Paper Birch

by Karen Choi

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1.
04:26
Gone Time is such a strange companion, you never can predict If days will drag as years fly by, yet the minutes slowly tick I stood on that platform waiting for a train from a distant land Didn’t know where I was going just a suitcase in my hand I took the first train out of there Forsaking all those precious years Now they’re gone, gone, gone, gone Caught the fastest, furthest ride Left you without me by your side Now I’m gone, gone, gone, gone Gone, gone, gone The past floats by, it tries to catch me, tries to lock my gaze But I am here and, darling, this is now, can’t get back those long gone days Looking back at times I wonder why I hurried so to leave The grass ain’t greener on the other side it’s just full of stubborn, stubborn weeds I took the first train out of there Forsaking all those precious years Now they’re gone, gone, gone, gone Caught the fastest, furthest ride Left you without me by your side Now I’m gone, gone, gone, gone Gone, gone, gone I- I - I want to go home I took the first train out of there Forsaking all those precious years Now they’re gone, gone, gone, gone Caught the fastest, furthest ride Left you without me by your side Now I’m gone, gone, gone, gone Gone, gone, gone
2.
Minnesota Sky Wake me up in the morning sun and tell me something true I’ve been sleeping for so long, I wanna shake these restless blues Open eyes, open expectations, open heart embrace Weathered hands not too worn to grasp the sunlight dancing on my face Hey sweet Minnesota sky, teach me to live before I die Seduce me with rhyme and your loose sense of time Sweet Minnesota sky I drove North up the Avenue of The Saints who have gone before I packed my summer suitcase heart and I strung up my dusty old guitar Hey sweet Minnesota sky, teach me to live before I die Seduce me with rhyme and your loose sense of time Sweet Minnesota sky One, two, three and four I’ve been cutting ties, I’m closing doors I’m moving, I’m moving on I can’t quite explain… horizons come they pull me away I’m moving, I’m moving on Hey sweet Minnesota sky, teach me to live before I die Seduce me with rhyme and your loose sense of time Sweet Minnesota sky Hey sweet Minnesota sky, smile down on me when you roll by Rain down your song, why don’t you carry us along Sweet Minnesota….sweet Minnesota…sweet Minnesota…
3.
03:47
Tangled I took a picture of this place so I could never come again, Your dust kicked up and coated me and I breathed you deeply in, I taped your picture to my mirror and I left it there for years, I pass on by from time to time, dance with your distant stares Dance with me, just the thought of you will do Dance with me, I’m all tangled up in you Ever since I started learning you and studying your moves Well since then I’ve been all caught up in peculiar rhythms of your moods I stride on up, you stumble back then we reverse the scene Our feet are bruised from tripping on unmet, unspoken dreams Dance with me, I can match your every move Dance with me, I’m all tangled up in you Oh— Dance with me, just the thought of you will do Dance with me, a sweet and subtle sway for two Dance with me, I can match your every move Dance with me, I’m all tangled up in you
4.
Hymn of the Sycamore When winter comes, I hold my breath thoughtfully Will we make it through to see the spring Redbirds they dance, branches are bare November, I look up with longing, an ache obscure Will you not, will you not come to me I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree Will you not, will you not save me Gather me up under your sheltering wing I tip back my chair stare to the sky evening comes Now it’s laced with stars and my questions My simple mind, my simple thoughts humbly Bow down in surrender, bow to mystery Will you not, will you not come to me I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree Will you not, will you not save me Gather me up under your sheltering wing I’m a fool for the sky for what bends my eye For what bends my knee Oh give me something to hold while these days are cold while these days are mean Come to me, I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree Will you not, will you not save me Gather me up under your sheltering wing Will you not, will you not come to me I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree Will you not, will you not save me Gather me up under your sheltering wing Gather me up under your sheltering wing
5.
03:06
Mary There’s a hole in her blue jeans there’s a rip in the inseam Well you know what that means….time to go Cuz she’s been here for 10 years, met her quota of shed tears Why she’s locked up in her fears, I don’t know I don’t know-oh-oh oh-oh Oh Mary, my how far you are from home Oh Mary, take it easy on the road I hope you find some peace of mind Some rest for your soul Hope you find what you’ve been looking for---oh From the bone she takes marrow, with her lips she shoots arrows Now she’s taking down the sparrows with a pointed bow As they fall all around her sudden loneliness astounds her Why surprised by its encounter, I don’t know I don’t know-oh-oh oh-oh Oh Mary, my how far you are from home Oh Mary, take it easy on the road I hope you find some peace of mind Some rest for your soul I hope you find what you’ve been looking for---oh Oh Mary, my how far you are from home Oh Mary, take it easy on the road I hope you find some peace of mind Some rest for your soul I hope you find what you’ve been looking for---oh There’s a hole in her blue jeans there’s a rip in the inseam Well you know what that means….Time to go
6.
Old River Roll Oh liars and cheats won’t you quit your sad ways You can’t tell if tomorrow is the last today Empty we came; bare we go to the grave The old river rolls on, poor sinners to save Old river flow, old river roll, roll, roll Roll sorrow and sighing away Our hearts were made to yield your praise Old river won’t you roll away And when your time comes and you stand at those gates There’s no golden merit that will warrant your way On Jesus rely; all your debts have been paid The old river rolls on, poor sinners to save Old river flow, old river roll, roll, roll Roll sorrow and sighing away Our hearts were made to yield your praise Old river won’t you roll away Old river flow, old river roll, roll, roll Roll sorrow and sighing away Our hearts were made to yield your praise Old river won’t you roll away
7.
03:04
Tommy Ray A handsome man sat next to me, in a downtown breakfast café He asked to share my table; I said I guess that’d be ok He said his name was Thomas Raymond, but I could call him Tommy Ray just like his friends He told me tales of freight train riding and he wore a wandering grin Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray That old freight train keeps pulling away Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray Boy, you gonna have to settle down one day… I said “if you want my sympathy, at best I got a listening ear You got a baby on the West Coast crying now what the hell you doing way back here?” Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray That old freight train keeps pulling away Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray Boy, you gonna have to settle down one day… Hey, Tommy Ray That old freight train keeps pulling you away Hey, Tommy Ray Boy you gonna have to settle down, you gonna have to settle down Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray That old freight train keeps pulling away Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray Boy, you gonna have to settle down one day Hey, hey Tommy Ray
8.
Single Malt Soul Preacher, preacher can't you see
 There's something welling up inside of me
 You look in and I look out
 What's the difference between faith and doubt?

 Preacher, preacher don't you know
 You don't got nothing on my soul
 You can holler and you can yell
 What's the difference between heaven and hell?

 Baby, burn me like the whisky
 that I love drinking down oh so slow 
I want my truth rough and risky
 Cuz I'm a single malt soul
 Preacher, preacher tell me this 
Is this love or a Judas kiss?
 You tell me I'm your little lost lamb
 Well you ain't nothing but a mixed up man
 I could love you if you'd lay me down
 Just like that book you used to carry around
 Before you watered down the poetry
 Well that's the difference between you and me
 Baby, burn me like the whisky
 that I love drinking down oh so slow 
I want my truth rough and risky 
Cause I'm a single malt soul 

There was a time when you were burning up
 Just like that whisky in a silver cup
 Filled with the spirit to the brink
 Don't it all come down to what you drink Baby, burn me like the whisky 
that I love drinking down oh so slow 
I want my truth rough and risky 
Cause I'm a single malt soul

9.
9. Feels Like An Ending Feels like an ending, it feels like goodbye So let’s stop pretending that we got more time Everyone’s moving but I’m motionless Stuck on the highway, traffic’s a mess So I wait for go So make up your mind, you middle road Can’t straddle these lines, I can’t ride the unknown My foot to the pedal, my hand on the wheel A vertical pull and I want to be free Feels like the passage, the passage of youth Days make you older, honey, you know, you know that’s the truth Calendar pages, they flip, flip through my mind Go easy on me, oh won’t you Old Father Time So I wait for go So make up your mind, you middle road Can’t straddle these lines, I can’t ride the unknown My foot to the pedal, my hand on the wheel A vertical pull and I want to be free Fly past my window, little bird Sweep me up in your light-hearted world My heart on the line, a road that meets up with the sky So make up your mind, you middle road Can’t straddle these lines, I can’t ride the unknown My foot to the pedal, my hand on the wheel A vertical pull and I want to be free
10.
04:13
Will You Be Will you quench my thirst, will you feed my mind Will you wait up when I lag behind Will you stay in step, will you get my jokes Will you know the things that I like the most Will you be, will you be my love Will you be, will you be my love Will you know my way, will you be ok When that way deviates from normalcy Will you remind me when I forget to breathe Will you stay all night and never leave Will you be, will you be my love Will you be, will you be my love Will you give me grace as I learn to give Will you stand up to me when I need to sit Will you pour my wine when the day is done Will you still be there at life’s setting sun Will you be, will you be my love Will you be, will you be my love Will you be, will you be, will you be Will you be, will you be my love Will you be, will you be my love

credits

released October 16, 2012

© 2012 Karen Choi (Schaeffer House Music - ASCAP), All Rights Reserved

Produced by Brian Oaks
Mixed by Todd Robbins at The Workshop, Franklin, TN
Mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master, Nashville, TN
Recorded at Trainwreck Music, Nashville, TN
Global Genius Productions, Franklin, TN
Skaggs Family Studio, Hendersonville, TN
Engineered by Brian Oaks
Additional Engineering by Lucas Hathaway and Billy Whittington

Drums and Percussion: Ken Lewis
Additional Percussion: Brian Oaks
Electric and Upright Bass: Matt Pierson
Piano, B3, Accordion & Wurlitzer: Blair Masters
Acoustic Guitar & Ganjo: Brian Oaks
National Slide Guitar on Single Malt Soul: Phil Madeira
Acoustic Guitar on Will You Be?: Karen Choi
Fiddle & Mandolin: Stuart Duncan
Pedal Steel Guitar & Dobro: Mike Johnson
Background Vocals: Katy Bowser, Phil Madeira, The McCrary Sisters & Karen Choi

Album artwork & design: Katherine Miller
www.karenchoimusic.com

All songs written by Karen Choi (Schaeffer House Music - ASCAP)
except:
Gone: Karen Choi & Brian Oaks (Forever Lush Music - ASCAP)
Hymn of the Sycamore: Karen Choi & Brian Oaks (Forever Lush Music - ASCAP)
Mary: Karen Choi & Paul Ranheim
Tommy Ray: Karen Choi & Brian Oaks (Forever Lush Music - ASCAP)
Single Malt Soul: Karen Choi, Phil Madeira (Nashville Minute - BMI) & Brian Oaks (Forever Lush Music, ASCAP)
Feels Like an Ending: Karen Choi & Brian Oaks (Forever Lush Music – ASCAP)

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Karen Choi St. Louis, Missouri

Karen Choi is a singer/songwriter living in the American midwest. She was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska where she was introduced to roots music at a young age through her father’s involvement in a local bluegrass band. Since then songwriting became a means of channeling the stories of everyday life and encounters with others along the way. ... more

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