Post & Beam

by Holland Hopson

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about

"Hopson...has no fear of manipulating sound with anything near at hand, be it fingerpicks or a laptop computer.

On "Post & Beam," however, he actually hews closer to Alan Lomax than Kraftwerk, with a haunting, often mesmerizing album of old songs and new sounds.

Throughout, he plays the banjo straight, with a gentle claw hammer behind his fragile-but- captivating voice. There are aspects of Sam Amidon and Chris Whitley at work here (especially in the original tunes), but Hopson's individuality shines.

What pulls "Post & Beam" out of folk festival mode are the murmurings behind the songs. Atmospheric tangents (including the voice of NOAA weather radio) bubble and squeak without ever distracting. Oddly, they put an even tighter focus on Hopson's vocal delivery, especially on appropriated chestnuts like "East Virginia," "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" and "Bowling Green Green."

There's a tendency in freak folk towards atmosphere, a wind-blown, gauzy lope. Hopson certainly has it on "Post & Beam," but his relaxed stride has a purpose, a goal, a destination.

It's a fascinating journey."
--Michael Eck, Albany Times Union

"Holland Hopson’s Post and Beam was released last year, but I stupidly didn’t fall in love with it until recently. I guarantee you’ve never heard anything like it — beautifully performed original and traditional folk songs set against an electronic dreamworld. I can’t think of a recording that provides a more powerful study in contrasts — heartfelt and alienating most of all. Check it out and see if you don’t think the Maxified banjo is not the up-and-coming instrument of the decade!"
--David Zicarelli, Cycling '74

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credits

released 13 June 2011

Holland Hopson: vocals, banjo, fretless banjo, electronics
Recorded and Mixed by Holland Hopson
Mastered by Troy Pohl for Collar City Sound
Design by Travis Weller

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Track Name: Don't Let Your Deal Go Down
Don't let your deal go down, little girl
Don't let your deal go down
Don't let your deal go down, little girl
Til your last gold dollar is gone

I've been around this whole wide world
I just got back today
I've played at cards with the king and the queen
The ace, the deuce, the tre

Don't let your deal go down, little girl
Don't let your deal go down
Don't let your deal go down, little girl
Til your last gold dollar is gone

Where did you get them high-button shoes
Dress that you wear so fine
I got my shoes from an engineer
And my dress from a driver in the mine

Don't let your deal go down, little girl
Don't let your deal go down
Don't let your deal go down, little girl
Til your last gold dollar is gone
Track Name: East Virginia
I was born and raised in East Virginia
North Carolina I did go
There I met the prettiest little maiden
Her name and age I did not know

Her hair it was a light brown color
Her cheeks they were a ruby red
But on her breast she wore white lillies
Where I longed to lay my head

I'd rather be in some dark holler
Where the sun would never shine
Than to see her with another
And to know she'd never be mine
Track Name: Born in the Desert
I was born in the desert and raised at sea.
Had everything I need but water to drink.

My head's in heaven and my feet on the ground,
Ain't got time for settling down.

Got everything I need but nowhere to stay.
Listen can you hear what the Katydids say?

Ain't got time for fooling with you.
Gonna find out if you've been true.

Listen can't you hear what the Katydids say?
I wrote you a letter and mailed it today.

Gonna find out if you been true.
If y'ain't I know what I've got to do.

I wrote my Katy a letter to say:
I've been everywhere I'm coming home to stay.

If I can't come home I'll keep traveling round
With my head in heaven and my feet on the ground.

I been everywhere a man could be.
I was born in the desert and raised at sea.
Track Name: Ice Age
Let's go out on the solid sea
Ice crack ping greets submarine
Frost on our eyelashes
Frost in our hair
Blackbirds circle everywhere

Don't take a walk on the frozen creek
The water's shallow but the cold runs deep
Frostbitten fingers
Frost flowered toes
How many blackbirds
No one knows

Went for a swim in the glacier lake
The ice is melted how long did it take
Your eyes as deep
Your eyes as blue
Blackbird eyes
See right through

We'll sleep under the frozen sea
Breathe slow like the submarine
Ice in our lungs
Ice in our throat
Blackbirds gone
Blackbird goes
Track Name: My Own True Love
As I walked out one morning late
A drinking of sweet wine.
I thought my heart would almost break
For the girl I left behind.

Farewell, farewell, my own true love.
Farewell, farewell, for awhile.
I go away; I'll come again
If it be ten thousand miles.

Ten thousand miles, my own true love.
I hope it never will be.
For the leaving you, my own true love
Will be the death of me.

I wish to god I never was born,
Or died when I was young.
Or never did kiss your ruby red lips
Or heard your flattering tongue.
Track Name: Fencepost
Such bitter winds blow
And we've heard it all day.
There's nothing between these fencepost rows
To make the dirt decide to stay.

Last spring when we pruned the roses,
Red snow on the ground.
Put my ear to a fencepost
Couldn't hear a sound.

And now there's a light rain falling,
Everything's gonna be fine.
Except maybe now we're wishing
It would all be dry.

And now there's a light rain falling,
Everything's gonna be fine.
Except maybe now we're wishing
It would be all day, be all night.

Wire stretched between fenceposts.
Wire stretched on the wall.
Talking to a nail in a fencepost;
Talking at the wall.

This fall when I plow the fields under
I'll be thinking only of you:
Shadow shaped from flock of starling
Flying south, too.

And now there's a light rain falling,
Everything's gonna be fine.
Except maybe now we're wishing
It would all be dry.

And now there's a light rain falling,
Everything's gonna be fine.
Except maybe now we're wishing
You could stay all day, stay all night.

Wrap up my troubles in a cloth
And tie it round my waist.
I'm gonna go for a long long walk.
Be gone a hundred days.

And now there's a light rain falling,
Everything's gonna be fine.
Except maybe now we're wishing
It would all be dry.

Nobody got nothing to say
That ain't better shown or done.
Here, let me demonstrate:
Gotta go. Gotta run.
Track Name: Bowling Green Green
Wish I was in bowlin' green
Settin' in a big armchair
One arm round my whiskey barrel
T'other round my dear

If you see that man of mine
Tell him once for me
If he loves another gal
Yes I'll set him free

Wisht I was a bumblee
Sailin' through the air
Take my feller by the arm
Touch him if you dare

Wish I had a banjo string
Made of golden twine
Every tune I'd pick on it
Is wish that girl were mine

I'm going through this wide, wide world
I'm goin' through alone
I'm goin' through this wide, wide world
I ain't got no home