Liner Notes

All pieces were written and performed by Shawn Skylark.

1. Once Again
I wanted to start with something light. This piece, like many on the CD, started as music, and then evolved into a song with lyrics, but I was never completely happy with them, and so I have never performed it as a song. I especially like the way the music works it's way back to end with the opening motif. Here are the lyrics to the chorus; they pretty much capture the story behind this music:

"... Once you lay by my side in the moonlight,
and I watched while the night
drifted slowly away...

Softly I touched your hair, as the sky turned powder blue,
and once again, I fell so in love with you."

2. Still Life
This is the piece I am proudest of; it is a poem about the patterns of life that make us who we are. Starting in D minor with a simple thematic statement, it moves, sometimes decisively, sometimes meanderingly, through different keys. Still, it always finds itself being pulled back to the same place, only not exactly the same, until it finally ends where it started, but in a higher octave, a higher plane. Every time the theme comes around it takes off in a slightly different direction, but there is no escaping it, it follows me wherever I go. This melody has haunted me since I first started writing it thirty years ago, living in a studio apartment in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. Every key change is a chapter of my life, and the emotional range I tried to express is very broad. It keeps reminding me that no matter what the circumstances are, I can never be anything but myself, and that my life has a simple purpose, and a simple theme.

3. Always
The lyrics:

She came into my life like a train in the night.
Looking back it was wrong, but the timing was right,
and I traded my heart for a quick game of charades...

But there's not much fun in dreaming, if the vision's yours alone...
It was cloudy and cold, and the driving was rough. It was obvious, I should have known

Because I always hear the broken call...
Always look before I fall...
And I always take the road I know...
I take the road I know, and it's always so familiar...

I remember my Dad working hard every day,
coming home much too tired and empty to play,
and I watch him close like a window in the rain...

She comes showering down around him with her sorrow and her shame...
But he listens through a fog to the woman he loves, like he doesn't even know her name,

And now I always hear the broken call...
Always look before I fall...
And I always take the road I know...
I take the road I know, it's like... there I go

To where my father holds his silence like a bomb...
My mother hides her anguish in a smile...
My sister wears a mirror like a crown...
And we watch each other slowly shutting down...

Now I'm closing my eyes with my hands on the wheel.
It's not easy to know that I know what I feel
while the actors change but the plot remains the same...
And the curtain never closes; I get lost in my disguise...
Maybe love is never gonna be easy to take while I'm looking through my father's eyes

Because I always hear the broken call...
Always look before I fall...
And I always take the road I know...
I take the road I know, and it's always so familiar...

4. When You Dream (Lullaby for Griffin)
If this piece puts you to sleep then I have done my job... Unless of course they ALL put you to sleep, in which case I'm not so sure...

The Lyrics:

When you close your eyes, little boy... there in your face I see
so much that's you... little boy..., and so much that's part of me

Let your mind be clear, like a whispering summer stream
When you sleep you can travel to a magical place where it's always safe to dream

And when you dream, find your heart's desire
When you dream it always calls to you
It takes a lot of love to light the way, and mom and I will be here when you rise in the morning
'Cause we're dreamers, too...

So close your eyes, little boy, and send the world away
We're here with you... little boy..., and here we're gonna stay

Let your mind be still, like a windless summer sky
When you sleep, you become an angel's night bird... You can sing, and you can fly
And we want you to fly...

And when you dream, find your heart's desire
When you dream it always calls to you
It takes a lot of love to light the way, and mom and I will be here when you rise in the morning
'Cause we're dreamers, too...

5. Growing Old
This is one of my favorite pieces to play. It never had lyrics, just the feeling of drifting through space. This is a piece about traveling towards an ever retreating horizon, but not really minding, after a while. It reminds me of one of my friend Nick's favorite poems...

...From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no man lives forever,
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea...

From The Garden of Proserpine, by A. C. Swinburne

6. She Cries Alone
The Lyrics:

She cries alone, in the dark
Lost in a place where I can't go...
She doesn't hear me say, "I'm with you now..."
She cries alone when she cries

She's back in her childhood home
She tries to run but he won't let her...
Strong hands around her throat until he's through
And she cried alone when she cried...

Roses won't bloom in the desert; you can't build a house on the sand,
And you cannot change what you do not understand.
It's cold when you swim in that river, back to the source of the shame
The feeling is always the same...

And I was fifteen at the time
I thought he's be like some big brother
He called it a way to love each other, and I cried alone...

Roses don't bloom in the desert; you can't build a house on the sand,
You cannot change what you do not understand...
It's cold when you swim in that river, back to the source of the shame...
Love fails, and light dies, and time stops... when she cries

In a silence like thunder, the tears fall, and fall, and fall again...

Passed on from fathers to sons, passed on from mothers to their daughters,
Anger and pain, like tidal waters
rise,
In her blue eyes,
And she cries alone. In my arms, alone, when she cries.

She cries alone...

7. Prelude For Alex
I always wanted to write one perfect love song for my wife. This is as close as I've come so far. It's not perfect, but it is a love song...There are no words, at least not yet.

8. Victoria
To me, this little melody is like a bubble you're trying not to break... It has had various lyrics, none of them ever completed. Eventually this will be a song about first love... Here's what I have so far:

Time stopped in shadows, like a dream half forgotten
Night closed around us, under clear desert skies
Everything came to silence in my heart, when I held you
there, in the starlight, with the moon in your eyes..

And I fell in love the moment I met you
You were the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
We said goodbye, but I knew that I
would never forget you...
We were only sixteen...
Only sixteen...
I was only sixteen when I kissed a girl named: Victoria

9. She Cries Alone, 1st Variation
I always liked how great artists would paint the same scene repeatedly, like Monet's Notre Dame. Different angles, different lighting and colors. I always wondered why musicians didn't do this more. Sometimes I have a basic theme or melody, and lot's of ideas about where to go with it, and I hate having to choose just one. This piece is an example. It opens more or less like the version above, but in a different key, and then it just sort of veers off. It's the shortest piece, and to be honest I don't remember which version came first. It might have been this one, which I then used as a point of departure when I wrote the lyrics. The dark nature of the lyrics above took the music to a darker place. This piece is much lighter, and ends on solid ground, while the other keeps reaching, but cant' quite grab on...

10. On My Side
Years ago my friend Shari asked me to write a theme song for a TV pilot she was writing. I wrote a song that I recorded, titled You: Theme From Dreams of the Silent Child. When I was trying to decide on the last piece for this CD, I wanted to use that melody, but although the verses worked for solo piano, the chorus was too fast and didn't make a good piano piece. I reworked the chorus, slowing the tempo to half-time, and really liked the result. It almost feels like a march to me, delicate, but still very resolute and optimistic. I liked this version so much, I wrote new lyrics for it:

Sometimes life is a lonely road
I get caught like a fly in that dark, sweet web
where I forget what it means to be free...
But I can remember, if I choose to believe... It's all up to me

I'm reachin for my dream, I'm lookin for that star
I'm opening my heart, it's right there where you are...
I'm starting to believe that what I know is true
But I wouldn't be anywhere at all without you...

I see an open door; I see a distant light
I hear the silence call... my hear knows when it's right
I'll take that leap of faith, I'm ready for the ride
But I wouldn't be anywhere at all without you...
Without you on my side...

Sometimes I still feel alone, and I'm not ashamed when I cry
But I'm ready to learn, and I'm ready for love, and I'm ready to fly..

I'm reachin' for my dream, I'm lookin for that star
I'm opening my heart, it's right there where you are...
I'm starting to believe that what I know is true
But I wouldn't be anywhere at all without you...

I see an open door; I see a distant light
I hear the silence call... my hear knows when it's right
I'll take that leap of faith, I'm ready for the ride
But I wouldn't be anywhere at all without you...
Without you on my side...


Credits
Recorded at Rockin' GJ Ranch Studio, 125 Honey Ln., Oakley, CA
Recording engineer: Greg Orton, www.norcalrecords.com
Mastering by Doug Sax with Sangwook "Sunny" Nam, www.themasteringlab.com
Photos by Stuart Locklear, www.stuartlocklearphotography.com
Makeup by Jackie Yost, www.jackieyost.com
Graphics and design by Harley Orion, www.oriondev.com
This recording was done on a Bosendorfer grand piano, built in Vienna, Austria. This is a model 225, that is, 225 centimeters, or approximately 7'5". The piano was tuned and voiced for this recording by Shawn Skylark.