Revolutionary Acts of Optimism (2019)

by Shannon Curtis

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Sven B. Schreiber
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Sven B. Schreiber She's got an excellent voice - but even more I enjoy Shannon Curtis' individual and ingenious way of writing songs. She's a 100% reliable singer-songwriter, once again proven on her brand-new album "Revolutionary Acts Of Optimism". There's no mediocre or boring song to be skipped while playing, everything's just perfect, from the quite appealing concept, over the songwriting, to the brilliant performance. Favorite track: She Will Dance.
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1.
Glorious 03:34
God, I’m so tired Can barely keep my eyes open Not to mention my heart There are a thousand and one reasons it’s broken And at the end of the day Still At the end of the day Drive us due west Chase down the sunset One of these days What if we catch it? Don’t really care That we don’t have a prayer The day I die is the day that I Give up chasing the sunset Eyes on the light So what if the dark outruns us? The alternative Is heavy enough to crush us It’ll crush us At the end of it all Still At the end of it all Drive us due west Chase down the sunset One of these days What if we catch it? And the orange sky swallows us up We’re a twisting fire, we are glorious And our glowing bones turn to sparkling dust We are glorious, we are glorious Drive us Chase down the sunset One of these days What if we catch it? Don’t really care That we don’t have a prayer The day I die is the day that I Give up chasing the sunset eyes on the light eyes on the light we are glorious we are glorious eyes on the light we are glorious eyes on the light we are glorious eyes on the light we are glorious
2.
Zero 03:29
There’s this myth that tragically persists If you get more then I’ll get less Well, I won’t We’ll never get to zero The barrel has no bottom We give and then we’ll give more It’s impossible to run out We’ll never get to none left This vessel will not dry up Show me all you’ve got, there’s always enough It’s impossible to run out of love Fingers point Someone might get yours But who gets served when we feud for leftovers? Well, we don’t We’ll never get to zero The barrel has no bottom We give and then we’ll give more It’s impossible to run out We’ll never get to none left This vessel will not dry up Show me all you’ve got, there’s always enough It’s impossible to run out of love What if we grew a bigger imagination? It’s not zero sum, it’s all multiplication We are standing in a windfall We’ve already got it all, already got it all We’ll never get to zero The barrel has no bottom We give and then we’ll give more It’s impossible to run out We’ll never get to none left This vessel will not dry up Show me all you’ve got, there’s always enough It’s impossible to run out of love It’s impossible to run out of love It’s impossible to run out of love
3.
There’s this picture of me Before everything changed And there’s something trying to pass for A smile on my face And I keep wondering Did she know? She is captured in a pose Meant to catch a good light Not a hair out of place Hope draining from her eyes This is the kind of shot They display when you die Did she know? Yes, there is more on the other side Of shattered glass and broken frames There is more You will get cut when you punch through You break your hand or break your heart The choice is yours She stands with people who know her At least as much as she is known Eager for all this to be over Got somewhere she needs to go Not yet sure where it is She’s just got to go She must have known Yes, there is more Through the shattered glass and broken frames There is more You will get cut when you punch through You break your hand or break your heart The choice is yours Yes, there is more Through the shattered glass and broken frames There is more You will get cut when you punch through I would walk through shattered glass You break your hand or break your heart I would walk through shattered glass You break your hand or break your heart I would walk through shattered glass You break your hand or break your heart
4.
Oh look at how she twirls Always in perfect circles Turn of the key, and she’ll dance Her frozen porcelain smile They find it reassuring Predictably, she will dance And when they’ve been amused She’s set back on a high shelf Until somebody else turns the key Dance, baby, dance Like you’ve never known any other way to move Spin on command It’s what everybody says they need for you to do It’s your move It’s the move that the people need you to do It’s your move Oh look their faces pale Painted in shock and horror Their object of possession has a will Has she forgot her place? Hardened in fires of history She will fall, she will break We’ll accept no guilt And no one is amused As she dances off the high shelf She and nobody else holds the key Dance, baby, dance Like you’ve never known any other way to move Spin out of hand Till you break apart if that’s what you’ve gotta do It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do? It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do? It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose Oh look at how she twirls Beautiful, broken circles Only herself to please, she will dance Dance, baby, dance Like you’ve never known any other way to move Spin out of hand Till you break apart if that’s what you’ve gotta do (It's your move, it's your move) It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do? (It's your move, it's your move) It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose (It's your move, it's your move) It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do? (It's your move, it's your move) It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose (Dance, baby, dance) It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do? (Dance, baby, dance) It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose (Dance, baby, dance) It’s your move, baby, what are you gonna do? (Dance, baby, dance) It’s your move, and nobody but you can choose
5.
In a dream I walked alone Like I did all those years ago In some universe resembling our own Perhaps I still walk alone You and I are infinite lines Shooting out across a dark sky And we intersect for one impossibly short moment I close my eyes and hold it In your eyes there’s gravity Tugging at my chest I forget to breathe In a universe of possibilities I’d choose this waking dream You and I are infinite lines Shooting out across a dark sky And we intersect for one impossibly short moment I close my eyes and hold it I close my eyes and hold it I close my eyes and hold it I close my eyes and hold it
6.
Holy Fire 03:58
Tonight I’m gonna invite this feeling Invite this feeling, this feeling Tonight I will not silence this feeling Invite this feeling I welcome it into the house Right in through the front door Pat the spot on the sofa next to me I’ll ask it questions about where it’s from I’ll look into its eyes curiously I’ll let my guard down, approach in peace When the tears come I will cry They’ll not be silenced Sprung from a part of me And I will ball my fists when rage ignites Some holy fire deep down This burning part of me, this feeling Tonight I’m gonna invite this feeling I won’t shove it back outside I know slammed doors and shut lights Make no peace for me, peace for me inside A house where bulwarks are built To keep this feeling out Won’t rest with constant knocking from the night When the tears come I will cry They’ll not be silenced Sprung from a part of me And I will ball my fists when rage ignites Some holy fire deep down This burning part of me, this feeling Tonight I’m gonna invite this feeling Ignite this feeling This part of me Tonight I’ll summon and unite all the pieces In the light, in the heat When the tears come I will cry They’ll not be silenced Sprung from a part of me And I will ball my fists when rage ignites Some holy fire This burning part of me, this feeling Tonight, I’m gonna
7.
Shade 04:54
We broke the soil We dug a hole We cursed and sweat We paused to catch our breath We aren’t naive Our backs will ache smashing this clay We’ve done this before We broke the soil We lowered down The sprouted roots We laid a bed Of nourishment offered by the dead Buried beneath the blackest earth and water for its thirst Our hopes in the ground We lowered down What an outrageous act of faith to plant this fragile life With expectation it will grow against the winds of time We tend the limbs We measure years In pinkish blooms We know we’ll never eat the fruit It is enough to know that someone will Like we’ve been filled Because once someone else Tended limbs What an outrageous act of faith, to plant so that someday A younger soul who passes here might lay down in the shade What an outrageous act of faith, to plant so that one day A younger soul will pass by here and lay down in the shade We broke the soil We lowered down We aren’t naive Our backs will ache smashing this clay Our hopes in the ground We lowered down We’ve done this before We broke the soil
8.
Crushed 03:37
When I hold it tight It’s crushed beyond recognition The pieces break the skin on my clutched palms Now it’s seeping out Between my reddened knuckles And I start believing there’s not enough (Not enough) See there’s proof (Not enough) It’s disappearing right here (Not enough) Inside my clutched fists So I hold it tighter Drop to the floor and scrape my forearms on the concrete To gather what I’ve spilled Use my body to shield you from getting too close Anyone getting too close This is mine (This is mine) Please get away (This is mine) I have to protect what I have (This is mine) This is all that I have And of course you back away You shake your head and turn away You leave me alone Of course you do Now I’m alone It’s what I asked you to do It’s what I asked for, fought for, screamed for, and what for? And all I’ve got now to show for it are Shattered remnants of something I thought was everything I held it too tightly The pressure of being everything crushed it to nothing Of course it crushed it to nothing And now I’m here Down on the concrete Fine powder blowing from my upturned palms
9.
I walked outside today Looked toward the sky at midday And it was blue I opened up the tap Crystal water pooled in my hands And it was cool And the ocean is still wild Though she has ceased her storied rise And she swells and teems with life And we know it’s because of you People who never knew us Who looked into the future You are the legends we read in our books We’re living inside the vision you forged and fought to give us So in this letter from the future we just want to say If you’ve been wondering if it’s worth it, dreaming of a change We are living proof I laid down in the grass Bumblebees and birds performed their tasks Faithfully they do In the forest mystery thrives Where once its glory fell to fire From the ashes grew new life And we know it’s because of you People who never knew us Who looked into the future You are the legends we read in our books We’re living inside the vision you forged and fought to give us So in this letter from the future we just want to say If you’ve been wondering if it’s worth it, knocking down old frames And imagining the new ones built up in their place And every tear and drop of blood you shed to make the way Well, this is living proof This letter from the future You could’ve set the whole thing burning, a ritual flame to hail defeat You could’ve let the waves crash over and carry the remnants out to sea You could’ve saved yourselves and left the unluckier ones down in the dust Maybe you heard the future calling, maybe you just couldn’t give up The ocean is still wild And she swells and teems with life
10.
Tables 04:46
That this is the way it always will be That trying for change is just swimming upstream Our resignation is wind for lies like these But what if we aren’t swimming? What if we’re the river? That people were born for the purpose of toil That there will always be the rich and the poor Weary surrender yields to the status quo But what if it’s a phantom? What if we’re its master? The table turns first in our minds Don’t fall in line; we make our own path History starts in our dreams We’ll write the next scene in our own hand That each one of us is all on our own That us versus them is just how this game goes These are the fictions that score on darkened hope So what if we stopped playing? What if we’re the same team? The table turns first in our minds Don’t fall in line; we make our own path History starts in our dreams We’ll write the next scene in our own hand With our own hands we’ll write a history That starts in our dreams They say be small, we claim our space They say go slow, we break the pace It doesn’t fit, we make new molds Challenge the stories we’ve been sold We’re born to live, not to survive We are the makers of our lives We are the keepers of the dream And we are writing history Tables turn first in our minds Don’t fall in line; we'll make our own path History starts in our dreams We’ll write the next scene We’ll write our history It'll start in our dreams

about

Welcome to Revolutionary Acts of Optimism. That’s quite a mouthful of a title, isn’t it? And also a bit of a handful of an idea, don’t you think?

I wondered, as we were giving this album its big name, if at some point you might ask:

So, Shannon … optimism, huh?
Isn’t that a little trite?
I see that word and I totally get an “inspirational kitten poster” vibe.
And … what’s this about it being revolutionary?
Don’t you think that’s asking a bit much? Trying a bit too hard? Shooting a little … too high?

I feel you. There have been times in my life in which I’d have asked those same questions. So let me tell you about where my mind and my heart have been during the time in which we made this record. Here goes:

First of all. I’m tired. How about you? 

… Because everyday life can be exhausting.
… Because the news often seems to be a firehose of trouble.
… Because there are days that with every bit of progress I make, the more I feel like I’m falling behind.

And my heart is broken. How about yours?

… Because there are unhealed relationships in my life, and people I care about are hurting.
… Because sometimes, things to which I’ve given my heart don’t bring the love back to me that I’d hoped they would.
… Because the suffering in the world seems so much bigger than me; the problems, too complicated ever to be solved.

Do you feel me?
Discouragement, hopelessness, and cynicism are easy to come by. Especially, I think, in this time.

And if that were the end of the story … well … then … perhaps it would be time to close up shop. Give in to the powers that be. Let the status quo win.
 
But WHAT IF …
… there were another way?

What if … there is more available to us than we’ve seen?
What if … we are more powerful than we know?
What if … there is enough of what we need for all of us?
What if … there is a whole other frame through which we can take in the view?

Here’s an idea:

When the powerful require our cynicism
in order to maintain systems of oppression;

When entrenched structures require our hopelessness
in order to stop us from making progress;

When the status quo requires our discouragement
in order to keep us from living our best lives …

Our optimism is an act of revolution.


Maybe we can change everything …
… with a sober assessment of the challenges we face in our lives and in the world,
… followed by a choice to focus our eyes on what’s POSSIBLE.
 
That … is what’s been on my mind. And so that … is the record I wrote: Revolutionary Acts of Optimism.

It’s all about the idea that there is more, that there is enough, that embracing possibility is where an unsatisfactory status quo ends and revolution begins.

Some revolutions are small and personal.
Some revolutions are big and structural.
And they all begin with a wide, open-armed embrace … of possibility.

So … here is my offering to possibility.
Here’s to optimism.
And here’s to the revolution.

— shannon

credits

released June 14, 2019

Produced / mixed / mastered by Jamie Hill
at The Department of Energy Management, Tacoma

Guitars performed by Chris Palmer

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about

Shannon Curtis Tacoma, Washington

"And Her Whisper Becomes a Storm," Shannon's eighth full-length studio album in eight years, was released on June 20, 2020.

Shannon lives in Tacoma, WA with her husband, producer / mixer Jamie Hill.

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