Spirit Animal

by Real Live Tigers

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released June 2, 2011

Tracks 3, 6, 8, 9 recorded at Listen Lab, Fayetteville, Arkansas in April 2010 by Dwight Chalmers.

Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11 and overdubs on tracks 3, 6, 8, 9 recorded at East Hall, Fayetteville, Arkansas in February and April 2011 by Chris Moore.

Mixed and mastered by Chris Moore.




Real Live Tigers Austin, Texas

Solo tour August 12-24, 2017.

August 17-21 with Caitlin Kraus.

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Track Name: Woodsmoke
Woodsmoke and wet wool blankets, cold floors and warm sleeping bags.
Sleep until the rain lets up. The trucks shift down and the ruts get worn,
year after year. I wonder who I will become when I'm not here.
Borrowed clothes and broken shoes, dirty hair and a small grey bruise.
The lives they choose are beautiful and what I set my course upon.
This road is long, but it's the one I'm traveling on.
Track Name: If I was someone you could love
Back then I tore and burned the leaves for proof of power in my body,
but it was in my choice. It's good to have a voice in something, like I
was something to hear. For now I always act this helpless, the fire
brought into your forest. But could you still love me if I was a lady or
something? If I was someone you could love. Sometimes you stare
back so strongly. Sometimes you make me so lonely. And it stems
from my longing that somehow keeps me songing for something
I doubt anybody else wants.
Track Name: New fire
Now that I'm strong again. Now that I love my fellow man. Now at
winter's end in a small town in the south. New fire in my throat
and new songs in my bones. See them flutter out like sparrows
from the grove. How soon until you become the person you dreamed
up when you were still young enough to be impressed with fire?
Track Name: Still, still, still
One more song about moving on down the highway,
And I sure do hope this road don't come to own me.
A gas station life scraped across the desert floor,
still searching for open hearts and listening eyes,
the right body to lie beside.
And still, still, still was the night.
And still, still, still was my life easy.
Viking Moses, what have we become?
Creatures of habit, I suppose. Or rare desert birds
now living in the open. But remind me, remind me
to be simple as a sparrow, to not be afraid to bathe
in the dust, to not be afraid to eat their crumbs.
And still, still, still I know where you were.
And still, still, still I waited for you to call me near.
And now that I'm here will we be as brave as we
feared we'd be? Or will we be as tame as we've always been?
Track Name: Tusks
On land that was never ours. In a country we refused to touch.
Create the words that mean no thing (enemy combatant).
Men become animals become nothing.
Steel shacks, steel traps, shackled beneath black hoods, orange jumpsuits.
Far from Geneva, close to shame, does your mother know how you
spend your days? Does she know how easy it is to simulate drowning
for the hundredth time? Does she know you dream about it now?
Does she know you dream about it every night?
If you lock a man in a room for six years will he emerge a man?
Will he ever learn how to forgive? Will he ever learn how to live again?
And O Guantanamo Bay. Life is a game we play.
Everyone has a dark side, but not everyone wins.
Track Name: Come back into the light
Acquainted with the night, my brothers of the light and my scarecrows friends.
We sing these songs in code, still everybody knows exactly what we said.
We drew maps of our sadness, desperate atlases, directions on how to find
our hearts, bus schedules in the form of scars.
Tell me exactly where you are and I will meet you there tomorrow night,
and I will be brave and bright and new.
Still everybody showed at those bad house shows, where the party came early
and the songs got surly. The amps got turned up, our throats got tore up.
We wanted everyone to know how honestly we'd lived.
And if I gave up now like I wanted to so many times before
I'd be letting the undeserving in, I'd be letting mediocrity win.
How many secrets did we give away just hoping that somehow
the right ones were listening?
Come back into the light.
If only the right ones were listening.
Track Name: Elk's blood
A whole nation can rape an heiress before the poorest
can leave their city of water.
And her father walks in, all covered in elk's blood.
He says one got stuck in the fence.
His sawtooth is broken. His one good leg is broken.
But you can't talk to a man with blood on his hands.
He will slander and speak of the promised land,
draw crosses in the air and lines in the sand.
There is a restlessness, a hungriness, a storm
that sleeps inside us.
They say the wicked never sleep.
Neither do we, but I still believe in something.
Like the church bells on the way back home,
where my roommate, she is crying.
The most beautiful film she's ever seen,
that gauzy shimmering.
Track Name: Slow hunter
Slow hunter, your patient hunger amazes me.
Your watchful waiting engages me.
Eat until you get your fill.
I am a lion. I am a ghost.
I am the life left after you go.
I am a tiger, what don't you know?
I am the eyetooth inside your skull.
Track Name: Floodplains
And all that I wanted to hold was washed away in a flood
that bit and stung our young legs like dogs too savage to beg.
And we watched as that brown water churned and angrily took
what we'd earned. Our wet eyes, our stomachs did turn,
as we felt how this world does learn us.
O, take us away from these floodplains.
O, take us away, out of harm's way.
Track Name: Sister K
How to say this right, you are my sister true.
Your desert dreams find me here on this roof, where
a blue tarp is forever flapping at my feet, like
a single wave returning to the shore.
I want to see you happy. I want to see you whole.
I want to see you untangled from everything that stole from you.
We both found the light from so many false moons.
Let them now be conquered, let the light pass through.
Sister K,
I've seen you fall. I've been your guard dog.
And I have failed you a number of times.
Apothecary songs to sing to the desert night,
this worn-down body, my burnt-out mind.
We both share a belief in magic, the power of poetry,
in love to heal all things.
They don't make ones like us anymore.
Track Name: Riverbeds
The tigers cried themselves to sleep
and their stripes fell to their feet,
and they fall asleep so easily,
their fur still wet in the mornings.
They're not like the rest of us,
such hungry lions with no remorse.
No, we have open hearts and open minds.
We are here to sleep in riverbeds
and make new friends, to sing
these old folk songs
and drink on porches all summer long.
I don't know what words to say
that will make you fall in love
with me for the rest of our lives,
but I hope and 'pray' that one day
we'll all have peace, but mostly
that my friends will be happy
and I know there is a song, it hasn't been written,
but we'll sing along when it does.
I don't know what to do on days when it feels
like my heart could either break or burst.
Open hearts and open minds.
And I promise you that all we have got
is all we after, I swear.