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A Handful Of Ashes

by Greg Segal

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A HANDFUL OF ASHES I have been on a journey I have come back to tell I have brought back the gold But now beyond the spell I look down and I see In my hand mocking me Only nothing and dreams And a handful of ashes How I bled for the insight How I strove to excel How I thought I’d found knowledge But now beyond the spell I look down and I see In my hand mocking me Only nothing and dreams And a handful of ashes Now I’m older and cautious I look back very far I remember the process All the ecstatic scars And I see it has value And it does have a place Maybe not how you wanted But that’s not a mistake The mistakes come with dogma And no room for dissent Metaphors crowned as fact Steal away innocents Who will not be so pure As they live for the day They discover a leash They will then hand away And those who will come through With no master or chains Will find in the end Small respect for their pains No one waits at the threshold Celebrating return As you look for receivers The treasure has turned (instr. break) Now back in a world Where to win is to follow Mysteries preordained Victories proudly hollow There is no point to tell What will not be believed And no way to express Dreams that can’t be relieved You are nothing and no one You’ve been outside for years There is no point pretending You mean anything here There’s an alley for heroes There’s the ground for the lame And no honest intent Can be free of the game I look down and I see In my hand mocking me Only nothing and dreams And a handful of ashes
THE HOOK AND THE POINT Why leave me here And not deliver? By such extraordinary means, it seems Was my life changed Maybe that was the hook But it wasn't the point My stubborn streak ran deep There still were things I could believe Forces I could not percieve Where insanity, myths and religions are born That was the ocean where I swam In destiny and prophecy In hidden reasons behind everything In secrets and in rightness In patterns and in visions I was too young to think That things could be and yet Be different Like thunder and earthquakes were not god The unknown was a deep facade A blank a mirror and behind it Moved the massive flow of all How could it not be personal Look there in the mirror It's me And so perhaps direction Was what was really meant By who and how I do not know A summons came, I went To end up where Nowhere it seems To search for meaning In your dreams Is near to finding Heads can lead to tails I know I felt like I was called And consolation is a stall But maybe things mean something Yes things may still mean something After all
SIMPLE ANSWERS Most simple answers are lies Most simple answers -Surprise!- Don't tell the whole story How can they Condensations and conundrums Meditative koans Shortcuts and fables Poetry and textbooks don't work the same way And why should they Most simple answers are true Most simple answers tell you Answers and questions and answers and Bottom line points of reflection Don't show all And how could they Watch as all points (watch as each point) Swallow All other points (cancels its opposite point) Leaving you here Asking why And why shouldn't you
Laugh Gently 02:52
LAUGH GENTLY I once looked For a ring For an hour I thought it was lost But it was on my other hand And I once looked For a hat That was on my head I once looked For glasses I was wearing It's OK to laugh I did Laugh gently though After all Don't you know This could easily happen to you Maybe it already has It could be happening right now In ways of which You are currently unaware So laugh gently I do It still happens to me sometimes It could happen to you too Any day, any time It could happen Laugh gently I do
AT THE END OF THE DAY At the end of the day What is it you need Gold to tarnish and sit or Common ground for your seed The ends are just trophies The means are what feed Hidden gold to pass on And the cycle continues Philosophy sits Like a last meal gone bad Not much of an escape For what's driving you mad You might like an answer But I can't give you one I have only found ways To keep on keeping on For better or worse Bringing new lives and roles Hidden gold to pass on And the cycle continues


This was the album I returned to active duty with, after about eight years off. It's heavily personal, but I took all the specifics out so that it would be easier for anyone to identify with. It's about having a calling, that comes in a way so extreme you can't ignore it. You step up for it, arrange your life around it... and nothing seems to happen. What then? I was watching Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell "The Power Of Myth", and Campbell mentioned an old fairy tale motif, where the hero goes away on his quest, brings back gold from the forest, steps out with the prize to take to the people, and it's all turned to ash. That's the metaphor I hung the album around.

The title track is kind of a lament, laying out what's happened, what's been learned.

"The Hook And The Point" is about the possibility that what draws you into a situation isn't necessarily what you're really there for.

"Simple Answers" starts with an visit to an old man/mechanic archetype, when the vehicle for traversing the philosophical byways breaks down. Essentially, you have to contemplate your way out, there is no quick fix to be bought. The song itself talks about how any philosophical viewpoint can be made to reverse itself if carried far enough, leaving you to then still have to make your own decisions.

"Laugh Gently", though not the last song, is actually the punchline of the album. You may search long and hard and for an answer and it's right with you and very simple. This is not an excuse or a reason to become cynical or derisive though- it basically happens to everyone at some point.

"At The End of The Day" is an epilogue, where there is a kind of universal settling going on. It's not ideal, perhaps; and in fact it may merely be the setup for the same thing to happen to someone else all over again, etc. ad infinitum. But that's the actual pattern of things. And whatever happens to us individually, it goes on.

For extra special extended super duper notes, go here:


released March 23, 2015


1. A Handful Of Ashes (20:40)
2. The Hook And The Point (11:37)
3. Simple Answers (5:07)
4. Laugh Gently (2:50)
5. At The End Of The Day (3:04)

Total Time: 43:29

Written 2006-2015.
Recorded at any opportune time, 2014-2015, @ Phantom Airship 7, Portland, OR.

All Songs written and performed by Greg Segal. Accept no substitutes. All rights reserved so don't be greedy or stupid.

Instruments: vocals, drums and percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards, clarinet, trumpet, cello, recorder, homemades (many categories), digital concrete, violin, and most likely some other things I've forgotten.

This album features the dreaded "dynamics" (changes in volume- soft and loud). If you play it soft, you won't get the most out of it. PLAY IT LOUD!

front: Lulu Segal
back, and photo treatments: GS

For more information, why not stop by

Special thanks to Chrissy for taking the kids out on multiple occassions so I could record acoustic instruments.


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