True Love and Water

by Erica Buettner

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about

Erica Buettner follows the siren song of two muses: New York and Paris. Growing up in Connecticut, just North of New York on the East Coast, this 26 year-old American singer-songwriter has always felt a great affinity for the Greenwich Village scene of the 60s - for a style of songwriting as influenced by traditional folk songs as it is by beat and confessional poetry (Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Karen Dalton…) Like a folksinger born in the wrong decade, Buettner traced her own beginnings through East Coast coffee houses and university campuses, recording her first demos before the age of 20.

As a university student, she decided to study in Paris. This was supposed to be a one-year trip, but the magnetism of the City of Lights proved difficult to resist, and she ended up staying for four years. On hazy summer days of 2007, she began taking her guitar to Parc Montsouris in the 14th arrondissement and carefully crafting the songs that would evolve into her debut album. It was at this juncture that she met with Parisian songwriter Pierre Faa. Originally, they met to have a cup of tea in his home studio. She played True Love and Water for him, and it only took him a few minutes to switch on the recording equipment. They did the song in one take and consequently began a collaboration that evolved into the production of an entire album.

Living in Europe infused Erica’s sound with new colors and influences. She began performing in theaters, clubs, bookshops and Parisian caves. She was a regular at the Spoken Word poetry nights, a haven for ex-patriot writers in Paris, and she quickly developed a reputation for poignant lyrics and a hauntingly beautiful voice that resulted in an enthusiastic following in the capital. The press also took notice, and she got a mention in the Telerama cultural newsletter of Le Monde as a response to the few tracks she had posted on myspace. Her release of a French cover, C’est Julien (originally performed by Marie LaForet) made it on to a Dutch compilation of French female singers called Filles Fragiles. She has performed extensively in France, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Belgium.

The forthcoming release of True Love and Water on April 4th, 2011 is much-anticipated. French critic François Gorin says that the two songs “True Love and Water” and “Time Travelling” alone “suffice to convince us that a real talent in the landscape of female folksingers has just bloomed”. Les Inrocks.com follows suit: “Paris has its Sibylle Baier: an uprooted American whose enveloping siren song makes us lose all sense of reason.” And the new music panel of the UK folk blog, For Folk’s Sake, who included Erica among their list of best emerging artists of 2010, gave her glowing reviews that speak for themselves:

“Ginsberg-ghosted Parisian-beat-music”,
“She proves that she has the intelligence and wit that audiences delight in the world over”
“A captivating and engaging presence”
“I don’t buy much music, but I will be buying Buettner’s album True Love and Water, due any day now, and so should you.”

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released April 4, 2011

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Track Name: Time Travelling
Crying won't get you a dime,
but you won't get a dime without crying
life's greatest balancing act
is to sell fewer tears than you're buying

At the fountains of sorrow,
you don't make a wish,
everyone learns how to swim like a fish
You save all your pennies for a luckier tide
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride

But we will stay afloat
drop our hearts like anchors and rock like the boat
My love was born with gills
A cavernous space that creates, restores, and refills

In the city the walls learn to talk,
screaming slogans in neon and chalk,
people cast their beliefs like a stone
that betrays but won't leave you alone

And the cars all fly past
in a hot, metal flash,
it's the speed at which moments
belong to the past
The flood that keeps coming
and alarms that won't ring
are the reasons that I started time travelling

I am with you in heart and in mind
I am with you in and out of time
We are rising and rolling like waves
through the dust and the grind and the grime

You told me that time functions just like a coil
and bodies are roots if they just pierce the soil
so let us lie down in the soft, fertile ground
and stare up the center of time going round

We will stay afloat
drop our hearts like anchors and rock,
rock like the boat
My love was born with gills,
a cavernous space that creates, restores, and refills
Track Name: True Love and Water
Let's go up the hill and fetch a pail of water,
We'll hold it to the lips of all the sons and daughters
Your parents called you Jack, my parents called me Jill
They've given us the pail, they've shown to us the hill

The path is steep and winding,
the sun is hot and unabiding,
but there, there is the well!
There is the well and our bucket sinking,
It comes up brimming,
and we keep on drinking

Little Jack is acting wild,
He's made me a crown of flowers
(I've never seen him like this)
He's splashing me with water
We've been dancing here for hours
He takes me in his arms, and in this tender thrill,
I marvel at my chances, I'm so happy to be Jill

True love and water
For both of our lips

True love and water
For both of our lips

He has a lovely voice, I adore to hear him sing
He's forgotten he's a peasant boy,
he's acting like a king
He's promising me castles and pleasure manifold
He thinks the town will shower him with silver and with gold

When we bring
True love and water
To every son and daughter

True love and water
For all of their lips

He's running down the hill,
he seems to have forgotten our task
because the water keeps on spilling
and he's pulling me too fast
He says come on, lovely Jill, the sun is going down
We've got to show the world,
show them what we've found
It's written in the stars, it's written in the stars
This true love of ours
It's written in the stars

Little Jack's foot hit a root in the ground
He went tumbling, tumbling, tumbling down
as written,
Written in the stars
He had my arm, he holds it still
As I stare up at the dizzy sky and wonder why I'm Jill

True love and water
Were lost in the spill
So very close
To the bottom of the hill
Track Name: Under the Radar
You're sorry about the weather,
and you don't know why
you always feel the need to apologize
For things that are way out of your control
Instead of just facing the conflicts you're erasing,
let time do the trick,
it's the best medicine

You see yourself talking
like you're outside watching
he asks if you have any secrets
and you say no,
I'm as clean as snow

But the pressure never ceases
it's survival of the species
and just to love somebody
can leave you all in pieces
Sometimes to stand up straight
you've got to first bend down
shake off your hero's stance
and remove your crown

I liked you better the way you almost were.

Every word you utter
is carried by the tide
and ripples into places you might
have tried to hide,
fear of reaction is good incentive
for distraction

When johnny walker said
you could start playing dead
he really meant to kill the voices in your head
And if you live a little lower
and fly under the radar,
you might forget the reasons
you didn't want to stay here
Sometimes to stand up straight
you've got to first bend down
shake off your hero's stance,
and remove your crown

I liked you better the way you almost were.
Track Name: When It Goes
Learning is a small sting,
is a small burn on the tip of the finger,
it's a warning, a bitter taste
that lingers on the tip of the tongue

But the soul,
infinite vessel has no tiny edges
safe to expose, for what it wants,
it goes, and when it goes
it really goes

Headstrong, headlong plunge...
and godspeed to anyone who follows

The green space
that we started in, we ruined
in its entirety
but what's divine in you,
and what's divine in me,
is still up to you, is still up to me

We planted seeds of that fruit
you shouldn't eat, and it turns out
the tree's just like any other tree
nurture it and it flourishes
nurture it and it flourishes
nurture it and it flourishes

And the soul,
infinite vessel has no tiny edges
safe to expose, for what it wants,
it goes, and when it goes
it really goes

Headstrong, headlong plunge
(and godspeed to anyone who follows)
when it goes
follow
when it goes
Track Name: Arctic Dogs
Outer limits
Pure desert
Should I have followed you?

For the Northern Lights
You see them in your dreams
This vision
Dangles at an arm’s length

Stay awake
We’re trying to survive
Though the ice is cracking we are still alive

Stay awake
Don’t let yourself go numb
Feel and feel
Until all feeling’s gone

In the very source of cold
We will make a space for warmth
Digging like the arctic dogs
We’ll burrow our long bodies down

We’re out here
For beauty
Alluring siren’s song

We’re out here
For symbols
Milk and honey
Just a little further

When we find it
We’ll sleep a thousand years
Let our hair grow around us
Spin a tight cocoon

Metamorphosis
To evolve beyond our fears
Wake up light and fly
With the shifty moon

In the very source of cold
We will make a space for warmth
Digging like the arctic dogs
We’ll burrow our long bodies down
Track Name: Our Most Fragile Things
We turned all our sharp parts inwards
kept our shell from breaking open
Our love was an idea
safe and sound and softly spoken

Ever since I've had a beak
I've wondered what a beak is for
What I meant to be a gentle peck
Struck fast and hard right to our core

First there was a bright,
tiny point of light
Then there was a fissure
that grew into a crack
and under all the pressure
a part of us was shattered
The feeling told us wholeness
was never coming back

We must learn to fall
before we learn to fly
It's a test of faith
for my love and I

Some try to stop us
they pluck out our feathers
while they're combing our wings
and some try to warn us
not to trust doting hands
with our most fragile things

All the red leaves shiver
overlooking the Hudson River
in their fragile spines
I see the lines
of my tired hands
I've been fortune telling them
they'll have long lives and children
deep inside I know we're all bracing
for the fall

We must learn to fall
before we learn to fly
It's a test of faith
for my love and I
Track Name: No Land's Man
The cars are rattling serpentine
shaky vertebrae in the highway's spine
They're winding toward the electric fence
that sprawls across the borderline

When you meet the guards
wear your thickest skin
but when we embrace,
please make it thin
It's too easy to lose feeling
in the kind of world
we're living in

Maybe I
come from you
Maybe you
come from me too
It's 5AM on the borderline
and this no land's man
is the man of mine

We do have faith
for each wall they build
we can build a taller ladder
We do have faith
that there is a point
where a wall too tall
will shatter

We're only heading where
we were heading
all along
We are trangressing
every line that our hands
have drawn
It's 5AM on the borderline
and this no land's man
is the man of mine
Track Name: Body Electric
All these hollowed, out empty towns
in the empire dying fast

The last flicker of neon light
leaving empty bulbs of glass too fragile
for this world

All these hollowed, out empty folks
like outlines in pavement chalk

Eyes all narrowed down to slits
from light too hot to be let in

Hot as the push of needles
Hot as the fast food grease

Hot as the nothing left
Hot as the big release

Hot as fluorescent ceilings
Hot as the neighbor's gun

Hot as the children launching their
Waxy-winged flight towards the sun

My land I try my best for you
I follow my own pen, I choose my own route

I follow the brightest star
I follow the brightest star

The body electric
The body electric
electric electric

Through cracks in the blacktop the grass is still growing
I spin like a searchlight I spin like a searchlight
I want to be part of that energy flowing I know that it's urgent
It's urgent it's urgent

Through cracks in the blacktop the grass is still growing
I spin like a searchlight I spin like a searchlight
I want to be part of that energy flowing I know that it's urgent
It's urgent
It's urgent

Through cracks in the blacktop the grass is still growing
I spin like a searchlight I spin like a searchlight
I want to be part of that energy flowing I know that it's urgent
It's urgent
It's urgent
Track Name: Fate's Accident
Prickling up in the air
I know we didn't come in a pair
We come on our own
mostly alone
muscle, blood, and bone

The madame has a crystal ball
carress it and it will tell all
a blush of the stone
the story unknown
begins to take form

If she's the real thing
my life's on a string
and there is some unseen hand moving
fingers mechanically choosing
or some unseen hand dancing
fingers maniacally prancing

Fate's accident
my unlucky choice
all its vibrations
move the chords of my voice

But one thing is sure
I've loved you before
In this life I'm sorry
Our timing is poor

Neither of us modest
and both of us honest
this love will not be

Neither of us trusting
and both of us lusting
this love will not be

In another life I'm sure
I've loved you before
and though we can't make it
the instinct was pure

Fate's accident
my unlucky choice
all its vibrations
move the chords of my voice