5400 Valentine Road

Let’s drive too fast down streets we both know too well
Let’s tell ourselves that nothing ever dies, that we’ll always be the same
Let’s pick out names (I know, we barely know each others’ names
But let’s dream of ever after)

Let’s open up! and show each other all the shit we hide so well from everyone else
Cause I don’t know if I could ever tell anyone, admit that I’m afraid
Let’s pick out names (I know we barely know each others’ names
But still I wanna lie in fields of flame with you)

Cause I know that I’m already changing
I know that I’m already changing
I knew from the first moment I saw you
That everything had changed

Let’s drive too fast down streets that only ever seem to lead to our son’s grave

words & music by Frank Cruz

Frank Cruz - vocals, acoustic guitar, Hammond E-182 organ, sampling, drums, percussion
Chris Dixon - electric guitar, bass, background vocals

Produced and engineered by Robbie Kimzey, Chris Dixon, and Frank Cruz at home and at The Lab in Oakland, CA
Organ engineered by Frank Cruz at his mother-in-law’s house in Ventura, CA
Mixed by Willie Samuels at Studio Trilogy in San Francisco, CA

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

No Name Waltz

I'm gonna sleep beneath the stars tonight
And wonder where you are
Cause every time I hear the freight train cry
I say, "I love you, too"
It don't feel much like a conversation anymore
But I guess it has to do 

I guess you can’t change the past
Sometimes I forget that, I think I gotta go back
To the way that we were before we heard the words
Those awful words 

I'm gonna crash into the waves today
Get swallowed by the sea
And if the ocean spits me out again
I catch my breath, breathe out and in
I feel so much smaller but in the end
The problems are just the same           

I guess you can’t change the past
Sometimes I forget that, I try so hard to go back
To the way that we were before we heard the words
Those awful words 

I’m gonna drink till I don't feel no more
Make love until I'm tired
Cause there's no such thing as moving on
There's only getting by
So I can't blame you
For wanting me to try 

words & music by Frank Cruz

Daniel Casentini - drums
Frank Cruz - vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, sampling, percussion, background vocals
Chris Dixon - electric guitars, bass, glockenspiel, sampling, percussion, background vocals
Robbie Kimzey - outro electric guitar

Produced and engineered by Robbie Kimzey, Chris Dixon, and Frank Cruz at home and at The Lab in Oakland, CA
Mixed by Willie Samuels at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

Jeremy Dreams of Time Machines

(for Barbara and Jeremy)

It was forty days and forty nights
I was wandering through the desert alone
This ain’t no fairy tale, I never heard the voice of god
But I’m not complaining cause I found my way home 

But I was empty and I was restless
Didn’t know just where I belonged
Familiar things didn’t seem the same
With you gone
And I know I just got back
And so I hate to say, so long
But I gotta go back on the road
Find the place that we went wrong

It rained for forty days, it poured for forty nights
I thought the desert heat was bad but it’s got nothing on the cold
I saw the river rise, I met a whale, got ate alive
But by the time he spit me out I guess I missed that old rainbow

Cause I was empty and I was restless
Didn’t know just where I belonged
All the good things didn’t feel so good
With you gone
And I know I been making excuses now
For way, way, way too long
Could you forgive me
If I never come home?

Bridge:
Cause Jeremy dreams of time machines
(And baseball cards, and space wars, and his best friend’s eyes)
Jeremy dreams of time machines
(And race cars, computer games, and deep blue skies)
But me, I never dream, and if I do
I see earthquakes, and endless wars, and open graves, I don’t see you
So let’s just let him sleep, I know just what he means
He’s just trying to find a way to turn back time

words & music by Frank Cruz

Frank Cruz - vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, glockenspiel, Zachary’s handmade rain stick, drums, percussion, sampling
Chris Dixon - electric guitar, bass, bowed cymbal, sampling, background vocals
Joel Levin - pedal steel
Khalil Sullivan - harmonium

Produced and engineered by Robbie Kimzey, Chris Dixon, and Frank Cruz at home and at The Lab in Oakland, CA
Pedal steel engineered by Frank Cruz at Joel’s house in Ventura, CA
Mixed by Willie Samuels at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

Amber's High Wire Blues

She said, “I am an acrobat
walking around on a high wire act
Stumbling somewhere between
the present and the past” 

She said, “I know there’s no going back
With the first goddamned step you’re committed to act
It don’t seem to me that the past stays past
So I swear the distance from here to there ain’t so vast”

So if you’re out there on the ropes
And it feels like a long way to go
And the men you meet keep on buying drinks
To keep themselves from feeling anything
When you’re out there on the ropes
We all know you really just wanna go home
But you smile polite and try to say something nice
And wait for morning to see you home

I said, “I ain’t ever been an acrobat
Cause I’m afraid of the heights on the high wire act
But I know how it feels when it all gets too real
So you try to move forward cause you know there’s no going back”

Cause when I’m out there on the road
And it feels like a long way to go
And the friends that I meet keep on pouring me drinks
Cause they know that I remember everything
So I’m out there on the road
And I don’t know which way to go home
So I smile polite, try not to fuck up their night
And wait for the Lord to take me home

words & music by Frank Cruz

Frank Cruz - vocals and acoustic guitar
Lewis Patzner - cello

Produced and engineered by Frank Cruz at home in Oakland, CA
Strings engineered by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA
Mixed by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA 

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

Hereafter

I gotta try a little harder
And get myself together
“Be thankful for things I have”
Cause is it here, hereafter
I can put it back together?
I’ll finally get the answer
I waited for so long

We gotta try a little harder
Do your best to remember
A time we didn’t always have to try so goddamned hard
Is it here, hereafter
We can put it back together?
We’ll finally see our sunshine
We’ll forget it ever rained

Till then I try to remember to breathe
I block out the evidence this don’t mean a thing
Cause I know I can’t pretend it’s any worse for me
Sick of waiting for Jesus to speak to me

I gotta try a little harder
And get myself together
“Be thankful for things I have”

words & music by Frank Cruz

ALBUM VERSION
Daniel Casentini - drums
Frank Cruz - vocals, acoustic guitars, Wurlitzer electric piano, tambourine
Chris Dixon - electric guitars, acoustic guitar, background vocals
Michael Musumeci - keyboard
Anton Patzner - violin
John Snapp - bass

Produced by Scott Goodrich, Frank Cruz, and Chris Dixon
Engineered by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA
Keyboard engineered by Michael Musumeci at his house in Pittsburg, CA
Mixed by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA 

REMIX VERSION
From the companion cassette release Gotta Try A Little Harder: The Ofrenda Demos
Produced by La Practica De Familia at home in Oakland, CA 
Sequencing and MIDI programming by La Practica De Familia 
Mixed and mastered by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA
lapractica.net

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

Ballad for a Friend

Sad I'm a-sittin' on the railroad track
Watchin' that old smokestack
Train is a-leavin' but it won't be back

Years ago we hung around
Watchin’ trains roll through the town
Now that train is a-graveyard bound 

Where we go up in that North Country
Lakes and streams and mines so free
I had no better friend than he

Something happened to him that day
I thought I heard a stranger say
I hung my head and stole away

A diesel truck was rollin' slow
Pullin’ down a heavy load
It left him on a Utah road

They carried him back to his home town
His mother cried, his sister moaned
Listenin’ to them church bells tone

words & music by Bob Dylan

Frank Cruz - vocals, acoustic guitar
Chris Dixon - acoustic slide guitar

Produced by Robbie Kimzey, Chris Dixon, and Frank Cruz
Engineered by Robbie Kimzey at home in Oakland, CA
Mixed by Willie Samuels at Studio Trilogy in San Francisco, CA

Copyright © 1962, 1965 MCA, Renewed 1990, 1993 Songs of Universal, Inc (BMI). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

This Is Just to Say

Your baby brother's not a baby anymore
Man, he's growing like a weed
He's asking questions I can't answer
So I just tell him how we used to be

And your momma's getting older
But she's aging gracefully
She's talking about another baby
She's finding reasons to believe

And me, I'm writing you this letter
Between faith and misery
Man, I get lonesome here without you
Between what is and what ought to be

And me, I'm trying hard to get myself together
I been praying for peace
To some god I don't believe in anyways
But desperate men do desperate things

And now the bottle's almost empty
So I guess I'll get to sleep
But right before I close my eyes I see you suddenly alive
I linger in-between to watch the way we used to be

words by Frank Cruz
music by Frank Cruz and Chris Dixon

ALBUM VERSION
Frank Cruz - vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, AM hand-cranked radio, glockenspiel, drums, percussion
Chris Dixon - vocals, electric guitars, keyboard, MIDI programming
Scott Goodrich - sequencing
Lewis Patzner - cello

Produced by Chris Dixon, Frank Cruz, and Scott Goodrich
Engineered by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios, Pittsburg, CA
Additional engineering by Chris Dixon and Frank Cruz at home and at The Lab in Oakland, CA
Mixed by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA

COVER VERSION
From the companion cassette release Gotta Try A Little Harder: The Ofrenda Demos
Produced, recorded, and performed by Hulk Hogan Sex Tape at home and the Lab in Oakland, CA 
Mixed and mastered by Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA
soundcloud.com/hulk-hogan-sex-tape

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP) and DixNLix Music (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

An Atlas of the Difficult World

Took a plane ride to London
Hopped a train to Italy
Caught a speed boat and sailed off to sea
I saw the temples of Athens
The lights of Paris
Saw some sunsets you would not believe

I ordered whiskey and water
I drank tonic and gin
In every town, behind the bar, I found a friend
I stayed up till the morning
Made my days into nights
Anything that was wrong the maid made all right
I tried to burn myself out
Like a moth to the flame
But every wonder I saw said your name

So I guess I’ll stop running
Try to stay in one place
I’ll probably never stop seeing your face
I said, there’s no use in running
Besides where would I go?
So I’m learning to live with your ghost

words & music by Frank Cruz

Frank Cruz - vocals, piano
Chris Dixon - upright bass, electric guitars, background vocals
James Leste - drums
Joel Levin - harmonica

Produced by Chris Dugan, Chris Dixon, and Frank Cruz
Engineered and mixed by Chris Dugan at Jingletown Recording in Oakland, CA
Harmonica engineered by Joel Levin at his house in Ventura, CA

© 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP). All rights reserved. Lyrics reprinted by permission.

Credits & Liner Notes

THIS ALBUM IS DEDICATED TO ZACHARY CRUZ
(March 12, 2003 – February 27, 2009)
Learn more about Zachary’s life and legacy at
zacharymichaelcruz.com
zmcfoundation.org

WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY FRANK CRUZ AND CHRIS DIXON
with Daniel Casentini, Josh Cook, Brian Espinosa, Robbie Kimzey, James Leste, Joel Levin, Michael Musumeci, Anton Patzner, Lewis Patzner, John Snapp, and Khalil Sullivan

RECORDED at home, The Lab, and Jingletown in Oakland, CA and at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburg, CA between the winter of 2010 and the spring of 2014
ENGINEERED by Robbie Kimzey, Scott Goodrich, Frank Cruz, Chris Dixon, and Chris Dugan
ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING by Joel Levin and Michael Musumeci
MIXED by Willie Samuels, Scott Goodrich, and Chris Dugan
MASTERED by J.J. Golden at Golden Mastering in Ventura, CA

FRONT COVER painting by Zachary Cruz, Untitled (Father’s Day Present), 2005, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14
GATEFOLD PHOTOGRAPHS by Jodie Cruz (Zachary) and Chris Dixon (Berkeley)
INSERT PHOTOGRAPHS by Kim Keever, Dog 29e (front) and Dog 54b (back), 2011, c-print, 24x30, images courtesy of Kim Keever (kimkeever.com)
ART DIRECTION by Frank Cruz and Chris Dixon
DESIGN & GATEFOLD PHOTO EDITING by Brian Espinosa at reCyph (recy.ph)

THANKS to Jodie, Stacy, and Miles. And everyone who played and worked on this record. Special thanks to Zachary, for teaching us that love is forever. Finally, thank YOU for bearing witness and for helping us remember our friend.

All songs by Frank Cruz copyright © 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP) except “This Is Just to Say” and “(I Already Know) the Place” by Frank Cruz and Chris Dixon copyright © 2014 Blueskies Longrides Publishing (ASCAP) and DixNLix Music (ASCAP) and “Ballad for a Friend” by Bob Dylan copyright © 1962, 1965 MCA, Renewed 1990, 1993 Songs of Universal, Inc (BMI)

(p)&© 2014 Frank Cruz/Chris Dixon under exclusive license to SFS Records. Unauthorized reproduction, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing.

Ofrenda: A Note on the Text

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” –William Faulkner

According to Mexican tradition, the spirits of departed children return home on November 1st, during the annual celebration of Día de los Muertos, in order to commune with their family. November 1st is sometimes called Día de los Angelitos—Day of the Little Angels. Ofrendas, or offerings, are constructed in the home, premised on the Indigenous Mexican belief that souls require nourishment—even after death. The assembly of the ofrenda is a family activity in which every family member who is able participates. Upon the ofrenda table, families will artfully arrange photographs of the deceased, along with food, flowers, and candles, as well as mementos that held special meaning to the dead. The central idea is that during this period of public and private (family) rituals, we are reunited with the dead in an atmosphere of communion and spiritual regeneration. The souls of the dead reassure the living of their continued protection, and the living assure the dead that they will remember and nurture them in their daily lives. 

In the local cemetery a community band with a drum and flute ensemble plays both melancholy and vibrant tunes for eight hours. Candles are lit on the graves. Rosaries are said as church bells toll out pleasing music for the souls of the dead.

This album, constructed in large part at home, with the generous help of so many good friends, is our communal offering to the memory of Zachary Cruz, our son and godson, a wonderful little boy (forevermore), who we miss more than words can say. May he accept our Ofrenda and rest in eternal joy and peace. 

Frank Cruz & Chris Dixon
April 25, 2014

Sources: Davíd Carrasco and Scott Sessions, Daily Life of the Aztecs and Maria Herrera-Sobek, Celebrating Latino Folklore