The Furious Light

by David Ullman

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about

The Furious Light is the incessant, merciless drive to create... to discover... to uncover… to improve... to evolve. To bring something into existence through sheer will and determination.

Ten years into writing, recording and performing as a solo act, I felt lonely, isolated and angry. My music was not connecting with audiences the way I’d hoped. My friends were scattered across the world, and I’d made little time for them amidst the constant melee of my creative pursuits.

I felt frustrated and lost; and, as I tend to do when I feel that way, I picked up my pen and my guitar and started writing a song. Over the course of the next two years, that song turned into ten. Along the way, I ended up recording an album with my brother in Ohio.

I needed to get away from the idea of “making it” and get back to the practice of “making things” of Dreaming Out Loud… To do away with the hubris, the entitlement, the expectation and get back to the purity of creating something because you cannot help but do so.

I started writing music because I needed to. At age 25, I was newly divorced and had reached a real low-point in my life. I needed a mechanism through which to process the upheaval I was experiencing. I was not very amenable to clinical therapy, so… Music became my therapy. Writing and sharing songs was cathartic and turned something terrible into something positive. My music is still that for me, and such is the guiding principle of my work--to turn a negative into a positive.

My aim, very simply was (and is) to be true to myself, make the best music I can make and not get too caught up in how it may or may not be appreciated and/or perceived.

For years I’ve been “too rock for folk” and “too folk for rock.” This album embraces both extremes and blends them in a way I’ve never been able to before. Some will dig it. Some won’t, but this is exactly the record I needed to make--with precisely the people with whom I wanted to make it: my brother Brian (guitars) producing and my friends Brian Yost (drums) and Tara Hanish (cello).

I’m really proud of their work and the record as a whole. We set out to make something which was honest and raw, as well as sonically engaging. It’s the truest, fullest expression of myself I’ve been able to capture so far.

- David Ullman, May 2015

credits

released 11 August 2015

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CREDITS:

David Ullman - Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Brian Ullman - Electric Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals, Keys, Light Percussion
Acoustic Guitar (#2, 3, 4, 9) and Kontakt Programming (#7, 8)
Brian Yost - Drum Kit (and Didgeridoo on #4)
Tara Hanish - Cello
Larry Griffin - Pedal Steel (#5, 9)
Nate Pelfrey - Bass (#3)
Chris Metcalf - Backing Vocals (#2)

Recorded & mixed by Brian Ullman @ Killa B Studios in Rittman, OH
Live Drums recorded by Brian Yost in Northfield, MN
Mastered by Adam Boose at Cauliflower Audio, Lakewood, OH

Art, Design and Photography by Matt Jackson

THANK YOU
Susie #BWE. Yost, Tara, Giff, Nate and especially my brother Brian for kicking ass way beyond the call of duty. Dad & Mom for the musical genes and endless support Chris Metcalf for the extended use of mics, preamps, software updates and more Jackson for the pretty pictures (and 25 years!) Joe Hinz for the Champagne Sparkle Big Bob for the Smithsonian subscription. PAL for the advice and encouragement Herman Melville, Martin Scorsese, William Blake, Neil Gaiman, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Benjamin Percy, George Romero, William Faulkner & Trent Reznor for ideas and inspirations (with all due respect). Steve Brightman, Katy Ross Robbie Smalling, Matt Denholm, Kevin Conaway and Sean Kammer for the feedback. To all above: Your contributions were invaluable

Music and Lyrics © David Ullman, 2012 - 2015 (BMI)

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David Ullman Northfield, Minnesota

"Too rock for folk" and "too folk for rock." Embracing both extremes.

Email: dju@davidullman.net

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Track Name: The Furious Light
I’m standing on the brink
I’m drowning in the drink
I’m here to dance and sing
I’m here to tear down everything

I’m here to heed the call
To leave my writing up on the wall
Lost my pride and I’ve come to fall
At the feet of rock and roll

It’s the voice calling from within
Like claws underneath the skin
Like the pain of a secret sin
Telling me, “You’ve got only your life to give”

So let’s hold a tavern wake
Raise your glass now, for goodness sake
Here’s to the story, always the same
Here’s to the song that we all sing

Here’s to the saints in the midnight choir
To the cowards and the liars
We’re all drawn to the dark beyond the fire

Wanna rebel against everything
But the truth is, I’m afraid.
There’ll be blood, and there’ll be flames
Please, lord, give me the strength

It doesn’t matter what I believe
The hound of heaven is hunting me
I guess I’m The Saint of Blasphemy
And this is my Gethsemane

I‘ll burn down hell to make it happen
Sort the ruins out in song
Beat back the long darkness before it falls

There ain’t no use turning back
So tear the sails down from the mast
Rip the future from the past
Let the first become the last

While every night and every morn
More to misery are born
Every morning and every night
We’re dancing in the furious light
Track Name: French New Year
It’s time to cast the stone
To ring the martyrs’ bell
To take the long way home
Be it to heaven or to hell

It’s time to lift the veil
Time to break the vow
This time we will not fail
This time, we scorch the ground

(Chorus):
We will burn our cars on the French New Year
Set fire to our pasts and all our fears
All we’ve got is blood and time; this all disappears
But I’ll be by your side when the smoke has cleared

This life, it comes at a cost
With enough blame to go around
But we ain’t come to carry the cross
We’ve come to cut it down

(Chorus)

And we will not accept defeat
So let the walls fall down on me
Because as long as I’ve breath to breathe
You’ll hear me singing

(Chorus x2)
Track Name: Deep Dark Secrets
Holding it in
Losing your grip

Don’t want to give in
But you’re starting to slip

Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark…
Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark…
Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark secrets

This is the way that it went
The last consequence

So close to the end
Where to begin

Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark…
Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark…
Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark secrets

Searching the silence for reprieve
Then came the thrashing of limbs and the gnashing of teeth
Feel like I’m stranded in someone else’s fevered… dream

Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark…
Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark…
Done a damn-good job of keeping deep, dark secrets
Track Name: Graveyard
“It takes a graveyard to raise a child,” said the man with a crooked smile.
It takes a graveyard to raise a child. So rest your bones here, and stay a while
(Stay a while)

Dusk fell early in the afternoon
I guess the gloaming gave way too soon
Now in the lonely light of moon
The nightingale sings siren’s tune
(A siren’s tune)

The steely sun is now fast asleep
Now the night can bare its full-moon teeth
We’re breeding monsters in our dreams
Praying to god our souls to keep
(Our souls will keep)

“It takes a graveyard to raise a child,” said the man with a crooked smile.
It takes a graveyard to raise a child. So rest your bones here, and stay a while
(Stay a while)

Tell St. peter for ring his bell
Because there’s no more room in hell
Throw the ghoul-gates open wide
Amongst the bones, all you’ve got is time

No dirty secrets to live down
In the graveyard don’t make a sound
You once were lost, but now you’re found
In a hole six feet underground
(Now you’re found)

Well beyond the walls of fate
Two shadows lengthen across the gray
One to curse, and one to pray
One to leave, and one to stay
(Do you wanna stay?)
Track Name: Close To The Bone
We’ve been best friends since we were kids
Since the days of dirty high tops and blacktop jungle gyms
Tell me, how has it come down to this
Are you somewhere lying low, or do you just not give a shit?

At the funeral I said “anything you need”
I’m sure I’ve let you down more than a time or two in between
Are you still “living in blasphemy?”
In your “linoleum exile,” do you ever think of me?

Do you remember me?

(Chorus):
How long has it been now since you’ve been going it alone?
The staying and the leaving, the living close to the bone
How long have you been watching your rearview mirror for the dawn
Would you be here now, even if you’d never gone?

We used to tell stories and bend the light
You’d say “A man’s past + his present = his place in life”
But you and I, we never did fight
Well, maybe a time or time or two; but, still something don’t feel right.

This don’t feel right.

(Chorus)

Taking your turn on the merry-go-round
You’d say, “In a circle, nothing’s lost, only waiting to be found”
But that was all so long ago now
Maybe all that’s gone before is finally coming around.

It’s coming around…

(Chorus)
Track Name: Enough
When the water is rising
And the wolves are at your door
And you’re through with all the fighting
But you don’t believe no more

When you’ve knocked on all the gates
And you’ve stood in every line
But you cannot bear the weight
And your whole world is on the line

When your well has gone dry
And there’s no faith left in your cup
When the world has passed you by
And you feel like giving up
Just try to look me in the eye, now
Because you know I’ll call your bluff
When you say you’ve had enough

When the sun is hanging low
And this city gets so dark
And there’s nowhere you can go
And no fire coming from your spark

When your heart is caving in
And you fear you might be beat
When all your hard-won hope
Is giving way to defeat
Don’t you dare give in, now
Lay your troubles at my feet
I’ll tell you when you’ve had enough

No title or tide can deny
That four-alarm fire in your eyes
Keep the punches coming; I don’t mind
I’ll decide when I’ve had enough

Have you had enough?
Track Name: How The Story Ends
Pour yourself a drink
As you promise everything
Yeah, you build me up
But leave an empty cup

Everyone is warning me
Telling me what to believe
Still I want so desperately
To hear what you see in me

(Chorus):
You think you know best
But you don’t know the half of it
This is how the story ends

Tell me what did you do?
You lack the follow-through
Why did I believe in you?
I was just a fucking fool?

(Chorus)

Full of all the answers
But do you ever question
Your own place
In this equation

Do you ever wonder
If you might be
Part of the problems
That you misperceive

You let me down
(You could do so much for me, if you just would)

Change your name again
I thought I found a friend
Always so quick to defend
I guess this how the story ends

(Chorus)
Track Name: Lately
Lately I’ve been thinking:
I should really read more books
Be more romantic with my wife and finally teach myself to cook

Latey I’ve been thinking:
I should call my mother more
Pack up the Christmas tree and clean the kitchen floor

Take my dog for walks
Maybe even think before I talk

Lately I’ve been thinking:
I’d like to be seventeen
But do it better this time—hell, I’d settle for twenty-three

Lately I’ve been thinking:
I should really drink less wine
But I don’t really want to, though. I’m sure my liver’s fine

Try to listen more
Maybe fix the window on my driver’s side door

I don’t want to live online
I want to spend more time outside
I’ve seen the eras of my ways
I want to get right someday

Scientists are saying that the holocene is over
But it’s been ages since I’ve seen you
Wish I could just come over
Maybe I shouldn’t have drank so much and wrote you that letter
It’s really how I felt, though, so why don’t I feel better?

You’re still my oldest friend
So long for now
Until we meet again
Track Name: Maytime
The sun’s hanging low in the west
The new moon has shaken off its crest
The masthead stands empty against the sky

I’ve been keeping the world at bay
Just another lonely castaway
Having one more, trying to hold on to the night

I found some friends to get me through
Looking for the lie that best tells the truth
Felt like the world stopped spinning for a time

May time bind us tight

We used to sing by firelight
Where the earth drained up into the sky
Sharing songs and secrets with the night

Now we’re all so far apart
Some through distance, and some at heart
As the past and present collide

May time bind us tight

You see Pumps moved South, and Krams went West
Bauman joined The Church, but Twinkie left
Katie’s a sailor now—both she and Starr got kids
Nick’s up next, but Larry’s split
Chimney’s getting re-married soon
And then there’s me and you

I’m still doing what I’ve always done
Always hanging on for far too long
Trying to fit my whole life into a song

The sky is closing down
As the waters widen between us now
I’m sorry; but I gotta be homeward bound

Some friendships have no end
They go out with the tide and come back again
With no parting words or backward glance

May time bind us tight