Spun Open

by Hawthorn

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about

“Little bird, little bird, what will you do with your sorrows and your stories? ‘I will tell them over again, they're with me as I go.’
“This really is the essence of Spun Open, the debut album from Boston-based duo Hawthorn. Taylor Holland and Heather Scott chronicle the highs, the lows and the lessons of past years, imbuing the matter-of-fact temperament of the folk ballad with candid sincerity. Musically the whole album has the quality of threads spun out into loose acoustic textures that weave together and fray apart under interlocking vocals. The songs are some of them sad and some of them sweet and all of them resonating with meaning and the unsaid. They will burrow into a nook in your heart.” - Eleanor Elektra

‘Little Bird,’ a short call and response accompanied only by body percussion, opens the record. The dialogue between the Mama and Little Bird voices is a tender reflection on a young woman’s journey into the world, hinting at where Hawthorn has come from and where it is going.

From the sensual ‘Spun Open’ to the bitter loss of ‘Shadow’ and the nostalgia of ‘Borderline,’ much of the record treats with romantic love in its many forms. Hawthorn’s voices blend in joy, sorrow, and resolution, carrying each other through the stages of each song’s journey. There are moments of elation-- “the fire touch of skin on skin” and wise reflection-- “my lover is a rambler, I cannot keep him here / but though he’s on the highway, his heart is always near,” finding and celebrating the soft nuances of relationship.

On the album’s lead single, ‘Salt,’ heartbreak is transformed into a sacred reclamation of wild feminine power. The ocean, at first a place to grieve, becomes the source of active healing, offering inspiration for what Red Line Roots has called “an endless abyss of emotion...that makes its way from the hopeless and tormented to the light and optimistic.”

Hawthorn’s cover of ‘She Belongs to Me’ reimagines Bob Dylan’s anti-love song as a celebration of sisterhood and female artistry, a light-hearted middle finger to anyone that might think heartbreak would hold these women back. When sung by Heather and Taylor, the words “she’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back” transform from condemnation to affirmation.

Bookending the body of Spun Open are Appalachia and Goldenrod, two co-writes with Hawthorn mentor and friend Henna Wallace (who contributes vocals to Goldenrod as well). These songs carry an gentle but persistent quest for home, from the plaintive call ‘Appalachia show me home’ to the firm questioning of the goldenrod plant ‘are you here beside me?’ The longing for home resonates deeply, echoing Little Bird’s sorrowful discovery that her heart is ‘all in pieces out in the world.’

The album concludes with a haunting rendition of ‘The Parting Glass,’ a traditional song of Heather and Taylor’s Celtic heritage that they sing at the end of every performance. Recorded late at night around a single microphone, the voices are accompanied by a water-filled glass, a final nod to the ethos of the entire recording project: arrangements that could just as easily take place on a porch in late summer as in a studio.

credits

released March 24, 2017

Heather Scott and Taylor Holland
vocals / guitar / songwriting (BMI)

Jacob Rosati - percussion / guitar (6) / banjo (2,4,7)
James Staub - bass (4,5)
Henna Wallace - vocals (8) / songwriting (2,8)
Isabel Ramirez - songwriting (3)
Crystal Wegner - harmonica (3)

Jacob Rosati - engineering / producing / mastering
Sophie Greenspan - design
Cat Dussault - design
Sam Freedman - photography

Recorded at The Berwick in Boston.
Mixed and mastered at Marsella in Mexico City.

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about

Hawthorn Boston, Massachusetts

The women of Hawthorn weave melodic layers into harmonies pulled from traditional folk roots. Their mutual love of the natural world, storytelling, and community moves them to create music colored by both external and internal landscapes. Through the meeting of Hawthorn's individual experiences emerge magical blends of sound that are passionately full: of vibrancy, of heart, of strength. ... more

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Track Name: Little Bird
little bird, little bird, tell me what you've seen
what's out there in the great wide world, tell me where you've been

mama, oh mama, I've been traveling far
I've been wandering over the ocean, under the moon and starts

little bird, little bird, what do the people say
did they greet you tenderly as you went on your way

mama, oh mama, some of them were kind
but some were carrying too much pain to give me any mind

oh, my sweet little bird, tell me about your heart
how did it fare on the winding road did you leave behind a part

mama, oh mama, my heart is sad and worn
it's all in pieces out in the world, left me here alone  

little bird, little bird, what will you do now
will you take what you have learned and write your story down

mama, oh mama, I’ll take these things I know
I will tell them over again, they’re with me as I go
Track Name: Appalachia
I went down to Carolina and I swam in foggy mountains
the blue-eyed peaks they were watching as I knelt down to the ground

and I sought resolution so I wandered through the weeds
and I wondered where your feet had carried you to lately

and I drove that blue-grey road and I kept the wheel straight and true
though my shoulders shook and my knees did quake I kept my hands steady and still

Appalachia show me home

I went down to Carolina and I swam in foggy mountains
the blue-eyed peaks they were watching as I knelt down to the ground

Appalachia show me home
Track Name: Spun Open
my arms grew like trees into your sky
tangled branches, the fire touch of skin on skin

with eyes closed under the starry night
you crept into my bed and my sight is blind with the scent of your smile

and all the while we didn’t know we were spinning
spinning, spinning
do you want that too

time lays on my chest so comfortably
I missed you terribly, your breath in my dreams, ever pulsing seams

with eyes closed under the starry night
you crept into my bed and my sight is blind with the scent of your smile

and all the while we didn’t know we were spinning
spinning, spinning
do you want that too

you grabbed my hand
a shift in sands

and all the while we didn’t know we were spinning
spinning, spinning

and I want that too
Track Name: She Belongs To Me
she’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back
she can take the dark out of the nighttime and paint the daytime black

you will start out standing proud to steal her anything she sees
but you will wind up peeking through her keyhole down upon your knees

she never stumbles, she’s got no place to fall
she’s nobody’s child and the law can’t touch her at all

she wears an Egyptian ring that sparkles before she speaks
she’s a hypnotist collector and you're a walking antique

bow down to her on Sunday and salute her when her birthday comes
for Halloween give her a trumpet, and for Christmas give her big drums

she's got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back
Track Name: Salt
in your dreams of the salt and waves
do you see me there
in your poems and your beach glass home
do you see me there

in the harbor, wooden boats
crystallize and crash
they break together on their own
murmurs of the past

wild abandoned rituals
burning high in the wind
where the ocean takes it all
to the ash, to the sand

waterfalls on silent skin
in the cloudy cove
build a driftwood castle hall
memories unfold

in the fires of cliffs and bones
bear the stirring truth
glowing coals and black blood stones
on the open shoreline

wild abandoned rituals
burning high in the wind
where the ocean takes it all
to the ash, to the sand

in your dreams of the salt and waves
do you see me there
in your poems and your beach glass home
do you see me there
Track Name: Shadow
at the end of the day you're too tired for trying
feelings dissipate when your weary body breaks
what's another woman if you're just another woman
yesterday you cared but today it's nothing new
after all you're living in a world that wastes its wonder

they said baby, understand how passion pardons lying
from the doorway they apologize for falling
but they never stick around and you're left to clean alone
working bones that bear the weight of broken trust
wipe your tears so you don't let your muscles rust
what’s another woman if you’re just another woman
take yourself away from the lies you tell each other
spend the end of the day without his shadow in your sheets

don't worry about forgiving don't worry about comparing
another blazing fire burns better far away
what's another woman if you're just another woman
yesterday you cared but today it’s nothing new
after all you’re living in a world that wastes its wonder

at the end of the day you’re too tired for trying
feelings dissipate when your weary body breaks
what's another woman if you're just another woman

what’s another woman if you’re just another woman
take yourself away from the lies you tell each other
spend the end of a day without his shadow in your sheets
on your own you're not another
Track Name: Borderline
my love lives by the river, far across the town
I go out late to meet him, to the water we go down
hand in hand we swim a steady line
my lover sings to me across the borderline

my lover is a handsome man, he's dark and he is wild
the girls all watch him sweetly and they pull him with their guile
but oh, his eyes are always locked in mine
my lover sings to me across the borderline

oh my lover is not steady, no courting man is he
while others call more constantly, he never chases me
he pays no mind to passing marks of time
but he still sings to me across the borderline

my lover is a rambler, I cannot keep him here
but though he’s on the highway, his heart is always near
late at night he's drinking blood red wine
and singing soft to me across the borderline
Track Name: Goldenrod
goldenrod, growing tall, will you stand beside me
as the winds roll in and the waters rise, will you keep my heart afloat

sun pours over us, in fields of what we think we know
I walk in strength my love, with the spirit of what we'll always hold

goldenrod, growing tall, are you here beside me
as the winds sing high, and the waters roar, I will keep my head above

sun pours over us, in fields of what we think we know
I walk in strength my love, with the spirit of what we'll always hold

goldenrod, growing tall, will you remain beside me
as the light falls low in the changing sky, will I know my home again
I will know my home again
Track Name: The Parting Glass
oh all the money that e'er I spent, I spent it in good company
and all the harm that e'er I've done, alas, it was to none but me
and all I've done for want of wit to memory now I can't recall
so fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

oh all the comrades that e'er I've had are sorry for my going away
and all the sweethearts that e'er I've had would wish me one more day to stay
but since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call: good night and joy be with you all