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by Balto

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Smokestacks 04:29
Smokestacks breathe fire on the skyline tonight And down by the docks I’m standing on the starboard side Anne, she is crying Anne, she is right “You don’t have to run anymore” Concrete and Squalor, mud and tire tracks Drunks in the fog tipping empty bottles back Anne at the bus stop Anne’s looking for change Threadbare and cold in the rain ---- Greyhound you starcrossed diesel limousine For five quiet nights she turns her child’s eyes on me Anne you’re a dreamer But Anne you’ve got to know Please don’t look back when I go ---- Did she make love a jailer Did she lock up the hope inside her chest Call it a burden she'd bear all alone And wait for the world to go cold ---- “Wake up,” she smiles we’re getting near the coast Anne’s making plans, the future offers so much more Eyes on the twilight she’ll ask me where I’m bound For years now I’m on my way home Highways go tumble to drown in choppy seas And where I went sailing, Anne could never follow me Down by the lighthouse it’s shining down her cheeks Silhouette that sticks in my dreams
Gravestones 03:40
I keep a letter in my drawer Postmark from several years before A headstone etched there on the page – a name a place a dying day But god, I’m never sure I guess three years ago last week A ghost-girl drifted down to me And left the outline of a timid face then slipped away without a trace Through space between the graves ------------------------------ And then I fell down on my knees I placed a kiss on stony cheeks I feel that grit between my teeth Why won’t she stay, love never stayed with me --------------------------------- Something like eighteen months ago I chased a rumor chased a hope That at St. Peter’s church the clock strikes twelve and ghost girls tend to show themselves but this one would not come ----------------------------------- And then I fell down on my knees I placed a kiss on stony cheeks I feel that grit between my teeth Why won’t she stay, love never stayed with me --------------------------------------- The years get longer counting days I’ve got some private holidays But when I burned my words by candle-light I saw her standing there behind “Go on,” she said, “I’ll wait.” ---------------------------------------- And then I fell down at her feet I laid a kiss on bloodless cheeks Escaping steam between my teeth Why won’t she stay, love never stayed with me
Airplanes (free) 04:46
As a child I looked at airplanes Learned all their technical names I never could guess what they’d do And I spent my youth waiting in airports Convinced of a purpose I’m lit up, I’m love, I’m a man And I’ve rented rooms that change with the seasons I forget the reasons The bottom falls out, I’m alone I hid in the corner, the tanks on parade down below Looking back homewards, shedding old tears for you ------------------------------------------- But can I stay with you just for a little while Been trouble all behind And lying here beside you Hell I want to get it right this time --------------------------------------------- When I make it home I’ll hand out key-chains And souvenir ashtrays But I’ll save the full story for you When I make it home, get a house like my brothers’ And be a good husband All simple and static and whole I’ll probably be older, when the fever burns out of my mind But I gotta tell you, I’m lit-up, I’m filled up and trying
Cavalry 03:36
I stalled in recalling The way I lived before I went away and sparked the Winter War Some brightness, once lightness Now sits heavy beneath my ribs Collects the weight of everything I did Oh but I had me a cause A good cause I thought The Bleeding drum beating Its time under my skin The cavalry goes riding out again Then lost and exhausted In that desert in my head I put my lips to water, tasted sand Oh but I had me a cause A good cause I thought ------------------------------ So if you see me start retreating See the shadow cross my eyes I’m gonna place a bet on wine, I'm gonna take my own advice And if I’m lucky I can see your lantern shine ------------------------------- I came back to find that The truth I knew as sure Doesn't seem so certain anymore The past lies in fragments that slip out of my dreams And follow me down all these crooked streets I Guess I’m haunted and lost chalk up a loss Now I’m Given, a vision That I’m not sure I can trust Of a woman throwing her dice down in the dust And a house made of mortar And I wish this house my home To hang it up and burn my uniform But what is the cost when I give up the cause
Doves 04:30
The white dove at morning called out to warn me - don’t Breath in The wind carries fire you knew as a child it'll lure you in And all the vultures sit on wires waiting for lightning to strike where you stand With your arms upon your chest and rapture heaving in your breath at the end In spite of the threat I decided to let my guard down I stood there for hours with three frozen flowers and watched the crowd I saw blind children throwing darts sticking into all four walls and themselves I saw their mothers watching sadly, scatter ashes like red petals on the ground --------------------------- Tell me what’s the harm In looking back, in holding on Endless hope sure takes long To quiet down, to let you out ---------------------------- The white dove of longing calls from the falling snow tonight I'll cover your footsteps, I’ve turned out the street lamps just come on outside So I went down to the river broke the ice and sang the saddest song I know And with the water to my waist I came to know I was afraid to turn and go
Monuments 05:48
My friends and I were sailing down To find out what the world’s about Driftwood, ships, and monuments To how the young man beat his breast And how his love is tied to death See lily fronds like lace upon The silver girl, her distant arms The words that issued from her lips A turn of phrase a parting gift Like “You’ve done wrong in abandoning Everyone and everything.” We’ll meet again someday is the longest of the lines That slip the hands of drowning men and go slowly with the tide Somewhere there’s a border town I hardly ever mention now Where young girls lock themselves inside And claim they’re never worth our time Because the flesh is not divine Because we’re never satisfied See empty chairs in Heaven high A disembodied voice decries Says “Of all the seething mess I’ve made nothing here is fit to save” So I’ll call for endless rain again Could we have sailed Off into A better land Two by two?


Monuments was tracked live in an old, repurposed church near Woodstock, NY during 3 days in June, 2012. We hung big marching drums from the ceiling, stayed awake day and night and half of us got salmonella poisoning, and we're delighted at what happened.

These are deliberate songs, introspective songs, songs that live in the Technicolor dream of memory. Boats in a bottle-green sea, fire up on a dusty red shoreline, a young man with one foot on the bow, sailing out, sailing back, self-immolating on the endless road between the existant and the ideal.


released September 18, 2012

All songs by Daniel Sheron
Arranged by Balto

Balto is:
Daniel Sheron
Andrew Sheron
Philippe Bronchtein
John Glouchevitch
Charlie Freundlich
Sam Budish

Produced, Engineered, Mixed by Jeremy Backofen
Mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering

Recorded June 2012 at Dreamland Studios
Additional Recording at Treetime, Popachi, and Badlands

Trumpet on tracks 1 and 6 - Eric Hennies
Trombone on Tracks 1 and 6 - Catherine Budish
Violin on Tracks 1 and 5 - Adam Moss
Artwork by Laura Ritchie


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Balto Los Angeles, California

Card Carrying Cultists of the Great American Song, The Great American Groove, and the Great American Highway


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