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Embers and Dawn

Jason Steadman

I dream of a world of balance. A world where embers signify a new dawn. Where dark is countered by light. Where horizons make both sunrises and sunsets. Where a hole becomes a whole. Where thorns and thistle give way to flowers. Where violence is not met with silence. Where love is not a sin. Where goodbyes become hellos. And where productivity leaves room for joy.

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About the album

Embers and Dawn is an album of contrasts. The songs capture humanity in the world today, told through contrasting lyrical symbolism, but always leaving listeners with a sense of hope, that following every ember is the possibility of a new dawn.

"I wrote this album starting around April 2022. At first, I just started writing songs," Jason says, "but over time, as the music and lyrics starting taking shape, a theme of evolution started to rise - not evolution in the biological sense, but in the interpersonal and sociopolitical sense. As these theme developed, a clearer vision arose in my mind for an album title - Embers and Dawn - evoking the image of a new beginning arising from the ashes of the past."

The music spans several genres and styles, and fans of rock and pop music will each find something to enjoy. The first half of the album is more rock oriented, opening with "Surprise Me," a melodic, driving rock song about breaking free from an emotionally abusive relationship. Midway through the album, Jason stuns with "Thistle and Flowers," a heart-wrenching take on a mother's lifelong grief. "I cried when I wrote it, and cried when I performed it. This is the song that brought my mastering engineer to tears. It's a tearjerker, yes, but they are the right kind of tears. This is the song I'm most excited for people to hear."

 

Next, on "Violence. Silence." Jason explores gun violence in the United States. With distorted guitars and rock-oriented drums pounding over a full symphony orchestra, this complex song portrays a war for our children's safety, told through the eyes of the children themselves. "Horizons" explores similar politico-social territoryan allegory on what happens when power and trust is offered to the wrong people. 

The latter half of the album moves toward more "pop" territory, ending with a supremely catchy song, Going 80, sung entirely by Jason's (at the time of recording) 12-year-old daughter. The song opens with a long, deep synth that slowly builds tension over the first 30 seconds. Jason describes, "The tension makes you feel as if you're careening toward something awful, but then the song kicks in and you hear these dreamy, beautiful keys. It's a reference to the lyrics. The song is about getting away from things in life that make you miserable, and that aren't worth the effort - it could be a job you hate, where you're treated poorly or used like a commodity, the stuff that makes you feel like your driving 80 mph straight toward a brick wall - and instead replacing with things that do matter. My daughter came up with some of the melody, and she's got a superb voice, so I thought I'd let her sing it too."

Musically, Jason has a captivating melodic style that should keep most listeners engaged from start to finish. The album was recorded in its entirety at Capture Imagination Studio in Chattanooga, TN. Jason wrote every song, performed every instrument, and produced and mixed the album. Greg Abate of Neon Audio, in New Zealand, mastered the album. 

The album will be available for purchase and streaming on Nov. 1, 2023. Early CD copies are available now in limited quantity.

Early Reviews

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Greg Abate, the mastering engineer for this album, talks about the emotional connection he had with the music, and the breadth of songwriting and styles.

Surprise Me

V1

Say what you will say

I can see the truth in your smolder

Blackened and colder

Burning away through your fate

 

Tie me up with hate

Crush me with the weight on your shoulders

A cigarette smolders

and this time I won’t take the bait

Instead I just might amputate

 

Chorus

Break down the walls, sever the stone

To start all over again

Say what you may

But please, to my face

I’m not gonna fall in your hands

Though you may try, capsize me.

So why don’t you surprise me?

(And leave me alone)

V2

As you infiltrate

There’s not all that much I can say

As you detonate

And I navigate

How to mitigate you

I start to perforate

As you punctuate how to ruminate, and permeate, my happiness on a silver plate,

As you terminate my entire estate

 

Prechorus

Are you gonna carry that weight?

Are you gonna carry that weight, forever?

 

 

CHORUS (2x)

Come Alive

V1

Somewhere as I whisper in the dark

My shadow, my darkness

I wonder if I’ll meet you in the light

I want you. I feel you.

Somewhere in the silent dark around you

I can hold you, whoa…

Are you the one I know?

A spirit from below

I want to say

I will be yours… 

 

Just..

 

CHORUS

Come alive. Come alive

And dance to the sway of this endless night

Come alive. Come alive. Yeah

Somewhere find the fight

And I know

Somewhere in your eyes

I’ll be brought to life

I’ll fight the landslide

By your side

You be the dark, and I the light

V2

I wanna free you from the darkness

I wanna bring toward the light

I wanna save you from your sorrow

My shadow in the night, so alive

I beg you please put down your knife 

I wanna bring your soul to life

 

CHORUS

 

Bridge

I can see you’re not gone

and you’re not set in stone

Come outside, you’re not alone

I don’t know how to see

But I want you to dance with me

And this life is enough

And so I foreshow

Your hope

 

 I can’t say you won’t fall

But I promise to give you my all

Will you stay

With me

Please don’t say you won’t go

Darlin’ your heart is my shadow

Say you’ll stay

With me

There’s a life

In light

A Little While

V1

If I can only hear your voice

Even just a laugh 

If I can only see your smile

Or just a photograph

 

If I could only hold your hand

I’d never let you go

I would climb a million miles

To melt away the snow, from your glow..

 

I remember when we were lost

And found a waterfall

I remember how you called me

Mr. Know it All

 

I can still hear how you cried

And fell into my arms

You were all I’d want

My plucky, lucky charm

 

I never want to let you go

   

CHORUS

Let me hold you for a little while

And carry all your truths

Let me hold you for a little while

I want to be with you   

For a lifetime you can make me smile

And stand in awe of you

Will you hold me for a little while

So I can be with you

V2

And every single night

I wonder where you are

I wonder when I’ll see your eyes

And heal my battle scars, oh 

 

Your love smooths every edge

You make a way for me to

Discover all my courage, how to

Take my trash and burn it

 

It’s with your love that you have 

Rescued me from heartbreak, Let me..

 

CHORUS x2

And even if it’s been a while.

I know I can stand with you.

 

Bridge

And if I’ve not been clear

Let me clarify

That your voice and every single word

Is like a lullaby

You give me something to hold onto, oh

And you vivify

And my broken wings are soaring with your love right by my side

Horizons

Carry on, carry on just walk away (2x)

 

V1

Carry on, the stars in our eyes are suicide

Carry on, the day is awake with blood

Carry on, there’s nothing to see but matricide

As the world dies in flood

 

Carry on, carry on just walk away (2x)

 

Look away, your heart is aflame with parasites

Look away, our sins are our plight

Run away, the colors are stained in black and white

And the darkness is loved

 

CHORUS

So watch the horizons and see how they fall (2x)

Carry on, carry on just walk away (2x)

V2

Carry on, there’s a puddle of mud we’re stuck inside

Married on and numb to our loss

Here we are a dream of a long lost paradise

Or a nightmare in stone

 

Here we are, is this the gain of our sacrifice?

Hide our eyes, and bury all our sins

Here we are, is it really too late to roll the dice

We’ve wasted all our wins

 

CHORUS

Straight Towards a Whole

V1

In the dark, alone, a silent night

An empty room has taken out my fight

Shadows dance and play along the wall

Quiet and still, I feel so small

 

 But in the quiet I can hear my heartbeat’s call.

 

V1b

These city lights, they burn my eyes

Mind wanders, hope paralyzed

But I feel a stillness synthesize

 

CHORUS

The world slows down and I can take a sigh

In that moment I find freedom from my mind

Break from the chains of darkness in my soul

To find a light to guide me from this sorrow, straight back towards a whole

V2

I smell a fire and it’s burning through my bed

Wake up in panic as my fears are lost in red

But in the chaos, in the smoke, and in debris

I find a new identity

 

And I know this doom is not my destiny

 

I can be, I can be who I wanna be

Inside of me

I can be, I can be who I wanna be inside of me

I can be, I can be who I wanna be inside I’m free

I can breathe, and can be who I wanna be inside of me

 

Oh inside of me

The war’s not over

So swallowed

That all around me world is hollowed

Oh Though I don’t wanna be there forever

I'd rather be everywhere instead

Thistle & Flowers

V1

Oh…they were born both the same

Two hearts and two names

And then our world turned to flame

And you took all the blame

 

She - little hands, little feet -

Never cried, couldn’t breathe

And never even a heartbeat

And we just cried in defeat

 

CHORUS               

I know they said, her life would be great but it isn’t

She didn’t even get her chance to live it

And you lie awake and you dream of the songs you’d sing, to your baby

Look around, all the flowers are just thorns and thistle

Chipping away at your soul like a chisel

But our son he needs you to stand up and stay..

 

I know you’re broken, but he can mend you 

 

V2

As the months pass on by

She’s there all the time

In our hearts, and our minds

And your soul is awry

 

But there, in the secret of shadow

His smile is an open glow

And his heart starts to break

All your anguish and shame

CHORUS 2

I know you said, your smile is still just artificial

That grief strikes your joy in the air like a missile

As you like awake and you dream of the songs you’d sing to your baby

But look around and those flowers are no longer drivel

There’s sunrise and it doesn’t feel superficial

His sunlight is calling to you and you stay…

 

I know you’re broken, but he can mend you

 


Bridge

I know the plan was a song,

that she would be here for it all

And we’d sing her lullabies and give her roses and flowers forever

And through all the briars and shambles

He held the light in your candle

And each day that passed was a whisper, a spirit of her

 

 

CHORUS 3

I know you said your life would be over, well is it?

And though sorrow comes it’s just here for a visit

In memories of her and the love in the songs you’d sing to your baby

When he calls to his wife and he tells her “You did it!”
And grandbaby girl comes to life and you witness

Her face is the smile that you dreamed ever since that day

 

When you were broken, but he mended you

Violence. Silence.

V1

We are children fighting for our lives inside the night

But there are certain types of fights you can’t survive

We are watching, waiting for our heroes to arrive

But all we hear is silence. And the sound of a forty-five

 

We are innocent and all you have to give are thoughts and prayers

And the quiet right outside the door, marks the sound of his footsteps coming for more

We are shivering in fear and grasp the hands of the nearest peer

As a crimson shade of darkness marks the floor

 

And we can’t hide anymore

 

CHORUS                                                 

Your violence.  Silence. We are weary, worn, and tired of

This violent silence. Safe and sound is not a thing we know.

V2

There are lifetimes standing in the way of all our

Lifetimes But you seem too afraid to give a 

Life line. You say freedoms for the arms you bear

Are dearer than the lives we share.

 

In a lifetime. The wolves that walk in shadows will find 

Day light. And everywhere we run they’ll be no 

Day light. It’s time to go to war.

And finally put to shore your

 

CHORUS

Violence. Silence. We are weary, worn, and tired, but this 

Violent Silence. Can’t shut down our shouts, we’ll cry out

Silence Violence! Children grown to men and no more 

Violent Silence. 

 

The trumpets sound, with the ramparts holding out

And the fires fade to black, as we push your armies back

And the quiet of the night, gives way to roaring morning light

And a thunderous applause, it is welcoming our cause

The voices of our forefathers will fade into the silent night!

Love Reframes

V1

Where you at? Are you lost in space?

I wanna see your face

Kiss your eyes, my soul aflame

Where you at? I can’t see your face  

You’ve got my heart in chains

But I don’t know your name 

I know you don’t understand me now

But I’m not throwing this away

You might have run away in shame

But I’m not the kind of man to blame

You for being afraid

Come see

With me

You’re safe

CHORUS

Sometimes, it makes a little bit of difference in your life

To have a love to stop the rain

Sometimes, it can take a little time to find your way

But in the end love reframes

V2

I know you don’t want to agree to trust me

But I can help hold you hold the weight

I’ll help you weather the landslide beside you

And you’ll see it’s worth the wait

That sometimes love is safe

 

 

Bridge/Outro

You don’t know where you wanna be

But I promise there’s place for you with me

And maybe there’s no guarantee

But you can be the referee

And I’ll be your sympathy

 All we have to do is take a chance

To change our fates and stay

And see how love reframes, yeah

You will be mine and I’ll be yours

And when emptiness is gone

We’ll see our love hang on

 

CHORUS 3

Sometimes love can make the change

And it can stop the rain

Somehow love always finds a way

And that’s how love reframes 

Love is Not a Sin

V1

I was just a young child, sittin’ in the church pew singing

“Hallowed be the name…Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

But even as a young boy, I knew that I was different. I knew!

And God told me okay.

But church taught me to shame

That I was not okay,

Standing in the ocean of our faith

 

CHORUS

(Why do they tell me that my)

Love is a sin, when love is not a sin

It’s love that brings you in

Safe in these walls

And if my love is a sin

Then where do I fit in

If God is love then love is not a sin

My love is safe in Heaven’s halls

 

V2

Only in my dreams

I’m standing on the outside, and there I finally see

‘Cause he makes me feel brave

And by his side I know that I see God is in his eyes

and I am not afraid

I don’t need to shame

When love is at the center of my faith

CHORUS

 

Bridge

If love is fair

This vow I swear

That God is still the one who answers all our prayers

His love is air

And through His heart I am repaired

He’s the savior of my soul

And so here I am laid bare

 

 

FINAL CHORUS

Love’s not a sin, and now I can begin

His love has brought me in safe in these walls

God’s love has let me come in

And all I am within

I’m not afraid to show my skin

He gives me all his arms again (again, and again)

You Should Have Noticed Me

I was always the one right by your side

I was the one who saw you cry

I was there through the hope and through the lies

But you never saw my eyes

Thrust through the forest of your mind

Love made you blind

But I was the one you left behind

CHORUS

Like a winter without a sunrise

I was shadowed away from your eyes

I was waiting for you but now I see I fantasized

But you should’ve noticed me

It’s too late you’ve cast the dart

An arrow through my heart

You toyed with my love, a plastic part

And now you’re too late to start

 You’ve broken my heart

You told me it would be okay and then you didn’t stay

 

CHORUS

Hello. Goodbye.

V1

No. It’s not goodbye. I can see it your eyes. I can see it in your smile

Home is on your mind. I can see it through your guise. I can feel it in your touch.

Slow down. And tell me why. I’m not ready for good bye. I tried.

But I can see you need some time

 

CHORUS

Hello. Goodbye. I don’t want to see you cry

Hello. Goodbye. I can see it in your eyes

Hello. Goodbye. It’s your time to try

Living out a lie

That you don’t love me anymore

V2

You say, you’re not okay

and I see you every day in every way

And every time you slip away, it’s true.

But every time I touch your face

You return from outer space, in any place

And all I see is your fears erase, and you!

How can I change your mind? Not let you fall behind?

I wanna tell you it’s not over now

 

CHORUS (extended)

 

BG Adlibs

I’ll wait right here for you, here for you

I won’t move on from you, on from you

And though lies may carry you, carry you

My love will carry through, carry through

Going 80

Verse1

I watch you fly right by, where you going, boy?

Little soldier boy

Escape from all the lies. They controlled ya, boy.

Not a soldier, boy

It’s not alright. How they sold ya boy. Now run away

 

CHORUS1

Crash down and leave this nightmare

They’ll leave you worn down, threadbare, baby, going 80

There’s joy if you slow down, I swear

Another road that’ll take you there, somewhere, baby.

Stop going 80.

Verse2

Take a breath

Run away. There’s a better way to disinfest

Turn around

And watch as the world turns upside down

Leave this ghost town, 

Find the change before you drown

Hold your breath

And feel the quiet in your chest

 

CHORUS2

There’s sunlight out there somewhere

You’ll find your answer somewhere, baby. Stop going 80.

Slow down you’ll get there faster

You’ll carry on well after, I know. So baby let go!

You’ll find your answer somewhere, baby. Stop going 80! 

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