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Two Years

by Emily Rodgers

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1.
No Last Call 07:23
A long trip, not to heaven, not to hell. I close eyes. I close my eyes when you’re watching. I close my eyes when you’re here. And you’re not in love. What you wanted, you already had. And I have seen. And there is no last call. You see right through me. And you were gone, When I gave up the ghost. You were gone, When I gave up the ghost. You were gone When I gave up.
2.
Anyone 04:25
Muddied waters. Forgotten desires. It’s only midnight, when you call out to me. You could have been anyone, and my hands have turned to dust. I will not stop to see you I will not stop to take you on You know I’d like to hold you, but I’d give myself away. I had you in my sights, I welcomed the end of days. And when I went out, I’d do anything at all.
3.
Hurt 05:10
I've been hiding. I've been cutting my way at it, With a dull blade in an empty room. I know where I stop. I know where you begin. But where is my rage? Cuz nobody loves you. And I won't pray for you. But I will beg you And I want it to hurt. Half drunk and not alone. I can't stand my own company. And me, I am on fire. And you cannot hold me.
4.
Two Years 04:54
I'm dressed up like before, Like before I lost it all. I'm caught up in the night before, I've been caught up for years. And we know what only drunkards know. We've gone where only drunkards go. And I've been gone for too long, Two years I've been away. You said it's time to come down, And everything is better when you're around. There may be time for hesitation, Though you know I hate to stop. It's springtime when you're here, Though I know you love the cold and chill of winter.
5.
Right Lie 05:24
I drink 'til I can't See between the lines. You didn't want me. I didn't want you. We forget love is hard, Love is hard to come by. The right lie at last And you wake up not alone I pray for nothing. I pray to no one. When I've gone cold, Take me home. When I've grown cold, Set me on fire.
6.
You say you can't go back there, But you've been nowhere. I will not dance. I will sink very slowly. Did I cross my heart? Did I hope he'd go? I have been waiting for you. If I can't do it right, I'll do nothing at all. When day breaks, I don't know. When day dawns, I don't know. We've heard it all before. We played the wrong hand. We feel nothing. I know who you are. You are broken. And I'm afraid I am who I thought I was. I won't come up for air.
7.
Burn Out 04:43
Bruised and battered from the night before, A night we won't recall. Eyes burning and we don't sleep. We don't dream. Drunken nights turn to drunken days, And I can't see the road ahead. All it ever brought me Was bad dreams and bad company. I believe in love. I believe in nothing at all. It made me think about us.
8.
In the City 04:34
I am America, You are free. I hear your voice in dreams. You are kind and you are cruel. You speak to me. I won't speak to you. A cold, dark gathering of memories, The morning I wake. I was born again In this city You're mining your dreams, Prepared for your last days. Hold steady
9.
You tear it, you watch it heal. I am so close I cannot see. This time you must admit I’m right, I am living it down. You don’t have to make love last. I won’t reach for you now. It’s in the company we keep, This bridge will not hold. You walk when you should be running You tread in a shallow pool, You thought it was the deep ocean. The waves still crash over me, They still crash over me.
10.
Now that you found yourself losing your mind Are you here again? Finding that what you once thought was real Is gone, and changing? Now that you made yourself love me Do you think I can change it in a day? How can I place you above me? Am I lying to you when I say That I believe in you I believe in you. Coming to you at night I see my questions I feel my doubts Wishing that maybe in a year or two We could laugh and let it all out Now that you made yourself love me Do you think I can change it in a day? How can I place you above me? Am I lying to you when I say That I believe in you I believe in you.

about

It’s clear from note one of Emily Rodgers’ new album, Two Years: she’s up to something a little different. Different from her past records, but different especially from so many of her contemporaries. In a world of indie-folk sameness, where epic and bombastic are the rule, Rodgers is deliberate and intense, quiet and bookish. And it's in its very quiet intensity that her music commands a listener’s full attention.

On paper, Rodgers’ music might seem like it would add up to folk or alt-country: A band with guitars, a pedal steel, some fiddles here and there. But on listening, you’re as likely to pick up on an undercurrent of shoegaze, chamber pop, even post-rock on Two Years. The violins oscillate under Rodgers’ melodies, more Dirty Three than country. The pedal steel soars. Rodgers’ voice, beautiful and world-weary, echoes.

On Two Years, her first album since 2009’s Bright Day, Rodgers worked with legendary producer Kramer, who was responsible for the sounds of first-generation shoegaze and slow-core innovators like Galaxie 500 and Low. (Kramer mixed and mastered Bright Day, and returned as producer this time around; he also produced two videos from the new album.) It’s fair to look at the album as a product of Rodgers’ unconventional writing -- she’s an English professor, and looks to literary sources for inspiration -- and Kramer’s sonic genius. Low comes to mind as a reference point; so does Tara Jane O’Neil.

Rodgers’ songs don’t traffic in clichés, and she doesn’t overdo it as a lyricist. While she avoids formula as a crutch, she isn’t afraid to meditate on a phrase, as, for example, she does with the titular line of album opener “No Last Call,” an expansive beauty that sets the mood for the rest of the record.

That Two Years is her first recording in nearly seven betrays the fact that Rodgers isn’t rushing things. Song by song, she avoids the temptation to try to cram too many words into a phrase; there’s a deliberate confidence in her delivery. Rodgers takes her words seriously, and wants you to, too. (And not just her own words -- the album closes with a haunting, otherworldly cover of Neil Young’s “I Believe In You” that turns the original on its head.)

Make no mistake: Emily Rodgers’ songs generally aren’t happy. But in their contemplative melancholy, there’s a thread of fearlessness. Uplift and bombast may be the rage these days, but as Emily Rodgers makes clear, there’s something to be said for courage, contemplation and taking the time to let the words set in. Why create more of the same when something a little different can turn out this beautiful?

credits

released June 1, 2016

Produced by Kramer
Engineered by J Vega at The Wilderness Recording Studio
Mixed & Mastered by Kramer at Noise Miami

Emily Rodgers - Vocals, Electric Guitar
Erik Cirelli - Acoustic and Electric Guitars
Megan Williams - Violin
Allison Kacmar Richards - Bass
Mark Lyons - Drums
Vince Camut - Pedal Steel
Kramer - Keyboards, Samples, Percussion

All songs by Emily Rodgers, New Jerusalem Music (ASCAP), except for:
"I Believe in You", written by Neil Young, published by Broken Arrow
Music Corporation.

Artwork and Layout by Nick Cobler (www.nickcobler.com)
Photography by Emily Rodgers

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Emily Rodgers Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Produced by Kramer (Galaxie 500, Daniel Johnston, Will Oldham), who calls her "a songwriter in the classic sense of the term."

Emily Rodgers's music has been compared to Mazzy Star, Cat Power, and Neil Young.

Rodgers has shared stages with artists including: Magnolia Electric Company, Great Lake Swimmers, and Jolie Holland.
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