Beneath a Balcony

by Marc M Cogman

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about

In this follow-up his 2007 debut, Cogman moves deeper into the Americana soundscape that peppered his first album. Eleven songs, sung with the same raspy baritone and masterful lyrics, touching on the troubadour tradition, and supported by his expert backing band, The Dead Messengers

credits

released August 4, 2009

All music and lyrics by Marc M Cogman

Produced by Justin Siegel and Marc M Cogman

Recorded in Los Angeles at Radar! by Justin Siegel, Frogs, and Eddie Jackson and at Black Truffle Studios by Giulio Carmassi

Mixed in Los Angeles at Radar! by Eddie Jackon
Special thanks to Tal Herzberg

Mastered in Sherman Oaks at Archon by Aris Archontis

Photos by Roham Rahmanian

Marc M Cogman sings and plays acoustic guitar, harmonica, banjo, electric guitar, 12-string electric guitar, autoharp & percussion

The Dead Messengers:
Frogs: electric bass, upright bass, backing vocals on #9
Giulio Carmassi: B3 Hammond organ and upright piano
Steve McDonald: electric guitar, 12-string electric guitar
Justin Siegel: drums, percussion, backing vocals on #9

Additional Musicians:
Rachel Mouse: backing vocals on #2 and #4
Jo Anne Mouse: backing vocals on #2 and #4
Buffy Hublebank: backing vocals on #8 and #9
Bryan Cogman: backing vocals on #9
Eddie Jackson: percussion on #11
Priya Prins: backing vocals on #11
Lyndsey Wegner: backing vocals on #11
Casey Stone: backing vocals on #11
Jacqui Lazo: backing vocals on #11
Jaime Cogman: backing vocals on #11

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Track Name: Australian Girls
In the twenty-fifth year of my wandering, I crossed equators and datelines still chasing the dream, got a room on an island with a view of the sea, and six weeks committed to memory. But of all of these things I can’t forget, there’s the Australian girl that I kissed on the lips who said to me, “Always keep your promises. If you lie to me, I’ll know it.”

We lay on our backs in the salty dark, and before the sunrise we saw three shooting stars, and then a rainbow the size of the St. Louis Arch. Everything in its place. I got out my guitar and I tuned a bit, then I played her “Twilight” by Elliott Smith, but I don’t think that I got away with it.

It seemed for a while we’d part happily, but she cried once she thought I had fallen asleep. And when I opened my eyes, she just ran down the beach. I didn’t follow. I just picked up a stone in my trembling hand, and I bent down and carved out my name in the sand, but the ocean just washed it away again.
Track Name: Waltz Beneath a Balcony
The big teddy bear flies through air, three stories down to the street, something so sweet, soon a moth-eaten memory. And I’m trying my best, as you throw down the rest, to not just give up and run. But I may duck for cover whenever the TV comes.

I have to admit that I failed you occasionally, and I never did dance, but I always could sing you to sleep. And sometimes when my voice would hit just the right notes, you’d crawl over and silence me, and we had thin walls, so the neighbors heard everything.

But that’s in the past, I know the luster’s faded. And that couldn’t last, but maybe there’s something worth saving. So if you’re not the cure and I’m not the cure, then instead of just letting it fall, let’s just admit that there ain’t no cure at all.

I’m still standing my ground with our things all around on the street, trying to sing a waltz beneath a balcony, so I’ll tell you a joke, and it’s a little baroque, but at the risk of being ignored: it’s the one where I knock and then you unlock the door.
Track Name: Passenger Seat
I'm trying to take us somewhere, baby, but I don't always know the way. But if I could hold your hand a while I promise no mistakes, because we're going very fast now and you're riding next to me and if I follow your directions maybe one day you can fall asleep in the passenger seat.

I've been called much worse than reckless, I've got danger in my face, but I could turn and see you there, I promise that I've changed. Because I'm tired of all the silence, tired of all the empty space. Maybe one day you can close your eyes and know that you'll be safe, fast asleep in the passenger seat.

You've had plenty of collisions, you've got scars that I can see, but I'll help you to forget them if you do the same for me. You may think that you are broken but you fit me perfectly, so believe in this, believe in me, believe that you can fall asleep in the passenger seat.
Track Name: Baby, I'm Okay
We were sitting on the couch, watching the fire burn down, while on the stereo: six months of the saddest stories I have ever told. And when it all was over, you turned and stared at me with the sweetest sympathy. But I have learned: there is beauty in this sorrow, and the girl who doesn’t love me is a song I’ll write tomorrow. And it may take me half a year for these things to come clear, but I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.”

Then we walked outside the house to watch the stars come out and you couldn’t help but ask if all the pain had past, or was it just as bad as it was back then. Now that we’re just friends, how does the story end? And I said, “There’s this method I have mastered: if I quit while I’m ahead I just might avert disaster.” And if she’s a friend instead of lover, she’ll design my record cover and I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.”

And if I make her understand, she might even join my band, and I can say, “I promise it’s okay.” Then I can say, “Baby, I’m okay.”
Track Name: Love and the Line
When it all works out for us, and all the music come to an end, and you ain’t got any poems left in your pen, sure there’ll be some things that I miss, but I will learn to love your silence instead and you will learn to love my hand at rest, no ink on my fingers, no song on my lips. And I’ll feel like I’m on track again. And you’ll feel you can’t go back again. Love and the line, even another hundred times, still we won’t know the half of it.

We can learn a few new tricks. And we won’t talk about when I’m leaving next. No, we’ll just talk about the books we’ve read, and where we’ve been. I won’t promise you the moon. But maybe I can make the small dreams come true. Yeah, maybe I can scratch your back for you. All the little things you need, darling, I’ll do. And improvise the rest of it. And try not to make a mess of it. Love and the line, let’s cross it one more time, and we’ll just make the best of it.

We’ll just make the best of it. And try not to make a mess of it. Love and the line, let’s cross it one more time, and just improvise the rest of it.
Track Name: The Blue-Eyed King of Manhattan
Before it all started to happen, I felt like the blue-eyed king of Manhattan. I had the whole damn world at my feet.

Then you flew across the sea for your fashion - flash-bulbs flashing and men with accents - but you couldn't do it all on your own, no no. So you pulled a little trick that was classic: walked high-heeled out into traffic, and the half that didn't crash were wrapping themselves around you, so... To say that you kicked me around is a little misleading. It's more like you kicked me when I was down.

Dream big, love hard, fly high, fall far, there ain't no way around it. When the place that you live ain't a place that forgives, stand up and be counted with the other broken bricks.

Meanwhile back in the city of sadness, banished to Brooklyn with an old guitar and a mattress, I'm the greyest street corner around, wondering how: with the rattle and hum still seeping in my skin, can I wash it out and start over again, with your 40-foot billboard frowning down upon me, now...To say that I'm feeling low is a little misleading. How much longer can I go?

Dream big, love hard, fly high, fall far, there ain't no way around it. When the place that you live ain't a place that forgives, stand up and be counted. Stand up and be counted with the other broken bricks.

I was with an old friend in a Park Slope cafe, debating whether God = Love when a thought occurred to me: if you were The One, we would survived those petty fight and long nights so I should feel better about the whole damn thing.

Dream big, love hard, fly high, fall far, there ain't no way around it. When the place that you live ain't a place that forgives, stand up and be counted. Stand up and be counted. Stand up and be counted.
Track Name: Bullet
I’ve got one bullet left in this gun, and it don’t seem like much, but I’m sure it’s enough, if I find myself needing to get the job done. I’ve got one bullet left in this gun. I’ve been punching the same wall for so many years, just singing songs hoping somebody hears, and maybe thinks I’ve got a story to tell.

I’ve got one shot of ink in my pen. I’ve got just enough black to cross out every sin, to try and come clean, and slip out this skin. I’ve got one shot of ink in my pen. Because it’s hard to believe that you’ll still be a star when you’re falling asleep on a stool at the bar, wondering if you deserve anything more. Like one last chance to be something. Just one last chance to be something.

I’ve got one great song in me yet. I’ve got one little tune spinning ‘round in my head, and I’ll use it to say all that I’ve never said. I’ve got one searing song in my head. So I’ll stop all the world and I’ll fall to my knees and you can turn on the cameras so everyone sees what becomes of me. When I’m given one last chance to be something. Just one last chance to be something. I just need one more chance to be something.
Track Name: The Night I Swore I'd Leave You
On the night I swore I'd leave you, I go out driving in my car, running circles for an hour round an empty parking lot. And I know you're back home sleeping, with the television on, but I just sit here, wide-awake, wondering if you'll even call. But you won't call. And I'm done trying with you, and lying to you, because I know the truth, it's not all right. On the night.

On the night I swore I'd leave you, I think about when we began - how a single day away from you was more than I could stand. Now I'm contemplating history and what it means to be a man, feeling weaker every moment, with the future in my hands. And I'm through pleading with you and bleeding for you when I what I need is the truth: can we make this right? On the night.

On the night I swore I'd leave you, I think about a brand new start. And someone else to pull me close and melt the splinter in my heart. Maybe the bird who brings me bottles, or the green-eyed girl on stage, someone unaware of all the stupid choices that I've made. And I'm through pleading with you and bleeding with you, because I know the truth, we won't survive.

No we can't survive. We ain't gonna survive. You do this one more night, and I'll leave you next time. I swear I'll leave you next time. I'll swear I'll leave you next time. Some other night.
Track Name: Me and My Friends
Me and my friends, we’re starting a band. Yeah me and my friends, we’re getting a van

And we’ll drive round and round, with the stereo loud and the lights down low. We’ll drive round and round with the windows down until someone tells us where to go.

Me and my friends, we’re going on tour, because we just can’t sit still anymore, and I’ll get a girl with me, singing harmony in a polka-dot dress, and I’ll get down on one knee, three times a week, but no matter what she won’t say yes.

And I’ll document my fears, for the whole wide world to hear, I will, I will, I will. And escape the same old spin, find something to believe in, I will, I will, I will.

Me and my friends, we’re learning to see: a year just ain’t what it used to be, so we’ll ring the bells at the cheap motels in the dead-end towns, and we’ll knock back shots in the parking lot and run ourselves into the ground.

Break a bone in every state, and be dead by twenty-eight, I will, I will, I will. Find something to believe in and never go home again, I will, I will, I will.

I’m trying like hell to believe in something.
Track Name: Ten Years Down the Road
We were down in a basement the night that we met, and so young we didn’t smoke cigarettes yet, but I knew right away: something inside of me changed. They kept playing the same song on the stereo and I asked you dance, but you told me no, and I thought about leaving, but I decided to stay. I was never much good at giving up anyway.

Then I moved away and I started a band and a dated some girls who could never understand: I was never more happy than when I came to visit you. And I’d knock on your door and you’d let me in, and I’d kiss your mouth, and the room would start to spin and when I went back to them, I could never tell them the truth. Because I knew how perfect it could be with you lying next to me. Ten years down the road, I still wouldn’t disagree.

Then you dropped out of school and I smashed some guitars and you took lots of pills and I cut up my arms, but no matter how bad, we had each other to save. And that one winter night I was scared to death, but you were telling me to take baby steps, because I was only fifteen but I didn’t have time to waste. It was a step I had to take. But you promised I’d be okay. Ten years down the road, I still haven’t lost my way.

I went all across the country trying to find myself, but staying home you were just as well. You know, loving each other doesn’t mean that we’re the same. I thought maybe next spring I’d see you again, maybe next fall but I couldn’t say when, because I was running down a dream that didn’t leave any space. And it’s hard to keep a thing alive when one year turns to five. Ten years down the road, I’m just happy we survived.

I’ve done the strangest things, looking for fame, but now a whole lot of people, they know my name, and I’m still trying to decide if I did things the proper way. When I’m standing backstage, just a few minutes left, and you’re holding my hand because I’m scared to death about having everyone’s attention and nothing to say. Well this life has its ups and downs, but I’m happy to have found. Ten years down the road, I’m still chasing you around.
Track Name: Blessing in Disguise
You pack your backs and slam the trunk and hit the gas like you were in a race. And you don’t bother looking back; this happy home was just another fleeting phase. So paint your face, and dry your eyes, because it’s a blessing in disguise, you are free, you are free to make your mistakes.

So you forget who stood beside you, only go where lights are shining bright. Just hanging in the corridors, passing blank looks back and forth to pass the time. And by and by, you get confused and take the junk they say as gospel truth.You are free, you are free to believe those lies.

The bad ones got you figured out: you’re the type that just can’t get enough. And you can’t afford to think about if mom and dad could see you now, would they judge? Because it’s too much fun, the role you chose: to be some grotto girl with a frozen nose. You are free, you are free to lease out your love.

But Hollywood’s no storybook, your phone ain’t ringing off the hook no more. And the best days you don’t think about how you won every battle but still lost the war. But now I’m sure, since I got wise, it was all a blessing in disguise. Now I am free, I am free to not mourn you anymore.