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What Remains

by Charming Disaster

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"What Remains" was inspired in part by traditional murder ballads -- folk songs that tell haunting stories about true crimes of the past. Flannery O'Connor's short story "The River" also provided some inspiration. It was written and recorded during Charming Disaster's 2016 artist residency at Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology: crosshatch.org

The cover artwork is a painting by Julyan Davis, whose work is also inspired by the murder ballad tradition. See more at julyandavis.com


wind blows cold
over the willows
sky is bruised
and shadowed
put on your boots
and overcoat
don’t be afraid
my little sparrow

bridge slung high
over the river
every step
shakes and shivers
water laughs
out in whispers
she’ll take anything
that you give her

it’s okay
wash away
every trace
what remains

it’s okay
it’s not too late
to find your way
clean again

when your heart
is weak and wearied
clap your hands
wake the spirits
leaves float by
on the current
tide won’t turn
till you turn it


released April 1, 2016
Written & composed by Ellia Bisker & Jeff Morris
Recorded at the Hill House in Mancelona, MI
Engineered & mixed by Ellia Bisker & Jeff Morris
Ukulele, shaker, tambourine, wineglass, whistling: Ellia Bisker
Guitar, pot lids, pot of water, tea kettle, whistling: Jeff Morris

Cover artwork by Julyan Davis ("To Grow in the Sick Tree's Path," left panel), used by permission. See more of his murder ballad-inspired paintings at julyandavis.com.

Special thanks to Yvonne Stephens and Brad & Amanda Kik at Crosshatch Center for Arts & Ecology.


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Charming Disaster Brooklyn, New York

Charming Disaster is a goth-folk duo based in Brooklyn, NY, formed in 2012 by Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris. Inspired by the macabre humor of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, the murder ballads of the Americana tradition, and the dramatic flair of the cabaret, they write songs that tell stories about death, crime, myth, magic, folklore, and the occult. ... more


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