Other Desert Cities

by Bay Station

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about

For their third studio recording Other Desert Cities (April 27, 2018), Bay Station sought inspiration amid the stark, natural beauty of the Mojave Desert. While their first two releases, Your Own Reaction (2014 under their former name, KCDC) and Go Out and Make Some (2016) reflected the coastal landscape of their home in Alameda, California, the 10 songs on Other Desert Cities were written by Bay Station co-founders Deborah Crooks and Kwame Copeland during several week-long writing retreats in Joshua Tree. Their experiences and impressions of the desert town adjacent to its namesake National Park inform the recording, which details the strange, poetic, and distinctly American stories of desert denizens, both animal and human.
As they did on their previous two releases, Deborah Crooks (vocals, principal lyricist) and Kwame Copeland (guitar, dobro, vocals, harmonica) co-produced Other Desert Cities with Mike Stevens. Stevens (Sun Kil Moon, The Uptones) also played drums, mixed the record, and recorded three of the tracks at his Lost Monkey studio in Hayward, CA. Along with Ben Bernstein (bass) and Steve Waters (guitar, backing vocals), they recorded most of the album at Gatos Trail studio in the Mojave, among the Joshua trees and creosote, with engineer Dan Joeright. Ben Bernstein also recorded and engineered “Fire Song” and “Trickster Moon” at Petting Zoo Studio in Oakland, CA. Upon joining the band in late 2017, bass player Chris Veenstra contributed to several songs on the record, as did guest musicians Michael McNevin (electric and slide guitar), and Joan Reuter (fiddle). The album was mastered by Ken Lee (JJ Grey & Mofro, Bill Frisell) in Oakland.
Many of the album’s tracks depict the imagined lives of desert dwellers; from wild coyotes and survivors of a building fire to road-tripping visitors. “Sleeping Hard Waking Slow” explores aspects of unconditional and timeless love, sung from an unconventional point of view. “Look but Don’t Touch” is a straight-ahead rock song depicting the life of a stripper working at an adult entertainment store, while “Sands of Time” doubles down on a recurring theme of timelessness over a dance-worthy, samba-inspired beat. Crooks assumes the narrative voice, in turns affectionate ("Sands of Time”) inclusive and communal (“Everybody’s Business”) and mournful (“Trickster Moon”). “Bay Station Wiggle” displays the band’s penchant for cutting loose, skirting the edges of surf music in a guitar-driven romp evocative of Chuck Berry.

credits

released April 27, 2018

Produced by Kwame Copeland, Deborah Crooks, and Mike Stevens
Mixed by Mike Stevens at Lost Monkey Studio, Hayward, CA
Mastered by Ken Lee at Ken Lee Mastering

Design by Alicia Buelow

All songs words and music ©Kwame Copeland and Deborah Crooks (ASCAP)

Kwame Copeland: acoustic & electric guitar, harmonica, dobro, backing vocals
Deborah Crooks: vocals
Steve Waters: electric guitar, backing vocals
Mike Stevens: drums, percussion
Ben Bernstein: electric & upright bass
Chris Veenstra: bass
Michael McNevin: electric and slide guitar
Joan Rueter: violin

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Bay Station Alameda, California

Bay Station finds Kwame Copeland and Deborah Crooks combining their talents with several musical friends to create a diverse form of Americana.
"Bay Station delivers its own unique style, incorporating the best parts of Americana, Alt-Country, and just plain good storytelling." — Bob Leggett LA Music Critic
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Track Name: Sleeping Hard Waking Slow
Old hound barking behind a chain link fence
Got me up a couple times but I mostly slept hard through the night
By your side twitching and dreaming
Equal parts wag and bite rain falling softly

Dodged a leaf ‘cause it looked like a lizard
Chased a rabbit ‘round the bend half hop and run
Wind starting to blow which way did it go? Catch it can you?

Sleeping hard waking slow
Sleeping hard waking slow
Sleeping hard waking slow, wake up, wake up

In a dream you were saying you loved me
I said we’re in love but that's a different thing
an open sea of the heart not something that comes apart
so easily something for eternity

Sleeping hard waking slow
Sleeping hard waking slow
Sleeping hard waking slow, wake up, wake up

Jumped over a pebble ‘cause it looked like a mountain
Followed a turtle to its hole half shuffle and claw
Sun breaking through how hot can it get between me and you?

Sleeping hard waking slow
Sleeping hard waking slow
Sleeping hard waking slow, wake up, wake up
Track Name: Look But Don't Touch
Gal waving a sign for the triple-X store
“Business is slow this year,” they say at the door
Lost in the desert, of course you’ll look twice
Found in the desert, you better play nice

You can stay all night long
You can look but don’t touch
Yeah I like you, but don’t get me wrong
I don’t want to like you too much

Not everyone’s a friend, some have no time
For a woman in charge, nothing is fine
Lost in the desert with a bunch of snakes
Found in the desert, what does that take?

You can stay all night long
You can look but don’t touch
Yeah I like you, but don’t get me wrong
I don’t want to like you too much

Life drops you harder in this kind of place
See those marks in the sand?
Some things time won't ever erase

Fiddle has no string, dog has no bark
Talk all you want, it’s already dark
Lost in the desert, the stars mean everything
“Found” in the desert has a whole other ring

You can stay all night long
You can look but don’t touch
Yeah I like you, but don’t get me wrong
I don’t want to like you too much
Track Name: Fire Song
Fire ran through the attic like a rat chased by a dog
Truck sirens blared a horn through the fog
Of our disbelief at what we saw “Run!” you said
Get up, get up, get up, get up out of bed

Two stories, ten units, fifty years, lifetimes of history
Gone up in smoke one night on a high desert street

The neighbor has her daughter I grabbed a guitar and the cat
You were wearing your pajamas and your favorite hat
Everyone got out to safety as glass broke and smoke poured
No one could utter a word or save any more

Two stories, ten units, fifty years, lifetimes of history
Gone up in smoke one night on a high desert street

Now we're staying on the other side of town you borrowed your brother's truck
I’m wearing my momma's dressing gown we're still counting on our luck
In the sunset and the waxing moon the call of the mourning dove
Trying to put it all behind us and save our love

Two stories, ten units, fifty years, lifetimes of history
Gone up in smoke one night on a high desert street
Track Name: Sands of Time
Sand in my shoes now there’s sand by the door
From walking in the desert with you

Sand by the door now there’s sand on the floor
Tracked in from the street on our bare feet

Sands of time a drift on the floor
I can’t really tell anymore
What’s yours, or what’s mine
That’s because of the sands of time

It all adds up so many kinds of luck
Of hidden treasures to find
All this mining you gotta dig around
To find the diamonds hidden in the ground

Sands of time a drift on the floor
I can’t really tell anymore
What’s yours, what’s mine
That’s because of the sands of time

If it all breaks down into so much dust
You might lose your money you might lose your sleep
You might lose your place but my love
My love is yours to keep

Sands of time a drift on the floor
I can’t really tell anymore
What’s yours, what’s mine
That’s because of the sands of time
Track Name: Everybody's Business
Alejandro and Rosalinda, Alex and Rosa to you my friend
Opened up a Hacienda, a café off of Highway 10
Rosa’s at the register, Alex is baking bread
Gives it another minute and laughs at what she said
Local girl, her baby too, highway travelers, me and you

Everybody come on in, there’s always room for more
Everybody’s business coming through the door
Everybody come on in

On to Phoenix after Indio, stop for lunch stop just to stop
Paper napkins paper plates, heading eastward through the Western states
Check out early off the clock, other desert cities call
Rosa says treat each other well, and wave’s her farewell
All that knowing in her eyes, seen so many kisses so many goodbyes

Everybody come on in there’s always room for more
Everybody’s business coming through the door
Everybody come on in

Drive on from Mourning Dove to Swainson’s hawk
Tap the wheel hit your knee no need to talk
Arizona Red-tail, Mississippi blues
Counting ones and fours, ones and fours and twos
Adjust the mirror, watch out for snakes, ease back onto the interstate

Everybody come on in there’s always room for more
Everybody’s business coming through the door
Everybody come on in there’s always room for more
Everybody’s business coming through the door
Everybody‘s business
Track Name: Baja Blues
Thought I’d go down to Baja to forget you
Try life the South of the Border way
Street tacos and huaraches surfing every day
Napping in a hammock 12 o’clock Corona
Thoughts of you keep dogging me feeling so alone

Lolling in the sand going to a burn from a tan
Mexicali, Ensenada, anywhere I choose
Still got a case of the Baja Blues

Tried to lose myself in La Paz there was no peace for me to find
Hitched a ride to Todos Santos looking for more of my kind
How can you go wrong with All Saints? Found out from St. Cecilia
Found me talking to the cows after one too many shots of tequila

Lolling in the sand going to a burn from a tan
Mexicali, Ensenada, anywhere I choose
Still got a case of the Baja Blues

Sailed out to Guadalupe Island went face to face with a white shark
Found out what I was made of got an armful of bite marks

Lolling in the sand going to a burn from a tan
Mexicali, Ensenada, anywhere I choose
Still gotta case of the Baja Blues
Track Name: Purple
I washed my hands but they’re still covered with paint
Got all these walls I want to redo

Try to replace the red with the blue
Oh the blues are always purple to me

Just you wait and see
How years tumble up onto one another so fast
People you know no longer show
Sky pales from blue to a red glow
oh the blues are always purple to me
The blues are always purple

So many stories to tell it's true, it's true
the broken spoke, the open road, that time we kissed under a sky so new
Or the star on my face, the glitter in bed, how the fog rolled in
I didn't want to hear, I didn’t want to hear what you said

The sun can't help but turn everything red

I still want to paint these walls blue
Try to replace the red with the blue
Oh the blues are always purple to me
The blues are always purple

Night turns play me an upbeat song or a few,
country picker, beatbox, some rock yeah yeah we’ll roll
You might get older but some things never get old
Like the sun can't help but turn everything red
Oh time to paint these walls blue

(The blues are always purple to me)
Blues are always purple

Different smiles might show up through the dark laughing
I still want to paint these walls blue
Oh even I'm not the person I once knew
yeah the blues are always purple to me
(The blues are always purple to me)
The blues are always purple to me
Track Name: Clean Up
Hose off the pollen and the dust
From the birds who made the fuss
At the truck stop outside Vacaville
Rinse the bumper of its insects
The taillight and its slight defect
Memory of a saloon near Cloverdale

Clean up start again
Put your feet up my friend
Soon enough we’ll be up we’ll be going
Clean up start again
Who knows where or when
We’ll be off we’ll be on our way

The vacuum is next, how much time will it take
To suck up the crumbs of those cookies you didn’t bake
Packed up and eaten in the car
Souvenirs of times spent playing at the Bazaar Café

Clean up start again
Put your feet up my friend
Soon enough we’ll be up we’ll be going
Clean up start again
Who knows where or when
We’ll be off we’ll be on our way

Yeah, leaving is so easy
It’s a little harder to stay a while
You get to know how the numbers change
The familiar becomes strange,
You get used to things, then you turn around
And it’s time to go

Clean up start again
Put your feet up my friend
Soon enough we’ll be up we’ll be going
Clean up start again
Who knows where or when
We’ll be off we’ll be on our way
Track Name: Trickster Moon
You didn't want salty you didn't want sweet
You wanted the edge of that collision
Where those two worlds meet
Skin and sweat sugar all you could envision
Made us all believe in the bright stars
And that trickster moon
Oh those bright stars and that trickster moon

You didn't travel far still you chased long and hard
Looking for some kind of redemption
In every playing card aces high you were wild
Killed everyone with your smile
Made us all believe in the bright stars
and that trickster moon
Oh those bright stars and that trickster moon

You didn't curse fate
Though you were the first one to go
Maybe you already knew
What we still needed to know

Here doves are flying over cactus and olive tree
Back at the place it all started
Friendship without question conquest adventure
You ever open hearted
Made us all believe in the bright stars
and that trickster moon
Oh those bright stars and that trickster moon
Under the bright stars and that trickster moon
Track Name: Bay Station Wiggle
I love the way you wiggle
Just the right amount of jiggle
Shake shake shake shake
Shake and wiggle

I don’t mean to pander
I love the way you meander
Sway sway sway, sway
Sway and wiggle

Oh the way you move
Just the right amount of groove
Boom shucka boom shucka boom
Boom shucka boom and wiggle

I don’t mean to gawk
I think you really rock
Rock rock and roll
Rock and roll and wiggle

Wiggle!

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