A Better Version of the Truth

by Bow Thayer

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about

All of my albums have some sort of story behind their creation. More like hurdles actually, and this one is no different in that respect. In fact, this one was a real doozy! Here’s the short story.

I started writing these songs about three years back. When we were a mere two sessions into the demo recordings, our drummer Jeff Berlin suffered several strokes that left him unable to continue. We shelved the tracks until he was able to re-learn how to play. It took two years of intense physical therapy, but thank god he recovered. Upon revisiting the tracks, we realized that the demos were pretty good. Since these songs reflected a certain chapter of our lives, we decided to keep most of them and just added one new song - “The Drain” - and re-recorded the title track. Then I took them down to Milan Hill Studios in Milan, NY so that mix master Justin Guip could stick his fingers into the sauce. Things were feeling good and taking shape, and we started playing most of the songs out in public. Then another tragedy happened. On March 31st of this year, we were scheduled to play a local show. Come set time, our bassist Alex Abraham was nowhere to be found. After limping through the gig without him, I called home and asked my wife to go check on him. Alex was living at a friend’s house just up the road from us. Maybe his car got stuck - it was a pretty sloppy mud season. Or maybe it was just another miscommunication - I’m known for those. But upon arriving home I was greeted with a look and telepathy that shook me to the bone. My wife had found Alex after he had placed a Remington Model 33 rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Upon reaching the scene nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed. It broke my heart (and it would have broken yours) to to see such an amazing and dear young talent snuffed out of this existence without any explanation. The grief was, and is, almost unbearable, the only solace being his fierce and extraordinary bass tracks left behind. So we finished mixing.

“A Better Version of the Truth” was the toughest record I have ever made, and some of the tracks reflect that. It ain’t perfect, but what is? Then again this is the brutal truth. Nothing was phoned in - so looking at it that way, it IS perfect.

Someday I will divulge the entire story of me and Al and bring to fruition the half-baked treasures he left behind on multiple hard drives in the corners of The Woodshed, but for now please add this exemplary effort to your collection. I am sure you will find it an unflinching testament to a unique and evolving artist who suffered silently with demons undetected by his closest friends and family. Rest easy my low end friend, your soul flies on the wings of each molecule you push with your thunderous beauty.

b

credits

released November 9, 2018

All songs written by Bow Thayer, SESAC Elbop Music
Copyright 2018

Musicians:
Bow Thayer- Banjos, Bojos, Guitars, Synth, Keys, Percussion, Vox
Jeff Berlin- Drums
Alex Abraham- Bass, Vox
Justin Guip - Organ
J.D. Tolstoi - Fender Rhodes, Organ, Synth

Recorded and engineered by Bow Thayer at The Woodshed, Stockbridge, VT
Additional engineering by Matt Lillie
Additional tracking and post-production by Justin Guip at Milan Hill Studios, Milan, NY

Mixed by Justin Guip at Milan Hill Studios, Milan, NY
Produced by Bow Thayer and Justin Guip
Mastered by Alex McCullough at True East Mastering, Nashville, TN

Managed by Scott Florance at Battenkill Music

Cover art by Chris Lillie (photos) and Nicole Momaney (layout, artwork and editing)

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Bow Thayer Vermont

Bow Thayer's music features his custom Bojotar and fuses experimental elements with Americana, rock, bluegrass, and folk, resulting in a singular, progressive sound that has earned descriptions ranging from “Green Mountain soul” to “modern backwoods music.” American Songwriter says this "onetime Levon Helm compatriot is the best artist to come from New England in recent years." ... more

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Track Name: The Great Expanse
We are plasma of the void
Quantum tunnels, caves and tunnels
As we do the dance

Silver seedlings in the sea of darkness
And we explode into leaves of lotus
In the Gr8 X-pants

Round and round in sound we go
Endless streaming beacons beaming
From distant worlds
Track Name: A Better Version of the Truth
Haze heavy, shadows and light
A fountain of darkness on the road tonight
Picking at the ice just to get down to the stone
Hoping there’s life at the end of the tunnel

Oh, it’s a bad sign, when the black tide
flows over the road to home

You might be a slave
You might be a saint

Who’s gonna save him, from the same thing,
that saved me?

Hey, it’s scary when the jury’s out
Deadlock swimming in a sea of doubt
Picking at the flesh just to get down to the bone
Looking to the light when the gavel goes down

You might be a slave
You might be a saint

Skin on a bone-structured cage
We go out the way we came
With a given right to choose
A better version of the truth
We’re all just monkeys on a swing
Who learned to pray and write and sing
Who would kill ya just to prove
A better version of the truth

I don’t know, I don’t know
I don’t know and neither do you
Track Name: The Drain
Rome was built to burn
Its roads were paved with scorn
The truth was lost within the noise
Seeing is believing with no choice

So walk me out in the cold redeeming rain
Your dirty kiss has gone and left a stain
Baby, won’t you please come clean?
You pulled the plug you got me
Circling around the drain

You stole the keys to my door
You pierced the shield of my soul
The truth is there In disguise
Weeping is my heart bleeding through broken eyes

Walk me out in the cold redeeming rain
Your dirty kiss has gone and left a stain
Baby, won’t you please come clean?
You pulled the plug you got me
Circling around the drain
Track Name: Queen Kong
Last time my hairy head caught fire
I was lying face down in the funeral pyre
Then the big black mountain opened up wide
It said wake up rise and shine

Tinker Bell and that crazy Mary Shelley
They was getting it on in the No Town Library
With the pixie dust fused with the Dewey decimal system
Got to lay low, play heavy

Make way for the night, it’s coming right at ya
It’s misbehaving time down at the rapture tonight

Queen Kong woke up at dawn
Polished her brand new megaphone
And walked down the streets of No Town at dawn
Screaming wake up here comes Queen Kong

Make way for the night, it’s coming right at ya
It’s misbehaving time down at the rapture tonight
Track Name: The Rita Effect
I finally found a spot in the city parking lot
I took out a quarter and put it in the slot
Of the blinking meter but it got stuck
I said to Miss Rita, can you put away your book?
At least hold off on the flatbed truck
While I go down to the grocer and change my last buck
The air got heavy and the day got long
When I got back my wheels’ were gone

So we moved up here and had a couple of kids
With a couple of misses and a couple of hits
A couple of holes and red-knuckled fists
Moments of hell, moments of bliss
But I never got a handle on what went down
Never got the lowdown on what went wrong
Everything I lost is only what I’ve found
I’m glad I gave it up for the fertile ground

I’ve been thinking in terms of circles a lot
Looking for the hands on the digital clock
Thinking and blinking and a ticking the talk
Wondering what we’re gonna do if time just stops
I’m pretty sure it doesn’t, what if we’re just stuck?
Going around in circles like a spinning top
You start to feel the warble and just before you drop
Someone comes along to pick you back up

So we go back to the beginning at the end of the line
Am I closer to birth or closer to dying?
Do I give up the hard work or keep on trying?
I like to smoke a bit of pot, drink a little wine
I try to get sober, I try and stay high
Try and laugh a little more than I cry
Maybe share a bigger portion of the piece of the pie
It’s a natural conundrum of the average guy
A natural conundrum of the average guy

At the end of our days
Will we burn out like a candle dripping hot wax on the cold ground?
Will we fade away?
Will there be a light on whenever we get home?
Will it all be explained?

You better hold on and don’t let go
It’s a mighty long road and it got holes
It‘s got ice and it’s got snow
Detours where you wouldn’t want to go
It winds and grinds and rolls and flows
It winds and grinds and rolls and flows

Sometimes you follow
Sometimes you’re the leader
But we all got to pay the same damn meter
It got me thinking back to good old Rita
If it wasn’t for her, I’d never be here
If it wasn’t for Rita, I’d never be here

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