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Stripped State: Laurel Canyon

by Westy Reflector

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well I'm climbing up this Canyon drive high enough to see across time to the days where you and I had nothing to leave behind up here, on this Canyon drive a thousand feet up in the sky on a one-lane two-way graded switchback ride we opened up and saw ourselves from outside and knew we wanted no other life up here, on this Canyon drive down in the Valley a relentless pursuit of dreams in every shadow a sorrow and a scheme a world designed to keep us from coming alive far away from all the light that shines up here, on this Canyon drive what price wouldn't you pay to let nothing get in your soul's way to quiet dark echoes of unlived lives at least up here there's hope you'll find peace on this Canyon drive
i believe in my dream I believe in my dream in my song, i believe you'll see all the lives we are to lead searching for answers is a waste of precious time destiny doesn't ring the bell, doesn't tell you you've arrived songbird on an electric line only knows he's incomplete caught up in a lookout for love all his faith on endless repeat may never know magic of a returned call but he never sounds tragic never sounds small
Mattie was the kinda girl who saw the end of the world every time she opened her eyes Roger was the kinda guy never turned down a ride figured "the end of days is just down the line." the price you pay counting on judgment day for love is to waste the light away wide awake wishing on the dark (in Wonderland) they found an acre and a half halfway up Wonderland in September 1973 they spent a few years thinking the end was near and cut down none of their trees their earth gave way on a red flag day right around 1982 they held on fast against a backdraft into the black they flew they always thought of each other as first time lovers in an endless secret rendezvous but sometimes living a life of desire leaves you dreaming of fire in a state of always almost coming true
1/2 way up the hill is a long way down to extend your horizon to wave away clouds Into the great unknown Into endless blue 1/2 way up the hill was the best we could do where calm clear sky is the everyday no wonder the sun yearns to steal away into the great unknown into endless blue 1/2 way up the hill was the best we could do echoes of times when we were strong swirled into good bye after so longs what keeps you alive is not the same as what makes you live or what flies away
time will not release a missing puzzle piece faded memories don't know what you mean you can't watch a sunrise through someone else's eyes if they never see you in dreams clouds over LA dance alone between skies distant freeways shimmer traffic as rivers red and white ribbons valley to sky lost friends reappear in dusty windshields as evening light hits California 5 clouds over LA dance alone between skies drifting the night suspended from life shadows of every last good bye clouds over LA dance alone between skies
She said, "Pull off at Exit Two Eighteen. Let me out, I'll find another ride. I just don't know where the time has gone, and I'm tired of these freeway signs. "Your stories make me laugh, but your songs make me cry. I don't think I can live that way. I need someone not so low, and maybe not so high. I'm tired of living years every day." Between Jupiter and Tennessee, stars collapsed on me. The moon faded to eternity between Jupiter and Tennessee. Memories make a dotted line, as if in between there was no time. Things that feel long ago, in light years are just yesterday. No regrets where the mind never goes. Sad times just count the days.
all you've got is a feeling and what i've got won't show since our visions of love only intersected long ago gonna go where every light leads if it only takes me round the block i don't care at least i'm searching at least i'm driving where you're still aching to get somewhere first time i knew luck was the first time we laughed at the same truth but there's only so many lies you can sell yourself and still pull through "burning a bridge" burns one ahead, not one already crossed. those things we leave behind are, anyways, already lost lenses filters living as if reality mirrors windows living as if we really see
You came a long long way just to find nothing on the other end of a promise from the other side of the sun the road was mapped but never real still the dream of a long gone man now foxtails push up through cracked cement and long abandoned plans Paper streets always burn. Paper streets always burn. On a bridge to nowhere, you never know where to turn. Paper streets always burn. Doesn't matter where you're from when you see the world from the sky Broadway to Magazine to Sunset Boulevard They all draw the same line You have to put your faith in strangers or else this is a lonely life but sometimes people are wicked and cruel we're not wired to be nice I lost a fortune to a dream but at least it was my dream some people lose their fortune to a faith in the world as it seems
I knew everything of you in how you said your name. On our way to points B unknown from whatever points A. I will never need to know how the shadows fell across your face In that place you used to be Before you escaped To California. for untold revelations, on a self-sent invitation. What's left for you to fear in California? Your train is the station. Your dream of vindication. What's left of you is here. "Maybe I'm out here on a lie, but it's only a lie to the skin I shed. What's left of me here is the truth." There's gold inside us all But we just pass each other by Because you gotta wash away the dirt To find what's not a lie That's California. unknown elevations, sends no invitations. What's left for you to fear in California? Trains are the stations. A dream of vindication. What's left of you is here.


From January to June 2018, my wife Cat costume designed the Amazon series adaptation of the podcast Homecoming that shot in L.A., so we decamped Brooklyn for a 1930s cottage aerie perched halfway up Laurel Canyon. I bought a knock around Seagull guitar at the perfect scaled All-In-One guitar shop in Koreatown, and recorded a couple dozen tracks in our Gould Avenue house. My Gentleman of the Canyon adventure took me to a songwriting time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned.

This Canyon Drive video:

More Laurel Canyon recordings:

These tracks were recorded with the intention of evolution. But for now, they float the aether in a simplest, stripped state, kicking up some glorious west coast dust for me. Who knows where we'll meet again. Hopefully, in The Canyon.


released June 24, 2018




The Reflectors New York, New York


"a cloud fitted with an iron scaffold…
in stereophonic splendor."
- disquiet

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