Dust Diaries

by Robin Jackson

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Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Robin Jackson, known for his wild, theatrical contributions to bands like Vagabond Opera and the March Fourth Marching Band, draws upon the moody spirit of his rain-soaked, Portland, OR home to create an eclectic brew of dreamy, vintage folk-pop in he debut album Dust Diaries (release: June 8, 2012). The Record features an all star band with members of The Portland Cello Project, The Eels, March Fourth Marching Band and Vagabond Opera. "A catchy and captivating song-crafter…a true storyteller." - NPR


released June 1, 2012

All songs written and composed by Robin Jackson except "It's that time of night again" lyrics by Robin Jackson and Laura Bell. All songs registered with ASCAP.

Drums and percussion - Anders Bergstrom; - Rob Stroup (on This time), - Chet Lyster (on Heroin and Honey)
Electric and acoustic guitars - Chet Lyster
Piano, wurlitzer, accordion and organ - Mike Danner
Acoustic and electric bass - Matt Voth
Violin - Annalisa Tornfelt (on Heroine and Honey), - Katherine Claire (on Roses and Gold)
Cello - Skip Von Kuske
Trombone - Daniel Lamb
Flugelhorn - Max Ribner
Saxophone and Clarinet - Robin Jackson
Tuba - Huck Wilken
Whistling - Robin Jackson

Background Voices - Robin Jackson (on October Rain, Roses and Gold, Paper Bird, Red Blanket), - Katherine Claire (on October Rain, Paper Bird), - Annalisa Tornfelt (on Heroin and Honey), - Ashley Ward (on The Spring)

Produced by Chet Lyster
Engineered by Rob Stroup at 8Ball Studios, Portland, OR
Mastered by Justin Phelps at Cloud City, Portland, OR
Album design by Elena Cronin (elenacronin.com) and Rachel Brodkey
Photo credits - Mosca Photo (moscaphoto.com)

© 2012

My heartfelt gratitude to everyone who aliveness my musical endeavors. This album happened because of a community and fans who supported it. Special appreciation goes to my awesome family, Chet Lyster, Stacey Ludlow, Flora Bowley, Rachel Brodkey, Amy Hatfield, Hunter Paye, Katherine Claire, Lewis Childs, Liz Labby, Vagabond Opera, M4th Marching Band, Ashia Grzesik, Johnny Dwork, Kyrstyn Pixton, and to my fabulous global musical community and the Songwriter Soiree which inspired such music.

Dedicated to my Dad, Mark Jackson who helped me feel the beat.



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Robin Jackson Portland, Oregon

Award winning songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist known for his wild contributions to bands Vagabond Opera and the March Fourth Marching Band, Robin Jackson presents his debut album. The ethnomusicology major has mastery of almost a dozen instruments and played with everyone from Gogol Bordello to The Decembrists. "A catchy and captivating song-crafter... true storyteller." - NPR ... more

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Track Name: October Rain
October Rain

The rain pulls me awake
on this warm Autumn morning
the melancholy sky of grey 
comforts like a cave
You didn't stay last night 
and maybe that's the right thing
And letting go is truly for the brave
Many times I tried 
to pick up the pieces 
of this broken moon we left hanging in the sky
I have no illusions 
Only disappointments 
There's only so much you can do
until it's time to say goodbye
say goodbye...
October rain
the bitter knowing change 
So let's make love before the snows fall from the sky
we saw sunrise and both felt the pain
now let it wash away October rain
As the cold wind blows us 
through this narrow winter
And the fallen leaves of what we hoped for
lay upon the ground
I hope you will remember 
the beauty of the summer
when I found you in the garden
your brown hair hanging down
Sometimes love is wary
and hides within the fallows
and slips into the darkness
like a moon upon the wane
but you still found the way 
through the tangled weeds and brambles
So I will always think of you
in the autumn when it rains
Track Name: The Spring
Once the streets were paved with gold
a precious world oh to behold
and from the dusty ground,
you evoked the sound
caused flowers too unfold
When the summers turned to fall
you were with us through it all
a ring upon the bell
that echoed through the shell
of winter’s call
Now that you’re away
I feel you every day
Some days were hard to win
we never knew what fate would spin
you filled my cup with grace
and held a steady face
when the ice grew thin
When the branches began to crack
we knew there was no looking back
soon all our hopes and dreams
were tearing at the seams
light fading into black
You told us to let go
the current pulls below
like sunlight on the snow
into the silent river you will flow
and we’ll find you in the water, I know
There was a time when I never
thought that you would leave my side
and through the shadows 
you would find the way
And even though you held on tight
I can see your fading light
is stronger now that you‘ve gone away
Tangled roots and history
shadows deep within the tree
shackles from the past
broken way at last
found peace eternally
When Azrael unfolds her wings
for you, a gateway to the spring
that bubbles from the ground,
once a fearful sound now
taught us words to sing
You told us to let go
the current pulls below
like sunlight on the snow
into the silent river you will flow
and we’ll find you in the water, I know
Track Name: Roses and Gold
Moonshine, oh cover me in moonshine,
and I will fill your cup with 
sentimental tales of raspberry wine
Cause I’ve been singing these cowboy tears since we came to an end
and Im writing snake oil poems 
and drinking alabast gin
Like a kite in the wind
I’m caught in a spin
I’m out on a limb
Sweet dreams oh cover me
in sweet dreams
and i will paint you a story of
roses and gold, and bittersweet things
It’s time to say hello to
These lonesome lullabies
and ride into the journey of a new sunrise
And may our river of tears
wash away all our fears
and make it perfectly clear
Sweet pie, oh mama make me
some sweet pie
fill it with whatever makes it better
and will cause my eyes to dry
And I pray to mother mary,
great spirit and the holy fool
That we listen to each other and
take heed of the golden rule
That you do unto me
what I do unto you
and we both see it through
Soft grace, oh cover me in soft grace
and I’ll fashion you a cup of forgiveness, gypsum, nettle and lace
Cause the poetry that you’ve
put inside my heart
rattles like a ‘57 engine about to start
Like a kite in the wind
I’m caught in a spin
I’m out on a limb
Rain dance oh do a little rain dance
call in the clouds and thunder to
wash away this sorrowful trance
And we’ll bath in rose petal fire
while the whill-o-whisps sing
and purify our eyes with water
from the holy spring
And in the days that were old
may the story that’s told
be one of Roses and Gold
Track Name: Paper Bird
Paper Bird
I plant stories on paper ships and send them out to sea drift,
each one holds a part of the story of our hearts
inky vessels of sweet remembering,
one last trip and then descending
Paper bird your wings are light
carry hardship out of sight
salty moonshine, morning bell
fly these troubles away across the swell
August introduced us, 
December came between
tales never told, 
rust gathered on the gold
the months, they never really knew,
the state of things below the blue
The mussels wait with patience
these tales, bitter like ocean wine
tears of past and anchors cast
soon mixed within the brine
Paper bird your wings are light
carry hardship out of sight
salty moonshine, morning bell
fly these troubles away across the swell
Lay your axe down by the spring
listen to the starbirds sing
the sweetest sound I ever heard
fly away oh paper bird
And now the bird she flies beneath
frosty snow capped cries, gusty clouds
of grey watch as I cast words away
release this heart from bygone pain
and welcome sunrise once again
Track Name: Heroin and Honey
We stood on Sandy Avenue
two lovers broken by the rain
this fiery love we tried to leave
but still the coals remain
Your touch it played my skin that night
like a burning violin
I was strung out on your tune
a lover’s heroin
We tried so very hard to get this love to grow
but I could not hold your crazy wind
which never ceased to blow
and you lit a candle in my soul
that singes to this day
and even though it burns me so,
I can not walk away
Darling, darling, let me tell you true
there’s something burning
in my heart because of you
Darling, darling, oh, this fire it grew
and now it’s burning
in my heart because of you
A gust of Indian summer wind
wrapped confusion ‘round the night
the stars told me to kiss you
the moon warned to take flight
And when I thought to leave you
temptation played its part
a dancing swarm of drunken bees
put honey in our hearts
We looked so very hard for the steps
to dance among the stones
but we tripped into the shadows
made of sparks and bones
and when I sought to hold you
in the cracks you slipped between
and when I tried to cool this fever,
the water turned to steam
Track Name: Red Blanket
There is a place where Heaven meets land
I used to find you there wearing a blanket of red
Wrapped up in silence, woven from past
grandmother’s stitches gave you peace at last
Woken at midnight I stumbled through dreams
once scared and shaken,
you sewed back my seams
Holding me closely singing Blinken and Nod
I asked what you were doing
you said talking to God
The stories you played with me,
all fun and games
while you wrestled with demons, you never told me their names
The lessons you taught me,
I still hold today
when looking for answers,
go to the infinite way
The shadows they danced on history’s wall
but you stopped the cycle,
they never touched me at all
So please when you speak to God,
while on your bed
give him my thanks,
from your blanket of Red
Track Name: It's that time of night again
I want you, you want me
but you never come around
I watch the sea, wait patiently,
the waves my only sound.
Thoughts spin and twirl like a dancing girl, or leaves in the autumn breeze
They pass me by I lose my mind
these thoughts were never meant to be
But there’s a time when thoughts
like these are offered places
at my table to sit
You said farewell, and left a spell, oh now it’s that time of night again isn’t it
On that first night, you lit a candle bright, and swooned inside my head like alcohol
But in this dream,
somethin’ came between
and now that candle’s casting
shadows on the wall.
Oh poets write on stormy nights
and singers in the barrooms they will wail.
of all the times loves made us stand in line, another chapter to this unrequited tale.
And now my hope is dangling by a rope
and the wind’s blown out
this candle love has lit
And all that’s left to me is
my own company...
and now it’s that time of night again isn’t it
Track Name: The Wish
I put another quarter in the wishing well
I prayed to the dark, and down it fell
Down in the watery deep
are promises no one can keep
Well I’ve spent so many diamonds
my crowns almost bare
And the patches on my heart
are sewn on with care
And every time that I hit the floor
I keep coming back for more
So buy me a ticket on this one way train
cause the only way to love
is again and again
And I’m riding the rails through
this hurricane
let it rain, oh let it rain
Take a whisper from my lips
a breath from my chest
Steal a beat from my heart
put my soul to the test
I lay my guns in the ground,
and my lies to the west
let it rest, oh let it rest
I once stole sunshine from a desert dream
I once went fishing in a dried up stream
I held mountains in my hand
I wasn’t careful and they turned to sand
I came across a sweet magnolia flower
that smelled as soft as the midnight hour
She stole diamonds from my dreams
and wore them like a Zingara queen
And may our scars be
as pretty as a pink ole’ Texas sky
And soft and tender like the
whisper of a jackalope’s sigh
And when we light new candles
and our old ghosts haunt us on
May the flames burn them
away with the dawn
I met Aphrodite on a summer’s day
through weeds and the brambles,
she showed me the way
And left a glass crystal in my soul
that echoed like a singing bowl
I rode to edge of a canyon deep
where the wind was so strong
it knocked it me off of my feet
Like a banshee out in the storm
I knew again I’d been reborn
Track Name: Royal Hotel
Under the bridge by the Royal Hotel
I held you there, as the stars, they fell
and the night wrapped its arms
‘round this fleeting affair
as if it tried to keep us there
The streetlamp covered us in dirty gold
your lips were hot against the cold
and your hair a black raven
into my hands it fell
under the bridge by the Royal Hotel
Oh marry me tonight
and the moon will be our ring
and cover you in white
and soot drawn from the rain
And though you say you wish to be
the night next to my day
still you fly away, why don’t you stay
Under the bridge by the Royal Hotel
I held you there while the stars they fell
and maybe we got lucky
like two pennies in a well
under the bridge by the Royal Hotel
Oh we danced a broken tango
by the wall
and the barkeeps pouring tears
and there’s ghosts up in the hall
and the piano in the montage
knew it all along
cause sometimes love
just doesn’t last that long
In room 19 a man’s about to cheat
in room 05 her vows
are on the sheets
and outside on the sidewalk you’ve left a lasting spell
under the bridge by the Royal Hotel
Track Name: This Time
The night once was young,
just like you and I
and love we thought we’d never lose
A picture of perfection,
we painted on our eyes
always looking for something new
And now time has dealt its hand
and here we are still standing
waiting for our ships to come in
And the streets are getting lonely and the the wind whispers Ïif onlyÓ
well maybe it’s time for if only to begin
So raise up your flag
put the moon in your sack
Forgive and let go and never look back
‘‘Cause time won’t wait for us
to get it perfectly right
so if you’re willing,
I’ll dance with you tonight
And I can see that you’ve
been here as long as I
ao many times fell from this carousel
the tears in our clothing
every bump from the ride
we’ve got to know ourselves far too well
So darling life is short,
and the sun is moving faster
so put your lipstick on,
or we’re headed for disaster
And I think it’s safe to say that
we’re both a work in progress
so let’s put down our pride
before we miss the boat again
So raise up your flag
put the moon in your sack
Forgive and let go and never look back
‘Cause time wont wait for us
to get it perfectly right
So if you’re willing,
I’ll dance with you tonight
Put stars in your flask,
tell the band to play
Stop waiting around for
the perfect sunny day
Let’s make love in the rain,
like the very first time
and I promise to you
I’ll stay this time
Oh this time.....