From the shadowed shore of Lake Erie, a new batch of Mike Uva songs exploring solitude, friendship, automotive failure, panhandling, crime & punishment, light & darkness, recurring dreams, bad decisions, thrift stores, family trips, TV (and other distractions), love, and the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff.
Uva's characters, a mix of reality and fantasy, are tramps, loners, seers, and spouses, down on their luck, sometimes lying or stealing, or staying up too late and not recognizing who they were the night before. Bewildered and bored, they regain their footing each day and marvel at the time passed and distance traveled.
While much of Uva's back catalog was self-recorded on cassette multi-trackers, for LIGHTS COMING UP he welcomed the opportunity to record at wunder-drummer Dan Price's PRIMITIVE EARTH studio. The approach upped the sonic clarity and breadth, while still embracing imperfections, un-precisions, fortunate accidents, and the occasional "room noise" of Uva's DIY output. The immediacy of the record also owed to tracking much of it live—just his voice and a D-18—in a few takes.
A creative high point of LIGHTS COMING UP was making the lead single "Waco," which Uva and Price built up from an iPhone'd drum-machine beat and fingerpicked-guitar figure into a nervous flurry of drums and skittering stereo guitars.
"I started writing 'Waco' many years ago, but kept putting the song aside," Uva said. He finished the lyrics a few days before the recording session began. "It's less about historical fact than about remembering a time and place in your life and drawing a line from there to the world you're in now.”
". . . on the rare occasion that [Uva] releases a record, it’s really worth hearing and LIGHTS COMING UP is no different." --Dagger Zine
released April 13, 2018
recorded and mixed by Dan Price
and mastered by Adam Boose
in Cleveland, Ohio
all songs c + p 2018 Mike Uva (Collectible Escalators/ASCAP)
well the lights coming up im gonna greet the sky all pink the suns coming over the tree line and i cannot think cause i made it through another night i did not sleep a wink and as soon as these doors are open i will drink all night i walked around i had nowhere to go all night i wore out my legs i wore out every toe and my mind ran around itself in circles i was wondering so how a girl could up and hurt a man like that i dont know watch the pink sky turn to blue day begins anew watch the people go to work getting by getting through but today im gonna lay on the sidewalk ill be thinking of you i got nowhere to go nothing to do
Track Name: Waco
the last day of the standoff in 1993 we were at the student union watching on TV the charismatic leader had taken child brides automatic weapons and his followers inside so much for a free country i think is what you said and when it was all over there were 76 dead everyone we knew had plans for leaving after june you and i did not though we were graduating soon you were pretty sure you could avoid a nine to five you dont need good credit or a briefcase to survive we hung around and went our separate ways in 94 i just found a photo of us buried in a drawer laughing at a party flowers in your hair last i heard youre living off the grid out west somewhere i remember waco and the day the buildings burned and what i saw that day is more than anything i learned i came to the city ive had so many jobs living with the traffic and the cameras and the mobs but its been getting bad here crackdowns and arrests and yesterday a young man took a bullet in the chest i remember waco and the day the buildings burned but it was not a rescue and texas loves her guns set the place on fire shoot em if they run
Track Name: A Proposal
youre looking tired dont get me wrong i like that look it is the shape the evening took youre better looking now dont change a thing about your face you cant apply a thing called grace for all the bad ideas i had i had one good for everything i couldnt do there was one thing i could the wind is shaking the window glass and whats within and i wake up when you come in the cold air whispers i am not who i hoped to be and now you bring yourself to me
Track Name: You Let the Devil In
you let the devil in you let in the devil light as air whos gonna let him out you let the devil in you let in the devil hes everywhere whos gonna let him out
Track Name: Waiting to Return
waiting to return to return to return waiting to return to you im waiting to return and its a funny thing i learned getting there is hard to do and everything i learned is returned is returned memories all faint and blue waiting to return and if theres anything i learned getting there is hard to do i took a breather for a while on the cool kitchen tile frozen in a smile i outgrew everything i earned is returned is returned money is all burning through im waiting to return and its a funny thing i learned getting there is hard to do and many times i yearned to be free of concern many times i made it through waiting to return and its a funny thing i learned getting there is hard to do
Track Name: Have You Ever Walked Alone
have you ever walked alone in a place so far from home in a sad state of some disrepair outta gas or broken down pockets empty askin round do you have a couple bucks to spare first the engine made a sound then the wheels stopped turnin round and we stood at the side of the road and i told her not to fret ill be back here when i get some money for to ride the bus back home o you heard this one before on a sidewalk or in a store try to get blood from a stone push a needle in my eye if i ever tell a lie i just need a way to get home it was a washing machine that left us so lean traded for a 50 dollar bill now it sits there in the truck with all of our bad luck i wish i had that 50 dollars still did you hear this one before at least 100 times or more the battery died in my phone and i swear its all true its why i came up to you i just need a way to get home and ill swallow my pride to get home
Track Name: Even the Highways
cousins join us on summer stays but they wont come through this time one is worried about cancer rays and another facing time mothers taking in TV news its a frighten show each day missing family scattered wide well you let them find their way tell her my love is enough now we leave all other stuff even the highways behind we will be here once again but everything comes to an end but what is in your mind standing out on a sandy shore looking out at endless space you invited this reckoning to remind you of your place in time everything comes to an end even whats on your mind baby whats on your mind
Track Name: I Think I Want to Die
i dont look forward to flowers in the spring i shut the window when the robin starts to sing i feel bad feelings about almost everything i dont like parties i never want to go too many people i unfortunately know talking about their favorite television show there isnt much i want to do the day begins anew but i cant help it now i cant help feeling blue ill buy the groceries and fill the car with gas ill clean the house read a book mow the grass ill spend the evening with my lady but alas
Track Name: Pilfered and Plundered
laws are for breakin and ive always taken anything i want to own i pilfered and plundered and sometimes i wondered if my crimes will ever be known a blue monte carlo i thought i would borrow and then i decided to keep and copper from plumbin and guitars for strummin and silver i stole in my sleep theres a place on the wall with the photos of all of the ones they caught trying to steal but my face isnt there though ive taken my share of heirlooms and automobiles but if i had a way to get through the day without falling for some new prize to hold then i might come out winning a new day beginning it might be worth its weight in gold and sometimes i wonder if i make a blunder will doin some time turn me round but i dont think it will ill be a thief even still till they put me into the ground ill be a thief till im under the ground
Track Name: Treasures
its how we spend our time going through the new arrivals the dusty basement boxes the taxidermy foxes sunlight on the shade puts the room in amber shadow the pocket knives and lighters the posters of old fighters i am waiting for the find it keeps me coming through the door for whats in store anymore and brought back by a tune but our feet are sore from standing holding flowers for the actor who they say will stop by later awaken from a room where the student fails the final or relive high school dances did or didnt take our chances i am waiting for whats mine it keeps me coming through the door there is sparkle in the light it keeps me hangin around your door for whats in store anymore
Track Name: When It Comes to Be
when it comes to be will it comfort me the day you close your eyes and you can see will you know how will you know when it comes to be will i live to see another way to be and how you shine when you are free will i know how will it be will i see and though i show my best friend knows i will leave when time is right and summer is a name and not to blame when the day is losing light is it time to go and will you even know a difference in the light the fade the glow will you know how will it be will you see and summer is a name and not to blame when the day is losing light o the day is losing light