Etchings in Amber

by Natalie Cressman & Mike Bono

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about

Thank you's:
Though our collaboration over the past couple years has been largely a journey of just the two of us sending demos back and forth, searching for the right words, notes, or chords, rehearsing over cups of tea and homemade sweets, premiering our songs in web shows from our living rooms, and taking our music out on the road for the first time, it’s really the
support of the community around us that transformed our music into what you listening to.

We would like to especially thank Jeff Cressman, Kevin Reeves, and Nick Rives, who all so masterfully and generously put their hearts and minds into this record. Their contributions elevated the quality of our music in every way and words fall short of expressing the depth of our gratitude. We’d also like to thank Barbara Cressman for lending her beautiful
calligraphy to bring the lyrics of our songs to life, as well as providing the inspiration behind “I Look to You.” And to Burt Sukhov for providing the inspiration for the lyrics of “Picture,” may you rest in peace. We would also like to thank our family, friends, and mentors: Diane Bono, Ernie Bono, Ali Bono, Sandy Cressman, Julianna Cressman, the Cressman and Sukhov
families, Ivan, Chris, and Erica Rosenberg, Robin Dick, Elina Ansary, Jennifer Hartswick, Trey Anastasio, Peter Apfelbaum, Laurie Frink, Wycliffe Gordon, Ben Monder, Julian Lage, Todd Carder, Jackson Fitzgerald, Dalton Harts, Christian Li, Jared Henderson, Roberto Giaquinto, Charlie Van Kirk, Andrew Neesley, Alexander Lewis, Matt Gasch, and Sharon Merraro.
—Mike & Natalie

Recording Notes:
On the morning of October 18th, 2015 I arrived at Natalie's apartment from my redeye flight from San Francisco. After coffee we walked to The Bunker to begin work on this beautiful recording. With the kind help of Todd Carder, we set up in Studio B with Mike in the studio and Natalie in the control room with me. She sang into a vintage Neumann/Telefunken U47. Mike's guitars had the forest of microphones that would allow for a lot of flexibility in the mix. The primary microphone was a Neumann CMV563 with an M7 capsule. In addition we had three sets of stereo pairs; A/B spaced omni Gefell MV691 with M93 capsules , Blumlein Coles 4038 and cardioid AKG 452 mics up in the corners of the room. All of the mics fed the Neve 8058 console's preamplifiers and then Lynx conversion to Pro Tools running at 96kHz/24bit. Most of the music was recorded on this day but we did come back the next morning for an hour and a half to get in "Goodbye Lullaby" and redo "Trapped in Forever" on an acoustic guitar instead of electric. We said our thank yous & goodbyes to Todd and The Bunker but we were not done for the day. We recorded Natalie's background vocals at her place on an ADK 3 Zigma CHI Lollipop large diaphragm microphone. Then Mike, Natalie and I had a great meal at Concord Hill restaurant before going back to make rough mixes. The next day I flew home with the recording. In San Francisco over the next week I edited and mixed the recording. After we were all happy with it I had the idea of giving it to Nick Rives to let him run it through all of the magical stuff at Capitol Studios where he works. He agreed and mixed in Capitol Studio A on a Neve 88RS console. The vocal chain included a Fairchild 660 followed by a Pultec EQP-1, the guitar buss had a Fairchild 670 and a touch of console eq. There is also a NTI eq on the mix buss. For Reverbs there is an EMT 250 and one of the Capitol Echo Chambers.

- Jeff Cressman

credits

released October 7, 2016

Mike Bono: acoustic guitar
Natalie Cressman: vocals
Tracks 1,3,5,6,7, and 9: music by Mike Bono, lyrics by Natalie Cressman
Tracks 2, 4, and 8: music & lyrics by Natalie Cressman
All songs arranged & produced by Natalie Cressman & Mike Bono
Recorded by Jeff Cressman at the Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY
Assistant Engineering by Todd Carder
Edited and pre-mixed by Jeff Cressman at Cressman Music Studios, San Francisco, CA
Mixed by Nick Rives at Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA
Mastered by Kevin Reeves at Sterling Sound, New York, NY
Art direction and design by 314Gallery
Cover art by Elina Ansary
Photography by Sharon Marrero

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Natalie Cressman & Mike Bono Brooklyn, New York

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Track Name: Dusk
Dusk
Past the golden hour cracks start to show
Time goes on and answers once aglow
are washed to sea

Is this aimless love one and the same?
Clutching in the dark for what they gain
when a loss for words

Peering through one jaded eye
Calling off the search
Midst the trees enshrouded
Laughing at his perch

She’s close enough
to call his bluff
Yet love holds up

Trying to clear the cotton from her lungs
Seeking to convey in many tongues
her bone to pick

How he went and broke every rule
He once penned them but he’s not her fool
Content to use his muse

Peering through one jaded eye
Calling off the search
Midst the trees enshrouded
Laughing at his perch

She’s close enough
to call his bluff
Yet love holds up

Cursed with an old honest core
Not like they make anymore

Can’t hold candles up to his thoughts
Truth in dusk turns into lore

She’s close enough
to call his bluff
Yet love holds up

Peering through one jaded eye
Calling off the search
Midst the trees enshrouded
Laughing at his perch

She’s close enough
to call his bluff
Yet love holds up
Track Name: Wind of Whims
Wind of Whims
You set this pace, digging in your heels
No matter how it feels,
Forever slow

I save your place while you blame away the years
To hide away your fears,
But I know

The offer I laid out on the table is getting cold
As the picture's painted it seems only
I'm growing old

Give me my breath back
You don't need it any more
Tired of givin all my livin
Still a stranger at your door

Ever inconstant
You're a rattle in my soul
All I pleaded, all I needed
Was someone to come home to
And I hope it's you

I'd rather know if we're in this one together
I've tried to be so clever,
but gambling has its cost

It takes a toll to walk one step behind you
When I'd rather be beside you,
where borderlines are lost

Waiting it out in the wind of your whims I blow
But bending too far beats breaking all I know

Give me my breath back
You don't need it any more
Tired of givin all my livin
Still a stranger at your door

Ever inconstant, you're a rattle in my soul
All I pleaded, all I needed
Was someone to come home to
And I hoped it was you
Track Name: Folds of Time
Folds of Time:
Frost embraces, she's stranded still
Cold hands wring her last will

Once armored in innocence
his freeze-dried words lose their flavor
Stone heart's engraver

Sealed from the haunt where he's lying now
Honeyed hopes drip down from where
they are headed

White to grey to black, ever turning more opaque
Straying just to fight the folds of time
Drifting on ice, he feeds on his own words
of deceit
Void of film he used before to ignore the signs
Blur the lines

Frost embraces, she's stranded
If she turns back then she is lost
Frost embraces, she's stranded
Wronged but not set to brand it lost yet
She can't help, hold his place
Sure of his returning, love still burning in the
Hearth they started from
Track Name: I Look to You
I Look To You:
Teach me to love fiercely enough
to steal away in the night
To stitch new beginnings,
tuck the rips and scratches out of sight

Imagination run tame and reality wild
Airy hymns so wise but sung light as a child

I look to you
Fingers that paint all pains away
Laminate every word I say
Not to be lost in folds of time
So it's easy to rewind

Cut from the fabric of your dreams
My being is bursting at the seams
Stitched into my border
Forever in my calico corner


My one lone doctrine
The circle you made is my north star
My favorite kind of paper trails lead me right to where you are

Imagination run tame and reality wild
Airy hymns so wise but sung light as a child

I look to you
Fingers that paint all pains away
Laminate every word I say
Not to be lost in folds of time
So it's easy to rewind

Cut from the fabric of your dreams
My being is bursting at the seams
Stitched into my border
Forever in my calico corner

Draperies in the backyard
Holding those who fall hard
Scripted words of stories I've heard
Of dreams that shine and truths that burn

I look to you
Fingers that paint all pains away
Laminate every word I say
Not to be lost in folds of time
So it's easy to rewind

Cut from the fabric of your dreams
My being is bursting at the seams
Stitched into my border
Forever in my calico corner
Forever in my calico corner
Forever in my calico corner
Track Name: Pitcture
Picture:
One last goodbye
I hold in my sigh
I see you there in your frame
Gone while I still remain

He held her to him
Until his eyes grew dim
Though till now you were near
It’s so long since you've been here

Every word I wrote
Soured in my throat
To believe you bore your dreams across
a dusty sea where would I be
Bore your dreams across
a dusty sea where would I be,
be without you, be without you
Track Name: Trapped in Forever
Trapped in Forever:
Now un-shrouded your English lay
broken on the floor,
Filled only with memory, hollow at the core

The more I reach for him
the more I push away,
Remnants of the seams that held me in before

I remember all too much,
etchings in my mind
All the same I'll hold you if only for tonight

A great song
but you sold the tune a hundred times,
All you had to do for me was change one line,

I believed your sweeping gestures,
letters etched in flames
Giving in and falling prey to lilting spines

I remember all too much,
etchings in my mind
All the same I'll hold you if only for tonight

Saw the whites of your eyes,
Life got in the way
Further further drawing back,
Till I lost your gaze and...threw it away

I remember all too much,
etchings in my mind
Drafts of who you used to be,
trapped in amber for all time
Track Name: Mountains of Malagá
Mountains of Malaga:
Try as I might,
climbing your thoughts
the scope of your bluffs leaves me stuck
at the foot

We're well at ease,
dappled in sunlight
Yet you're content to bathe in soot

If you would only turn toward the sun
Nothing to fear in the beams of my skin
Your words hollow me as you sink and run
If I consume them what shape will I be in
when you're back again

I see the light
catch the rose window
but your face remains in the gloom

Tirelessly care
for each tendril
of your hope so it might one day bloom

If you would only turn toward the sun
Nothing to fear in the beams of my skin
Your words hollow me as you sink and run
If I consume them what shape will I be in
when you're back again

Lone bird your strange flight is ending
Lose sight of the moon ,
Here the pieces of your mind need mending
Can't follow the tune ,
Can't hide it from you now that I'm
paralyzed
From the venom of your lies,
Sunk from the weight of your sighs
Just on the brink of breaking all ties,

For I know
each new sketch mark
baits your heavily charged eraser

This is my last
get well soon,
We both know you'll never quite replace her

If you would only turn toward the sun
Nothing to fear in the beams of my skin
Your words hollow me as you sink and run
If I consume them what shape will I be in
when you're back again
Track Name: Losing Grace
Losing Grace:
Oh now you come running to me
While I dream
Of saving all that's left of me
And traveling on

Oh now are you done shunning
the parts of me
That you want gone
I'm a specter with a faded grin
And new plans drawn

The truth whispered in the wind
and broke my fever
Abandoned lace stamped with soil to remind
I'm much too old to play the blind believer
and secrets steeped do spoil with time

I banished yesterday
And now you're in the way
Of finally layin it down to rest

No tears drippin down
Finally safe and sound
It's a past your fingers just can't retrace
In the end you're only my losing grace

Oh you were such a tight-lipped kisser
And still deny all wrong
You caressed my world with hushed fingertips
Then you were gone

He can't say I didn't try
I found stillness in my mourning
I already said goodbye baby

He sipped till I was bone dry
Yet still wasn't ready
This time I can hold my voice steady

I banished yesterday
And now you're in the way
Of finally layin it down to rest

No tears drippin down
Finally safe and sound
It's a past your fingers just can't retrace
In the end you're only my losing grace