Odd Birds

by The Raventones

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about

THE RAVENTONES - ODD BIRDS
(2003 - Darkwater Music DWM005)

Out in the Oregon woods, The Raventones have home-built a solid first album in "Odd Birds". It's a thick but spacious mix of low-tuned guitars, forefront bass, vintage-style drums & intense vocals. Driven by twangy baritone electric guitar on some tracks, alter-tuned acoustic on others, the songs range from the brawny old-school soul attack of "Walk with Me", to the intimacy of "i surrender" and "hush" to the raging slide blues of "Southbound #5".

Bandleader TR Kelley's roots are in surf, country and R&B overlaid with the altered tunings and creative textures of West-Coast folk psychedelia. Anchored by the sparkle and snappy groove of Randy Hamme's vintage drums, the songs are fully realized yet never overproduced.

Before his public emergence as a drummer, Randy Hamme worked as a sound engineer. His creative use of both analog tape and digital formats in the recording for this CD is evident in the lush saturation of the instrumental tracks and the intimacy and power of the vocals.

"Odd Birds" is a vibrant quilt of ideas. Bossa-nova, spaghetti-western twang, a Mersey-beat twist, a live mono soundscape, even an 80's-style power ballad all make an appearance. Yet these seemingly disparate styles blend under the cohesiveness of TR Kelley's instrumentation and production concepts.
Stylistically, there are echoes of Ray Charles, Patsy Cline and the Ventures swirled in with Joni Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius and Michael Hedges, but The Raventones' way of mixing it all up, pitching it down low and giving it room to breathe & groove without cluttered production make it a truly unique listen.

------------- QUOTES --------------------------

"Laid back guitars for surfing in the rain. ..... Kelley's vocals are hypnotic, a surge of power that makes the bulbs glow......." - Sara Warfield, WOW Hall Notes, Eugene Oregon

"( The Raventones' album) "Odd Birds" is a winner...... for its variety, evident talent and songs to get lost in." - Natasha Chilingerian, (University of) Oregon Daily Emerald

"TR Kelley is known to fans of Babes with Axes as the one with the growly voice who wouldn't take any lip from society. She brings an entirely different approach to the Raventones, one with a lot more depth, like the guitars and basses she plays with such feeling." - Mike Kelsey, WFHB-FM Bloomington, Indiana

"TR's voice is amazing in its tone and variety.... she moves from a powerful ballad to a dreamy, atmospheric piece, to a Delta blues." - Arthur Elliott, Radio 99.7FM, Brisbane, Australia

"Passion, nostalgia and joy...one of the Northwest's musical treasures" - Eugene Weekly 12/26/02

"On the surface, Kelley sounds somewhat like a disciple of Joni Mitchell in her Hejira and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter era. However, Kelley's guitar tunings are a little more reminiscent of Michael Hedges than Joni Mitchell, and that's Kelley herself playing bass." - Daniel Nestlerode, FAMA Internet Music Review

credits

released August 1, 2003

Recorded mixed & mastered by Randy Hamme @ at Hole in the Roof studio, Spring 2003

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The Raventones Swisshome, Oregon

TR Kelley & Randy Hamme - Dark psychedelia & melodic low rock from the backwoods of outer space.

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Track Name: Two-Tone Touring Car
Two-tone Touring car

Way high under the western sky
Way high where mercury rockets fly
She said, let’s go west, Edward
I want to live with the movie stars
Hob-nob in Hollywood
Big houses and shiny cars
Corn belt to California
To supersonic western skies
Motels and marinas
Summer 1959
But he didn’t want to go
He just could not tell her no
That he did not really want to go
So far away
But she always got her way
Just like a movie star
Grown children like planets
Orbiting their matriarch
In their two-tone touring car
Frances dreams she’s a movie star
In their two-tone touring car
Frances thinks she’s a movie star
In that old green car, she’s far away
Afternoon ocean air rustles the palm trees
Sun slanting through the venetian blinds
Mullen Avenue in Inglewood
Cool white arches of stucco
It’s my grandma’s house summer 1965
Way high under the western sky
Way high under blue supersonic skies
Neon parabolas and flickering golden marquees
Beacons to dreamers, the architecture of fantasy
Frances never found Hollywood
Except on the silver screen
She’s afraid of color now, stays home with her old TV
Grandma never found her Hollywood
That tarnished pot of gold
Grandpa died to just get away
Grandma stayed and slowly just got old
With mom and Bubby in my daddy’s car
Packed it up and we’re going far
Navigating by different stars
Northbound to where the tall trees are
With mom and Bubby in my daddy’s car
We’re going far away
Track Name: Walk With Me
walk with me
i love to watch the way you lay 'em down
walk with me
i love to watch the way you lay 'em down
let's set something on fire see what be going down

how do you feel
tell me how do you feel
when i let you in my car behind the wheel
you went from hitching to driving this funky fat automobile
you're the foundation for my fundamental freakiness
a willing ride who takes in stride
this crazy shit i do the best

i like the way you lay it down
i love the way you make that sound
lot more fun when you around here with me
so let's fire one up come on take a walk with me

give me a solid stone to stand on
when i'm reaching for the sky
i like the way you lay it down
i love the way you make that sound
heavy mojo going down with you & me
cuz i can pick it up and make it talk
and you lay it down and make it rock
rock with me
i love it when you make it rock
with me.
Track Name: I Surrender
i surrender
no more fire to fight
my soul is grows weary
trying to make it right

i surrender
nothing more to give
endless explanation
for the way that i live

i surrender
let me off this crazy ride
i'm cracked and and tight with tension
my deepest need denied

i surrender
to the song of moon on tide
to the only thing that's constant
to the empty place inside
what a lovely place to hide
Track Name: Yellow Moon
yellow moon
quiet streets
where yearning hearts sometimes meet
dance warm and slow and bittersweet
in summer midnight afterglow
with secrets only shadows know
held by darkness
touched by grace
drink at the well of sorrow
in love's midnight embrace
then turn and walk away
down quiet streets
under a yellow moon
Track Name: Unfolding
watching you unfolding
remembering the light
opening up to all the giving
your divine birthright
makes me oh so high
oh so high
to look into your eyes
and watch you finally fly

feeling me unfolding
taking you inside
opening up to all the living
knowing it's all right
makes me oh so high
oh so high
to let you see my eyes
and feel what it's like to fly

watching us unfolding
this rainbow family of living light
opening up new ways of living and loving and giving
our divine birthright
makes me oh so high
oh so high
look into your neighbors eyes
and watch the dreams take flight
Track Name: Do You Want Me To Go
It's been a while since I thought of you
Been a long time since I touched your face
Now here you are in the rain coming towards me
How can I handle this with grace
Do you want me
Do you want me
Do you want me to go
And I can’t tell now
You’re not so clear now
Should I stay or should I go
Remember when we ran ourselves together
Vivid vibrant colors in the rain
But then came the storms
And in running from the thunder
We got separated, silent once again
Once again
Awkward silence
I don’t want to meet your eyes
Small talk grinds like broken glass
But underneath is longing
I can feel it in our breathing
All the things that could not get a chance
Do you want me
Do you want me
Do you want me to go
And I can’t tell now
You’re not so clear now
Should I stay or should I go
Should I stay or should I go
Why is it so damn hard to know
When it's time to let go
Let go
Track Name: I See You See Me
i see you you see me
i see you see me looking at you
i see you see me
and i wonder if you know that i'm looking back at you
that's right, I'm checking' you out
watch you walk across the floor babe
you're looking fine
love to have you make you mine
i really think you're beautiful
i wanna know your name
come on over here babe
turn this spark to a flame
i hear you hear me
i hear you hear me i know your checking me out
can you hear me singing
and i wonder if you know what all this noise is really about
can you hear this message i'm sending
made from my heart right out to you
i feel it in my soul gotta share
i'm sharing it with you
it makes me feel beautiful
make me remember my name
when i am here with you
we are one and the same
Track Name: Hush
hush not a word
there are none anyway
your breath in my ear
is all you have to say
words are hard to find
they just get lost in my mind
anyway
light-year skies, starry eyes
no surprise
but i never knew
light-year skies, your star-struck eyes
it's no surprise
but still i never knew
about you
hush not a word,
there are none anyway
my breath in this song
is all i have left to say
and these words are so hard to find
they just get lost between the lines
anyway
Track Name: White Crosses
these mountains ain't high
but they're straight up and down
it's many dark miles
to the nearest small town
where the neon is glowing
red white and blue
good friends are waiting to buy a cold one for you

this river ain't wide but she's rocky straight down
and this road wraps around her like a rough wedding gown
the bridegroom is coming, too hard and too fast
her kiss is a cold one, it will be his last

white crosses on the hiway
red roses in the ditch
if promises were nickels this whole valley 'd be rich
but the girls are still waiting
for the boys to come home
even when they're together
they're always alone

these mountains ain't high
but they're straight up and down
its about sixteen dark miles
to the nearest small town
where the neon is glowing
red white and blue
good friends are waiting to that last round for you

white crosses on the highway
brown bottles in the ditch
if good intentions were nickels this whole valley 'd be rich
but the girls are still waiting
for the boys to come home
but after that last call
she'll always be alone