Out of the Ashes - Lyrics
© Steve Unruh

Masterlist of Lyrics     Out of the Ashes page

Out of the Ashes
I. Miracle Mile   II. Battle/Aftermath   III. Breaking Free

Slowly as the Lights Go Down

Violin/Drumkit solo

CD Liner Notes


Out of the Ashes (40:39)

I. Miracle Mile

Pendulum is swinging
	left to right again
warning bell is ringing
	deep inside my skin

déjà vu is daunting
	taunting us to war
Ego and self-righteousness in power, I think
	I've seen this one somewhere before

military mission
	missionary smile
pilgrims of retaliation, won't you walk this miracle mile?

chaotic collage of rally cries lifted from every cause I can remember
motivation custom made for all
except the ones who can see
	the ones who can truly see
	who can see
oh say, can you see…

a forlorn sadness growing as we banish ourselves from Eden
burning Eden… voluntarily

so where is the noble tradition?
& where is the irony worse?
where is the real opposition?
& who's getting profits and who's getting hurt 

now we're like the leaders at a poker table holding all the chips we'd like to save
greed's philosophy entices us away from being brave

horde the newfound bounty, dwell on the average and some jealous future crime.
Terrified, we see the risk of a younger man as a farce beyond its time

And what's yours and what is mine
severs ties and draws the lines

Fear the rising of a restless mob and others who might like to share the reign
Feed the mass a distraction, join a co-alition, and start an ad campaign

as the gap between the poor and hoarding widens people start to pick their teams
eating scraps from the nouveau riche and firing up the war machines

while what's yours and what is mine
severs ties and draws the lines
while what's yours and what is mine
feeds a cancer of the mind

mobilized in action 
a hell-bent recompense
mad pre-taliation
dressed up as defense, ego over sense, the dogs have jumped the fence

now life it's not so easy
	living in the jar
where everyone can see you
	but don't know what you are

some stare blankly
	some release a nervous laugh
some, their faces red and agitated, they keep
	banging on the glass, and some just hurry past… but they all

leave me in the jar
like some exhibit from afar
or an illusion popular in scattered circles
of those wishing on the stars

Held behind the glass
as I watch the armies pass
A deluded populous will battle for glory
While their kings are counting cash

I watch a lack of information, insecurity and ego form a trio that entrenches powers so deep, so many tricked
into a fight while still they love to hang around the ones who'll play them till there's no blood left to bleed…

And call it liberty!
or utmost piety.
When all it's ever been
is the same old fear and greed.

Somewhere far behind us lies the time we played the game, with the notion we would smile and meet again
But our nature, it would seem, is to divide the world in powers that forever fight a war no one can win.

Meanwhile Eden's embers smolder in a heap we've all-but-forgotten as we dash about in search of surety
And the only hope stays bottled in the minds so far outnumbered of those buried in the ashes who can see.

Of those buried in the ashes, who can see?

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II. Battle/Aftermath

Battle - Instrumental


what have we done
but once again prove we're the bigger gun
I sit alone & scared & looking through the glass, glazed over, stunned.
We're on the team that never loses anything
And we will reap the benefits of this economy

what does this mean?  It means catastrophe in Eden
we're losing our souls to apathy
what does this mean?  It means an atrophy of reason
to somehow think that this is victory

so who can see
the politics that lead to misery
bloodthirst and greed juxtaposed with the slogan it's the price of being free… it's the price of being free?!

what does that mean?  It means we're choking on false morals
& closing our eyes to everything
what does that mean?  It means secure, expensive houses
while outside everyone's the enemy

we're standing tall
numb as the irony evolves…

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III. Breaking Free

Burned in the mind, it
only takes time, to
make the absurd seem normal

too weak to dream
soul in decay
…keeping appearance formal

buried in doubt,
fire stamped out
numb from the compromising

bruised and bereft
salvage what's left
out of the ashes rising


once these eyes burned brighter        but obstacles I'd seen
paralyzed their victim                 into normalcy 
two can shape the future               those with shiny shoes
and the ones possessing                nothing left to lose

Now it seems I've joined the latter - I'm so tired of being so weak
and losing my persona searching for security
for so many years I was content to play along
but the whisper now has been rising into song

oh, you can change the perceptions and make up your mind
you can change how the children remember these times
change who's called victim, who's righteous, who plunders and
alter the names and re-tally the numbers
rethink the reasons re-write all the laws or
expose using logic as some fatal flaw
change what's in fashion influence the youth
you can change where the blame falls…
but you can't change the Truth!

No, you can't change the Truth.

It breaks free finally                 I can see the world through all the static hum
truly being                            not just someone it would seem I have become

out of the ashes, Rising…

well, the enemy's real and he's keeping us company
                                       and lurking much closer than most realize
if you're caught off your guard you might catch his reflection
                                       if you listen intently you might hear him soliloquize

It's one thing to fantasize about dying for a cause...
                                       it's another thing trying to live day after day after day.
Maybe it's time to re-think who the heroes are
                                       instead of just dwelling on holding the unknown at bay

Eking our lives out throughout this confusion
                                       It's become a wonder we hear any truth at all.
with downplayed repair and advertised retribution
                                       It's a wonder when anyone catches the call to

Break Free Finally                     see the world through all the static hum
Truly Being                            more than just who it would seem we have become

out of the masses, rising…

Break free, Finally!                   as the longest nighttime meets the sun
Truly Being                            Everything that we could yet become
No longer numb

So where is the victory? - it's not in some grand finale; not in the battles we abide
alive in the hearts and minds of souls of a different kind; a rising of truth against the tide

& every day someone sees is one small victory.

Where is the victory - it's not somewhere overseas; it's not in the wars that we can wage
Alive in the hearts and minds of souls truly open wide, surviving to lead us to the age
where there's no apathy; escape from our history, and life is protected all around
Changing toward a time when finally we've grown more kind regardless of creed or native ground

and every day someone sees is one small victory
and today we can be!

Eyes open wide
here in our time
calming the storm around us

Being the peace
as those before
whose truth has finally found us


Spirit and reality as one
finally fleeting
Out of the Ashes into sun…


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Slowly as the Lights Go Down (5:06)

Solitary smile
stirs the fluttering heart out the window
Brilliant little while
caught in seconds before the scene passes

in time, all of this will fade
like the sunset ray
Slowly as the lights go down.

Safety for a while
in my arms, the whole world was you, breathing
Everything in style
and what's a story without the scene tragic?

And soon time will come to say
"...must be on our way..."
Slowly as the lights go down.

As the orchestra rages and scenery changes
the audience stages its willful entwine
Caught in the motion as finally emotion
begins to break free from the chains that would bind
And haven't we all seen by now
it's intrinsic to every play...

It's just being more human to lose all we've made

Solitary smile
stirs the stuttering heart back to wonder
Brilliantly defiled
acted out with more passion than meaning

as life follows, in its course,
patterns of divorce
Slowly as the lights go down.

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Violin/Drumkit Solo - Instrumental (recorded to 2 ambient mics at a Psynapsis gig)

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CD Liner Notes

Albums get made for all sorts of reasons. For the sound of a violin played on the D string. To provide a showcase for virtuosic playing. Money. Fans. All sorts of reasons.

This, my 5th solo album, has a strong enough bite that I felt the need to examine its origins. The lyrics are quite political, and I was warned that might put off some listeners. The instrumental texture - particularly in the 2nd track - can become rather harsh, and I've also been warned that it may come as a shock to those who know my previous albums well. As if that weren't enough, the content aspires at such lofty goals that the album's probably in danger of being written off as pretentious. But despite it all, I relentlessly pushed this album to completion - obsessing over it even more than any previous release. So, why do I have such an attachment to this album, and why am I drawn to release such an incorrigible, personal, piece of music - which by its nature is wide open to criticism for its lyrics, tone, and ambition?

I guess it's because if I am to remain honest in my music, I don't have a choice. The truth is I'm angry, and anger seeks expression. I'm angry that people fly planes into buildings. I'm angry at the violence-begets-violence response of the victims' representatives. I'm angry that "being an American" brands me a target. I'm angry that "being an American" additionally brands me responsible for bodies shredded in response to that target status. I'm angry that on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2004, as I write these liner notes, his vision of approaching problems non-violently is publicly celebrated while simultaneously discarded in practice.

And I'm sad. I'm sad that human nature seems to gravitate toward a continuing cycle of variations on the rise-and-fall story of ages past - in private, and en masse. And I'm searching. This cycle of violence and fear has the capacity to wither us away, either by physical force, withheld freedoms, or psychological petrification. I'm searching for a lifeline to which I can cling - a whisper; a thought; a reassurance that we've not all gone mad. This is my hope.

I suppose I pushed this album to completion because it's a pretty good representation of my current lot, and I'd like to think that's valid - at least to some degree, and to some people. That lot is to be angry, sad, and searching - each subsiding to another, alternating like the peaks of waves in an ocean. In the end, no single interpretation prevails - but each is made aware of the others' presence. And that, to me, is the sweet part: as long as there remains someone to bear the torch of idealism for a while, others will have a reminder of the kind world we could build. "Being the peace," as Thich Nhat Hanh said.

So, here's my little attempt at torch-bearing. Here's to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


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