For An Empty Theater

by Erik Ritland

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1.
Down the old highway in a beat-up car Just to find our way to where we are And if I could I would go back again To long gone days we thought would never end We'd stay up all night Our hopes were high There's been dark and light But we got by And if I could I would go back again To long gone days we thought would never end Time goes by too fast But the good times last Even when they’re gone Playing here with you is everything It's all that’s ever been when I hear you sing And if I could I would go back again To long gone days we thought would never end
2.
Bleak Dreams 02:52
Getting straight isn't easy anymore I swear it was before but I'm not sure The hardest part is getting out of bed Forget the things they said and move on You can't move ahead if you've got nowhere to go Bleak dreams are coming true If you asked I wouldn't even know How many years ago that it was There's a light that cuts right through the dark The ancient inner spark that always shines You can't move ahead if you've got nowhere to go Bleak dreams are coming true
3.
You don't love what you won't fight for You don't love what you won't defend In the end it's all we have There is room for walls and bridges There is a bridge you wouldn't cross over There is a bridge that you would burn down And try not to make a sound as you run away There is room for walls and bridges There are so many walls between you and me Why don't we tear them down? Only then we'll see Let's raise a toast to all of the good things Then throw the glass against the wall It's last call There is room for walls and bridges
4.
Do you ever think that you might be wrong That the anger in your heart is misplaced Do you feel power at your fingertips That you can’t find otherwise Are you sad We are missing something Try to hide it but it shows The ghost of a rose I look in the mirror and my face is blank It's so hard to come to terms with mistakes Aiming at the other At least I think I am Finding out the hardest truth That it’s me We are missing something Try to hide it but it shows The ghost of a rose All the theaters On the city's busy streets Are empty now We are missing something Try to hide it but it shows The ghost of a rose
5.
Instrumental
6.
So many ways to say things today But never less to say So many ways to live life with love But it's easier to hate Why are you so angry all the time? I promise things aren't so bad So many things there are to learn So much life to live There is no need to close yourself off Take when you can give Why are you so angry all the time? I promise things aren't so bad So much freedom for everyone To make their dreams reality There is a world at our fingertips But it isn't real It amplifies the worst in ourselves Until we forget how to feel Why are you so angry all the time? I promise things aren't so bad I promise things aren't so bad
7.
Alone 03:28
Now my blind eye sees But it only gets me so far You're lovely with such ease Like a faded, fallen star Still I can’t replace All this time I waste Knocking at your door Just to feel this alone I feel overused Like a good thing that’s gone bad I don’t mean to be confused You're just all I ever had Still I can’t replace All this time I waste Knocking at your door Just to feel this alone Please don’t stop the show I just have to know If I'm doing what I should I messed up my lines I do it every time But I try to make it good Still I can’t replace All this time I waste Knocking at your door Just to feel this alone
8.
The Wheels 02:57
Nobody promised it would be easy Here on the edge of life We're never young Don't be surprised to find At any time The wheels can fall off Beware of comforts They can destroy you You may wake up one day And find they're gone Don't be surprised to find At any time The wheels can fall off When life is hard Only then you'll find The person that you are Deep inside
9.
Why choose to be ugly when you can be beautiful Who would trade their smile for a scowl It’s not so bad There’s a choice between light and dark Everyone must choose his side You may say that there are shades of gray And you are right But there cannot be a gray at all Without black and white There's a choice between light and dark Everyone must choose his side The only way To move ahead Is to love like a child Aren't you glad that you have every day that you’re alive It is not always the easiest But it’s worth the fight There's a choice between light and dark Everyone must choose his side
10.

about

The entirety of For An Empty Theater was written and recorded in February 2019.

Intimate and lyric-driven, For An Empty Theater features Erik's most mature and fully realized songwriting. Catchy opener "Long Gone Days" might be his most infectious track, but doesn't really set the tone for the album.

For An Empty Theater is pretty dark. It taps into hard times and desperate places, although always catching glimpses of the light that the darkness cannot overcome.

The intimate arrangements are sparse, fitting the themes of most of the songs.

Erik hopes someday to re-record these songs with a full band. If he does, anybody who bought this version will be given it for free.

credits

released March 1, 2019

Erik Ritland - acoustic guitar, eclectric guitar, organ, vocals, percussion
Marshall Nystrom - piano on "A Moveable Feast," percussion on "Long Gone Days"
Alison Nystrom - cowbell on "Long Gone Days"
Taylor Schultz - piano

All songs written by Erik Ritland
Produced, engineered, and mixed by Marshall Nystrom and Erik Ritland
Cover painting by Taylor Schultz

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Erik Ritland Saint Paul

One of the last great American songwriters in the tradition of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, William James, G.K. Chesterton, and Jeff Tweedy.

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