Portraits

by ellen cherry

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  • Compact Disc (CD)

    I created a performance piece, a song-cycle accompanied by large scale projected portraits, that springs directly from my love of storytelling and my passion for history. The purpose of this project is to turn our gaze away from imposed beauty standards and instead see women as powerful thinkers and doers.

    The accompanying album, "Portraits" features my original songs from the project and the CD includes thumbnails of the portraits that were created by Liz Downing.

    More information about this project and how to present it:

    ellencherry.com/portraits

    Includes unlimited streaming of Portraits via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 7 days

     $10 USD or more

     

  • Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    The album accompanies the performance piece, "Portraits in Song." Information here!
    http://.ellencherry.com/portraits

     $11 USD  or more

     

  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 11 ellen cherry releases available on Bandcamp and save 15%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Home Movies {November 2016}--A Cyber Tour with ellen cherry and Andrew Grimm [TIP JAR], Portraits, The Thread, Whippoorwill Lodge, Live at the Creative Alliance, August 23, 2014, Please Don't Sell The Piano, Merry Christmas from the Family, The Dizzy Pleasure Club, INC, and 3 more. , and , .

     $64.59 USD or more (15% OFF)

     

1.
03:08
2.
03:37
3.
03:04
4.
04:30
5.
02:20
6.
04:47
7.
01:32
8.
03:50
9.
03:28
10.
04:27
11.
04:38

credits

released September 17, 2016

guitar, voice, piano, foot stomp: ellen cherry
Recorded in 4 fairly intense days in January 2016 by Scott Smith
at the Wood and Stone Room, Parkville, MD

www.thewoodandstoneroom.com

Artwork by Liz Downing
Layout and design by Katie Feild

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license

all rights reserved

about

ellen cherry Baltimore, Maryland

Emmy nominated singer/songwriter ellen cherry is a full-time touring and working performer based in Baltimore, MD. She has licensed her music to the Oxygen Network, MTV, and Soap.net. In 2009, she wrote, recorded and performed a TV campaign for FOX Networks and also composed the score for a shadow puppet piece entitled "Alonzo's Lullaby", which was awarded the UNIMA Citation of Excellence. ... more

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Track Name: Penelope
39 years stuck on dry land
bring me to the sea
i was my own deadly Siren
singing softly
I drowned all my hopes easily

20 odd years waiting by the nightstand
poor Penelope
weaving and unweaving by hand
and crossing her knees
she untied knots so happily

oh my love you know our bed is safe
it was built by you
you can trust me, it’s still there; it’s still living
and you know that it can’t be moved

let me run clear like a stream flushed with rain
and always tell the truth
let me lay down my shield and let in the pain
we’ll be bulletproof
even if we are black and blue

oh my love you know our bed is safe
it was built by you
you can trust me, it’s still there; it’s still living
and you know that it can’t be moved

and you know, and you know
that it can’t be moved.
and you know and you know, it was built by you
Track Name: Mary Anne
Oh Maryanne, let’s ride on through the weather.
We’ll make a stand; we’ll press our hands together.
And you will say, “Now let us pray.
Like we are lovers, to our Virgin Mother.”

Oh Maryanne, you might have heard
I stopped believing in the Word,
but the repeating had left a trace
and so I hail Mary so Full of Grace.

Oh Maryanne, will you help me find her?
You sing the prayer to serve as our reminder.
I’ll steer the wheel in the right direction
And maybe then, She’ll offer her protection.

Oh Maryanne, do you think She’ll hear us
with satellites clouding her receivers?
And all the voices that we’ve flown to outer space--
the foolish hopes of our human race.

Oh Maryanne, will you help me find her?
You sing the prayer to serve as our reminder.
I’ll steer the wheel in the right direction
And maybe then, She’ll offer her protection.

Oh Mother Mary give me your Grace
so that the past can be erased.

Oh Maryanne, let’s ride on through the weather.
We’ll make a stand; we’ll press our hands together.

Oh Maryanne, I am a liar:
I let my mind be ruled by my desire.
Mother Mary send me your Grace
so that the past can be erased.

Oh Mother Mary give me your Grace
so that the past can be erased.
Track Name: Sarah
I have written in my diary
So you’ll know just what became of me
My loneliness and desperation will be the stuff of history

You have wandered off to fight the war
And misdirect the call of canons roar
You said to lead a man’s life, you must do more

And I hate you for it.

You have sent no words to reach my ears
For what is now so many silent years
No whisper on the wind, no twinkle of the stars to calm my fears

I have worked my fingers down to bone
To make for us a happy home
And now my soft and secret heart has hardened into stone

And I hate you for it.

Last night I dreamed that you came back to me
And we lived on and on so happily
Before I woke you said to me:
“darling, this will never be.”

And I loved you for that.
Track Name: Frances
Things were better for me at the turn of the century.
I didn’t know what I wanted, but the future loomed in front of me.
The city shimmered with steam, with smoke and with mystery.
We pretend we don’t know that Life’s an exercise in futility.

There’s a dog whining in the next room.
Might as well be me, howling at the moon.
Because for all the effort I make,
I still feel my sad heart break.
I bow before concrete and steel with humility.

I just want to ride the big wheel into the sky.
I just want to feel like I could fly.
Like everyone else here, I just want to buy my ticket!

Behind the gates is the whole wide world.
And everything is new to the eyes of this girl.
Crystal clear water and bright city lights,
Dancers with costumes that light up the night.
Machines the crackle and sparkle with utility.

I just want to ride the big wheel into the sky.
I just want to feel like I could fly.
Like everyone else here, I just want to buy my ticket!

When I left my family, I knew that I could do better.
Now all they have is some unreturned letters.
This is the story of my liberty:
A cog in the grinding gears of the city.
A line in a novel 100 years from now—that’s what’s left of me.

I just want to ride the big wheel into the sky.
I just want to feel like I could fly.
Like everyone else here, I just want to buy my ticket
And ride the big wheel into the sky!
Track Name: Violet
A cold clear night, we’re full steam ahead
We’ll stretch her legs on the ocean’s bed
Nothing spared; not even the time
We’re the jewel of the White Star Line

And the steam burns on
As the quartet plays a song
And we all go down in the ocean

Who would guess, we’d sink like a stone
Out at sea, so many miles from home
In disbelief, we queue for a boat
The ship she sounds her dying note

And the steam burns on
As the quartet plays a song
And we all go down in the ocean

We say goodbye and we say our prayers
We drift all night in the cold spring air
And then we see in the bright clear dawn
There’s nothing now: the ship, she’s gone

And the steam burns on
As the quartet plays a song
And we all go down in the ocean
Track Name: Florence
There’s no happy ending
So don’t be holding your breath
Not a word worth defending
Bury me with my regrets

This life has worn me down
But God won’t take me yet
I gotta leave this town
I’ve got to place my bets

California, you seem like promised land
You feed my children and you work my hands
When I lay down to pay the final toll
Take my body; leave my soul

We ride the rails at night
We beg for food all day
My heart is hollow and my belly’s tight
I’ve got no money left to pay

California, you seem like promised land
You feed my children and you work my hands
When I lay down to pay the final toll
Take my body; leave my soul

There’s no happy ending
So don’t be holding your breath
Not a word worth defending
Bury me with my regrets

California, you seem like promised land
You feed my children and you work my hands
Every line that I wear upon my face
You can see the sorrow of our human race
California, you seem like promised land
You feed my children and you work my hands
When I lay down to pay the final toll
Take my body; leave my soul
Track Name: Betty
Dusting, cleaning, meals with meaning
Perfect pastries, nothing’s wasted
Soon I will buy a machine
That will predict sun or rain
Soon I can erase my will
By the swallow of a pill.

Mopping, sewing, children growing
Tasty pancakes, throbbing heartache
Oh my, the coffee’s done!
Here’s a cookie, won’t you have one?
If I never squelched desire
I might have set this house on fire.

Waiting, waiting, how I’m aging.
My perfection—self rejection.
Though I might have had a dream
The loss of it might make me scream
We never ever have those thoughts
Here inside the Music Box.
Track Name: Angela
Got a thistle in my cap and a bullet in my gut
Just so you can see what I’m made of
Lips and bones and knees and elbows
Teeth I’ve barely cut
Thank god I’ve got these hips like my mothers

I press them down in my saddle and I ride
I steel against my own self, I ride high

Spent the summer getting dusty
The sun peeled away my sadness
I pushed on like the weather
Work made leather of my vision
And callused up my fingers
I linger for worse, I’d hoped for better

So I press down in my saddle and I ride
I heal with my own health, I ride high

Dress me up, I don’t mind, I can be a paper doll for you
But watch the wind, it can blind you, and that’s my cue

My food, it isn’t free, I watch tv and read the magazines
I see all that I’m supposed to be

I press them down in my saddle and I ride
I steel against my own self, I ride high
Track Name: Jezebel
I like a bath that almost burns
I like a wheel that spins and turns
I always like to entertain
So there’s no time to be ashamed.

I like sad songs about sad things
Like silent films and wedding rings
I don’t like sweet, I like to savor
Those shiny, pretty party favors

I like a lot of what’s around me
but I love the thing that hasn’t found me
the quiet and the waiting thing
that keeps my hands upon the strings
that cuts the seams of lovely dreams
and then leaves

i love that moment at the start
the tease, the breath, the racing heart
i may stutter; i may laugh
I’ll play the fool on your behalf

I want the thing that makes me high
that first hello and the long goodbye
I want to know what I don’t know
I need to stop, I want to go go go

I like a lot of what’s around me
but I love what wants to dazzle and astound me
the silent thing that dominates
that mesmerized and fascinates
and makes it hard to separate
the quick from the kind

the self from the mind

it’s true, I might just slip and fall
sometimes i like to spill it all
i could tell you what it’s all about
but now it’s time to shut my mouth

I like a lot of what’s around me
But I love the dog that howls and hounds me
the fevered dream is manifest
it sparks and scalds without a rest
it rips my heart right from my breast
and then smiles
Track Name: Katrina
I spent the summer in my favorite blue dress.
I’m so tired, but I’ve still got this moment to confess.
I’m just one soul, but I worry in a global sense:
Earthquakes and shootings and general uprootings,
how can I help but feel helpless?

Newspapers and television
In my derision, I change the station.
In my ears and in my eyes, I have too much information
In my mind, I think: surely things will change.
Surely things will change, because they cannot stay the same.

This woman smiles at me, her lapel wisdom says “Pray. Pray Until Something Happens”
But nobody wants to do, yet they want to blame
and I think: surely things can change
Surely things can change, cause they cannot stay the same.

I spent the summer in my favorite blue dress.
I’m so tired, but I’ve still got this moment to confess.
I’m just one soul
But I think that surely things will change

Surely things can change
Track Name: Gynaika
238,900 miles away;
it was the year of our lord, 1968.
And I’m willing to bet
with a cosmic sigh,
we encouraged god to avert his eyes
when we dropped the bomb
in ‘45.

It’s not fair:
I wasn’t here to apologize.

I need to clear all this space trash
circling around my head,
and let in the heat of a star
that’s long been dead.

To bring down these thoughts
that are satellites
confounding my sense of wrong and right
proving once again:
I’ll dissatisfy.

It’s my fault:
Like the faithful, I was petrified.

Rooted right here on the planet,
for ages I’ve prayed to the Sun.
To forgive and forget
and remove the regret
of the battle hymns
still on our tongues,
and grant us another whole day
just to breathe and to run.

Weightless, thoughtless, busy with nothing I’ve spent my days
assuming my debts
can be paid
by the words on a page.
Disguising my faults
with a charming sound
a trick that turns trite into profound.
Maybe god is a player who won’t ever lay His cards down.

That’s a joke, but
I don’t feel like laughing now.

I’ve cleared the clouds from eyes and
I cannot be surprised.
No matter how hard
I have studied and yearned,
I see we remain unconcerned.

Politely, we say “no thank you,
we’d rather burn.”

It was luck:
this Accidental Atomic Grandeur.

It’s too late:
on this stage,
there’s no room for amateurs.