Carlos and the Suspiroes

by Carlos and the Suspiroes

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about

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time – get into a studio, bring together some of the best musicians I know, and record twelve of my tunes. Would the final result meet my hopes and aspirations? Thanks to all the fine people who collaborated with me, it has surpassed them.

What about the title? First of all, ‘Carlos’ is me; I think everybody should have a chance to reinvent themselves, and Carlos is my Spanish identity. Almost, but not quite, an alter-ego.

‘Suspiroes’ is less obvious. In Spanish, ‘suspiro’ is a sigh, or perhaps a breath. Figuratively, it is a fleeting moment, like a heartbeat, or the blink of an eye, and that’s what these songs are. If you know some Spanish, you know that the plural is ‘suspiros’ – there’s no E. I wrote it that way because this is hybrid music, una música mestiza. Also because I like the way it looks with the E.

There is almost a four decade span between the oldest and youngest of these songs. The earliest, ‘SoCal 77,’ was written in (duh) 1977, and the latest, ‘Sigo cantando,’ saw the light of day early in 2014. There is also a huge stylistic range here – from the driving folk-rock of ‘All Through the City’ to some jazz inflections to the high-steppin’, banjo pickin’ country of ‘Red River Breakdown.’ And you get three different languages too: ‘Une échappée,’ my hommage to Quebec City, ends in French, and the aforementioned ‘Sigo cantando’ is my first foray into lyric-writing in Spanish.

Thanks to Caro for the cool photos and layout. Thanks to Daniel, Jane, Jon, Jordan, Nancy, Quintin, Rayannah, Sam and Shannon for your wonderful singing and playing. And thanks to Jordan and Eles for pulling it all together.

- Chuck Kroeker

credits

released December 25, 2014

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Carlos and the Suspiroes Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Track Name: All Through the City
A knife tears flesh and then a car rips away
Leaves a body in the alley, another tragedy on the way
and in the burbs the good citizen sleeps safe in the night
never hears the screaming tires, never sees the flashing lights, no

Home from work the next day with the city’s dust on his shoes
He pours himself a drink and then he turns on the news
They’re cryin’ about the victim and singing the inner city blues
He reaches for the remote and thinks there are some who are born to lose

See the city turn See the wounds that burn

Meanwhile down under the neon there’s buddy on the make
He’s lookin’ for someone who’ll give cuz he’s always ready to take
and he hits on a girl who’ll believe whatever he might say
cuz she’s heard the tide roar she’s gonna be swept away

A few hours later she awakes in the squalid yellow dawn
The bed’s all a mess and buddy’s already long gone
She reaches for her cigarettes and she fumbles with her clothes
She’s been fooled again, that’s the only thing she knows

See the city turn See the wounds that burn

All through the city from the edges to the core
Some people lookin’ to hang on, others lookin’ to get more
This town hums like a machine, like a mighty dynamo
Almost drowns out the devil shiftin’ gears down below

In Montreal they got a cross that shines in the sky
Out here there ain’t no place where one could stand that high
Still you gotta be blind not to see the blood drain
From the wounds of the lamb down to these dark streets of pain

See the city turn See the wounds that burn
Track Name: SoCal 77
I wanna be in southern California,
O happy days in southern California
Sunny beaches there wherever you go
And you know it’s pretty cold back home
People come from everywhere to be in California
People come and leave their cares back at home
in southern California

The movie stars are there in California,
Rock n' rollers now in California
Always lots to see wherever you go
And you know it’s pretty dull back home
People come from everywhere to be in California
People do things that they wouldn’t dare back at home
In southern California

And then you know it`s time to go
But she says that you should stay
After all you know it wouldn’t hurt for just another day

California, California I’d visit you anytime
I’m goin’ back to where it’s always sunny
The promised land of silk and money, money money
Track Name: Bitter Convictions
These divisions of language nation and race
These attachments to just one people and place
We need to reach out we need to look around
We need to open up there's a whole world to embrace

Don't wanna live by bitter convictions
Don't wanna live with the pain and the lies
I'm prayin' for a world that sees a better day rise

Some people still lookin' for others to blame
Some people still playin' that devil's game
They take their stand in foolish pride
If you wanna be their friend then you gotta be exactly the same

Don't wanna live by bitter convictions
Don't wanna live with the pain and the lies
I'm prayin' for a world that sees a better day rise

Some day this hatred is gonna fade, we're gonna see that
God's people come in every different style and shade
This world's so big and I'm so small
If it wasn't for that, then I'd get to know them all

Don't wanna live by bitter convictions
Don't wanna live with the pain and the lies
I'm prayin' for a world that sees a better day rise
Track Name: Red River Breakdown
Red River breakdown, comin’ to you live
Red River breakdown, along Highway 75
And across the line, to this bar, where I’m callin’ to you
Where I just met my good friends Peggy and Sue

I left town just before you got home from work
Cleaned out our account just like the jerk
You’re always sayin’ that I am, and I guess you’re right
But I don’t feel halfbad, drinkin’ here tonight

You shoulda heard what your Mama said
when she said that I’m no good,
when she said it wouldn’t last,
You shoulda listened
She said I’m a rootless wandering boy
Oh, you should heard what your Mama said

Hey raise a glass to the open road
And raise a glass to the empty sky, yeah,
Come on, put down that heavy load
And stop your wondering why

You shoulda heard what your Mama said…

Hey raise a glass to the open road
And raise a glass to a life of freedom
I just can’t do what I been told
And that is why this

Red River breakdown cannot be denied
Red River breakdown, busted open wide
It’s a wound and then a scar that’ll heal with time
Cuz you got your life and me, well honey I got mine
Track Name: Sigo cantando
English synopsis: A rudimentary translation of the title is ‘I Keep Singing’ or ‘I’m still singing’ – that is, in spite of all the greed, corruption and power-mongering in this world, in defiance of all of that, I sing.

Translation of the refrain:

I’ll keep singing until the very last breath of this world
I’ll keep singing to overcome the solitude that surrounds us
The solitude that we are born with
The solitude that follows us
Until the very last breath, until the very last breath

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Ay de los que sólo quieren aprovechar
sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren engañar
aunque sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren humillar
mientras canto, sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren lastimar
sigo cantando

Ay de los que sólo quieren poseer
sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren imponer
aunque sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren empobrecer
sea lo que sea, yo sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren enmudecer
sigo cantando

Sigo cantando hasta el último suspiro de esta tierra
sigo cantando para vencer la soledad que nos encierra
la soledad con la que nacimos
la soledad que nos acecha hasta el último suspiro
hasta el último suspiro


Ay de los que sólo quieren confundir
sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren afligir
aunque yo sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren reprimir
pese a mi canto, y yo sigo cantando
Ay de los que sólo quieren destruir
sigo cantando

Sigo cantando hasta el último suspiro de esta tierra
sigo cantando para vencer la soledad que nos encierra
la soledad con la que nacimos
la soledad que nos acecha hasta el último suspiro

¡Ay! Qué fracaso es este mundo lleno de tristeza
y los únicos consuelos son el amor y la belleza
Track Name: Une échappée
Sittin’ at home in the summertime
The more I think, the more it’s a crime
The more I think, the more it’s a shame to be here
When the good times are so near

Daytime, been workin’ myself to the bone
Nighttime, been lettin’ the TV drone
I believe it’s high time for a change, in a big way
It’s high time for a holiday

So when you’re ready O my darlin’
I’m ready anytime you say
Just say the word and we’ll go flyin’
Le vieux Québec, une échappée

So now we’ve come to this café where the jazz musicians play
From Rue St-Jean to the Grande Allée je dirais
Que la vie va bien mieux en français
Que la vie va ben mieux en français
Yeah, j’suis convaincu que la vie…
Track Name: Days of the Snake
This is your time, this is your place
We hear your voice, we see your face
You make the rules now, this is your home ground
If anybody says anything you don't wanna hear
You just shut them down


You slide and roll and flip words around, like oil in a pan
You slide and slither through the truth, just because you can
These are the days of the snake

You cut the funds for refugees
Cuz you got no time for the least of these
And screw the planet, screw the future
you count your money now
And screw the kids, they can't vote anyhow

You slide and roll and flip words around, like oil in a pan
You slide and slither through the truth, just because you can
These are the days of the snake

One day you'll be gone
And we will look out on our ruined garden and begin again
But it's gonna take long hard time to undo what you've done
Yeah, we'll be chokin' on your weeds and your dead skin
For a long hard time to come

This is your time, this is your place
These are the days… of the snake
Track Name: Ever Wonder Why
He came raging from the forest, he was wild and enticing
He seemed completely free, abnormally exciting
He swaggered like a brute, he could do some heavy damage
You decided there and then to make his passion your advantage
You thought he was a warrior, but now he cowers like a clerk
There ain’t no fire in his eye…
Don’t you ever wonder why

He came wide-eyed from the mountain, he was idealistic
His clothes were out-of-date, he was definitely mystic
And while he talked about his dreams
While he talked about his wishes
Your mind was working miracles
You would turn his rags to riches
You thought he was a prophet, but now he mumbles like a priest
He stares empty at the sky…
Don’t you ever wonder why

He came gliding from the dance floor, he was sophisticated
His conversation well-informed, his movements animated
And every time he smiled he played glissando on your nerves
And soon you were decided
He would be the one that you deserve
You thought he was a dancer, but now he staggers like a drunk
And when he begins to cry…
Don’t you ever wonder why
Track Name: Reach
See the human fever, see the Earth bent to our greed
See us twist and plunder Your green world
So we can get what we don’t need

See the icecap melting, see the jungle die
See the creatures just disappear
See the darkening sky

So will You reach across the ages
Will You reach down through the stars
Will You reach into this troubled breaking world
To touch these hearts of ours, these hard hearts of ours

We reshape the planet, we hold all the power
But we are rushing headlong to a fall,
To our final hour

So will You reach…
Track Name: Woman of the Heartland
There are some who go searching on the beach, you know
Amidst the bronzed bathing goddesses out of reach, you know
The invitations are appealing,
But the promises are hollow like a skull
I was tired of the cloying little games, you know
The conclusion I was seeking, it never came, you know
And though my eyes, they were weary
Well my heart was still flaring like a bull

And then I found you in the heartland and I know you will be true
Now my future looks brighter, I can see it with you

There are some who go searching through the bars, you know
Through the glittering, fading, shooting stars, you know
In the moonlight they're enchanting
But in a strong wind they're as fleeting as a match

I was tired of the languishing nights, you know
I was left in the shadows, never light, you know
And though my eyes, they were weary
Well my heart was still hoping to attach

And then I found you in the heartland and I know I can be sure
Now my future looks brighter because you will endure

I'd been left out, but then you let me in
I thought I'd lost, but then you let me win

Oh how can I tell you what you have done
Woman of the heartland, you are the one
Woman of the heartland, you are the one
Track Name: The Hardest Thing to Do
From little kids on the playground to the mightiest nation state
We rarely learn to let it go, and we choke on our own hate
We could be flyin' free but we just drag around that weight
From little kids on the playground to the mightiest nation state

The hardest thing to do is to forgive
The hardest thing to do is to forgive
The hardest thing to do is just to live free from the rage
The hardest thing to do is to forgive

It's so often that our bitterness has shackled us in chains
It clutches us so tight that it drives us half-insane
and just when we think it's gone then it's comin' round again
It's so often that our bitterness has shackled us in chains

The hardest thing to do is to forgive...

O God in your mercy will you help us make a new start?
Will you swoop down like a liberating wind
and clean out these old hearts?
Will you save us from ourselves
before we're wrecked and torn apart?
O God in your mercy will you help us make a new start?

The hardest thing to do is to forgive...