'Simple Things' Liner Notes

As far back as I can remember paintings have always had the ability to inspire my creative juices. Whenever my eyes came upon a painting my imagination would flood with story lines within each brush stroke. It wasn’t a practice as much as a reflex action. Long before I starting writing, these fictional creations ran rampant through my day. I didn’t have to visit a museum or an exhibit, the location was of no importance, it was the flow of creativity that captured my spirit.  

So now many years later I’ve taken to corral some of that energy into a conceptual album inspired by the paintings of Thomas Eakins. What started out as a simple trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art quickly turned into a two year project that birthed the ‘Simple Things’ album.  

The original compositions were written over a four week holiday in Melbourne Beach, Florida in February of 2015. I kept the titles intact and dove deep into the life of the artist while listening to the music of the period. The writing was quick and loose which left lots of room for developing at a later date. The first drafts were demo’d and left to mature over a two year period before the actual recording sessions started in January of 2017. 

My original vision was one of a much more dated sound musically, but that changed slowly as the tracks were being laid down. One by one, song after song, there was a musical personality, a musical footprint that was beginning to take form, and though the finished versions are much different then I had imagined, they still retain a heartbeat that was inspired by someone else more than a century ago. 

I invite you to have the paintings before your eyes as you listen to each track. I encourage you to let you mind wander in and around the rhythms, the lyric, the melody and harmony, to imagine you’re own continuing storyline. 

It’s my hope that we can teach a new generation to love and appreciate the arts in new and creative ways while preserving and passing down our varying cultures. 

E.M.

Dedicated to the creative gift of Thomas Eakins. 

"In mathematics the complicated things are reduced to simple things, so it is in painting.” ~ Thomas Eakins

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Cowboy singing lvc

WHEN THE COWBOY SINGS

 I've got a six-string strapped to my back 
One my daddy passed down to me 
Loaded with songs and always in tune 
Ready whenever it need be 
 
Oh my fingers are poised at the ready 
Never more then a downbeat away 
Finding their way on a rosewood neck 
Dancing ‘round the harmony 

Home on the range
Where I lay my head down 
Where my darling
Nestles next to me 
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word 
Where a cowboy sings of destiny 

I've got a foot that knows
Nothing but stompin' 
Keeping it steady ‘till coda’s end 
Holding the tempo with metronome time 
Kissing wood and the backbeat’s friend 

When the cowboy sings 
When the cowboy sings it's all good

© 2015 Eddy Mann
 Hissongs ~ ASCAP

The red shawl lvc

THE RED SHAWL

Long, long ago it graced her soft frame 
In a cafe, with no name 
Deep in fragrant passion, silently speaking 
Hung so lightly, quietly seeking 
Love so very, very small 
Born on that night 
The night of the red shawl 
 
Draped so poignantly, an eloquent whisper 
Angel fair; catch the blur 
Never in my life did I know such a wonder 
Long for sight, short to sunder 
Love so very, very small 
Born on that night 
The night of the red shawl 

Deep, inside it lingers, etched on my heart 
Soul gallery, breath of art 
Memories remain
from that sweet single eve 
Mindfully there, on my sleeve 
Love so very, very small 
Born on that night 
The night of the red shawl 

© 2015 Eddy Mann
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

A may morning in the park lvc

A MAY MORNING IN THE PARK

We went riding one smart morning in May 
Privilege followed us throughout the day 
Past the fountains and the trees 
By the flowers through the breeze 
We went riding one smart morning in May 

We unoticingly passed rabble with less 
There were countless
Opportunities to bless 
But our sight was colored rose 
Which overshadowed these and those 
We unoticingly passed rabble with less 

It's just a May morning in the park 
Another morning in the park 
It's just a May morning in the park
...or maybe more 

We were blinded
By the blessings we incurred 
Redundantly we walked with lines blurred 
Unaware of our surroundings 
Deaf to the houndings 
We were blinded
By the blessings we incurred 

We arrived one May morning in the park 
Awakened as light overcame the dark 
With hearts that were seeing 
With words that were freeing 
We arrived one May morning in the park

© 2015 Eddy Mann 
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

Cowyboys in the badlands lvc

COWBOYS IN THE BADLANDS

You call me cowboy 
You call me cowboy in the badlands 
In the desert
In the barrens
In the wasteland 

I'm not naive to think 
You mean it ‘cause you say it sweet 
That all you really want
Is what's best for me 
You seemingly get satisfaction 
Speaking in a tone distraction 
Dressing everything about me
Down below my knees 

You’re not some fool myopic 
Meandering the optic 
Believing any topic
You spit out will interest me 
When everyone who has a one 
Would know the truth under the sun 
And share it in a way
That doesn't compromise 

So saddle up and dig your pony 
Don't dismiss the lost and lonely 
Everyone can be the only one in their life 
That understands the daunting strife 
That knows the blade that fits the knife 
That cuts so deep that makes you weep And then it walks away

© 2015 Eddy Mann 
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

An actress lvc

AN ACTRESS

An actress can wander to anywhere 
Escorted by all the king's men 
Surrounded by pomp and circumstance 
Through the wonder of a colorful pen 

Speaking the lines that are written 
Walking the halls of design 
Laughing out loud at the stroke of a brush 
Then crying in her glass of wine 
 
She sits in her chair of delusions 
Crumpled up script on the floor 
Lost in her world of illusions 
Unaware of what's outside her door 

Dressed for a moment to happen 
A scene from her favorite book 
Forgetting who once graced the mirror 
Afraid to inhabit a look 
 
An actress can wander to anywhere 
Escorted by all of her dreams 
But under the guise of the make-pretend 
Lives a woman who's not what she seems

© 2015 Eddy Mann 
 Hissongs ~ ASCAP

Between rounds lvc

BETWEEN ROUNDS

Round one was upon me
Before I could talk 
Before I could see
Before I could walk 
Right up in my face
Smackin' me around 
Life can be cruel
Measured pound for pound 

Between rounds
You gotta swallow your fought 
Between rounds
You gotta know what's been taught 
Between rounds
You gotta bring what you brought 
Between rounds 
 
Oh for the middle rounds
Holding me captive 
Teaching me endurance
And how to be adaptive 
Slippin' what I can
Standin' my ground 
Life can be callous
When you're hands feel bound 

Between rounds
You gotta breath in the moment 
Between rounds
You gotta size up your opponent 
Between rounds
You gotta mean what you meant 
Between rounds 

And yet they keep coming
Bringing their best 
Trying to drop you
With test after test 
Probing for weakness
Wearing you down 
Looking for signs
That they'll vanquish your crown 

The late rounds've grown heavy Consuming my strength 
They've grown in humility
They've grown in length 
Searching for meaning
Where truth can be found 
Life can be harsh
If not spiritually sound 

© 2015 Eddy Mann 
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

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Girl in a big hat lvc

GIRL IN A BIG HAT

She could turn heads
In the loudest of venues 
Without being seen or heard 
She could raise hell
In the wildest of outings 
Without being branded absurd 
She could be heard
In the still of the crowd 
Without being all of that 
Still she could lift hearts
In an ominous moment 
She's the girl in a big hat 

She could pierce holes
In the tallest of lies 
Without being sharp of tongue 
She could plant doubt
In the surest of men 
Without being temptingly young 
She could sink ships
Before they were cast 
Without being labeled a rat 
Still she could calm fears
In the worst of times 
She's the girl in a big hat 

Nobody bothered to understand 
Everyone turned their heads to the sand 
 
She could burn bridges
Before they were built 
Without being vulgar or crude 
She could wreck women
With one lethal word 
Without being openly rude 
She could cause havoc
With one cunning smile 
Without being labeled a brat 
Still she could love
When nobody else would 
She's the girl in a big hat

© 2015 Eddy Mann  
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

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Mending the net lvc

MENDING THE NETS

On the Jersey side of the river
The mending's already begun 
The net needs attention
To meet its intention 
Under the dawning sun 

On the banks of the Delaware River Laboring side by side 
The net needs repairing
And so the preparing 
Begins by the rising tide 

Silhouettes sprinkle the horizon 
As geese flock down below 
Children observe as they gather 
It's the only world that they know 

In Gloucester they meet on the banks 
They gather to toil as one 
The net that must weather
What holds them together 
Through whatever in life must be done 

Children observe as they gather 
It's the only world that they know

© 2015 Eddy Mann  
 Hissongs ~ ASCAP

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The courtship lvc

THE COURTSHIP

Gazing on the love
That blossoms when you're near 
Pleasingly, meant for me 
Listening to the voice
That calms all my troubles 
Angel at my door 

Watching as you flow
From moment to moment 
Graciously, beautifully 
Waiting for the hour
That brings us united 
Blue skies at my door 

The courtship is waning 
There's no sign of feigning 
The spinning wheel spins on and on 
The courtship is over 
Completed moreover 
The spinning wheel's spinning our song 
 
Patiently my heart
Pounds every last second 
Marching on, ever in song 
Sacredly my love
Is bound yours forever 
Heaven's at my door

© 2015 Eddy Mann  
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

The portrait of mary lvc

THE PORTRAIT OF MARY

In her eyes you can witness her secrets 
Like a book that tells chapter and verse 
All the thrills and the chills of a lifetime 
All the tears and the fears even worse 
Written in unfading colors 
Creatively numbered and strung 
There in the chambers of my lonely heart 
The portrait of Mary is hung 

On her face you can read her emotions 
Like a text that is written in caps 
All the anger and angst of the lovelorn 
All the somber relational taps 
Indelibly etched for all seasons 
Composed and regrettably sung 
There in the middle of my empty soul 
The portrait of Mary is hung 
 
By her tenor you can feel her longing 
Like a ship blown off course in the night 
All the missing and second-guessing 
All the arguments fueled by spite 
Forever emblazoned on her sleeve 
Like a beacon for all to see 
There hanging out for the world to view 
The portrait of Mary ...without me

© 2015 Eddy Mann 
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

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Whistling for plover lvc

WHISTLING FOR PLOVER

I'm kneelin' 
I'm kneelin' in the marsh 
I'm kneelin' in the marsh undercover 
Just whistling out loud for plover 

I'm reelin' 
I'm reelin' for forgiveness 
I'm reelin' for forgiveness to discover 
Just whistling out loud for plover 

Whistling for plover 

I'm trustin' 
I'm trustin' that her broken heart 
I'm trustin' that her heart will recover 
Just whistling out loud for plover 

I'm prayin' 
I'm prayin' for a second-chance 
I'm prayin' for a second-chance to love her 
Just whistling out loud for plover

© 2015 Eddy Mann  
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

The dancing lesson lvc

THE DANCING LESSON

Dance little brother, dance to the music 
Let your spirit free 
Dance little brother, dance to the music 
Lord have mercy 
Ain't gonna stop until we all walk free 
Dance little brother, dance 

Sing little sister, sing to the music 
Let your spirit free 
Sing little sister, sing to the music 
Lord have mercy 
Ain't gonna stop until we all are heard 
Sing little sister, sing 

Hallelujah! Let your spirit free 
Hallelujah! Lord have mercy 

Listen little child, listen to the music 
Let your spirit free 
Listen little child, listen to the music 
Lord have mercy 
Ain't gonna stop until we all have peace 
Listen little child, hear

© 2015 Eddy Mann   
Hissongs ~ ASCAP

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Thanks to the ever-present Spirit that inspires and drives me to create each day. It truly is a humbling existence that I’m graced to live. Thanks also to Thomas Eakins and to those who continue to provide a window into his life and work. 

Thank you to my family, who never cease to understand my need to create, and who allow me the freedom and support to do so. 

Thank you to everyone who has called himself or herself a friend, follower, or fan. You’ll never know your true value to the process. 

Thanks to every single blogger, writer, broadcaster, and podcaster who have shown their support. 

And lastly, thanks to my band, the Combo (Andrew Barber, Mike Lozinski, Kevin Irvine, Kevin Smith and Mike Fiocca) I’m truly blessed by your creativity, and friendship.   

Produced by Indie Productions &           Eddy Mann with Andrew Barber 
P. O. Box 52703 
Philadelphia, PA 19115 
www.eddymann.com 

All rights reserved. 
Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.