by Elam Blackman

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My good friend Elam Blackman dropped in from cyberspace the other day. It’d been a while, so he couldn’t have known that I was living in a country of sadness, my dear mother having died but two days since. Elam hailed me with that lovely, summer’s-evening, fireflies-in-the-clearing kind way he has about him, and he asked me if I wouldn’t mind waxing a bit for the purposes of an album cover—the very one, in fact, that you’re now clutching in your covetous paws. When he got wind of my circs, Elam offered to dig
up another sap for the task, but I wouldn’t hear of it. I readily accepted the honor. But bidding my darling Ma farewell naturally pushed everything else aside for a time. When I’d finally delivered the last of my clan
to their respective departure gates I was in what you might call a fragile state. I shut the driver’s side door and the lonely sound echoed through the short-term parking deck. I’d been tending to Ma during the last years of her decline, and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her recliner sitting empty when I got home. The
drive south on I-91 had been a dreary one, and I was hoping the fog would lift. I took a deep breath, jockeyed up Elam’s new record, and turned over the ignition. The first train-track-clickity-clack bars of Railroad Folk kicked in, and then Elam’s thoughtful crooning: “Border town...we are leanin’ against trees...” I smiled. A few bars later, to my delight, a lap-steel
floated in on the whistle of a night train. The mindset of my journey ahead was being jostled out of its rut by my friend’s familiar voice.
I’ve long admired Elam’s talents. He has the quality of a mythical creature—a woodland spirit perhaps—whose job it is to go about catching lyrical fragments in a butterfly net. This would explain Elam’s peripheral vision, which I’ve often marveled at being the best around. I mean this figuratively, as I have no idea how he fares at the optometrist’s – all I know is he has magic eyes, blinking his way from Boston to Texas, then Knoxville, everywhere catching the images that will find their way into his songs.
Friend marks Elam’s arrival into maturity. From the wistful, sparse clarity of It Ain’t No Thing to the guttural thrum of the rhythmic The Murder Rides Again, the cuts on this disk are equal parts sky and earth, flight and furrow. In all this, Elam has found a fine collaborator in Paul Curreri whose “everything else” is done with the refined judgment of a first class accompanist. Curreri is a kind of clothesline where Elam hangs out his tattered linens and holy jeans. The wind comes up and they dance, and they are beautiful without even trying to be. Something in Caroline (the red PJ’s or the bent down grass?) released me. Something in the clarity of Elam’s lilt let me in on the sweet suspicion that it—the whole thing—must really be about love after all. The sun began clearing the fog and I relaxed, aware that
there was a way out of the country of grief.
~Mark Small Mountain


released June 1, 2011

Elam Blackman: voice, acoustic guitar, banjo (Been Had)
Paul Curreri: Everything Else
Devon Sproule: backing vocals

Produced/ Recorded by Paul Curreri
Mastered by Jeff Romano and Mr. Toads
Photography: Shawn Poynter
Layout: Jessica Gosney

Thanks to all those who supported me on kickstarter and long before such things were necessary.

All songs written by Elam Blackman



all rights reserved


Elam Blackman Vallejo, California

Elam Blackman was born in the front yard. Red dirt roads. A cottonwood. His parents were/ may still be hippies. Some days nothing happens. Elam writes songs. Elam talks in the third person for bios. Do you like bios? Elam is shy at times and when he gets to know you he might tell a joke or two. For less bio and more music stop by on the world wide web of the internet. ... more

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Track Name: Caroline
with my back warmed by a fire
i think of us untangling by way of silence. poetry at sea
journaling truth
i read it and then touched strings
upside down picture looks like lovers kissing
something's missing the mark

i look at you sideways sleeping in the red pj's
recalling the bent down grass in the ice
and that smile you laid on me
as the dusted mountains shone on, in caroline

harmonics- testing sounds
laying down. to the rhythms untangling and retangling
learning the timing of coming together
synchronized breathing
expectations unreal
revealing the tangling i tangle upon love

i look at you sideways sleeping in the red pj's
recalling the bent down grass in the ice
and that smile you laid on me
as the dusted mountains shone on, in caroline

tomorrow back to tennessee
getting lost on 421
gravity digging on barns
men fishing in the creek
in visions i speak
i blew breath into the harth
the hissing heat departs
one silouette is the dark
ice fragments from intent
hanging jut enbankment
lovers walk in white trees
lines straight and staggering
take me to the night without sleep
take me to the morning
when the new snow is gathering

i look at you sideways sleeping in the red pj's
recalling the bent down grass in the ice
and that smile you laid on me
as the dusted mountains shone on, in caroline