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American Foursquare (Deluxe Edition)

by Denison Witmer

supported by
Jonathon Smith
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Jonathon Smith Could it be that Witmer's songs are getting even more personal, touching, and lush? Just when I think he's made his best album, he shows us that he's not done yet. Favorite track: Catalina Love.
Mind over MIDI
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Mind over MIDI Albums like this is why I love music. Absolutely stunning! Favorite track: Confident Sensitive Child.
nshorb
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nshorb It's a masterpiece! Musically, yes, but moreso in the way it captures family life and a father's heart. Despite normalcy, banality, routine, intensity, discontentedness, and the struggle of it all...the constant dance of selfishness and selflessness...these are transcendental moments of cosmic importance that we can't fully understand or appreciate.Family life is what makes us human and what makes us more than human. And somehow all that is captured in the mood and words of this album. Favorite track: Catalina Love.
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1.
An American Foursquare On a tree-lined avenue What am I going to do now? I sold a house in the city Moving back to the place I grew What else can I say to you? Now my new neighbors Say the flowers on my south side Are beautiful in the springtime My brother and his family Live three blocks toward the park I see them every day A little slow so I’m taking my time A little slow but I’ll be alright A little slow so I’m taking my time A little slow, but it’s what I like It’s what I need and like I have to live in the moment I have to move to the slightest touch now Take whatever comes my way Because the negative predictions And the apathy are far too much I chose not to live that way A little slow so I’m taking my time A little slow but I’ll be alright A little slow so I’m taking my time A little slow, but it’s what I like It’s what I need and like Are you implying that I’m not trying? Like if you’re bored, you’re boring? I see the point, but I’m all mixed up I’d be lost without your love I’m lost without you An American Foursquare On a tree-lined avenue What am I going to do now?
2.
I don’t have another choice I’m living in the void When I think about you lately My head fills up with noise You left here two months ago I saw the hand of God swing low And the garden I had planted Was covered in the snow How am I going to let you know that I need your love? How am I going to let you go Catalina Love? Everything around went black I sat up in the flash Was it just me who heard it? Is it just me who knows? There are things I’ll never say It will always be that way Forever in your memory Forever on your face How am I going to let you know that I need your love? How am I going to let you go Catalina Love? I have a special place A place that’s just my own My namesake’s ash and bones Are buried in the waves
3.
How do you raise a confident and sensitive child? Why would you cage an animal that wants to run wild? Why would you dam a river, let the water flow through… How do you? Now I’m holding your hand while we walk to the park I bring the light of the moon when your room goes dark And you’re bending my mind into the shape of your heart How I love you Oh how I love you When you feel embarrassment, I do too When you smile with excitement, it’s mine too If you’re shy in your sorrow, it’s my sorrow This is how I love you I do not live vicariously through you You’re the most creative thing I do If your eye is on tomorrow, my eyes follow This is how I love you Oh how I love you This is how I love you
4.
I don’t live alone I have two children and a wife When the day folds over I don’t have much extra time In my middle age I do the math on give versus take And it still holds true that nothing lost is nothing gained Save me from myself and love me Like a child needs love And a structure to their day I see it all before me Laid out in the simplest way In the modern age My addictions have me caged And the social posturing I feel cynical and vain Save me from myself and love me
5.
Lay me down on a river of music And push me back out into myself To the chime of a guitar The shake of a drum The walk of a piano The voices that hum Lay me down Where would I be if I didn’t have music? Light bending through the window Red leaf in the sky By the middle of week… How much can I take? Then a song comes through… I know that I’ll make it We live in a difficult time How do you want to live your life? Where are you going to spend your love? Isn’t that alone enough? I’m having a difficult time How do I want to live my life? Where am I going to spend my love? Isn’t that alone enough? Isn’t love alone enough?
6.
I can fix your father’s chair up for you I can paint the hallway in a day I can drop the subject if you want to I know how late is too late Here I stand beside you in the market Here I carry water to the bed Here I make love with you like a prophet To empty the thoughts in your head You are the light of my home You are the mother of my children You are my calm and my wild You are my everything You are the birds of Virginia You have a universe in you A flash of bright in my winter You are the birds of Virginia One step at a time, love Every day before me is a god You can bury your face in my shirt I won’t drop you, I won’t drop you You’re so kind to me sometimes it hurts
7.
If you don’t reach me from the other side, you know how I react You’ve gone to Paris with your mother It’s two weeks until you come back I rearranged all the furniture Just trying to relax And pass my days without you I don’t mind the time alone I need the space to clear my head I wash the dishes in the sink and fold the laundry on our bed I tried to follow an idea… somehow lost the thread And that’s my day without you Then I found your picture and I put it in a frame Thought about how 10 years later, I still feel the same Have the choices I made spilled our lives out on the floor? Somehow convinced myself that I’m not welcome anymore I need to see your hands, your eyes, your body through my door Tell me I’m crazy My love for you is simple and it's true I love you
8.
Roseanne 05:26
Roseanne I still hear your voice It echoes from suburbs outside of Detroit We packed our guitars and our clothes And carved your friend’s minivan down the west coast Birthdays and our friends’ weddings We missed them all just to play and to sing You can’t be in every place You learn to extend yourself a little grace Six weeks straight out on the road Driving late after the shows Sleep in places nobody knows I would never trade the memory But I would never say it’s easy You called when your dad almost died You moved back home and then you had a child The way that you care for them both Roseanne, I’ve been there I know it’s no joke My life is the same as before One eye on my family One eye on the door You know what I’m speaking of The sacrifice we make for the ones that we love Six weeks straight out on the road Driving late after the shows Sleep in places nobody knows I would never trade the memory I would never say it’s easy
9.
Robin 02:36
We brought you into our lives hoping you Would introduce our minds to something new So far, its true – because you do So we named you after your grandfather You’re our red-bellied Robin in the woods Your heart is good You remind me of your mother You’re nothing like your mother You remind me of your brother You’re nothing like your brother Like a language I have spoken from my birth Like a song where I already know the words Like a language I have spoken from my birth Like a song where I already know the words
10.
Maybe I should book a flight to San Francisco Rent a car and drive up through the redwood trees Where they stand in silence high above my sorrow There’s a message there for you and one for me I see the child in myself as I get older Still feeling every age that I have ever been And I have joy when the light breaks through the shoulders Of the Pacific giants swaying in the wind I have a lifetime swaying in my mind again I think I’m grieving the death of part of me I think I’m leaving, won’t you come with me I think I’m grieving the death of part of me I think I’m leaving, won’t you come with me It’s everything I’ve got It’s not everything I need It’s ok I made my bed here, baby This is where I stay It’s everything I know It’s not all that I believe It’s ok I made my bed here, baby This is where I lay
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about

American Foursquare is a meditation on empathy, on love, and on the meaning of home.

Denison began writing American Foursquareafter he and his family relocated from Philadelphia to his hometown of Lancaster in 2014, trading their 800-square-foot row home for a 100-year-old house on the edge of Lancaster City. Denison wrote and recorded the songs as a response to the major life changes of moving and domestication, all the while taking a general hiatus from music to start a carpentry business and spend time with his wife and small children.

Denison named the record after the architectural style of the “new” house. Designed in reaction to the ornament of late-nineteenth century architecture, the foursquare emphasizes simplicity and function, with an open four-by-four room layout and a balanced, boxy shape. It’s one of the most common styles of American architecture.

As Denison wrote and recorded these songs, the simplicity, ubiquity, and plain-spoken utilitarianism of the American Foursquare house became a centering stand-in metaphor for many of the themes on the record: loss, change, settling, transition.

credits

released May 8, 2020

All songs written by Denison Witmer. Havre De Grace Music Publishing (BMI)

Produced and arranged by Thomas Bartlett, Andy Park, Denison Witmer, & Abby Gundersen

American Foursquare was recorded over 2018-2019 in New York, NY at Reservoir Studios & The Honey Jar, Seattle, WA at The Crumb, Studio Litho, and Avast Studio, and Lancaster, PA at Right Coast Studio and The Sugartank. Engineered by Thomas Bartlet, Andy Park, & Denison Witmer. Additional engineering by Devin Greenwood, Aaron Campbell, Bobby Gentilo, William Fitzsimmons, Don Peris.

Mixed by Andy Park at The Crumb

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