Ravine Road

by Ben Smith

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All songs written by Ben Smith, 2013.
Written, recorded, mixed, and produced by Ben Smith at Franklin Pointe, West Chester, PA.
Mastered by Joel Metzler
Album art Kristen Solecki

Thanks and love to Jess for listening to the same chords over and over again; Aimee Mann for personal encouragement-tweets; the estate of Josiah HIbberd; the Women's Exchange in West Chester, for the cheap nylon-string guitar; master Joel Metzler; and Steve Hanna for being such a great friend and encourager.

I'm pleased to present to you a new collection of songs, a 5-song EP called Ravine Road—named for a steep and twisting wooded road I used to drive back in high school. It’s not quite a mile but driving it was always an event. The woods and turns obscured any reminder that you were just going from your friend’s house to the movies. Half way through, there was a sign by an old single-lane overpass tunnel that warned you to honk your horn so the opposing traffic could hear you coming. It was an excuse to honk obnoxiously and so we did. It made a terrific echo against the walls of the tunnel. It was fun.

I hope you find these new songs on “Ravine Road” fun. They’re a bit looser this time around—which is a nice way of saying I recorded all the parts by myself this time, in my home studio, without obsessing over every little detail. There was still a lot of obsession but I was more interested in capturing little live moments rather than fussed over ones. And so, armed with that approach, a somewhat limited understanding of proper recording technique, and some recently acquired vintage instruments—some from the auction of the estate of Josiah Hibberd, my late seventh-grade Social Studies teacher—come these five songs.

In addition to the title track, there’s a sort of Broadway Danny Rose-premised song about climbing into the action of an old movie; a chase song (if that’s a thing) about someone trying to shoot me with a poison arrow; an Aimee Mann-tweet-inspired song about Milwaukee, its statue of the Fonz and history of moonshine; and finally, a ukulele love song about death.

Stream the album here and please purchase a download if you like what you hear.


Cheers!

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released September 5, 2013

All songs by Ben Smith, 2013.

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Ben Smith West Chester, Pennsylvania

West Chester, PA songwriter Ben Smith's songs sound good in both your front parlor and your back barroom---all Tin Pan Alley piano and a fading choirboy voice.

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Track Name: Ravine Road
At 17--I saw you and you saw me
I felt it all at once and it knocked me to my knees
At 22--I took to calling you
I thought I'd take you far from the life you knew

What's mine is yours and yours is mine
leave those other boys behind
Come with me careening down Ravine Road

At 28--I had only landscapes
I drove out every night right until daybreak
At 29--I found you walking 'long the treeline
And now the right place finally meets the right time

What's mine is yours and yours is mine
leave those other boys behind
Come with me careening down Ravine Road

Hold on tight and don't look back
They'll stare at us and we'll stare right back
Come with me careening down Ravine Road

Now, at 40--we've got a perfect cover story
We'll take off in the middle of the night without saying a word
Then 71--after all is said and done
we'll take Ravine Road and drive into the sun

What's mine is yours and yours is mine
leave those other boys behind
Come with me careening down Ravine Road

Hold on tight and don't look back
They'll stare at us and we'll stare right back
Come with me careening down Ravine Road
Track Name: Slow
Have you seen this film before?
they don't make 'em anymore, not in years

Hope we're in the opening credits
hoping that they just might let us walk through a scene

and we'll walk slow, slow
right through the frame

First scene and he looks in trouble
they don't even have a body double standing off screen

Scene two and she looks like you
the kind of face you wanna zoom into and hold for a while

and take it slow, slow
and let it play out

We could suffer through a rewrite
we could say we're cast against type

The plot is rushing to the end
But maybe we can suspend this moment for a while

and take it slow, slow
right away
Track Name: Poison Arrow
Watch me fall
out of grace
I won't make a sound

Bring the car
round the front
keep the motor on

I won't be here for long
The time has come to get far away from here

I tied the sheets together like a rope
out the window all I see is smoke
and the driveway looks like a moat
so I slip outside with the rest of the ghosts

Plot a course, a steady force
and it's carrying me away
but you read my mind and between the lines
and you're right behind me

I feel it coming
the wind is humming through the
straight and narrow,
a poison arrow for my heart

I lose the car and it's after dark
and the stars won't protect me
And the cops won't help, there's no one to tell
it's too late for retreat

I know you're on me
the clouds are forming round this
straight and narrow,
a poison arrow for my heart

Then I'm climbing through the vines
ignoring every warning sign
You zero in, I'm wearing thin
and the trees start to spin all around me

Now I'm underground
but word gets round
and there's nowhere left to hide

There's no sign of life
there's no shining light
nothing can survive

Now this is it
it's like a whip though the
straight and narrow,
a poison arrow for my heart

Watch me fall
fall from grace
when you hit your mark

So it's you
you went straight through,
a poison arrow through my heart
Track Name: Happier Days
There's a statue of the Fonz
where all Milwaukee's Johns
are waiting for a girl who'll hear their "Heyys."

The line wraps round the block
and the girls rock round the clock
They know there's just some things they'll never pay

But don't get down
We're all waiting
Waiting on Happier Days

Somewhere across town
there's moonshine underground
and now it's coming down with the rain

And we'll watch it hit the lake
and the ripples that it makes
but the wind is more than you can face

But don't get down
We're all waiting
Waiting on Happier Days

You've tried to find your thrill
Looked up on Blueberry Hill
but the clouds were hanging low that day

You won't find it on TV
but you'll find it right with me
cause Misery loves some company

But don't get down
We're all waiting
Waiting on Happier Days
Track Name: I'm Prepared to Go
I want for nothing
when you're here with me
Like a push of a button
as simple as can be
Any time, any place
When I see your face

I'm immune to disaster
even when we're ship to shore
My heart never beat faster
Gotta pick it up off the floor
Even danger is fun
Like you shot me out a gun

I've stopped posing questions
cause every answer comes back you
I've quit every faction
that doesn't share our point of view
I don't easily fright
now that you're in sight

I don't think about tomorrow
Today is all I care to know
Could be heaven or it could be nothing
Could be consigned to flames of woe
Just as long as you're with me
I'm prepared to go.