work, it earned her favorable comparisons to Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson.

credits

released September 1, 1993

Written and Produced by Emily Bezar
all music ©1993, Blue Countess Music, BMI

Emily Bezar: voice, piano, synthesizers and sound design
Michael Ross: guitar samples on Tracks 1 and 9
The Arlekin String Quartet on Track 4:
Eugene Chukhlov: first violin
Dmitri Glovko: second violin
Rem Djemilev: viola
Sergei Riabtchenko: 'cello

Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 Recorded and Mixed by Bob Hodas at Studio D, Sausalito
Track 6, recorded and mixed by Peter Steinbach and Emily Bezar at Earwax Productions, San Francisco
Tracks 1, 9, 10 recorded and mixed by Emily Bezar at CCRMA studios, Stanford University, Palo Alto
Assistant Engineers: David Farrow, Jay Kadis, Jim Watts Vereecke

Mastered by Paul Stubblebine at the Rocket Lab, San Francisco

Photography: Lorene Warwick
Design: E & E Bezar

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about

Emily Bezar Oakland, California

Singer/composer Emily Bezar creates intricate, uncategorizable music, drawing freely from classical, jazz, rock, pop and electronic genres to create an enchanting, dynamic sound world.

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Track Name: Avalanche
Hide yourself away and leave my deeds undone
God has left me here alone to shield you gently from the sun
But for the old man who screams in my nightmares,
I decided long ago my garden couldn’t bleed without you
And the intrusion of years in this lucky place –
they want me but they leave you alone

Nothing becomes you like the ageless ingenue,
but here, in her absence I will dig a fine escape for you
Even the avalanche that tears through your mind
grows colder, still colder, colder with time

Lay those heirlooms down –
they’ve crowded this occasion with time
And the gaslight from antique lamp bellies
can’t mend the evil dissection of mine
Each of these exquisite games I cede to you now
Watch the ballet of souls balancing fear beyond you –
and in your lover’s arms, teach her my lucky charms
I’ll watch you while you’re turning to stone

Nothing becomes you like the ageless ingenue,
but here, in her absence I will dig a fine escape for you
Even the avalanche that tears through your mind
grows colder, still colder, colder with time
Track Name: I Really Don't
Sometimes I find a pattern in rows of empty chairs,
or a likeness of the Virgin on her knees
And underneath the fringes of my halo-colored hair
is a recipe for every known disease
Oh, something I dread follows me ‘round –
I can’t choose my heart or my head
Heaven is for those who believe that God’s hands are bare
I’d love to but I really don’t dare

Now on the wall behind me is a man whose sullen stare
reminds me of the sin in my weak knees
Paralysis refines me, like a jaundiced millionaire
is dazzled by the way her body bleeds
But oh, something we said follows me ‘round –
I can’t hide my heart with my head
Heaven help us stoics who run when there’s nothing there
I’d love to but I really don’t dare

Oh this maze of questions and disguise
traps me in your answers and tempts me to tell lies
So my love, hold me like a child…
wrap your arms around me and the water will stay mild…
Track Name: Grandmother's Tea Leaves
Oh girls – here’s an education for you:
leave your hands there on the plate
while I test your bones
And take all the money that you
saved for those distractions –
you won’t be needing gold
to navigate the place we’ll go…

I’ve found an ending you never will believe
I’ve found an answer
in a stack of cards, a southern star
and in my Grandmother’s tea leaves

Now we could make you captain,
or we could make you slave,
I sense a comfortable reaction
to the promises I’ve made…
Malleable though you may be,
you’re not ready for your grave,
so listen while I contemplate
the time you still can save…

I’ve found an ending you never will believe
I’ve found an answer
in a stack of cards, a southern star
and in my Grandmother’s tea leaves

…and my olfactory nerve is controlling my eyes
and my optical senses are touch in disguise,
and the only thing left is my sense of surprise…

I’ve been accused of excess,
been haunted and morose
But the canvas in my corner
just won’t bear a smaller dose
Some say we are suffering
from a lyrical disease
But when we turn our backs around,
they’re sobbing on their knees

I’ve found an ending you never will believe
I’ve found an answer
in a stack of cards, a southern star
and in my Grandmother’s tea leaves
Track Name: La Place Dauphine
English translation:

At the Place Dauphine there are souls of Kings,
singing the history of winter
And the sound of this ancient rabble
reminds me of a comic opera I once liked

Last summer, I visited Paris and her mysterious laws
One day last summer, I met a foreign friend
I danced alone under English arcs –
I searched far from me for great feeling,
I heard your shapes in the clamor

The black and white of my childhood
follows me now through the streets and along the riverbanks
Here, once, all my defenses suffocated in a kiss
The commerce and the crowd of your face everywhere
silences me like a fever of colors in my heart –
I sense your tears approaching, but

At the Place Dauphine there are souls of Kings,
singing the history of winter
And the sound of this ancient rabble
reminds me of a comic opera I once liked
Track Name: Just Like Orestes
Just like Orestes, with his naked knife suspended
Just like Cassandra, with her tongue too thick to bleed
I unveil you, standing so young beside it –
I will be there waiting for you at the guillotine

I put my hands on your crown, infusions last for days
I saw him before you hit ground, he was sucking you away
Your Orion gazing – he had stars hidden for play

Go where your reason defends you,
don’t pause before the gate
You said you were that lucky kind of lover
you’d never pay for your own grave
But until I wait for you,
who’ll save your cradle from this cage?

…heroes, in moments like these
when you become the man you
didn’t think you could be
watch, while I change,
rearrange my neck bones
who’s falling now?
did you think it was me?

Here, where these unstable lines
converge beneath you, follow mine
Here, where these unstable lines converge,
I keep you darling, all alone in conversation
Here, where the unfriendly crease of time
reminds you to stay near me in our
strange decline…

Just like Orestes, with his naked knife suspended
Just like Cassandra, with her tongue too thick to bleed
I unveil you, standing so young beside it –
I will be there waiting for you at the guillotine
Track Name: I Tear Down
In the aftermath of chance, I found it there
It was soiled with coffee, crumpled lightly,
black X through my hair
And jaded for a moment by your cavalier despair
I tear down

Oh like the lover gently dented in you room,
I’m shivering like an addict, resurfacing too soon
Sedated by the angles and the phases of the moon
I tear down

So, this is how you relocate me
‘One in a Million’ – ‘til luck he brings you down
Scenes, unfolding like a movie,
one that I’ve already seen
passing through town

Oh will you scream and roll me over when I’m dead?
In the raging afternoon, I’ll tumble from your bed
and even though we won’t remember what it was we said
I tear down

So, this is how you relocate me
‘One in a Million’ – ‘til luck he brings you down
Scenes, unfolding like a movie,
one that I’ve already seen
passing through town

Oh and the lines change in your hand
Never thought I’d follow you to this stage of desire
And the keyholes and the keyholes
the keyholes that I never closed the keyholes
the keyholes of my hearing go, my hearing goes

When life becomes art, the imitation’s clear
Oh darling, your interior is getting far too near
So all alone, once again, I pass you to your years,
Tear you down
Track Name: Barricade
Now go to sleep and I’ll stay – with my love in the way
I followed you to this place,
or could it be something less a follow than a chase?
Though I stand beyond this silly girl,
she loves you more than I want to –
she knows the lines on my face

Oh the saddle rises hard on my curving spine –
I get you ready for the ride
And I stand at the edge, on your lookout line –
strange…it looks like mine
Did I stop too long in the enemy trenches?
The other team’s benches were warm,
but I don’t really know how to play

You say, “Run,” like the end may come any day
So I run for hours though the wind may change in my wake
Oh but hurricane or snow, anywhere you go, I’ll stay

Now I leave the light on, though my eyes are in pain
And I stamp your hands, should I let you go,
I’ll leave some stain
I know I can’t belong to you
any more than this barricade belongs to me
But my shadow glides under its steel weight

You say, “Run,” like the end may come any day
So I run for hours though the wind may change in my wake
Oh but hurricane or snow, anywhere you go
Moscow, Idaho, anywhere you go, I’ll stay
Track Name: Rest Me Here
oh love, rest me here love,
rest me near love in your arms
oh love, rest my years love
as they go down
spilling charms

I wake, but the dawn
wants you standing alone
and the wreckage
of this wood mansion
feels like stone

oh love, rest your fears love,
let your candles all dissolve
oh love, rest those riddles
that our prophets
cannot solve

I wake, but the dawn
tempts me blind with her throne
and the wreckage
of this wood mansion
feels like stone
Track Name: Madame's Reverie
walking
at sunrise
in the forest

she discovers
a small house

bell-shaped roof

windows of
colored
glass