Lifeboats for Atlantis

by Heather Styka

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  • Your very own copy of 'Lifeboats for Atlantis,' nestled in a matte dipipak with slit pocket, lyrics booklet, and original artwork from Heather Styka. And there's an incredibly inviting, hand-drawn, from-another-era map on the inside.

    This comes direct from the artist, packed lovingly with a friendly note and, if desired, the CD can be signed custom to you. Makes a nifty and impressive gift!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Lifeboats for Atlantis via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 4 Heather Styka releases available on Bandcamp and save 30%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of The Bittersweet Tapes, While This Planet Spins Beneath Our Feet, Travel and Teacups, and Lifeboats for Atlantis. , and , .

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about

Though deeply rooted in folk and Americana, Chicago singer-songwriter Heather Styka's songs are as fresh as they are memorable. The songs on 'Lifeboats for Atlantis' carry a heartbreaking degree of truth, chronicling the human cycles of despair and redemption, and analyzing the importance of places, relationships, and community. With vocals reminiscent of the purity and versatility of Eva Cassidy or Joni Mitchell, Styka has forged her own unique and expressive sound. As "one of the more original of the many contemporary singer/songwriters touring the US" (Tom May - River City Folk), Heather Styka is one new voice not to be missed in today's ocean of music.

The release of Lifeboats for Atlantis marks the culmination of two years of touring, writing, and recording. “Wanderlust and the life of a songwriter go hand in hand. When I finished my degree [at DePaul University], I knew it was time to hit the road. And then hit the studio,” she adds. In the tradition of contemporary folk and singer-songwriter music, Lifeboats for Atlantis features acoustic instrumentation, with Styka's lush and breathy vocals hovering over guitar, piano, cello, violin, upright bass, dobro, accordion, and percussion. “[Styka] has crafted fourteen excellent songs infused with metaphor and introspection,” writes Lilli Kuzma, DJ and host of the “Folk Festival” program on WDCB (Glen Ellyn). “It is hard to pick a 'stand-out' on this album, as this album is sustained from track to track with exceptional songs.”

credits

released October 4, 2011

Heather Styka - vocals, guitar, piano
Sophie Webber - cello
Greg Nergaard - upright bass
Mark Lavengood - dobro
Jordi Kleiner - violin
Rob Clearfield - accordion, piano on "Sparrow Can Learn"
Joel Styzens - drums/percussion

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about

Heather Styka Chicago, Illinois

Though rooted in folk and Americana, Chicago singer-songwriter Heather Styka's songs are as fresh as they are memorable, chronicling the human cycles of despair and redemption, and analyzing the importance of places and relationships. Touring nationwide and having received airplay globally, Styka is a familiar face in the Chicago music scene, at venues including Schubas and the Old Town School. ... more

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Track Name: My Father's Daughter
My Father's Daughter

My father took long walks down the streets at night / every time that we drove to a new town / He wanted to understand what was in each town's heart / after the lights were out // I am my father's daughter / wandering too far / and promising that I will be home soon / Soon is two different words to me and to you // Now patience is a virtue that I have rarely known / and never when I'm waiting to get back on the road / My greatest sin is lust for somewhere new to go / My restless heart would turn its back on everything it knows // Cause I am the road's lover / yearning for distant lands / and promising that I will be home soon / Soon is two different words to me and to you // I'm trying to stop wanting, chasing impermanent things / Stop seeking answers in the clouds / 'cause I've flown through clouds before and they are just a foggy haze / It's the light that turns them colors at the eve of the day // But I am my own tempter / all caught up with desire / and promising that I will be home soon / Soon is two different words to me and to you // I am my father's daughter / wandering too far / and promising that I will be home soon / but soon is two different words to me and to you
Track Name: Contented
Contented

I am weary of this city / I am longing for the ocean / These trains, they sound like crashing waves from distant shores a-calling / And if I put my trust in my own two feet / and walked until I found the sea / Would I know that I am home and be contented? // I am weary of this city / I am longing for the forest / These tall buildings give me shade but they do not bend in the wind / and if I put my trust in my own two feet / and took my rest beneath the trees / would I know that I am home and be contented? // I am weary of this city/ and I long for where I came from / The crickets’ song, it sounds the same / an end of summer lullaby / and if I put my trust in my own two feet / and walked back to my family / Would I know that I am home and be contented? / Will I ever truly be contented?
Track Name: Tightrope Walker
Tightrope Walker

I wanna be a tightrope walker / Take everything in my stride / Wanna show myself what I can do if I really try / Wanna overcome the sickness / that makes us all think that we can’t / Wanna overcome the weakness that makes me think I can’t balance without holding your hand // CHORUS: There’s no reason to be afraid / It’s not a long fall down / and falling’s not so bad once you learn how / Everyone will think I’m walking with such grace and ease / If they walked behind me they’d see / the wobble in my knees, my shaking hands // I wanna be a tightrope walker / until every step is sure / Practice till I’m walking in my dreams and I don’t believe in worry anymore / I believe in the moon / I believe in the stars / They’re made of the same things that we are / so balance can’t be all that hard // CHORUS // I wanna be a tightrope walker / though it’s been done before /and the world has seen enough circuses / and doesn’t need any more / and even if the big top folds / I’ll do it in my own backyard / with all my neighbors sitting on the patio / wondering if tightrope walking is hard // CHORUS
Track Name: Lucy and Sarah
Lucy and Sarah

Lucy had the farm next door, she lived there with her husband / I was her closest friend although she was the quiet type / Her kids had all moved out, she spent mornings in her garden / And though her roses bloomed so rarely, Lord knows that she tried // One day I drove past Lucy's farm, she was standing in the doorway / Facing the fields, but her gaze was far beyond / There was something lost from that stubborn face that looked like hope receding / and though I wanted to pull over, I kept believing she was fine / Her eyes said // CHORUS: Pray for me, Sarah / I don't know what to do / It's getting hard to wake up in the morning / No one's really noticed / except for maybe you / But something's changed in a bad way in me / Pray for me // This year her garden was smaller, weeds grew up around the house / I called Lucy and asked if she was feeling well / She said she was fine as ever but there was a message in her voice / What it was I didn't know, seemed too hard to tell // One day Lucy came over as I was fixing dinner / saying she had something she'd been meaning to give me / It was her mother's crystal vase, where Lucy always kept her roses / I didn't feel right about this kind of charity / Her hands said // CHORUS // After she left I called her house and her husband answered / I asked if Lucy came home yet and told him to look around / He checked the bathroom cabinet and the sleeping pills were missing / So I got in my car to see if she was somewhere on the farm // I found her in the farthest field with a bag of pills beside her / But she was sitting there unharmed, I thanked the Lord for that / I brought her in my car, we drove together to the doctor / I held her hand the whole way there / How quietly she said // CHORUS // Seems like despair is never over, Lucy's working at it every day / but if she can see the hope in her roses once again / I'll know we're getting somewhere and the seeds of joy will grow / and as she walks this lonesome valley, I'll walk beside her as her friend / She said // CHORUS: Pray for me, Sarah / I'm trying to get through / It's oh so hard to wake up in the morning / Few have really noticed / but I'm grateful to you / And something's changing for the better in me / Pray for me
Track Name: Atlantis
Atlantis

Jones is selling the hotel / Gas station’s been closed for years now / and Mary’s sick of running the cafe / There’s no money and the kids that are smart enough to get out / are moving out running away // Those kids once asked why did they close down the toy store / Old timers just say things are quieter now / We drive into the city to get what we need / and the young ones drive into the city and stay // CHORUS: Now this towns’s a ghost town / store fronts all empty / Atlantis, the rise and the fall / Everything’s closing and everyone’s hoping / that one of these days something will fill up these walls // We came here by the dozens / family and friends at the turn of the century / We built a movie theatre / later hotels and drive-ins / Built a small town but it sure had dreams // Now the band shell is empty / Besides who would come out to listen / if that old stage was filled wtih song / But years ago big bands and marching bands played / and everyone came out and sang along // But it’s sinking now / Yeah, it’s going under / like Atlantis under the waves / There’ll be nothing left but photos and memories / ‘cause no one is left to save it now / We’ve all moved away // CHORUS
Track Name: Coldwater River
Coldwater River

Coldwater River, I never would have known / that you would leave me so hungry to return / Coldwater River, you have washed me clean / of everything before you, I can’t ignore your memory // Those who seek wisdom, they go to the mountains / Those who seek forgetting, they travel to the sea / Those who love the river, we want to remember / ‘Cause the river’s always winding through the banks of memory // Now I once tied a ribbon around the old oak tree / Tied a string around my finger, wrapped strings around the string / Now I’m bound up in twine like a butterfly forming / Wings beating at the walls and trying to burst free // Coldwater River, I never would have known / that you would leave me so hungry to return / Coldwater River, you have washed me clean / of everything before you, I can’t ignore your memory // With everything before me, still I turn to memory
Track Name: Glory Hallelu
Glory Hallelu

These days you've come to expect it / Broken glasses, broken bowls / I'm just clumsy I suppose / Let them slip right through my fingers / My hands are cut upon the shards / and I'm left shaking, shocked, and scarred / Like when I was a girl and I broke the lamp in the parlor // You and me, we've done so much / Tried so hard to get it right / and when we get it burning bright / We knock it over // CHORUS: Glory, glory hallelu / This must be what lovers do / Glory, hallelujah / Breaking what we've mended // Just like my mother and her mother before / I repair those jeans that tore / sew the buttons on your sweater / And though I try to stitch in time / watching for wear and signs / The strain on these threads that bind / is always pulling // You and me, we've done so much / Tried so hard to get it right / and when we get it patched up tight / The edges start fraying // CHORUS // I'm not trying to say that it's all in vain / With all this pain we're like gold in fire / And we've come so far with these hearts so hard / Will they be enough to make it 'til the end? // I'm not giving up just yet / I'm not ready to forget / but love and pain, they're hanging on a scale / And who's to say what will weigh more? / Which of us is keeping score? / There's something to be said for good intentions // You and me, we've done so much / Tried so hard to get it right / Shot in the dark, without sight / but we keep on trying // CHORUS
Track Name: Andromeda
Andromeda

When I was very young, my parents bought a lake / It was more of a marshy pond in the middle of nowhere / But it was our pond; each year we returned in summer / When Tyler's ice cream shop reopened in town // Now Tyler's closed his doors and retired to Florida / I'm at the water's edge at the end of October / It seems wilder now, with the trees all barren branching out /like dark nets into a cold blue sky // The water is so calm, everything's reflected / Reflecting all the years that have passed by / I used to sit on this pier and look into the depths / Like it was a crystal ball that could show me destiny // Our rowboat was a raft, all patched and filled with air / I preferred to stay back on the shore / Each sunken log meant danger and it always made me nervous / to let anyone else control the oars // At night the pier was where I learned my first constellation / Andromeda was the galaxy closest to our own / Perseus' prize, Cassiopeia's daughter / She must have wondered, too, what her fate was on her own // I've never seen the lake this calm, so settled / Comparing it to glass couldn't begin to describe / But a knowledge in me waits and reminds me that those depths / Are murky as ever, churning deep inside
Track Name: Everywhere the Longing
Everywhere the Longing

We came to the mountain / to understand the silence / See the patterns of hills and walls below / But still my questions outnumber what I know // CHORUS: What did we think we'd find / on the other side of the world / Traveling to great heights / but the stones whisper the same thing / Everywhere the sunrise, everywhere the longing // We came seeking answers / The nameless stones stood silent / Cedar trees and moss all whispered nothing, nothing, nothing / Ashes that were buried, they told many stories / Each one with the same ending // CHORUS
Track Name: Wind Oh Wind
Wind Oh Wind

CHORUS: Wind, oh wind, won't you take me with you / I see you shaking up the trees / I feel you moving the seas / Wind, oh wind, can't I come along / Wherever you blow, I will bring my song // Last night I heard the wind cry out to the moon / Follow me, follow me and I'll write you a tune / I'll play it on the leaves of the poplars you kiss with your light / Shimmering white // CHORUS // Yesterday I heard the wind whisper out to the sun / Leave that old daily path and I'll find you a new one / 'Cause I go where I will and I blow where I please / You are tied to your rhythms, I am tied to the breeze // CHORUS // Wherever you blow, I will sing this song
Track Name: Last Train Home
Last Train Home

I know, in the better part of me, it's time to go / I don't wanna leave 'cause I keep it close / These memories I keep close to me / Most days I think of how it was when we first met / When I first came to this city running from regret / and riding the bus over the river // CHORUS: Maybe it started so well the present pales in comparison / We were a tough act to follow / We were the last train home / But now last call is over and it's time to go // I can't resurrect the past from what we are now / We tried to get it back but it's gone somehow / You don't know it yet, but I do / Our love floated out the window down the fire escape / And we make-believe it's still here in an invisible cape / Maybe it is, how would we know // CHORUS // We can't drag this out forever like a re-run show / I'm sick of riding into the sunset when I know / I've gone as far west as I can go / So in the morning I think I'll try and head into the sunrise / I won't leave with excuses, I won't leave with lies / It'll just be better this way // CHORUS
Track Name: Crosswords
Crosswords

Somedays at the cafe, when I clear away the coffee cups / I touch the spoon that someone used to stir sugar in their tea / Makes me feel closer to them / as though I might cross the great divide / between these strangers and me / I am bringing them toast with a smile on my face / I am watching them laugh, I watch old friends embrace / I am watching them stir the cream in their coffee / They stir clockwise like me // CHORUS: How did I end up so removed from everything? / I'm the girl behind the counter, I'm the spectator at the cafe / I want to close the difference between them and me / These strangers doing crosswords / drinking coffee and tea // In the afternoon the shadows stretch long and thin / from the tables and chairs / A little boy in a striped shirt frowns beside a mother / who doesn't seem much to care / I catch his eye with a smile on my face / His mother turns to him and wipes off a trace / of jelly that he smudged across his right cheek / She tells him to be more careful / and stares out at the street in silence // CHORUS // Sometimes when I look at all their faces / I'm struck with some kind of holy truth / that we are all single waves within an ocean / ebbing and flowing, made of the same endless blue / Someone reaches out and asks me how I'm doing / and I suddenly feel like the might really care / and I answer back to them past layers of armor / and the seeds of compassion are planted somewhere // CHORUS
Track Name: Sparrow Can Learn
Sparrow Can Learn

Driving east from Memphis on a February night / Windows down and the heat turned up, sky spilling with starlight / Someone gave me fifty bucks 'cause he liked the songs I write // CHORUS: Oh, I know a sparrow can learn to sing // Someday I'll learn to be funny and to solo on guitar / and everyone will love me, and I'll drive the fastest car / So I can outrun that empty pain that trails me as I go // CHORUS // Right now someone's talking 'bout Jesus, right now someone's fighting a war / Right now I'm still trying to understand just what I'm singing for / 'Cause there's nothing I could tell you / that in your heart, you don't already know // CHORUS // Oh, I know the sparrow can learn to sing