Wisely (Bonus Track Edition)

by Willie Wisely

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    Mastered for vinyl by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering, Camarillo, CA. Available on audiophile 180gram vinyl, with adapted art from the original CD release, and re-sequenced by the artist for optimal fidelity.

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    Designed by Peter Rosenzweig especially for the release of "Wisely". Thick-woven light gray heather shirt sports a design that is eye catching and vibey.

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  • Compact Disc (CD)

    “Wisely has created another set of beautifully crafted pop with a vague sense of cloudiness and dread, as if Emitt Rhodes and Ron Sexsmith had decided to collaborate, and Wisely’s skills as a songwriter and a producer are as keen as ever.” ––Mark Deming, ALLMUSIC

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about

This album is offered at Bandcamp courtesy of Oglio Records.

"Wisely", also known as the OXOX album, shows a commitment to austerity. Created with producer/drummer Petur Smith (Jason Faulkner, Rusty Anderson) the arrangements are surrounded with space – stripped to a naked honesty – with plenty of room for listeners to come and visit, and stay for a good long while.

This Bonus Track Edition includes The Beatles classic "Here, There And Everywhere"

That Faint Scratching Sound

In 2004 drummer/producer Petur Smith and I ventured up the west coast from Los Angeles on a hardscrabble tour. The journey was distinguished by a faint sound emitting from the back seat. We didn’t know it right away, but the sharp edge of a steel guitar stand was scraping the bejesus out of the plastic interior door panel. For the rest of the tour, at the onset of any disappointment, boredom or fatigue (or any other road-born emotion that demands an absurd response), we’d mimic the scraping sound with our mouths and laugh. The joke was as abstruse as it was troubling, because I was certain that National Car Rental would charge us hundreds of dollars for the damage.

Our show in Coos Bay, despite being poorly attended earned us a few fans. But most that audience would’ve greatly preferred we play Creedence Clearwater Revival covers or get the hell off stage (I think we tried to play “Lodi“). The coolest gig of the tour was booked by a songwriting partner of mine Andras Jones. He had us opening for Eleni Mandel in Olympia––with the impressive Joshua Grange playing guitar and pedal steel in her band. Before the show, as Eleni and I both set up our merch tables, I mentioned to her the name of a mutual friend and watched her immediately ice over, as if I’d reminded her to an unfaithful boyfriend. Maybe she was just distracted. But, further conversation was stifled. I’d impaled myself upon a chill.

Regardless, I swooned at her set that night, and took a thousand pictures of her. I had already been a fan; her WISHBONE album (produced by pop masters Jon Brion and Brian Kehew) was always a favorite. And of course, her voice is spellbinding. Music did all her talking for her.

The tour’s apex was a gig at Doe Bay on Orcas Island. The ferry ride across the Puget Sound was a beautiful treat––certainly more enjoyable than the gig, played to a few booths of people, mostly facing away from our bass-less duo. After the show, the show really started, drinking with my old pal John Berry and a friend of his. John is a sensational visual artist and over the years I’d had him design a few album covers, posters, fonts and a huge backdrop for my bands. So drinking on a remote wooded island, far from home, made for a lovely time.

One odd memory persists: while driving through remote Oregon on Interstate 5, Petur’s pillow was sucked out of an open back seat window. “O crap,” I exclaimed as I saw it fly away in the rear view mirror. “What?” Petur asked. “You’re pillow! I am pulling over.” But he insisted I not. I pressed the brakes a little, as he said, “no, no, go on it doesn’t matter. It’s the pillow from my girlfriend’s bed.” The remark seemed too fraught with psychological overtones to respond to. But, I felt we should go pick it up, if for no other reason than because there’s something sad about a pillow by the side of the highway. I anthropomorphize pillows, like children do teddy bears.

On the tour, Petur and I performed many songs that I’d begun recording for my PARADOR album. During the long ferry ride to Orcas Island, I gave Petur my iPod and asked him to give his opinions on the rough mixes. He was critical about tones and an overall coldness. His honesty was heartbreaking, but also illuminating, as I’d been working on PARADOR for a while and had no perspective on it. I trusted Petur’s opinion because his taste in music and his feel on the drums are impeccable. From the very first time seeing him in 2000 with The Januaries he’d impressed. His drumming was sublime and groovy, and stole my attention, despite a Bardotesque singer in Debbie Diamond, and the awesome Rick Boston on bass/guitar.

A week later, as our tour came to a close, on yet another sunny SoCal day, Petur suggested he and I produce a song together. We chose “Altitudes” as the recording that most needed a rethinking. I’d demoed the song with vintage 1960′s rock and jazz samples, and then done yet another version that was too hyper-active. Petur felt that a different rhythm would make it more cohesive. So probably in early 2005, we gathered at my home studio in Laurel Canyon, set up some drum mics and started recording and arranging.

Petur labored over the drum arrangement for a couple sessions. He insisted on stripping away unnecessary parts. I’d never worked with a producer so committed to the hygiene of a recording––if you will. But it was surprising to see how the removal of tiny, excessive details served to better outline the song. His goal was to make the arrangement see-through––a structure of bars upon which a fleshy song could hang and not be obscured. His approach reminded me of Gwyneth Paltrow’s face and how her skin so gracefully shrouds her bird-like bones. Petur added bass and acoustic guitar when my performances didn’t feel delicate and controlled enough. Besides lead guitar and singing, I mostly engineered the track, perfecting the edits and enjoying the ride.

After Moog Cookbook’s Brian Kehew added Mellotron and synthesizer we finally had a slender, cool, compelling version of “Altitudes”. I included it on PARADOR, which inspired deeper collaborations with Petur, resulting in the WISELY album, recorded during 2006-7. Our working title for the project was LUNGS, and I regret not keeping that, because the space around the music on this record is air-like and gently swelling. The economy that Petur brought to the album is its defining quality––nothing extra, just clarity and clear tones without that faint scratching sound in the background.

credits

released January 8, 2008

produced by Petur Smith & William Wisely Jr.
mixed by Chuck Zwicky at ZMIX (NYC)
executive producer: Jeff Gross
Mastered for vinyl by Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering, Camarillo, CA. Available on audiophile 180gram vinyl, with adapted art from the original CD release, and re-sequenced by the artist for optimal fidelity.
oxox graphic by jotcreates
watercolors: Susan Freedman
scribble: Ella b. Gilbert Wisely
photography: Brent Roske
design: Pete Rosenzweig for worknonwork

special thanks:
Kay Wisely, Maya Asai, Jenna Fischer, Mark Copeland, Carl Caprioglio, John Cabrera, Wende Crowley, Lee Kirk, James Gunn, James Gonis, Alexander Gould, Eileen Hochberg, Mike Dow, Cammy Kinney, Kara Monaco, Mike Elliot, Rusty Anderson, Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm, Mike Ruekberg, Pascal de Maria, Mikey Bouchereau, John Fields, DJ Bonebrake, Anya Marina, Alannah McCready, Kenneth Seng, Danny Giles, Mercedes Blackehart, Meghan Blalock, Jesse Jaraczewski, Carrie Freedle, The Gorts & the Hoffmanites, Smoothie King, Emily Jo.

Deepest gratitude to Petur Smith for his contributions of vibe, wisdom, long hours & great playing.

Dedicated to Winston Elliot Wisely born on the longest day of the year. Endless love to Kay.

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about

Willie Wisely Los Angeles, California

Willie Wisely released his first full-length album in 1992, touring the US and Japan ever since, building a following for his evocative pop. He is a songwriter’s songwriter, often compared with Elliot Smith, Ron Sexsmith and Paul McCartney. His latest CD marks the 18-year reunion of his Minneapolis-based group the Willie Wisely Trio, road warriors noted for their circusy, jazz-anti-jazz aesthetic. ... more

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Track Name: On My Way
Everything I own is all aboard
Turn off the light slide the key underneathe the door
I look at you, you look at me, we look around and then we realize
There’s nothing left to do

I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Really on my way, somewhere

No one said a word until the parking lot
Take good care of yourself you’re all you got
I said goodbye and so did you when no one moved we looked into each others eyes
And seeing what we see

I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Really on my way
Somewhere
No you won’t go there
But I can’t stay here

You say I never asked you to
Why ask when I already knew
I look at you you look at me we couldn’t see the sky we’re standing in
Still here we are

I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Really on my way
Somewhere
Somewhere
No you won’t go there
But I can’t stay here
No you won’t go there
But I can’t stay here
Track Name: Cracked World View
We stood to watch it fall
The wall that cut us all
Disintegrates into everyone

The things you felt were real
Impossible to conceal
Fear melts away into joy

So why are we still fighting the cancer
We all know the question follows the answer

And every day I grow a little bit farther from you
And love grows smaller in the din and the hollar of your
Cracked world view
I met a lot of people and people are divided it’s true
But every day’s a reason for a shorter season of your
Cracked world view

The sky turned orange blaze
Gone arosol insane
Like brotherhood swallowed everyone

That’s when we knew we’d been blind
It’d crawled inside our mind and said
“No one loves nobody”

Well we know the love and we know the anger now
Look in the mirror there stands a stranger

And every day I grow a little bit farther from you
And love grows smaller in the din and the hollar of your
Cracked world view
I met a lot of people and people are divided it’s true
But every day’s a reason for a shorter season of your
Cracked world view
Track Name: Tokyo Arbor
Sunshine, looks like the clouds gave us a break
Dream light, you’re going to burn me with your face
Just another night before days begin to crawl
Just another night before snow banks decorate this house

Another winter time on Tokyo Arbor
To change your ways

Flagstone you’ve got a moss for every mood
Jasmine I’m going to breathe you till I’m bruised
Just another night before days begin to crawl
Just another night before gravity decorates this house

Another winter time on Tokyo Arbor
Twin waterfalls split the icy jade
Snow flakes vanish into blackened water
Another year I’ll wait for you to change your ways

Feline
Supine
In the shade a sundial frowns
Are you going to change things?
Or treat me strangely?
‘Cause it’s going to snow until I drown

Another winter time on Tokyo Arbor
Twin waterfalls split the icy jade
Snow flakes vanish into blackened water
Another year I’ll wait for you to change your ways
Track Name: Folk, Singer Songwriter, Beck - Unfamiliar
The taste of mud. The taste of silver
I’m still in Catalina, collecting caterpillar
Cleaning room and climbing ladder

I am your friend in the throws of something wicked
I am your friend but does it matter
The sun is sweet and all but
Soon the sweetness dies

Unfamiliar
The taste of mud is not
Unfamiliar
Summer hanging on too long
Unfamiliar to me
And you’ve become

You send no word, all that I can do is guess
About July. You’ve left me everyday since
Memory replays the anger
Feet in the sand and all but
Soon the sea will rise

Unfamiliar
The taste of mud is not
Unfamiliar
Summer hanging on too long
Unfamiliar
You’ve become
Unfamiliar to me

So if you’re well, let me know but not too much
‘Cause it would hurt to hear your laughter… your laughter
The sun is sweet and all
But soon the sweetness dies

Unfamiliar
The taste of mud is not
Unfamiliar
That’s the worst way you could be
Unfamiliar
You’ve become
Unfamiliar to me

Unfamiliar
Unfamiliar
The taste of mud is not
Unfamiliar
You’ve become
Track Name: California
California’s killing me
She’s outside waiting in a Cherokee
Wasted hours on a Ouija board
I got more friends here than I can afford
Maybe for tonight green lights will align down Sunset

Jumped into a dream and drove
Got to the beach almost
Don’t let the clouds stop us now ‘cuz I adore ya
I wanna fly, I wanna float
So I’m coming down your coast
Trying to breathe here
How come no one warns you, California

Fourteen freaks on a magic bus
That’s not exactly how I pictured us
Hanging out by the golden door
There’s something missing here I can’t ignore
No one understands your circles in the sand like me

Jumped into a dream and drove
Got to the beach almost
Don’t let the clouds stop us now ‘cuz I adore ya
I wanna fly, I wanna float
So I’m coming down your coast
Trying to breathe here
How come no one warns you, California...

Jumped into a dream and drove
Got to the beach almost
Don’t let the clouds stop us now ‘cuz I adore ya
I wanna fly, I wanna float
So I’m coming down your coast
Trying to breathe here
How come no one warns you, California...
Track Name: It’s Gonna Be Beautiful
Baby, there’s something about you
When my arm’s around you
I’m getting all sorts of high

The first time, we’ve waited so long
Comes along at the right hour
Yeah, well I think it’s arrived

Tonight we’re going to make love
And it’s going to be beautiful
Tonight we’re going to make love
And it’s going to be beautiful

You know me, you know I just want to love you
Don’t want to die before I touch you
In the desert tonight

The sunset and the mountains behind you
The pool of light that surrounds you
You make me want to say, “Come on, come on”

Tonight we’re going to make love
And it’s going to be beautiful
Tonight we’re going to make love
And it’s going to be beautiful...
Track Name: Nothing But Wind
I’d like… no I’d love
To be a mistress for a day
To be wanted, then ushered discreetly away
To be needed, not needfull, an hour forgets
It only requires quietly getting undressed
But I’ve got no taste for love held by a pin
To always be happy waiting for nothing but wind

I’d like… no I’d love
To be a forest tonight
Ageless, erotic, a good place to die
Bending no fences to guard my frontier
Pissing on moss marks the end of the year
But I’m not much for parties or these fuckers with saws in their hands
To always be happy waiting for nothing but wind

I’d like… no I’d love
To have a writer’s career
Topping your insults and growing my beard
Giving love on my own fabulous terms
Addressing the dead without waiting my turn
But I’m not much for books and with you I don’t know where to begin
To always be happy waiting for nothing but wind
I’ll always be happy here waiting for nothing
Track Name: Ella
You kiss my neck and it feels sweet
A thousand circles draw complete
And deep inside this painful world
A love endures
And baby don’t you touch ground

Our paths were never very clear
Our motives might have been impure
But after all this time a love endures
Remember surely
I’ll be there when you’re down
Yeah and baby don’t you touch ground

Cable cars, Manhattan bars, where Sundays last forever
The things that made us sad seem far away

Yeah and baby don’t you touch ground

Flatboard schemes, new human beings, remember once I said never
The things that made us sad seem far away

And so we go following dreams
For good or worse or in between
And who’d have thought that with one little girl
We could change our world
And baby don’t you touch ground
Yeah, Ella b. don’t you touch ground
‘Cause daddy’s here when you’re down
And I’ll be here when you’re down
Track Name: Vanilla
She said no in the sweetest way
I think I took it well
And then as I walked away
I could tell she could tell
I’m much better off without
That hopeful pang of doubt
‘Cause all I think about’s
Vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla

So for a while we hide our eyes
Sip our drinks, dip our fries
Think of all those little lies
We can tell, we can tell ourselves
I’m better off without
That hopeful pang of doubt
‘Cause I can’t figure out
Vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla

You’re melting, and I’m melting
You’re melting, and I’m melting

Until the ice in my Coke melts
Till the CD repeats itself
Until then I can pretend
Pretty well, can’t you tell
I’m much better off without
Your hopeful pang of doubt
‘Cause I can’t think about
Vanilla
Vanilla
Vanilla

You’re melting, and I’m melting
You’re melting, and I’m melting
You’re melting, and I’m melting
You’re melting, and I’m melting
Track Name: Only Losing Me
Somewhere in my parallel you lie a little
To what’s left of my middle, that’s your right

Somewhere in four directions
I could fly on a riddle
In your arms, but they’re brittle and I fall

The tricks you got away with make me cringe
That I’m okay with your massive passing fancy finding free
That’s OK, you’re only losing me
Hey, if change is meant to be
And losing was okay
We’d give in and agree
True, we’ll let blame be the sign
That you were never really mine
The way you’d want to see
You’re only losing me

Somewhere by the bedside
I feign that I’m little
When you play noncommittal

When someone so peripheral
Can’t sustain even bliss
Pull, shoot and miss
Then we kiss
All we wish for
Goodbye

The one’s you played a game with
Stitched and staid
I walk away with
A birthdays half-forgotten memory
Puzzle piece,
You’re only losing me
Hey, if change is meant to be
And losing was okay
We’d give in then agree
True, we’ll let blame be the sign
That you were never really mine
The way you’d want to see
You’re only losing me

Hey, hey
True, well love does not unwind
And you were never really mine
The way you’d want to see
You’re only losing me

Hey, if change is meant to be
And losing was okay
You’re only losing me
Track Name: Through Any Window (OXOX mix)
Early in the morning when the sun comes through any window
Break the promise that each day is a new early morning, through any window

Blue is the memory of her bedroom eyes
Green as the envy I can’t hide
Red is the color that she lays so bare
In early morning

Sunlight kiss me on my head of gloom in early morning
Glide across the bed then fade at noon through any window
In early morning

Blue is the memory of her bedroom eyes
Green as the envy I can’t hide
Red is the color that she lays so bare
In early morning, through any window

School bus take them far from home
Take the children far from home
Take the children far from home
Soon to see how sad their lives become, through any window, and

Blue is the memory of her bedroom eyes
Green as the envy I can’t hide
Red is the color that she lays so bare
In early morning, through any window
In early morning, through any window
Track Name: I’ll Be Singing
You are music to my soul
More beauty than I’ve ever known
I want to sing to you a misty melody
As long as you love me…
As long as you love me…
As long as you love me I…
I’ll be singing

I’ve got a love song on my mind
Your beauty drips from every line
Your lips are harmony repeating
As long as you love me…
As long as you love me…
As long as you love me I…
I’ll be singing
I’ll be singing, yeah yeah yeah

I want to play for you a bossa melody
Remind you of that misty morning when you first made love to me

You are music soothe my soul
How do you do it? I don’t know
Again my ears start to ringing
As long as you love me…
As long as you love me…
As long as you love me I…
I’ll be singing
I’ll be singing, yeah yeah yeah

You are the love song on my mind
I’ve got a love song on my mind
I’ve got a love song on my mind
I’ve got a love song on my mind
I’ve got a love song on my mind
Track Name: Here, There And Everywhere (bonus track)
To lead a better life I need my love to be here...

Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with a wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there's something there

There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn't know he's there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there

I want her everywhere and if she's beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I'm always there

To be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere