Gunpowder tea

Gunpowder tea

standup's picture
Artist Favorite




Liner Notes: 

There's a gin @pfoo and I have had here in the house that supposedly contains gunpowder. They make it with a gunpowder tea. So of course I thought that should be in a song.

I wrote some lyrics and passed them to my friend Nancy, who made some changes to the lyric and composed a beautiful melody and piano part for this. I didn't want to add anything, it sounds complete.


Sometimes he remembers his dreams
sipping gunpowder tea
he goes here to be wide awake
Hunting down his memories

Killing hours down at the cafe
back to the wall
one eye on the door but he forgets
what he's watching for


this life's got nothing but teeth
dream of that while you sleep
far and away stare at the ceiling
waiting to one night feel a feeling

Half his life waiting for the bell
wagering every thing
half his life tired and pushing
trying to make it ring

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


ductapeguy's picture

My first memory of meeting you Eric and Nancy was upstairs at the Emlenton Mill at fawmstock 2013. You two had staked out a place and were writing a song in person. This collab has the same comfortable, camaraderie.

fresh spotless youth's picture

Really strong lyric. That first verse sets the tone. I like the idea of hunting memories and remembering dreams while sipping tea. That's a great line about life having nothing but teeth. Lovely melody and performance as well--one to savor

mike skliar's picture

wow! 'waiting to one night feel a feeling'. I love the lyric, which says so much in this poetic elliptical yet grounded way, and the musical setting of it is just perfect. Love this! (tho i wish i could remix the recording and make the vocal a little louder!)

billwhite51's picture

this is on the same level as laura nyros great piano ballads. the lyrics are strong and accessible,the music soulful and divine

katpiercemusic's picture

This is a really good match of lyrics and music. I like the narration and atmosphere that it creates. The piano is lovely. For a while in grad school I didn't have internet in my apartment so I'd go tot he coffee shop anytime I wasn't at the library doing research. I don't have much in the way of visual memory, but I have a strong visual memory of that place and this song brings me right back there.

Frances Smith's picture

I love how the drinking of gunpowder tea is turned into a strange and wistful thing, the piano and melody fit beautifully together, and the singing is lovely, I want to see a sepia photograph of him that's kept in a museum collection somewhere, I'm sure it must exist he seems so real.

Cicpisces's picture

Nice story. Like how the tea memory is associated with waiting. Emotional story with some great lines in it. Nice write.

cts's picture

"This life's got nothing but teeth" - man, don't I know it. It goes without saying how haunting; lovely this piece is. The two of you compliment each other well when it comes to song crafting and execution. As I'm learning methodology more (and not just working from an intuitive position) I can appreciate more of what I hear and read from this. I like the emotion in Nancy's vocals and playing and I am moved in my feelings by the imagery from Eric's words.

kahlo2013's picture

Lovely poetic lyrics set to an absolutely gorgeous melody. I love the flowing movement of the keys and the phrasing of the words.

Edward 9th Street's picture

A very sublime and subtle expression. Brought to mind some of Joni's piano tunes on Court and Spark. Very nicely done.

headfirstonly's picture

Oh my word - this hits home (my father is pretty far down the Alzheimer's path these days) but does it in the form of such a beautiful song. The playing sounds like it ought to be on an album Becker and Fagen would have done back in their glory days. Sad, but also glorious.

Chip Withrow's picture

I read the excellent lyrics first. I really can picture this guy.
And what an amazing job Nancy does bringing these words to life! I do so much guitar/vocal, and I deeply appreciate those who can do what she does with piano/vocal. It's like intimate musical theater. Wow!

barbara's picture

This is a moving portrait song, in just a few telling brushstrokes. I lost my mom to vascular dementia a couple of years ago, and that ‘waiting to one night feel a feeling’ line tears me up, especially the final time. “What is it really like on the inside?” I will always wonder. This is a beautiful observation and insight. I love the piano backing, and the vocal plays in and around those chords with sensitivity and surprise. I found myself thinking of Rickie Lee Jones at certain points. It’s both comforting and also stretches the boundaries gently and I loved following it!
If you consider offering it up for download, please let me know.

Tim Fatchen's picture

mmm that piano backing with the pensive vocal melody floating above, mmm. "Hunting down his memories" puts it very well; I've reached the agepoint where I find myself doing that. And the bell, hey, we'll keep on trying. All told a beautiful song to listen to, empathic lyric. Good stuff! Another download from the two of you that I can squirrel away! (Don't expect a video tho'!)

tjeff's picture

Ooh, nice piano, kind of Bruce Hornsbey-ish. Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones also came to mind. This is a beautiful song, great playing and singing, and an interesting title and lyric.

Technicolor Gramophone's picture

God, that piano is just so dark and lovely. The lyrics are very insightful ... love the "this life's got nothing but teeth." Sparse and beautiful performance reminiscent of 70s greats like Joni and Laura Nyro.

tcelliott's picture

I like this lyric. The opening lines set it up nicely. And the piano playing is, of course, stellar. I like the melody and Nancy's voice is great with this lyric/melody. You two write good songs together. You should release some music together or something *EVIL GRIN*