STONES THAT SING

by John Coleman and Celia Kemp

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    Comes in a lovely gatefold case - a twelve page booklet including lyrics, album notes/acknowledgements and Celia Kemp's beautiful desert photographs.

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1.
Higher 04:15
HIGHER Higher, higher – woke at 4am still shaking from a dream Higher, higher – I step outside and see the last star in the sky Softest breath of wind – like loving fingers on my skin - higher Higher, higher – I don’t know where this hope is coming from Higher, higher – the sun paints yellow on that early rising moon The rolling ocean sings – and sweeps the cleansing waters in - higher I’ve been holding on too tight, haven’t I? Holding on, holding on too tight Holding on too tight, haven’t I? Holding on – holding on - too tight Higher The birds that fish the bay – plunge like needles through the spray Higher Higher, higher – shifting colours o the sweet green of the sea Higher, higher – flock of cockatoo, white flags in the tree The rolling ocean sings – and sweeps the cleansing waters in – higher I’ve been holding on too tight, haven’t I? Holding on, holding on too tight Holding on too tight, haven’t I? Holding on – holding on - too tight Higher John Coleman © 2018
2.
Rumour 03:07
I HEARD A RUMOUR I heard a rumour, of singing stars I met someone who knew someone who heard them once So far for me, the night is silent But it’s worth the wait I heard a rumour, of talking trees I met someone who knew someone who heard them speak So far for me the scrub is silent But I’m prepared to wait Is all I see just decoration Or is there some deeper communication I heard a rumour – I heard a rumour I heard a rumour, the stones cry out I met a bloke who heard the red rock call his name So far for me this hill’s been silent But it’s worth the wait Is there no remediation for this strange preoccupation I heard a rumour – I heard a rumour I heard a rumour of singing stars A symphony of shifting light to thrill the soul voices of love so old and low It’s worth the wait Is there still reverberation From the Word that spoke creation Heard a rumour – heard a rumour Why this foolish fascination For elusive revelation I heard a rumour – head a rumour I heard a rumour of singing stars Heard a rumour – heard a rumour Heard a rumour – love the rumour Heard a rumour – heard a rumour Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018
3.
THIS TINY LIGHT Darkness came, couldn’t hold it at bay Tried and I tried to keep it away My sources of light they sank down one by one Alone in the night no sign of the sun I cried out for help but no God came Where my old life had been - nothing remained So I let go, too tired to hold on Fell into the void - I was done When I came face to face with the end of me Turned out that Love wasn’t finished with me Found a flickering flame right here in my heart The tiniest light but it drives back the dark 
 I walked by the light in my heart for a way Through the black, no sign of day Then pale blue light in the east growing strong Gave outline to trees and drew butcherbird’s song I don’t want to go through that shadow again I remember too well the particular pain But now - I know that the darkness of night Can never defeat - this tiny light Tiny light – tiny light – tiny light Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018
4.
BLOOD CRIES OUT Block your ears, barricade your hearts Mourning is rising from the earth Blood cries out from the land Blood cries out from the land Why should we know where Abel lies Who made us the keeper of our brothers? Blood cries out from the land Blood cries out from the land Restless rootless cut off from the earth Tattooed on our hearts the mark of Cain Blood cries out from the land Blood cries out from the land Strange disquiet, sadness old and deep Song in a forgotten frequency Rites denied, earth she holds the bones And she sings for us the funeral song Blood cries out from the land Blood cries out from the land … Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018
5.
The Stoning 04:56
THE STONING For the frightened child that’s tied up in the basement For the paedophile who’s tied up by his sin For the freedom fighter wrapped up in explosives Who will take a thousand innocents with him For the sniper on the rooftop finger ready For the mothers in the market buying fruit For the priest who hands out tablets in the skate park For the bankers in their fine Italian suits For the fishermen who’ve sucked the ocean empty For the albatross in net no more to fly For the carvings in the temple soft and bleeding For the refugee who’s sewn her lips goodbye For the razor wire and strobe lights at the disco For the dancers and their paralytic throb For the vomit at the doorway to the nightclub For the comedian whose genius we rob I have come a long way here to join the stoning Got a stockpile here of rocks that’s good to go I’ll just pick myself a target it should be easy And I’ll throw until there’s nothing left to throw For the torturer who insists it’s not for money Though he’s paid for each confession as they come For the tortured who forgive their carnal captors Though the gates swing wide they never never run There’s a stoning here this evening sounds inviting Tie my hands behind my back before you leave There’s a stoning here but it’s not for me to throw one For at this stoning the stones are thrown at me For all the pimps and those who sell the sacred body For all the architects of drug related crime For all the boys and girls who line up round the needle And for all the elders of our group who say it’s fine It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine I have travelled quite a distance for this stoning A long pilgrimage of all my years I’d say I’m so sorry for my silent indecision And I’m so sorry that it’s taken till today John Coleman/Celia Kemp © 2019
6.
THE DESERT WAS SILENT And the desert was silent and indifferent And the sky stretched silver blue so wide and indifferent My ears were hearing nothing Nothing, nothing – so I walked Though my head it was buzzing My ears were hearing nothing and I walked And I walked - I could hear nothing Indifference Red rock, blue sky, dingo, dragonfly Songlines, smashed glass, burning bush, buffell grass Waterhole, white bone, bloodwood, orange stone Rusted can, busted tyre, day cloud, night fire I could hear nothing – nothing Indifference Cracked earth, cockatoo, spinifex, kangaroo Caterpillar, crested pigeon, sacred rock, old religion Lizard track, burnt car, crescent moon, morning star Trail bike, creek bed, wildflower, angel bread My head it was buzzing, my ears were hearing nothing So I walked and I walked Indifference Days and months and years went by I was falling from my head into my heart One day I lay in a dry creek bed And the rocks - were crying love And the sky was crying love Ghost gum raised its shiny arms in praise And the rocks were crying love Love like lightning blazing from the earth And the sky was crying love Love like fire catching in the leaves And the rocks - were crying love And then Love swept over me Celia Kemp and John Coleman © 2018
7.
Utyerre 03:32
UTYERRE Utyerre’s like a telephone line, connecting me to what is mine Utyerre’s like a vein in me that also runs in my country It’s lines that go straight and connect to this And connect to this and connect to this My land is like a tie to me it holds all of my family People and countries roots entwined together as one Utyerre’s like a twirl of string that holds all of our people in It ties us to our country forever as one It has lines that go straight and connect to this And connect to this and connect to this Utyerre’s when there’s yam to be found, It’s like a bean hidden in the ground When you dig one up there’s a string that leads you Deeper down, deeper down It has lines that go straight and connect to this And connect to this and connect to this Utyerre’s like a telephone line, connecting me to what is mine Utyerre’s like a vein in me that also runs in my country Utyerre’s like a twirl of string that holds all of our people in The land is like a tie to me it holds all of my family Utyerre’s like a - telephone line Utyerre’s like a - vein in me Utyerre’s like a - tie to me Utyerre’s like a - twirl of string Utyerre’s like a - vein in me Vein in me – vein in me – vein in me Vein in me – vein in me Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018
8.
Sacred River 03:13
SACRED RIVER Dry – walked too far today Yesterday the same Skin too thick with dust to breathe Sunburnt clay Sky – you hang heavy over me Slow my bootsteps down Sorrow you’re consuming me Without a sound Oh, you sacred river – oh you don’t run dry Flow me sacred river – flow me high She said – when all hope is gone The barren ground still sings She said that from the driest place Newness springs And she sang – in desert silences She spoke it in the town She said that there’s a stream in all And we can’t drown Oh, you sacred river – oh you don’t run dry Flow her sacred river – flow her high So may – this one who swam in you Swim in you again Permit the one who ached for you To ache again Oh, you sacred river – oh - you don’t run dry Flow us sacred river – flow us high Sacred river – high John Coleman/Celia Kemp © 2019
9.
MISCHIEF OF THE HOLY KIND Wind has come in off the desert Slipstream whips the twigs around Warm edged wind that smells like desert Blackness over stony ground Moon inked in a tiny sliver White star light and monochrome Brightness as a star curves over Fine lines etched in monochrome Not yet birdsong, not yet people Strange things at the edge of sight Not yet birdsong before people Quirky presence queer delight Uncanny, unearthly Edges shimmer - dotted lines Uncanny, unearthly Mischief of the holy kind In the silence stars descending Loopy letters come and go Curlicues and ancient grammar Not a language that I know Curlicues and expectation Silver lines all in the air Something dark winged passes over Someone moves but no ones there Not yet birdsong, not yet people Strange things at the edge of sight Not yet birdsong before people Quirky presence queer delight Uncanny, unearthly Edges shimmer - dotted lines Uncanny, unearthly Mischief of the holy kind Mischief of the holy kind Mischief of the holy kind Celia Kemp/Al Campbell © 2019
10.
ELIMINATE THE STING School of fishes shining silver golden weed sways in clear water Dappled light in shifting lattice – mmm Now a strange sense makes me shiver smooth black ray sails round the corner Long as me with stinger raised behind mmm – mmm Eliminate the sting – eliminate the risk Nothing salty, nothing edgy, nothing wild Swallows swooping in the wide blue Hills and wind – trees and grasses Sun is glistening off the flecks of quartz – mmm Now a flock of black crows cawking Suddenly the dogs have bolted Turn around - two dingoes right behind mmm – mmm Eliminate the sting – eliminate the risk Nothing salty, nothing edgy, nothing wild Lying on my couch one evening TV in the background streaming David Attenborough speaking – mmm Now a pod of killer whales is feeding Camera close-up on a sea lion bleeding Shudder then turn back to reading – mmm – mmm Eliminate the sting – eliminate the risk Nothing salty, nothing edgy, nothing wild Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018
11.
JACOB’S WRESTLE I’m wrestling in this dusty place A moonless night – can’t see your face I’ve no idea who you might be And what it is you want from me I fight so hard - I fight so long This wretched night goes on and on You see I’ve always won my whole life through But now I meet my match in you And then something new, you’ve wounded me And turn around as if to flee And dawn has come and now I see No normal man fights here with me And so I beg for you to stay To bless me here at break of day Your look cuts to the heart of me You seem to like what you can see You like my restless mind, you like my strong desire You like all of my smarts – all of my fire What’s done is done you will not stay With my true name I limp away All that I am you turn it to This larger life you call me to And now I bless that dusty place Where I once saw my true love’s face Things that are lighter, things that are clearer Don’t have the power of that perplexing night Worth every second of that long dark struggle To find myself clasping and clasped by light With less of me there’s more of you But more of you makes more of me Things that are lighter … things that are lighter Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018
12.
JUST ONE STAR Just one star, pure and clear Just one star, the really real Everything still, everything clear Everything now, everything’s here Just one star, pure and clear Just one star, the really real Twilight slides - smooth and cold Catches me in - in-between time Stained glass sky - purple and gold Stark beauty Just one star, pure and clear Just one star, the really real There’s just one star Celia Kemp/John Coleman © 2018

about

STONES THAT SING …
includes the five songs from HEARD A RUMOUR released in 2018. These five have been re-mastered - with additional harmony vocals on This Tiny Light and percussion on The Desert Was Silent.

A FEW WORDS …
Celia and I met through our mutual connection to Campfire in the Heart – a retreat centre just outside Alice Springs in central Australia. Celia lives there - and I don't. I live by the water in southeast Tasmania. I'm a long-term friend and occasional visitor to Campfire in the Heart. Celia has a background in law and medicine but currently her focus is on "living" community, scripture, theology, prayer, desert spirituality and nature - and photography. We decided mid 2018 to write a song together and now we have twelve! We both contribute to lyrics and music – though Celia’s focus is mostly lyrics, while mine is mostly music.
The amazing Al Future wrote the music for Mischief of the Holy Kind – and sang and played the backing instrumentation on the track.
The twelve songs were created in Tasmania in Al’s studio - The Chapel, Austins Ferry. Al engineered and co-produced the collection. We are deeply indebted to him and to our musician friends – The Lovely Boats.

credits

released June 26, 2020

THANK YOU TO …
This collection is dedicated with thanks to David and Sue Woods from Campfire in the Heart whose spiritual (and gastronomic!) hospitality continues to inspire and feed seekers from near and far. (www.campfireintheheart.com.au)
Arrernte elder & OAM Margaret Kemarre Turner for her permission to use an extract from her extraordinary book “Iwenhe Tyerrtye: what it means to be an Aboriginal person” for 
the song Utyerre. To purchase MK Turner’s work go to iadpress.com/shop/iwenhe-tyerrtye/
Al Future for his lead vocals and music composition for Mischief of the Holy Kind, and Lisa Jacobson whose poem ‘There Are Stones That Sing’, first published in the poetry collection, South in the World (UWA Publishing, 2014), inspired the title.

AND THANK YOU TO THE LOVELY BOATS
Ian Bartle – acoustic guitar 1
Oliver Gathercole – wurlitzer 1,2,3,4,6,7 backing vocals 4
Emily Wolfe – violin 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, backing vocals 4
Vin Howe – uke bass 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 backing vocals 4
Scott Targett – keyboards 5, 8, 10, 11, electric bass 10
Al Future – lead vocals, electric guitar and keyboards 9, harmony vocals 8, 10, 11, backing vocals 4, electric bass 8
David Clarke – acoustic guitar 8
John Britcliffe – drums 1
Christopher Coleman – drums 10
Sam Forsyth – drums and percussion 6, 8
John Coleman – lead and harmony vocals, electric and acoustic guitars 1-12

Produced by Al Future and John Coleman
© 2020 all rights reserved

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John Coleman Hobart, Australia

John Coleman is an Australian singer/songwriter in the acoustic folk/rock tradition who has produced ten albums of original songs, his most recent being Stones that Sing a songwriting collaboration with Celia Kemp. Many of John’s songs have been inspired by the spirituality of the L’Arche and Quaker communities to which he belongs. He is currently working with The Colemans on their second album. ... more

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