From Birth, to Breath, to Bone

by Gretchen Pleuss

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bluesandstuff Not sure that this is the best of her releases, but it's not far off - which makes it very good indeed. A musician with integrity and intelligence - and a great voice, too. Favorite track: Ceremony (Speak).
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released March 4, 2016

All songs written by Gretchen Pleuss. Produced by Gretchen Pleuss and Matt Shultzman. Mixed by Spencer Martin. Recorded by Matt Shultzman in Wooster, Ohio November 2014 - June 2015. Drums, vibraphone, piano, modular synthesizers recorded by Ben Vehorn at Tangerine Sound Studios in Akron Ohio, November 2014 and June 2015. Additional keys recorded by Spencer Martin in Canton, Ohio, July 2015. Mastered by Kim Rosen at Knack Mastering.

The musicians:
Gretchen Pleuss- acoustic and electric guitars, vocals
Justin Sustar- drums and percussion
Matt DeRubertis- bass guitar
Appearances by:
Spencer Martin- electric guitar on tracks 1 and 4, piano on tracks 3 and 8, vibraphone on tracks 3 and 9, modular synth and keys on tracks 6, 7, 9.
James Harris- electric guitar on tracks 2 and 6
Ed Marthey- keys on tracks 1, 3, 4, and 5

Cover design by Brant Moore
Photography by Emily Speelman



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Gretchen Pleuss Ohio

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Track Name: The Unknown
The Unknown

I used to falter when I heard my name
As if those syllables sounded of shame
I used to let the darkest thoughts permeate my brain
Those darkest moments are from where the lightest part of me came
I used to wish the sky would swallow me
And spit me out in the Pacific Sea
Surrounded by a crowd and unaware of how to just be
A captive of my discontent until you set me free

Now the sun seems to follow us
But in my dreams the rain feeds my rust

Sometimes I still hide behind changing plans
I fear the encounter with who I am
There’s parts of me that neither one of us can understand
It’s in the way I hold my head and how I clench my hands

It’s a slow march, a wounded beat,
But I’ll get there if it bloodies my feet

At 23 nothing is set in stone
Sometimes I wish I had a sense of home
There was a time I thought I couldn’t be more alone
Now with your help I’m learning to make sense of the unknown

It’s all unknown and we’re anxiety prone
But our weakness is atoned from birth, to breath, to bone
It’s all unknown and we’re anxiety prone
But a radiant light has shone from birth, to breath, to bone
Track Name: Waves Like Drums
Waves Like Drums

There is a legend of a girl
Whose flesh was stretched between two worlds
Lost for words she began to hum
A desperate call for help to come

Her feet in the bog, head in the sky
A distant, mystic lullaby
Echoed in pastures west to east
The mountains howled like feral beasts

Shadows danced when she sang in prayer
Waves like drums beat at the Cliffs of Moher

Then an angel heard her sing
An angels voice, he gave her wings
She flew along the sea
Made a home in a Thuja tree

Now when she cries the flowers bloom
Her smile brings the midnight moon
And when she sings of light and love
It’s carried on wings of a white dove
Track Name: Percy Fawcett
Percy Fawcett

Searching for my heart in some foreign land
A pursuit only Percy Fawcett would understand
Floating down river in some harsh terrain
I feel at ease while any other would go insane

‘Cause there are splendors only God himself would know
If we never ventured, if we chose not to go
Most people cower when the future is unclear
But a scripted future is the only thing I fear

I dream of mountains, I dream of trees
I dream of everything but a husband and babies
I’ve got no money, I can’t hold a job
There’s always somewhere to be and somewhere that I’m not

Never before, have I explored
The stealth of my inner self,
The workings of my core

I wanna lay down under the stars
I don’t wanna see the sky from the window of my car
I wanna let go, I wanna feel free,
Enjoy the contentment of my own company
(chorus and out)
Track Name: Noah and the Ark
Noah and the Ark

You are the light in all things dark,
Noah and the ark, my shelter in the storm
We saved each other in a way
Welcomed each new day like Jesus was reborn
Now our love steady like the snow
In Ohio when the winter beats us blind
Or shadows blanketing a field
When the winter yields to warm rain and sunshine

I guess I knew before you
Human souls are split in two
Our incompletes are directed by our hearts
To find and bind our missing parts

Days pass like kidney stones around here
But each new year comes faster than before
Do feelings change with passing time
Or age like wine for richer or for poor?
Well I’ve seen many good loves die
Let the wells run dry and search for a new source
But you are ageless like the trees
And the steady breeze that keeps a river on its course
(back to chorus)

We stumble here, year after year,
We’ve won the war we still fight for

Sometimes I long for a gypsy life
A long distance drive to take me somewhere new
But I’m only lost when I take leave
All roads seem to lead in circles back to you
‘Cause I see your smile in each new face
And in each new place I swear I hear your voice
Your laughter drowns out all my fears
And steals my tears in exchange for my favorite noise
(chorus and out)
Track Name: Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre

Cast out and poor, plain and obscure
Passion for life led me to your door
Your face is stark, your thoughts are dark
But I know your light, we share the same heart

Unhinged, unearthed, my soul’s rebirthed
When you are near
A love forbade, an unknown fate, I have no fear
Oh still I need you here

In shadows you hide what lives inside
Intent on this secret kept from me, your new bride
I was confused trusting in you
A fool could see it was too good to be true

I run, I cry, my soul has died now that I know
Young and naïve, I can’t believe you deceived me so
I love you, let me go

Lost on the moors I’m searching for a dim light
Plagued by your memory you call for me, call for me
I follow my own name to the ashes of the insane
The walls have all burnt through still I call for you, call for you

I find you blind, half out of mind, you hear a noise
‘Is that my Jane? She finally came by her own choice?
My Jane am I still yours?’ Yes says mine own voice
Track Name: Ceremony (Speak)
Ceremony (Speak)

Let my body shake with every breath I take
I’m alive but I am not awake
Until the full moon rise, until I shut my eyes
And recognize I am not my past mistakes

Will you feed your anger, will you act a stranger
Will you live your life as if you’re dead
Or let your spirit walk, let your spirit talk
If you decide to step outside of your head

A sensation coming, rabbit nation running
And birds, they fly against the wind
Back by brazen force to the river’s source
If this is real, how can I feel this way again?
(Hiye, Aho)

Like a faint light on a dark wall
A siren’s voice and hand as I stand tall
You are here, you are now, you are enough
Then she whispers ‘my sister, you are love’
You are love

With the scent of burning sage
And my heart it flutters like wings in a cage
As they call out my name
If you search you will find the reason you came
We evolve on this earth
Happy Big Bang, Auld Lang, until the 21st
With every path that you pave,
Will you enter the womb when you enter the grave?
(Iye Hantu)
Track Name: Covered Windows
Covered Windows

Covered windows when your eyes are closed
Swept in my tide, from these currents you hide
You are a spark, illuminati of the dark
When you share the blame, do you dare douse the flame?

Now I carry the weight of these rules
Heavy lifting is only for fools
And though I’m wrought with the fixings of fate
Tell me, is it too late?

We both have settled, made our pact with the devil
The fields they frost, all urgency lost
Yes I am young, but words have aged on my tongue
And somehow you’re caught in this tangled web of thought
Track Name: Move On
Move On

You’re the only one who wants to stay
The rest of us would gladly run away
Cutting through this bamboo just to find God
Claiming that we’ve found him when we’ve not

‘Cause there are men who’re fond of bearing their arms
War on their tongues and hate in their hearts
The only peace that I can find
Is somewhere deep in my own mind
And I’m gone

It’s the way of the world, that’s what they say
The night will come if we just black out the day
Well here I am in the same town, in the same home
Raised on faith and fear of being alone

We all watch the news from time to time
Lock our doors to predators and the sunshine
Pray for change and sing joy to the world
Then call each other names and poison our soil

Maybe we are fond of bearing our arms
War on our tongues and hate in our hearts
The only peace that we will find
Is if we alter our state of mind
And move on
Track Name: Floating

I would come home if the flowers had grown,
The snow was asleep in the gutter
But I have been told the ground is too cold,
They can’t bury my grandmother
Maybe we’re stars, just dust from Mars
Maybe we are just floating
If we don’t want to stay, we can float away
With our bodies unknowing

There’s no fountain, no holy mountain
To put a stop to the years
So we smile, but all the while
We think how could they leave us here?

When I was five on a Sunday drive,
There she sat in the back seat
If we could all see angels like Marie
Fear and death would never meet
So fare thee well onto heaven or hell,
I’ll see you when the ash settles
In the wind, in the ocean,
Surrounded by rose pedals

Dressed up in silk and bow
Look nothing like who we know
One last party before you go
One last show