Four Days Away

by John Mark Nelson

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about

In late May, 2017, I packed a few microphones and guitars into my car and drove out to a small farming community in rural Wisconsin. I had spent the better part of two years working on a record that I just couldn’t seem to finish. So, I decided to step away from it, and spend some time pursuing a completely different creative path. Starting totally from scratch, I challenged myself to write and record an album in four days. I setup my equipment in a turn of the century dairy barn in Glenwood City, and began working. After four beautiful summer days and nights, this is what came to life. Everything you hear was captured live, within that short stretch of time. Each song was recorded using just two microphones, a few instruments, a Princeton amp, and was mixed using only EQ and compression. No digital effects or processing has been added. Please enjoy, Four Days Away.

credits

released July 13, 2017

For Bill & Chris. Your incredible kindness and tireless support of the arts are like seeds, sprouting and blooming into the immeasurable legacy you will leave on this earth.

All songs written, recorded, and performed by John Mark Nelson, May 29th to June 2nd, 2017.

Recorded in Glenwood City, WI at the Everwood Farmstead, courtesy of the Everwood Farmstead Foundation.

Mastered by Huntley Miller

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John Mark Nelson Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Track Name: True Love
When the fire's burning down
Ember glow it shows my feet on the ground
Staring meaning into flame
Looking back the last time I heard my name
Nothing remained, but

True love
True love will lift us up
When everything else
Seems like it's not enough
I know
Sometimes it's all too much
But true love will lift us upon

Just enough for each new day
Trips my patience, makes me break and complain
There just has to be a way
Of moving forward through the wind and the rain
To find myself saying, that

True love
True love will lift us up
When everything else
Seems like it's not enough
I know
Sometimes it's all too much
But true love will lift us upon

There isn't really a medicine for every deep wound
There isn't really a measure that we're following truth
Track Name: Backwards
Everything I thought that I am
Suddenly caving in
Truth can only move me so far
And bring me around again

So I sit in the static
And the question comes in

What if I go backwards
every time I think I'm getting closer?
Now and then I just can't help but wonder
maybe this is over

If only for a moment or two
Let me be something new
I could see the good in my hand
And value in what I do

But I'm, not so sure it could happen
If I wanted it to

What if I go backwards
every time I think I'm getting closer?
Now and then I just can't help but wonder
maybe this is over

If I never get much closer
If I never see the day
If everything breaks and shatters, it's ok
Track Name: All The Same
After the shape is broken
You make the coffee, windows open
Looking for any reason
To name any truth that we believe in

Eyes open, heart still
Unspoken until
A word, or just a sound
Something only we've found

How did we ever find our way to this place?
I know it must be more than choices we made
It's too much to write it down or call it by name
But, I, I love it all the same

After the daily scatter
Sometimes we rest, sometimes we shatter
Looking for any reason
To name any joy in any season

A well that we fill
To save and to spill
A path still unclear
Something only we hear

How did we ever find our way to this place?
I know it must be more than choices we made
It's too much to write it down or call it by name
But, I, I love it all the same
Track Name: Where Does That Leave Us?
Rolling faster and faster
Tumbling down again
So much room on this paper
Don't know how to fill it in

Oh, where does that leave me now?
Oh, where does that leave me now?

Are you looking for value
But you can't seem to win
Might be here in the daytime
Gone when the lights go dim

Oh, where does that leave you now?
Oh, where does that leave you now?

We saw good in each other
Even when life was thin
Now we're strangers in love
Just looking for a place to begin

Oh, where does that leave us now?
Oh, where does that leave us now?
Track Name: This Wilderness
Held between the silent hands of fear
Wondering why my life has led me here
Oh the dreams that you have and the way they just disappear

Here I am
Holding out the pieces of all that I planned
All I see
Is the man that I was, not the man I will be
And I pray I find what’s next
Here in this wilderness

Thrown from every place that feels like home
Hanging by the thread of all I know
Will your mercy still follow me here or am I alone

Here I am
Holding out the pieces of all that I planned
All I see
Is the man that I was, not the man I will be
And I pray I find what’s next
Here in this wilderness

Show me where you are
Whispering life into distant stars
Show me you are kind
Whispering hope in our broken lives
Track Name: New
Oh, God Oh, God
Silence never held such pain

I’ll take, I’ll take
The burden of your guilt and blame

I have watched you grow so tall
I watched you break and fall
and for all these years I’ve wondered where you are
Will our fears and prayers ever make this new?

When morning comes
Nothing else can hide your face

Oh light, Oh, light
How do we deserve this grace

When you have watched us steal and scar
and you have placed us where are
And for all these years our hearts have been through
Will these awful wounds, ever be made new

And when it’s said and done, break my heart with more of you
Track Name: The End
It’s looking like an omen
For a moment, you could cut these ties and change your mind
It’s nothing like you thought it
But you want it, so you clear your eyes and start to try
Maybe I could meet you there

Let me be the reason you find the faith to begin
Let me be the courage you lack but wish you could win
Let me tell you how many times I’ve been where you’ve been
Let me be the voice that whispers, this is not the end

Sometimes it’s so lonely
When it’s only, a feeble fire and dim desire
You wonder if it matters
So you scatter, your dreams and start
To doubt your heart
I’ll shoulder every dream I can bear

Let me be the reason you find the faith to begin
Let me be the courage you lack but wish you could win
Let me tell you how many times I’ve been where you’ve been
Let me be the voice that whispers, this is not the end
Track Name: Little Notions
When I fall deep into something I’m made for
I start to wait for
Worry to come
Make a home inside the promise we stand on
Build all our plans on
So quickly undone

Little notions, take you so far from yourself
I’m in motion, but I don’t want anyone else

When I fall deep into some other story
Love that ignores me
And hollows my mind
I set it down, just as you set it before me
And reassured me, that you were still mine

Little notions, take me so far from myself
I’m in motion, but I don’t want anyone else
Little notions, take me so far from myself
I’m in motion, but I don’t want anyone else