TO LOVE TO LEAVE TO LIVE

by Her Crooked Heart

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about

With To Love To Leave To Live, Minneapolis-based Her Crooked Heart presents a debut record unique in form, made up of cyclical narratives and intertwining histories, each informing the next. The result is a transformative song cycle, led by a charismatic personality, wholly indifferent to expectations of genre and instrumentation. Rachel Ries, the writer, multi-instrumentalist and producer behind Her Crooked Heart, demonstrates immense vulnerability and multifaceted musical craftsmanship to deliver a personal and profound musical soliloquy on love, leaving and the life that follows after burning it all down.

In 2013, after two and a half years of marriage, Ries found herself touring a record around the world, accompanied by a stack of divorce papers in a pocket of her suitcase. She had left her marriage and a good man in New York City and leapt into the untethered unknown. What transpired was in turns euphoria and despondence; old lessons learned in new ways. The songs on To Love To Leave To Live are a compassionate and at times wry catalogue of those tumultuous years.

credits

released May 31, 2019

Production by Shane Leonard & Rachel Ries
Recorded by Brian Joseph at Pinehollow and hive.
(Thank you Evan Middlesworth!)
Mixed by Brian at hive.
Mastered by Zach Hanson and Brian Joseph.
Additional recording by Shane at The Bungaleau and Rachel in her Petite Palais.
Letters string arrangement by Rob Moose; Pleasant Valley Reservoir strings arranged by Rob and Shane Leonard.
All strings performed and recorded by Rob Moose.
Woodwinds on Young Love arranged, performed and recorded by Alec Spiegelman.
Photography by Sheri Manson
Styling by Andrew Medlin with assistance from Rachael Price
Hair and makeup by Robin Watson Hamilton
Special thanks to Tofu the pigeon and her keeper Maddy Joyce, as well as Mookie the turtle and her keeper, Kim Rose.

Rachel Ries: vocals, guitars, piano, rhodes
Shane Leonard: drums, percussion, guitars, organ, vocals
Pat Keen: upright, electric bass
Rob Moose: strings
Mike Lewis: saxophone
John deHaven: trumpet, flugelhorn
Ben Lester: pedal steel
Alec Spiegelman: bass clarinet, alto flute
David & Sarah Ries: For a Song sibling harmonies

All songs written by Rachel Kay Ries © 2017 (Crooked Heart Songs SESAC) except tracks 6 and 8 written by Rachel and Shane Leonard (Gourdon Publishing ASCAP)

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Her Crooked Heart Minneapolis, Minnesota

HER CROOKED HEART is the new name; the new music of RACHEL RIES – multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer, hired gun, singer. Her Crooked Heart’s first release, To Gentlemen, hits the ground spinning May 5, complete with Rachel’s own limited edition artwork and featuring members of Bon Iver & Field Report. ... more

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Track Name: Letters
I’ve got this letter for you
I was writing it somewhere on the road
lonesome below some motel sign
in a bed I made of memories and wine

I’ve got his letter from you
I carry it still in a pocket of my coat
the edges that show are worn soft with time
and your words, they still echo in kind

I think we’re doing just fine
distance is only a state of mind
when I feel you close it’s truer than most
of the flesh and blood men I’ve gotten to hold

sure I’m the loneliest one
and on paper my options are narrowing to none
but I know what I like
and I like to know I can run
so you and me, stationary, is enough

I’ll send this letter to you
it’ll find you in England and it’ll know what to do
it’ll show you I’m here if not near at hand
and knowing you I know you’ll understand
Track Name: Courthouse
i was lost in the courthouse
trying not to cry
you were right there beside me
thick on my mind
what am i doing?
what have i done?
i put one foot in front
and i carry on

when i woke up this evening
i didn’t have a thought ––

–– i was a babe in a field
(an idea that we dropped)
then it all came back
flooded up my bones
i was washed out to sea
i’ve given up my home

what am i doing?
what have i done?
what have i become?
won’t somebody help me?
somebody please ––
i am on my knees

if i’m a sinner
then i was a saint
but really i’m just a lady
taking back her name
if you’ll forgive me
maybe i’ll forgive me too
but until then i’m gonna see this through

so i’ll tell you what i’m doing
i’ll tell you what i’ve done
i have finally become
nobody can help me
climb on out of here
so i’ll be living where i’m fallen

heaven help us all
Track Name: Enough
I’ve been foolish
thinking you’d change into the man I want,
the man I know I could love again
and let back in
and keep you at my beck and call
you to my side and then
I’d hurt you because I know you

but what do I know?
I know too much.
so what do I say
when I always say too much?
and what I dream?
I dream that one day my darling
you’ll find me and not find me too much

you’ve been foolish
thinking you could keep me as your lady in waiting
stage right in sightline
just biding time until the show is over
and you’re lonelier than you have ever known

but what do you know?
you know enough.
so what do you say?
are you finally gonna say enough?
and what do you dream?
you dream that one day your darling
will find you and you’ll find you’re enough

so maybe I don’t want your company
it’s beginning to feel more like sympathy
maybe I don’t want your company
I’m beginning to know what is better for me

so what do I know?
I know enough
to know what to say and finally say, “Enough.”
and what do I dream?
I dream that one day my darling
I’ll find you and we’ll know we’re enough.
Track Name: Pleasant Valley Reservoir
if i drive down this road
i'll get to pleasant valley reservoir
it sounds a lush, rested place
but in truth it's a sewage plant
a roiling pit of shit of man
maybe it's time i turn back?
maybe it's time i turn back.

when i kissed you goodbye
it took everything not to cry
knowing full well it could be the last time
but neither of us like a lady
who won't hold her body proud
and one of us really likes clean goodbyes
and one of us only likes clearcut goodbyes

so i'll go down to the city
i'll make all my social calls
a divorcé smiling for the camera
poised and proud

if you don't know by now
if you want me around
then you will never
no you will never
so you’ve gotta tell me now
if i’m gonna lose you now
or may i never
may i never

but if i keep driving down this road
out past pleasant valley reservoir
maybe i'll find that lush, rested place
and i will lay my body down
on the green green grass
am i lost it's where i choose to be?
am i lost if i'm where i choose to be?
Track Name: Young Love is Like Nothing
when the sun
of the summer burns your neck
and the freckles
rise and fall in formation
i glean information from your flesh

one ear pressed
against your hot chest
as i hear your words
rattle the cage in your breast
and i feel your breath pass your lips

young love is like nothing
young love is like nothing
young love is like nothing

we should rise
before the tide takes hold
if we make it close to maidstone
we’ve nearly made it home
but we’ve so so so very far to go

young love is like nothing
young love is like nothing
young love is like nothing

with my dreaming edge sharp
and your hopeful heart smarting my eyes
we know that the world will open her arms
if i squint just right
in the fading light
i can see who you’ll be in another 20
so i open wide
and i find i’m fine
with all the rushing of time

young love is like nothing
young love is like nothing
young love is like nothing

when we get in
we’ll make some tea
for you – all sweet
just milk for me
and we’ll drink it down
let’s drink this all down down down
like it’s nothing
Track Name: Windswept
the wind died down, it’s time to rest
pull o’er to the shoulder, get out; windswept
gaze upon the strange terrain
take a breath
let it out
again
again
again

if you look backward you’re likely to trip
but if you look forward you’re gonna forget
so what do you do? What do you do with all you get?
is it enough? It’s enough
to let it go again and again

find out what you’re doing here
before the lights go out on another year
you know what you’re doing here
and all the spinning wheels
are just a panacea
i know you can hear you
only you can heal you

(let it all go and come back to you)

the wind died down, it’s time to rest
pull o’er to the shoulder, get out; windswept
gaze upon the strange terrain
take a breath
let it out
again again again
Track Name: I Fell in Love
I fell in love with the thought that I could change
Given time, given all my aging
They came along and I thought we had it made
But in time I alone remained

So I fell in love with the darkness from the deep
The longest hours with no relief
How could I, how i could I even know to breathe
Oh my god, I need to find some peace

Then I fell in love with a lady bathed in song
By her side nothing is wrong
From the dark comes the light and I am satisfied
That in this life the song will carry on
Track Name: Are You Good You Are
you’ve got my heart
right where i wanted it to be
from the start
i knew it’d be safe over the sea
and now i see
the good you are for me
what do you see, my sweet?

when we began
i couldn’t feel my reprieve
but you’re a good man
and your hands broke down my disbelief
now i believe
the good you are for me
do you believe?

midnight has fallen
and you are sound asleep
over the ocean
you’ll see me in your dreams
and when your day is dawning
and i am sound asleep
over the ocean
i’ll see you in my dreams

where we’ll keep
safe in the arms of unreal
until we finally face
what we fear
because i do fear
the good you are for me
but i see, i can see
the good you are for me
but i believe – yes, i believe
the good you are for me
do you believe, my sweet?
Track Name: Loving You
it took some time but finally i
think i’m ready to love someone new
but before i do i’m gonna catalog the truth
of what it was like loving you

loving you was a tiptoe down the hallway
always hoping not to wake up the storm
loving you was giving you more chances
and battening the hatches til dawn
but i know i wanna love again

loving you was an ache in the morning
when the party had lasted too long
and loving you was sour on my lips
from your kiss that was three parts whiskey
but i know i wanna love again

loving you was a house on fire
and both of us were never gonna survive her
loving you was walking out that door
my hair smelling of smoke and your cologne
i know i wanna burn again
i know i wanna love again
Track Name: For a Song
i’m just trying to build
a house where music lives
where i can live a long, long time for a song
i’ve just gotta believe
that a house where music lives
is worth a damn and worth all the wandering that preceded

i’ll never be long gone
no i’ll never be long gone
but if i should be long gone
i’ll be home soon

i’m just trying to build
a house where music lives
where two can live in sincere care for a song
i’ve just gotta believe
that a house where music lives
is worth a damn and worth all the lonely years that preceded

we’ll never be long gone
no we’ll never be long gone
but if we should be long gone
we’ll be home soon

i’m just trying to build
a house where music lives
where the muse can come and go always knowing she’s got a home
i’ve just gotta believe
that a house where music lives
is worth a damn and worth all the loneliness
and all of the wondering
if i’ve earned
a life i love.
and worth a damn
and worth all the quiet years the preceded

she’ll never be long gone
may she never be long gone
but if she should be long gone
she’ll be home soon
Track Name: Lamentation
i wake before dawn,
don the boots and move on
out the door to the fog and the chill
imaginary friends everywhere that i turn
where have all the good ones gone?

i long to sing a lamentation for you
but at last you’re not all that gone
i finally find you inside my dreams –
strange that it’s only now

only now
only now
only now
only now

i turn to the mist and the rising sun
with my hands in my pockets, warm
and i leave you at the door
i don’t look back
i know that you’re already gone

you are gone
you are gone
i know you are gone
so i leave you at the door – i don’t look back
i know that we’re already gone

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