Everything's a Phoenix

by Jonathan Brinkley

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    Packaged in recycled card stock sleeve, with beautiful artwork by Elena Cronin, and letterpress printing by Michael D'Alessandro at Bedouin Books. Delightfully homespun!

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With love and transformation as general themes in my life, it's no surprise that those themes make up the bulk of this latest release. I sing about life, death, joy, sorrow, and romantic love with reverence and celebration, but also a good dose of reality. The reality is that there is joy in all of it, and even endings don't have to be about suffering. Everything's becoming. It's all ending, but beginning anew. Everything's a phoenix.

This album exists because these people (in no particular order) are amazing: Debbie Arnold (my mom), Katerina De Metz, Richey Bellinger, Elena Cronin, Lee Ritter, Meghan Clark, Nico, Jason Montgomery, Albert Kaufman, Larry Kaplowitz, Allen Green, Diane Coward, Michael D'Alessandro, Justin Brown, Ellen McGehee, Brandon Stewart, Jennifer Lee, Candace and Mark Scheidegger, and everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter.com fundraiser.


released May 20, 2011

Jonathan Brinkley: Words and Music, Vocals, Guitar, Junk in the Yard
Jason Montgomery: Bass, Steel Guitar
Lee Ritter: Drums
Ellen McGehee: Violin

The CD was conjured guerilla-style in various basements, living rooms, and outbuildings throughout Oregon and California by: Jonathan Brinkley, Richey Bellinger, Jason Montgomery, and Nico
Mastered by Dan Rhiger at Medicine Whistle Studio.



all rights reserved


Jonathan Brinkley Portland, Oregon

Portland-based artist Jonathan Brinkley travels a lot to share his music around the world. When not traveling, he's lived and worked on organic farms. The themes of growth, death, motion, and regeneration heard in his songs are influenced by both stillness and wandering. An undaunted dedication to truth-telling earns him a following of fans who connect to his music on a very personal level. ... more

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Track Name: Everything's a Phoenix
from my death comes ashes
flash of wing, dash and dive
when this whole thing crashes
i'll still be alive

and you'll come with me
now everything's a phoenix flying

and you'll rise with me
now everything's a phoenix burning

teetering on the edge my arms make panic circles in the air
i'm holding on, i'm holding on
teetering on the edge of the abyss i smile and flap my wings
i'm letting go and getting gone

everything's a phoenix now
Track Name: Built in a Day
this city was built in a day

where will all the people come from?

we know too well

our brains have outgrown our hearts

must have gotten carried away

perhaps there's time.
Track Name: I Intend to Die
I intend to die
as I intend to live:

open handed.

I intend to take
what living tends to give,

nothing demanded.

to release what I want is to have it
to enjoy what I have is to need nothing

to die gracefully, gratefully,
in every moment
with every breath
is to accept
that death is nothing new
that fear is the only thing that makes it scary
and that life is always new
everything changing
just as it has
since the first human clenched the first fist at the
already ancient sky
and even before that.

Let my grave be the ravenous forest,
marked only by ashes,
and let them spell out:

Track Name: Not Hiding Now
i used to try to impress people with how "enlightened" i was
now i try to impress people with how honest i am
one day i hope to not try to impress people at all
by the way, i hope you like this song

i'd like to say i'm sorry to everyone affected by me not being who i really am--it's not my fault, you see, i was blinded by the thought of who i had to be.
had to hide 'cause the real me was small and scared of being powerless or powerful or anything with

god, i'm really laying it all out there right now, aren't i?
or maybe i'm just laying it all down

i'd like to try not hiding now
right now
Track Name: Lazy Bones
it's quiet here
I thought I'd miss you more
the apples are falling
I could be out with my basket now
lazy bones, lazy bones

was I born to play this guitar
or was I born to let go of everything?

it's quiet here
I heard an airplane today
the engines were roaring
the people onboard doing business deals
lazy bones, lazy bones

was I born to use my voice
or was I born to let go?
does it have to be either--or both?
Track Name: Messy
i've been a wreck
but with you, i'm reckless
i've been a recluse
but you tighten my strings
and play

i'm taking chances
it's time to unwind
when i come to my senses
i'm out of my mind

when a touch feels bigger than its consequences
i can't think we'll burn in a fire that quenches
like this

it's gonna be messy
it's gonna be so beautiful
it's gonna prove us right
it's gonna prove us wrong

of course i care
but let's not be careful
i want to say the wrong things
wrong but still true
filling the air full

of everything we've risked to feel this way
the only danger's in not giving enough away

what's left when the fire burns down?
maybe the rough blade that becomes a sharp knife
cuts clean and often deep
and safety serves those satisfied with a still life

let's love what's left when the fire burns down

it's gonna be messy
Track Name: Gresham F104º
The magnified invisible devil kisses my bare chest with his hot grin, and I can't say it burns; I don't exactly know it burns. I've never felt devil lips before. I don't know whether I created him or just stumbled into his cold, cavernous mouth. He seemed to know I was coming.

The devil's saddest woe is he can't be honest and beautiful at the same time.

It's a hot day in a new city, and my brain is sweating. It took over pounding when my heart stood still; now it's tired and forgetting how to let the heat of all this guilt just wash out through my skin, so the heart can gasp and sputter to life once again.

This heat does not destroy, it simply swells to stillness those who can't keep their cool.
So the devil laughs and cannonballs into the swimming pool.
Track Name: Butterflies
i'm sorry for the rift this may cause
but i will not be silent anymore
to know me quiet is to know me false
is to know me not at all

better to love me and hate what i think
than to love a story and never know
better to love me and hate what i think
than to love a story and a shadow

name all your sinners after me
name all your worrisome children

a revolution is a heretic's reply
a blasphemer must have great faith
and so must i
a steeple cracked releases butterflies

name all your sinners after me
name all your beautiful children
Track Name: Children of Men
one sweet song for the children of men
grown up with their mothers
stressed out
stretched thin
when, say when will we finally begin to move out?
we're sorry mom, but our shoulders aren't strong enough
for this door
we're sorry but we can't protect you anymore
there's dirt on our hands
she cursed as she scrubbed
and dubbed dear old daddy a deadbeat
son, you'll be a man soon
just as soon as we find you a sketch of one
one sweet song for the children in men
grown up with their mothers
stressed out
stretched thin
when, say when will we finally begin to come clean?
oh but don't cry, for you've no less direction
than i had when i was your age
all we can do is our chores, our reading and math
as for dreams of our fathers, turn the page
to one sweet song for the children of men
grown up with their mothers
stressed out
stretched thin
when, say when will we finally begin to move out?
we're grateful mom, but our shoulders aren't strong enough to hold this door
we're grateful, and, we won't protect you anymore
Track Name: Layla
ooh la la, Layla

you were named after a song
and so you sang your world to me
and it challenged the sweetest saddest note in my heart
the sweetest ache in my memory
this formless ache in my memory

he called you girlfriend
but he was never very friendly
you talked and cried about him in-between kisses
and we were never sorry

afternoons were all we had,
tiny windows while your mother was gone
we turned her couch into an inferno
flame-deep in its intentions,
urging us on
turning us on

i still love making out in jeans
maybe thanks to you and all your teenage cotton
and i can still feel the shapes that i traced on your skin
under your sweater
i've never forgotten

you were named after a song
and so you sang your world to me
and it challenged the sweetest saddest note in my heart
the sweetest ache in my memory
Track Name: Sunset
sunset, seventy degrees
you and me and two weak knees
two weeks till september's on
two days more and then you're gone

the revelers have gone inside
i've something left to confide
it's obvious to everyone
they're expecting us to get it on

laughter sounds the best out loud
hate to disappoint the crowd
but you and i both know the stakes
bruised egos and more heartaches

what i want to do is dare
to simply speak and clear the air
i've know silence many times
and nothing hurts more
nothing hurts more

don't say if only that were this
there were here, then we could kiss
making up for everything
we have missed by covering

loved you for and instant here
now let's keep our distance dear
keep the sunset off our minds
keep the promises that bind

still, we had a splendid time

sunset, sixty-three degrees
one eternal moment seized
thank you for the reveries
Track Name: Water Song
glint of silver and white
gleaming like the light's too bright
rainbow when the angle's just right
water joins water the splash of a liquid light
water joins water never putting up a fight

echo of a bells ring
feel the touch by listening
oh, the joy of whispering
water joins water I long to hear everything
water joins water never resists anything

feeling both young and old
becoming humble and bold
bigger than my skin can hold
water joins water you find life in every fold
water joins water a worthier friend than gold
Track Name: Me and My Friends
Me and my friends
look each other in the eye
me and my friends
we don't flinch at love

we say it 'cause it's true
and even if it's not we
laugh and laugh and laugh
we know what to do
and even when we don't
we know what's true

me and my friends
we are not concerned with shame
me and my friends
we don't have a thing to prove

we open every door
and those that we find locked
we knock and knock and knock
we patiently stand by
and when the whole dam breaks
we cry and cry and cry

me and my friends
we assume that play feeds life
me and my friends
we will play with you for free

we'll dance until we're bare
and then we'll dance some more
our feet will feel the earth but never touch the ground

me and my friends
we are not convinced of death
me and my friends
we intend to leave
no crumbs