A Handful Of Ashes

by Greg Segal

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about

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.

credits

released March 23, 2015

GREG SEGAL......A HANDFUL OF ASHES

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!

Photos:
front: Lulu Segal
back, and photo treatments: GS

For more information, why not stop by
www.gregsegal.com

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

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Track Name: A Handful Of Ashes
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
Track Name: The Hook And The Point
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
Track Name: Simple Answers
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
Track Name: Laugh Gently
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
Track Name: At The End Of The Day
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