October's Road

by Balto

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    The Record the way it was meant to be - played from start to finish and stamped with the train tickets straight from that strange trip through Siberia. Full-Color, Fold-Out Jacket with Photography by Andrew Sheron and Tamás György.

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04:33
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05:54
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about

Balto came into being when Daniel Sheron abandoned his life in Moscow, Russia and went alone into Siberia. Against an ever shifting backdrop of railways and desolate wastes, he wrote a cycle of songs to tell the story of what had happened in that strange country, why he had exiled himself, and why he thought it mattered. In train cars and crumbling cities he encountered PEOPLE, and they inhabited the songs he was writing and the notes he was taking. In the fall, Daniel brought Balto back to America and called his friends to record an album in one day. On December 15, 2010, six people entered a basement in Brooklyn, New York and emerged that night with an album that no one had expected. October's Road.

Album Download Includes 14-page, full-color digital lyric booklet and 2 never-before-heard Demo songs.

credits

released 16 February 2011

Daniel Sheron - Vocal, Guitar, Harmonica
Andrew Sheron - Mandolin, Vocal
Charlie Freundlich - Double Bass
John Glouchevitch - Banjo, Vocal
Philippe Bronchtein - Piano, Accordion, Vocal
Jake Nussbaum - Drums, Percussion

All songs Written by Daniel Sheron
Produced by Andrew Sheron
Recorded by Ken Rich, Andrew Sheron, and Daniel Sheron
Mixed by Jeremy Backofen
Mastered by Richard Morris

Recorded December 15th, 2010 at Grand Street Recording in New York
All Songs copyright (c) 2011 by Daniel Sheron
Album Artwork by Andrew Sheron, Tamás György, and David Banys

Interlude on track 7 performed by Molio Sheron, "Don't light the fire"
words by D.M. Rathaus, music by A. Spiro

Cello and Vocal on tracks 1, 2, and 7 by Ava Kerr
Trumpet on tracks 6 and 10 by Koby Williamson

Heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has touched this project and been in my life, but especially to my parents who have given me everything I will ever have, to my brothers and their families, to my friends who I love dearly, and to Liza.

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Balto Portland, Oregon

A few years ago, Portland-based songwriter Daniel Sheron left his job and went alone into Siberia with a guitar and no change of clothes. The songs he wrote became Balto's debut album - gritty, dynamic americana with undeniable melodies and heartfelt lyrics. From strange roads in even stranger places come whispered songs of loss and stomping folk anthems, technicolor psych-folk and a few surprises ... more

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Track Name: The Railyard
Oh my sweet little darling dear
When these words reach your ears I’ll be long gone from here
All alone in a railyard, the shrill whistle blows
Oh where I’m a-going really god only knows

I’ll call her Eliza, the girl with no name
All wrapped up in silence, in secrets, in pain
In north country winter, both tied to the road
Smiled and said nothing, I bared her my soul

And I know that I loved her, but I couldn’t say why
And all of that silence might well have been lies
She cried out “I love you, but I’ll never be free.
There ‘aint no use guessing, just forget about me.”

It’s lonesome out here on the road
Where the last points of fire that light the night sky
Burn down to their embers and flicker and die
My fingers go numb in the cold
Where the last little spark that’s disrupting the dark
Is that last bit of feeling that’s left in my heart

My footsteps were haunted for many long weeks
I couldn’t find shelter in those dull dusty streets
So I found me a railcar with no windows, no doors
Poured out all my love on the cold rusty floor

And in the gray morning I was long gone, away
In a far eastern country where the language is strange
Where the seabirds they circle no ocean nearby
Like lost souls they’re crying, lamenting their plight

The sun rises and sets in the same goddamn place
Shadows circle my body and laugh in my face
Though I set out to find me a whole brand new life
I don’t want to forget her, I don’t want to die
Track Name: Self Portrait
Oh darlin' just for you
I'll be a good man I'll come through
Sing you simple words that you can understand
Sing it loud and clear and true

Oh I love you darlin' feel it my bones
Gotta tell it like it is
And though this world is wide – It seems I'm lost at sea
You know I'm rowing east

Oh darlin' though it seems I went away
I've been rollin' rollin' rollin' back to you
For I don't have a home of wood or brick or stone
No country, state, no name

All I know is that my place is where you are
I'm gonna make it, you know it can't be far!

It seems that you believe
That our love was lost the moment I appeared
You know this aint no phase – heard that voice and saw your face again
I can never leave

Oh I know that you are scared of everything
What's more you're scared of me
Everything I do is strange, its cruel, its real
I don't mean you any harm

Oh darlin' if the weight's too much to bear
Pass a little on to me
I don't got much but everything I have is yours
Don't be shy – come on by –¬¬ it ain't mine anymore
Track Name: The Tin Man
The Tin Man’s sitting in the waiting room
With his brand new plastic heart
He don’t know where to start
Can’t really tell it’s a false alarm
Cuz he can’t feel much of anything
No he’s hollow to the core
And what he pours inside don’t satisfy
Just spills out on the floor

The doc comes in 20 minutes late
And he pours himself a drink
He says, “boy I aint no shrink
But you better watch what it is you think!”
“Cuz that thing that ticks inside of you
has got a mind of its own
it’ll drive you mad for what you never had
make you burn like black coal.”

And he came up strong with too much love
For her cold hands to hold
You better hold him down until the end of the show
And when they danced he broke her back
With the weight of the world
You better hold him down till the end of the show

In the park by the tenement
With his head laid in his hands
The Tin Man has got a plan
He’s met a girl and she makes him sad
But all he knows he knows from films
And he follows the actor’s lead
He’s jammed a rose between his teeth
And scrubbed his armor clean

Now he’s running up and down the avenue
His joints are creaking in the rain
He made a date but she never came
Of course, he has gone insane
And he shouts her name into the night
He startles the passers by
And on the road not far ahead
She hears and she takes a fright

[Chorus]
The police report had a note in it
And it made the captain blush
He thought it all was a little much
He didn’t they called that love
It seems the Tin Man screamed some profanities
From the top of a city bus
But when he caught a sight of his girl inside
He slipped and died for all of us
Track Name: Kirov Factory
desperate, Fingers
prints on black and white
her hands tied
skinny wrists to the train line

trembling, Holding
fears she can't express
her eyes close
tiny fist in my hands, though

and she turns away, turns away
spilling tears on the subway

if birds could bend the iron rails
of cages, prisons, lies
and turn back time, unclip their wings,
regain that will to fly
as endless night returns to white,
someday they'll take the sky
cut all the lines, rise up on high,
like waking back to life.

sleepless, Frequent
eyes pried wide and powdered
for daybreak
steels herself for the heartbreak

hopeless, Highness
empty all your trust
as the doors close
the howling wind through the tunnels

then she'll glance back
sees her train on the wrong track

scares her to death scares her to death
scares me to death scares me to death
i'm a strange caveman
for a girl in a cave
scares me to death scares me to death
scares her to death scares her to death
Track Name: Elizabeth the Bumblebee
Elizabeth the bumblebee keeps flying round and stinging me
Left poison in my fingers long ago
And lonesome in the summer night she tried to get me one more time
Left stinger in my body before she died

And every night that buzzing fills my ears till morning light
And how I’ve saved that bitter pain as if it was today

Elizabeth you’re just like me come back to life come set me free
We’ll drink the nectar, spark like fireflies
And teach me every flower known to this foreign land you call your home
I’ll give you shelter if it gets too cold

But oh, I know your paper wings were frozen long ago
And fallen here, my swollen hands and eyes all filled with tears

I had another dream last night, a bumblebee came flying by
Black and yellow shape caught on the breeze
And as I turned expecting you to whisper, “how I looked for you!”
I only saw an ordinary fly

For the world’s gone gray and all that’s left are flies around decay
And all I see:
Are golden fields that’ll never be
And love you spent and lost on me
Your final words still stingin’ me
Wring honey from my heart so bittersweet
Track Name: Long Time Coming
Been coming for a long, long time
Oh did you say this life could never be
It was never really up to me
Decided by a god I cannot know

And when you poured every little fluid ounce of trust
The overflowing cup was only just
Your cardboard cutout substitute for love

And tragically I’m holding on
But the game is lost and the crowd is gone

I’m losing my mind
I’m losing my mind, oh
Been coming for a long, long time

And in my head a girl is sitting there
She picks a patch of wall and stares
She tells her love, she’s doomed to die alone

But then she’ll rise and straighten crooked spine
And remember love and remember life
She buys a ticket that train will take her home

And I’m standing on the platform here
But all mirages disappear

I’m losing my mind
I’m losing my mind, oh
Been coming for a long, long time
Track Name: Don Quixote
Handfulls of sleeping pills washed down with a bottle of wine
Couldn’t stop my mind, couldn’t hold my attention
From Noticing the cracks, the holes in my logic
And the permanence of the things that I have done

I notice as I’m riding on a subway late at night
In the flickering light, that I have always loved
imaginary princesses – it’s a simple, brutal truth
That while riding high, I am Don Quixote

I am a bull in a china shop while stick-limbed, skinny, frail
I destroy all the pretty things while my body wastes away
And for my crimes they packed me up and shipped my soul away
So my fragile arms couldn’t cause you any harm or any pain

A letter comes down from the sky she writes a lot of nothing
but I lose my mind and spend a whole week thinking
of all the things I never did – that last and final promise
that I couldn’t keep – couldn’t make it across the border

Every time I touch the phone the urge takes hold my fingers
And my words turn cruel, I’ll make her say she loves me
Forgetting at the other end a pair of trembling fingers
dials frantically – my imaginary girlfriend

I am a bull in a china shop while stick-limbed, skinny, frail
I destroy all the pretty things while my body wastes away
And for my crimes they packed me up and shipped my soul away
So my fragile arms couldn’t cause you any harm or any pain

So forgive me for the things I’ve done and all I never did
And I’ll try to do the same for you, I know you’re just a kid
Track Name: October's Road
the seatbelt sign blinks, the day is stretched out
somewhere far away all my hope turned to doubt
i sat awake in the piercing sunlight,
with my eyes screaming out for the quiet of night

Got cuts on my fingers, got blood on my hands
And the wounds can’t be stitched closed with fraying loose ends
And the echoes of past love now emptied of form
Get louder and louder as I drift out from shore

How am I gonna show from across this ocean that I can’t let you go
Cuz as the months fall away, aint see nothing gonna change
How am I gonna know if you’re alive and breathing anymore
Cuz all the lines are getting cold and I’ve got to show for…

Oh if you had seen me
Collapse to the floor and known why and what for
You'd finally hear me
Come running with help, wipe the blood from my mouth
Where it spilled
And maybe you'll notice
That fear of your loss has kept closing me off
And at last
I tore myself open
A river poured out after decades of drought
SO COME ON
I'm willing and able
My feet or a plane, oh a bus or a train
I can run
If only a moment
To hold your cold hands tell you life aint that bad
Because it aint — life aint that bad.
Track Name: The Lover
Hey there lover don’t you feel so bad
There aint no one gonna take what you once had
Oh you won so many battles but you lost the war
Now it’s time to pack and leave for brighter shores

So you tore up half your letters
Marked the rest “return to sender”
Tore every last picture off the wall

Hey there lover I know she's done you wrong
But what she gave you first won’t do you any harm

Well she faded into silence
Left you standing in the aisle
When morning came you dropped that dried bouquet

But you know she really loved you
Though now there’s nothing to hold on to
You know certain things can never be undone

So hold your head up high, lover
Drink that wine and toast your lover
Even if she’s gone and far away

Oh can you remember – what you had
From the first of November – and what was said
That passed away
By the very first of May

I met a lover yesterday on bended knee
He aint waiting for no one to set him free
See he grew his beard and watched the autumn fade to gray
Sittin by the kitchen window, he’s drawn the shade

And the faces laugh around him
“You’re a fool you lonely bastard,
don’t you want to be a happy man like me”

But he smiles, his eyes a-shining
“My friend you miss the silver lining
There’s only one truth I’ve come to know”
Track Name: Home November Shore
At a bus stop in a border town
This lovelorn refugee
Slowly smokes a cigarette
And trembles, ill at ease
She should have been here hours ago
I watch the eastward road
But the sun tracks fast across the sky
And still nobody shows

And then I’m torn away at last
The doors slam hard and fast
Watch the empty houses
Press my nose against the glass

I guess I’ll go home then
It’s time to go home again
I’ll try to go home again

At a wooden house on Fleet Street
I took my final vows
Put a pen to paper then
Described what I had found
But words all lose their meaning when
You’re lost alone in love
And whatever mail I sent that day
Got lost and wasn’t enough

So I read a guide to San Francisco
In a boat out far from shore
Thought of all the love I’d make
If I ever got back to port

Now Coney Island’s emptied out
That cold November shore
Between the freak-show carousels
Dance the ballerina ghosts
I dance the ghost dance for my love
I paint my forehead blue
Raise my hands towards paradise
But my directions get confused

And I know I marked myself a man
With war paint on my cheeks
But there’s no strength left in my hands
Can hardly even speak