Owls
RELEASED 2015

Owls | Acoustic Demos
BONUS RELEASE 2015

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Owls
LYRICS | ALBUM COVER | THEMATIC OVERVIEW | SONG-BY-SONG COMMENTARY


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Mandy Sand is the amazing artist who painted the cover of the record.
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THEMATIC OVERVIEW

Released in August of 2005, Parables & Primes is Danny's third studio production, and fourth album in total. This is also the first album that Danny's produced in Austin. The first three were made, predominantly, in Charlottesville, VA. Here's what Danny has to say about Parables & Primes:

"I was laying awake one night, when we'd just started with preproduction, and when we were still sifting through the tunes that might be on the record, and deciding which ones belonged together -- and there's a million ways you can group songs, along a million different themes or commonalities. But I'd picked out these eleven for some reason -- and I was laying awake trying to figure out why I thought they were all family with one another. That's when I came up with the title, Parables & Primes.

The thing to me that these songs share is . . . well, they share two things, actually:

1) They're written metaphorically and symbolically and in allegory and in parable. There are very few moments on this album that, if you can take them literally at all, don't represent something else, also. They're not all story songs, but I think they all pay homage, at least, to the sneaky power of story telling -- that a sharp-fanged truth might better sneak into the house wearing a pretty red hood.

2) They deal with deep-down-in-your-marrow sort of primal themes. They speak, for the most part, to love and loneliness and mortality and health and hunger and the dirty and the divine. These aren't toaster oven songs. These are more fire circle songs. More dirt floor than linoleum. The topics are really pretty basic. Indivisible level kinds of things. Primes, in my mind -- late at night, anyway.

Production-wise, I think there's a little bit more experimentation on this record than on previous ones -- a few more risks were taken and a few more departures were embarked upon. This record was, by far, the most nerve-racking for me to make, for that reason. We really approached each song as its own little sonic drama, and orchestrated them out fairly differently from one another.

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SONG-BY-SONG COMMENTARY
click each song title to read lyrics

1. This Too Shall Pass

I wrote this song in the midst of some health troubles. A friend of mine had made me a ring with the words - "This Too Shall Pass" - inscribed around it. It struck me immediately as the most beautifully economic phrase I've ever heard to express both the comfort and the terror of the passing of time and the passing of condition, and of our own mortality.

2. Neil Young

This is a simple love song. Or, it's two simple love songs -- one to a lovely woman and a lovely evening, and one to the lovely Neil Young album trickling along in the background (and sometimes in the foreground).

3. Dark-Eyed Prince

This is a character sketch, basically -- of a poor conflicted soul who keeps trying to reach out and then keeps retreating back into his castle. The painting on the cover sorta struck me as reminiscent of the Dark-Eyed Prince.

3. Happy All the Time

I've honestly never been able to figure out whether this song is ironic or not. Or whether or not it's melancholy. It's a weird song, I think. It's kind of a life cycle story. I love the loose groove of the drums and bass in this recording -- and the freewheeling trumpet, running anywhere it wants to in the forest.

4. Riddles & Lies

This is a song ruminating over the fact that people have such a hard time being open and honest with one another, and really fully presenting themselves to the world. It struck me, when my health was bad, how ridiculous it is that we hide so much of ourselves so much of the time.

5. Esmee By The River

This song is a letter back to a friend.

6. Stained Glass

This is a big long epic story about a newly repaired stained glass window in a church that's so hideously incongruous and malformed as to passionately imbue the congregation with a light perfectly reflective of their own humanity and mortality, and ultimately, their own divinity.

7. Ghosts

This song is a warning imparted down by a condemned man the night before his execution, offering the onlookers his sincere warning that they're about to possess themselves of his ghost. It's a death penalty commentary -- or more, it's a meditation on guilt and conscience.

8. Beggars & Mules

I wrote this song as a tribute to my musician friends.

9. A Circus of Clowns

This is a straight up political allegory. I wrote this song before the election -- and apparently (and sadly) I underestimated the people's capacity to be entertained.

10. Parables & Primes

I hesitate to call this the title track -- cause that implies that I took the title of the record from the title of the song. And that's not how it went down at all. I took the title of the record and then wrote a song from it that I hoped would tie together all the rest of the thematic threads of the album. This song is about the power of stories to help us frame our lives into meaningful fundamentals. That's what I hope this record is about.

And so, I'd like to leave y'all with the lyrics to Parables & Primes, and I hope you enjoy listening to the record, and thinking about it. -- Danny


When Once Upon a Time was real
We’d paint upon the walls with words
And call upon our doubts to kneel
Then fall upon their tongues with swords

If I might suggest to you
That all the dreams we ever knew
Were more than real and more than true
They were stories we could tell

In broken rhythms, busted rhymes
And all good turns in all good time
Of primal pulls and passions
And in parables and primes

So dance with shadows, paint with flames
And cast as far as far can feel
Cause Once Upon a Time’s today
And once upon a time is real

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