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Saddle Creek

one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden

by Ada Lea

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  • Songbook Bundle
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    - Cloudy clear + black transparent "Thunderstorm" vinyl
    - Includes 24 page 5x7" risograph Songbook featuring chord diagrams and artwork by Ada Lea
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    LP PACKAGING NOTES:
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  • Thunderstorm LP
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    - Cloudy clear + black transparent vinyl
    - Limited Edition pressing of 250 (Limit 2 per customer)

    LP PACKAGING NOTES:
    - Vinyl pressed at Microforum
    - Includes 4-panel poster insert
    - Includes download card

    Includes unlimited streaming of one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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1.
damn 04:21
the year started at the back of a train of thought facing the elevator in an awkward way everyone drunk off of their faces, just singing our praises wanting in on the magic, say midnight on the second floor counting while you were in the corner joking about how it would be your last when we were outside having a smoke i heard you asking around hey, could you find me some coke every year is just a little bit darker then the darker gets darker then it's dark as hell by now you don't need a good reason you climb up the highest of the trees and you laughed yourself clean yeah you laughed yourself clean back inside where the party had started eyes shut, feet quick, really feeling ecstatic feelings come then they go someplace little high big lows in any case a good friend is a good friend, no doubt but sometimes a good friend ain’t enough to grab ya and pull you out damn the work, damn the music damn the fun that's missing damn the drugs, damn the friends damn the phone that's ringing damn the night, damn the party damn the song that’s spinning and trying to lift us up but it only drags us down the year started at the back of a train of thought facing the elevator in an awkward way made a call from the side room hey ma, can i come home soon? i’m lying on the floor in the bathroom i’ve had it with this place, we're all going insane i’ve had it with this place well you've been feeling lost now living in the background hanging with a rough crowd thinking of the times you had it all figured out now everyone is passed out blurry on the edge now empty as an effigy waiting to come down i’ve had it with this place we're all going insane i’ve had it with this place we’ve all gone insane damn the work, damn the music damn the fun that's missing damn the drugs, damn the friends damn the phone that's ringing damn the night, damn the party damn the song that's spinning damn the room, damn the street, damn the scene listening damn the home, damn the dog damn the planet watching damn the mood, damn the people damn the door that’s closing damn the time, damn the ride damn the drive that’s missing damn the home, damn the dog damn the life that’s winning
2.
i wake up in the morning i go out come back in i have died a thousand times i will die once again i wake up in the morning i go out with my friends to a bar it’s the weekend and it just doesn’t end i stay out till 5 am and it’s light when I leave i go out and pack my stuff cause I'm dying once again nothing in the world will stop me from dying I swear nothing in the world will stop me from dying I swear i wake up i get dressed find someone in my bed she is naked as a jaybird i'm in love with my neighbourhood overslept my life away got a tune in my head it repeats the chorus again and again nothing in the world can stop me from dying again nothing in the world can stop me from dying again nothing in the world could stop I swear nothing in the world can stop me from dying again
3.
oranges 04:54
if you see mary would you tell her not to worry it does get easier with every passing day the humming of the ash trees stains of fallen leaves on the concrete ain't nothing here that don't remind me you'll likely see mary still reeling from some kind of scary disease will you remind her that she can always remember the sweeter days of wild oranges every night cigarettes and red wine hanging on the landing leaning on the door frame dreaming of you in every room if you see mary hanging on the corner in her raspberry coat with the wind brushing past as if on a boat with motes gleaming along the shore the dogs in heat city parks in the daytime / the revving of the motor bikes in the night your bed positioned so the sun rises to your left and a bible of sorts lies to your right songs of inexperience and anything that ever is and was i didn't know much like i know now but i still can't seem to tell her myself wild oranges every night cigarettes and red wine kitty on the bed work at your desk hanging on the landing leaning on the door frame talking in circles till it’s light out of our minds wild oranges every night cigarettes and red wine kitty on the bed work at your desk hanging on the landing leaning on the door frame wild oranges every night cigarettes and red wine it’s not what we didn’t do as much as we did you were wearing it around your neck when you entered the room and i kept it when you left and i kept it when you left and i kept it when you left
4.
partner 03:45
still reeling from last night's activities too many friends, too much wine and this cab is moving too slowly down parc avenue it’s 3 pm, paris time still feeling some kind of magic didn't sleep at all last night stayed up and watched her move in her green dress and ivory shoes now you see it coming now you see it now you cannot even imagine what it feels like better now than never to know the back of your head was i only a friend that’s who i am that’s who i am every road we walk leads to a dead-end full of lovers just loving you until the end full of lovers just loving you until you’re dead you’re the last person i thought i’d see at this party, here tonight but you spoke it in such a way there was no knowing what you really meant to say the cab lets me off at the diner just for memory’s sake and i sit at the same booth with tears in my eyes begging won't you admit you’re giving up on me too quick last year you were sitting in the diner with neon lights shining and back at our place a breakdown that was happening baby got the blues so bad that she’s crying and making a show to her friends on the phone crawling in the kitchen pup and cat watching dragging my face on the tiles that were matching the blue of her dress the makeup that is running you know it’s just my way of saying i regret things driving through the city speeding over 50 calling just to hear you say that you still love me the music on the radio playing our favourite song to show you everything’s connected and she is a dancer with no partner that’s what they call her now you see it coming now you see it now you cannot even imagine what it feels like better now than never to know the back of your head was i only a friend? that’s who i am that’s who i am every road we walk leads to a dead-end full of lovers just loving you until the end full of lovers just loving you until you’re dead she’s a dancer with no partner that’s what they call her
5.
saltspring 04:23
you called me to tell me that you missed the last ferry heading to saltspring but that i needn't worry you’d be on the first one come the morning slept on the beach, in the cold, missing me the dark was getting louder you tried to start a fire rubbed two sticks together for hours years gone by very proustian, this passage of time well i just found the letter dated august 2nd the one you sent that summer saying this is how you see it we’re either growing apart or growing together you set out in the morning and went deep into the country .22 slung over your back and then you shot a bunny and where the hell’d you get a .22 before i moved you called me, said you’d be out west and likely wouldn't be returning, that things were getting busy but you’d come and visit once i’d settled into the city years gone by very proustian, this passage of time well i just found the letter dated august 2nd the one you sent that summer saying this is how you see it we’re either growing apart or growing together of all the days i remember with fondness there is one that i am eager to forget that’s why i'm here on this very same island to see if our names are still written in the sand i just found the letter dated august 2nd the one you sent that summer saying this is how you see it we’re either growing apart or growing together
6.
7.
come to me as you did then my innocuous and redeemable friend and i know this much is true that the nights would always cut us through and through in the mornings when i’d waltz into the room with my arms out wide come to me, yes, come to me come as a bride my love for you is real not like other love that hangs there half dead always taking something from behind your back ya my love for you is real not like other love and i wanted so badly for you to feel it like i did like i did like i did come to me as you did then hand in hand up the cathedral steps where we heard the wedding band foreshadowing something tragic something mad the room went spinning bells were ringing bride and groom and ornate gowns all is forgiven in time all is forgotten in time and when the music did stop i heard an answer my love for you is real not like other love that hangs there half-dead always taking something from behind your back and my love for you is real not like other love and i wanted so badly for you to feel it my love for you is real not like other love that hangs there half-dead always taking something from behind your back my love for you is real not like any other love and i wanted so badly for you to feel it like i did like i did like i did like i did
8.
backyard 02:56
there is something to be said about growing up in the neighbourhood and then staying in that neighbourhood even when you finally could leave and explore other places near or far but you chose to stay in the place you grew up when i told you we could touch the stars and map the world in my backyard your eyes lit up like something sparked a memory spooky stuff like prick your hand and make a bet and then we can interweave our magic together and the blood dripping from the heart of our palms you said the stars couldn't leave our backyards for as long as we'd ask them to stay and they stayed and they stayed there is something to be said about how we neglect the things that are right in front of us every moment for the promise of something better far away is more about imagination than of escape we ran upstairs cut our hair lighting candles singing prayers making up a call to hail mary the gate that separates the gardens hardened as the years drove on making it impossible to open with the blood dripping from the heart of our palms you said the stars couldn't leave our backyards for as long as we'd ask them to stay and they stayed and they stayed stars wouldn't leave our backyards for as long as we'd ask them to stay and they stayed and they stayed
9.
writer in ny 03:19
nowhere i’ve been have i seen such a beautiful face long and hardened, with an aquiline nose shaped like a mermaid on a rock just waiting waiting waiting waiting for the shoe to drop nowhere i’ve been have i seen such a beautiful face soft and plump, just like a baby cause nothing’s gonna bring me down if i never had it anyway i’ll be a writer in ny winter in la cause nothing’s gonna bring me down if i never had it anyway i’ll be a writer in ny winter in la nowhere i’ve been have i seen such a difficult scene yet we jumped in headfirst, nosediving cause nothing’s gonna bring me down if i never had it anyway i'll be a writer in ny winter in la meet me in the park when it’s dark outside with a book in hand and a bottle of white we’ll talk about it all night meet me in the park when it’s dark outside with a book in hand and a bottle of white we’ll talk about it all night cause nothing’s gonna bring me down if i never had it anyway i'll be a writer in ny winter in la
10.
violence 04:26
you can have your anger your rage, you can keep that too the books on the nightstand they’re yours to get through keep everything you want that’s where we stand in the corner of the room where all my stuff is crammed i'm flying out of here, tonight like a butterfly and i'm keeping in mind you’ll be chasing behind slam your fist on the desk raise your arm in a fit the violence that you cast does nobody any justice lock me inside the house hide my keys in your pocket no, this isn't the worst you have done, if i am being honest i'm flying out of here, tonight like a butterfly and i'm keeping in mind you’ll be chasing behind i'm getting out of here, tonight it’s happening for real i’ll be driving the car back to my own house i'll be leaving everything i own in your hell if there’s one thing i’ve learned there’s a term called resilience and i hope to recognize it next time in the face of violence
11.
hurt 03:31
i could say it or say nothing at all take a walk or take none at all get on a bus back to montreal make a plan or plan nothing all i could make it there fast i could make it there slow but silence is a shadow when it is swallowed whole now i’m on the 97 going west home, to my parents thinking of moving back in the fall cause i’m going mad in the apartment I could make it there fast i could make it there slow i'm not being dramatic or dark in tone when I say somebody hurt me badly now i’m stuck in a rut now i’m going crazy somebody hurt me badly now i’m stuck in a rut now i don’t know my body i could say it or say nothing at all take a walk or take none at all get on a bus back to montreal tell my friends or say nothing at all i could make it there fast i could make it there slow i could take my time and i’m not lying when i say somebody hurt me badly now i’m stuck in a rut now i’m going crazy somebody hurt me badly now i’m stuck in a rut now i don’t know my body somebody hurt me badly now i’m stuck in a rut now i’m going crazy

about

one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden is the name of the second album by Canadian songwriter Alexandra Levy, publicly known by the moniker Ada Lea. On one hand..., it’s a collection of walking-paced, cathartic pop/folk songs, on the other it’s a book of heart-twisting, rear-view stories of city life. Ada Lea has followed up the creative, indie-rock songcraft of her debut what we say in private with surprising arrangements and new perspectives. The album is set in Montreal and each song exists as a dot on a personal history map of the city where Levy grew up.

Many of the songs on one hand came together with a blend of studio tracks and elements from the pre-recorded demos. The resulting sounds range from classic, soft-rock beauty to intimate finger-picked folk passages and night-drive art-pop. And the textures are frequently surprising due to the collage of lo-fi and hi-fi sounds that tastefully decorate the album without ever clouding the heart-center of the song. In their subtle, sonic variety, all of the album’s songs flow together with ease into one big, romantic dream for Levy’s silken vocals to float above.

Inspired by personal experience, daydreams, and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, the lyrics of one hand... center storytelling on a bigger scale. The experience and emotions of a year are communicated through Levy’s vignettes of city life. These collected stories as a whole chart the unavoidable growth that comes with experience. “All is forgiven in time. All is forgotten in time. And when the music stopped, I heard an answer” (from “my love 4 u is real”).

Whether to consider these songs fiction or memoir remains unknown. On one hand, Levy says “Why would I try to write a story that’s not my own? What good would that do?” but on the other hand, she is quick to note the ways that language fails to describe reality, and how difficult this makes it to tell an actually true story. The poetic misuse of the word “sewing” in the album’s title serves as a nod to the limitations words provide. What does it mean to sew the garden? And how can we appreciate its carefully knit blooms when the rearview mirror is so full of car exhaust?

credits

released September 24, 2021

melody and lyrics by alexandra levy
produced by : alexandra levy (all songs) marshall vore (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11)
engineered by : marshall vore (1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 11) alexandra levy ( 5, 6, 8) daniel gélinas (5, 8)
additional recording by : alexandra levy (1, 2, 3, 9, 10) sam gleason (1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 11) steve newton : (1, 3, 5, 8, 11)
mixed by burke reid (except 6) alexandra levy (6)
mastered by heba kadry
all photography & styling: monse muro
photography assistant: alice cloutier
art director: catherine pelletier, alexandra levy, monse muro
graphic design: catherine pelletie

a sincere thank you to the canada council of the arts and banff centre for their continued support and trust in the creation of these songs throughout the years.
thank you to amber & robb & jon, everyone at saddle creek & next door, who always believe in a thing before it even is.
thank you to my family, romeo, and all the dogs for providing an infinite of infinite.
thanks, lib, for the many hours - gaia, for this ever-lasting story of affidamento - clarice hana clove, for the v.w & c.l quotes that kept the sunrise worth the morning task - christelle for the push from the start. eternal thanks to monse, a spiritual and artistic sister, for the visual heartbeats that rooted this project in something magic, so early on.
to all the talented friends near and far who performed on the album, thank you for lending your unique brilliance, bringing these songs to a new and exciting place.
the one and only, my ride or die, with the unending thunder - thank you, tasy.

lastly, special thanks to marshall for the initial hours spent weaving the thing - to burke, for the instinctive vision that gave these songs width, depth and power, and of course to heba, for making it all shimmer & sparkle.

(and i am bewitched!)

we acknowledge this album was recorded on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the gabrielino/tongva peoples, the original caretakers of tovaangar (sometimes spelled tovangar) and on the unceded land of the kanien’kehá:ka nation, the original custodians of the lands and waters of tiohtià:ke/montréal.

“this project is funded in part by factor, the government of canada and canada’s private radio broadcasters. ce projet est financé en partie par factor, le gouvernement du canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du canada.”
“made possible with the support of ontario creates”
“this project is funded in part by factor, the government of canada and canada’s private radio broadcasters. ce projet est financé en partie par factor, le gouvernement du canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du canada.”

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Ada Lea Montreal, Québec

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