To Tell the Truth or Lie Trying

by Sarai

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In January 2009 Sarai spent a week at Old Hickory Corner studio in McPherson Kansas, recording vocals and piano. After Sarai returned to Oregon, producer Eddy Purcell and engineer Ryan Monaghan recruited local musicians, including Sarai's former bandmates, to complete instrumental tracking.

The album's 14 songs were originally written by Sarai, spanning several years of songwritting, and covering topics ranging from romance, personal discovery, spiritual content, to social commentary.


released May 7, 2010

Produced by Eddy Purcell and Sarai Johnson
Engineered by Eddy Purcell and Ryan Monaghan
Recorded at Old Hickory Corner
Mixed and mastered by Ryan Monaghan
Art Direction/Design: Angela Purcell and Ryan Monaghan




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Track Name: Le Petit Mortch
Packing up another place
Neatly stack all my things
In boxes I have used for years and years and years

Stacking up another try
I burned to bright and fizzled out
I trade all of my failures in for tears and tears and tears

After you paint the town red
With your very blood
The energy to put your efforts into living fades, it fades

After you spill you soul out
Into the mud
To service people who don’t give a second glance
You die a little death every day

Starting out another life
The hundredth time I struck out
And surrendered to my fears and fears and fears

Making up an alibi
Say this is why I failed this time
Cover up this choking smoke and mirrors and mirrors and mirrors
Track Name: Black Hole
What have I become
In this grandeur I have wallowed
Did I lose you somewhere
In this fame I chewed and swallowed
Would you scream at me
Shake me – awaken my soul
I’m tired and I’m stubborn – burning up inside

I sit in the rain with my hair in my face
I look at my palms, they’re empty still
Thought I’d found something to take up this space
But I’m left with a hole that expands as it fills

Tomorrow seems so far
But I’ve made my reservation
I guess I’ll see you there again
While you mend these rules I’m breaking
Would you pick me up
Throw me into holiness
I’m crushed and I’m dirty – fighting you inside

Last Chorus:
I sit in the rain with my hair in my face
I look at my palms, they’re empty still
Thought I’d found something to take up this space
But I’m left with a hole that will never fill
I sit in the rain with my hair in my face
I look at my palms – They’re empty still
Track Name: I Wouldn't Know You
I wouldn’t know you
If I saw you today
That’s what they said would happen
If I let myself stray

And I did – I ran across the water
To get out of their trap
Now I’m lost, now I’m tired, now I’m bleeding
But I might never go back

I wouldn’t know you
If I saw you today
Though the lines on your face
They don’t ever, ever change

But I did – I burst out of the water
To rest awhile on the shore
Now I’m parched, now I’m scared, now I’m bleeding
But I’d rather stay here than go back there for more

Your face decorates the milk carton
I like to remember you like an old friend
We kicked rocks in the street
Picked flowers in spring
And held hands
Maybe it’s all a part of the plan
But I must confess I’m losing faith
I’m losing faith in faith itself

Yeah I changed – I dried up all the water
From when your family pushed me into this deep well
Now I’m sad, now I’m empty, now I’m bleeding
But I’d rather stay here than go back to their hell
Track Name: 2 shoes
Watch this house of cards
Slam down and take your savings with it
Debt as our economy has thumbed its nose in our shocked faces
Politicians never tell the truth
Even when they’re caught on tape with their feet in their mouths
They stole our treasury
Naturally we’ll blame the unions, the greedy working stiff

It worked so beautifully/Doling out our wealth to your rich friends
Got away with everything/There’s nothing left to salvage what you rent

You have lied and lied
And now you’ll take the world down with you
In a flaming mess – you’ve done a heck of a job torturing everyone
You played your spying game
And weighed out cash to pay your buddies
Well it’s all ending now, pat yourself on the back boy, you know that you done good

You can’t see anything/Wrong with lying your country into war
You thought you were a king/But there’s nobody left to bow down anymore

Can we build it back
Everything we used to be
Regain our dignity
Dust ourselves off and move on with the world

It works so beautifully/Co-opting every mouth that reads the news
And we were floundering/Until somebody finally said it all with shoes
Track Name: It's a Wonderful Life
I’m so tired of driving
Looking for a place to land
Stopped in every small town
Nothing turned out how I planned, how I planned

I’m so tired of gambling
I’ve got nothing in my hand
Placed a wager on a sure bet
But I lost it all and ran off with the band

Time to start all over
Guess I’ll head back to the coast
Thought I’d left forever
But I think I’m going home, I’m going home

Tried to find a reason
To stay out there on my own
By myself I just went crazy
It’s no good to be alone every night

Played on every small stage
Just my voice and my guitar
Now they’re packed up with my old things
Guess I’ll never be a star, well that’s alright

I’m gonna shake the dust of this crummy town off my feet and see the world
I’m gonna shake the dust of this crummy town off my feet and see the world
I saw the world and it wasn’t to my liking
I just took the long way home
Track Name: Fresno
I know you won’t be home until later tonight
But I wish I could call you to talk about this challenge
I’m uncertain losing money, getting nowhere
Well the job market’s jammed
I thought you’d understand me cause you always do so well
There’s a lot to tell you about the day and all I did
I’m adventurous but I miss you, getting around
Well, I wish that you were here

And I’d tell you if I go I won’t leave defeated
I’d say I came for now and that was good
You could tell me what you thought about it
Am I crazy or am I irresponsible

I told my dad happy birthday for an hour last night
We talked about me turning 23 you know he said
You’d think you’d be grown up by now
Well the years are flying by me

I thought you’d get a good laugh out of that one
We both know what it means you get a respectable job
You pay the bills and you ignore your neighbors
You retire without paying your debts and your children fight over your assets
You’re buried in a borrow grave – well who wants that anyway?
Track Name: What If I Saw You
The flesh that holds my bones together
Sometimes forms a boundary
And I tarantella dance until I sweat it out
But still I falter

The flesh that houses blood and spirit
Sometimes is a cage for me
And I wait behind these metal bars
I wait it out to call you Father

What if I saw you, I am dirty
You are perfect
What if I saw you, what could I do
And if I saw you I would fall down you would burn me
And I could be purified
If I saw you

This heart that searches for the truth
Sometimes fails to recognize
And I scratch at every door until I get too tired
To go on at all

The heart that pulses blood through veins
Is sometimes weak inside of me
And it makes me run even faster yet
I push myself toward the eternal
Track Name: Snow Day
We’ve got no place to go
The whole world is covered in snow
So baby hold me close and keep me warm

I told you you’re my home
There’s no place I want to go
So baby let’s bring paradise to us

We’ve come a long, long way
Since that cold February day
When I gave you my heart to have and hold
We’ve walked a long, long time
We may be sore, but we’re doing just fine
Let’s rest here from the cold

We’ve been working so damn much
I forgot how it feels to touch you
So let’s lay here and feel each other breathe

I look into your eyes
I can see the years roll by
But baby we’ve got so much time
Track Name: Stay for the Year
Come home for Christmas – stay for the year
Due to inclement weather we’re stuck staying here
Those Midwest winters could murder a martyr
Who would have thought they could follow us home

Tomorrow we drive away
Tomorrow we stop playing games with old lost acquaintances
We’ll head back to the new ones

No on really knows me, I can’t help but feel
In the rush of reunion you can’t tell what’s real
One place to another we take no for an answer
We’re allowed to build fences in every state

Tomorrow we’re heading east
Tomorrow we’re making our pease with our dead expectations
We’ll ride into the new ones

Tomorrow we’re moving back
Tomorrow we’ll know what we lack and lament our resistance
We’ll continue to hold it

Look for a lover to make you feel lonely
Due to intimate banter your stuck holding only
One hand to feed you another to bite
You’re still in the closet with one foot out the door
Track Name: The OC Disorder
Clamped under the strain
Of endless moving, obligations
A future to decide

Performance on the brain
Of endless winning, hoops to jump through
A failure to deride

If there’s anything I’ve learned by now
It’s what I can and cannot take
I won’t give up so easily
I bend until I break

Won’t you cool, cool me down
Won’t you settle me, I’m settling

Hope clouded by sight
Of piles of debt and retribution
A lifetime to repay

Harvest ruined by blight
Of deadened promise, unfinished endings
A high speed train delayed

If there’s anything I’ve learned by now
It’s what I do and do not need
Still I won’t give up so easily
I bend until I bleed
Track Name: Moving Shadows
Words hang like silkworms - spinning faithfully as they should
It’s hard to curb the flow
When the time for silence comes

Night takes long in falling – getting dark outside as it does
It’s hard to look at morning
When the time for waking comes

My lungs feel smaller tonight
I have done all my running
I have cried all my tears out
My hands shake like water disturbed
By something as small as a pebble
I lap up against the shore

Dreams shine like lanterns – lighting the party as they would
It’s hard to drop the hat
When the time for doing comes

Hearts beat like bongos – laying down the groove as they do
It’s hard to take a bow
When the time for ending comes

We are merely moving shadows
Life is just a breath we are grass
We are fading you are our only hope

Last Chorus Only:
I have come a long way tonight
I have cast off my wet clothes
I have dried all my fears off
Track Name: Jonah
I look at my life
I see for my whole existence
I’ve been trying to get by
Living on a pittance
Until now I finally have a semblance of security

I look at the sky
Try to see your face appearing
But my eyesight is dim
And I’m hard of hearing you
I leave us space for the peace of ambiguity

I often think of myself as Jonah
Boarding a ship for the west when you said to head east
I guess that’s why I won’t talk to ya
I’m too afraid to hear what you’re saying to me

I’ve spent lots of time clearing my head of mystics
So I could fill my brain up with charts and logistics
Yeah I drove myself crazy
Sleeping off your mystery

I feel the earth shaking will I be left standing
That’s what I’d ask you if you weren’t so demanding
You stretch me out
To be more than I wanted to be

I’d like to see myself being reborn
But right now I’m just too damn stubborn
I guess it’s up to you to keep scratching at my window at night
I guess it’s up to you to keep scratching at my window at night
Track Name: Yellow Notebook
You wrote all your thoughts in a small yellow notebook
Whenever they came to your mind
I thought you had everything so figured out in those days

You spouted off figures and tidbits of poems
To substitute anything new
It took me a long time to see you had nothing to say

I figured I would follow you, I would go anywhere
But when you followed me I just heartlessly left you there
While you waited and waited and waited for me to change

You used to stop driving in beautiful places
Wherever you wanted to stop
I loved the adventure you made wherever you moved

You brought me sunflowers and gerbera daisies
Sometimes when you came just because
They highlighted everything I never brought you

I figured I would follow you, I would go anywhere
But then you followed me and I, I simply left you there
While I waited and waited and waited for you to understand me
Track Name: Second Revolution
The builders are complaining
Because the buyers aren’t buying
Buyers are complaining that the price is too high
I don’t know how far we’ll fall in the imminent fall out

The bankers aren’t sharing their foreclosing tomorrow
Consumers have borrowed the last cent we can borrow
Trouble is boiling
Let’s just hope that we can work this out

Everyone hates oversight/Till fortunes turn overnight
Rulers craft their alibis/While bankers sell out you and I

Say goodbye to your piggy bank home/everything you have is out on loan
The best return on your cash is from your mattress
Say hello to the second revolution/none of the experts can offer a solution
The best we can hope for is just to live through this

The markets are all crashing
Because the sellers aren’t selling
The sellers are crying and the experts are all telling us
That no one saw this coming, it’s really quite the shock

The lenders are hoarding we act like no one knows
If we can’t pay it back then it will all be foreclosed
Empty houses, empty storefronts, empty churches
Now on every block

Companies too big to fail/The debtors can all live in jail
Markets are the god we’re told/till everything we had was sold