A Waterlogged Letter

by Uprooted

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released July 2, 2013

David Bryant - Guitar, Piano, Whispers, Wails, Bass, Glockenspiel, Melodica, Mandolin, Violin, Lyrics
Scott Davenport - Guitar, Banjo, Bass, Stairs, Morale
Anthony Inman - Drums, actual Bells and Whistles

Album art by Mackenzie N. Seal.

Recorded by Uprooted in three houses, March-June 2013;
mixed and mastered by Dave on a bright screen in a dark room.



all rights reserved


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Uprooted Knoxville, Tennessee

No more lost at sea than we ever were on land.

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Track Name: A Letter Back Home
To A Sad Seafarer's Maiden,
It's been weeks since I've seen your eyes. I've scoured the waves for some resemblance--the way they crest, the way they die--but the sea, you see, She hates men like me, the sort that leave a lover home, so the waves, the clouds, the creaking bow tell me I've left us both alone.

Can I break free of this siren's song? Will I turn 'round to find you waiting with eyes fixed far across the sea? Will this crashing, salty spray bring me back to you someday? But for all your lies, my briny eyes see at least adrift I'm free.

No, we're no more lost at sea
than we ever were on land
since you took me by the hand.

The captain says our faithful ship is something like my heart, but for all his age and wisdom, he doesn't see he's made a farce. The patchwork sails withstand ocean gales and never bend or break, but your winds, those sighs, your sparkling eyes have proved too much for me to take.

But my love, don't lose your hope. I know my heart will guide me home. With each setting sun, the waves look more like your eyes.

The men use weathered scars and calluses to mask their heavy hearts, then they talk of their sad maidens, of their own loves they've left apart. O'er grog and gin, they'll spill their sins until they start to drown by enduring that same loneliness you use to tie me down.

I could fill these pages end to end, to you they'd be blank all the same. I could send ten thousand postcards, and still I'd never know your gaze. I could set afloat one million notes, and never know your touch.
Without you, I'm all that I have, although I don't amount to much.

No, we're no more lost at sea
than we ever were on land
since you took me by the hand.

To A Sad Seafarer's Maiden,
Were you ever really mine at all? I've searched the stars for hope and answers, the way they gleam, the way they fall. I felt welcome there, in the cold night air, more than I ever did at home. Now the sails, the ropes, my ragged hope tell me for once I'm not alone.
Track Name: The Sailor
I still remember long ago, when we were young, the lighthouse keeper had a funeral for his son--still lost out at sea. He told us of the day the ocean swept his love away, how we reminded him of them, he asked us if we would stay to hear his story. "He'd been young and he'd been strong," he said, and one look in his eyes told me he'd already taken himself to another time before his son had died:

"Times were hard, he'd been just barely getting by, but he saw her at the market, and when he caught her eye nothing else mattered. He liked her hair, he liked her voice, he liked the way she smiled, he asked her if she wouldn't maybe stay there for a while to get to know him. And they'd talk far into the night, and she made everything alright, and every day she'd be waiting by the shore for him to come home."

He said, "I still remember how the storm passed through, that day, and the way she didn't scream when she was swept away, and my son, how he'd deny that she was gone at all, and the way he'd set adrift without a hint of gall; and I remember how he'd spend his nights soaked in seafoam waiting for her to drift by, to say he's not alone, until he called upon the tide to make a pact. He said, "I don't care if it means my life, I want her back." By dawn, they'd struck a deal, he'd set sail the last time, not a soul dared follow under clouds all red, to find that when the skies had cleared, they were no more apart-they say he haunts the ships of men who live with heavy hearts."

My dear, they say it's just a legend, but what if it's true? What if it's cursed, this ship, and all its wretched crew? What if every one of us has already been drowned? Do you think I'd even notice if this ship went down? Sometimes I think I wouldn't, that I've been living my whole life at the bottom of the ocean, but you've given me some light. I made a promise to the old man that I'd stay with you, but my words don't have quite the same weight that they used to. I remember how, when he was done, he pulled me aside, said "Listen, son", all shaky-voiced and teary-eyed, then he whispered in a voice that only I could have heard, "When my son looked into the storm, these were his final words:

He said, "I'm sorry for all of the things that I am not, I'm sorry to the people that I've forgot; I'm sorry to all of my friends that I've made bleed, I'm sorry to the lovers that I've made leave; I'm sorry for breaking down a little more each day, and for every single time that I've gone away; I'm sorry all the times I've made you turn your back and I'm sorry if I ever try to make it back.""

And I remember how he clenched his fists, dried by the sea, and I remember you, in pieces, clinging onto me. I remember all the things you've made me want to say, all of them things I wish I could forget each day:

My dear, I'm sorry you're the only one I want by my side, and that you're the only thing that makes me feel alive; I'm sorry to the old man that we left in tears, and I'm sorry that I can't confront my own worst fears; I'm sorry if you ever got too close to me, and for twenty thousand messages, all lost at sea; I'm sorry I apologize for all my faults to you- you're all I have, and you're all I've got.
Track Name: O Captain!
O captain, my captain, the ship is sinking! My ears are ringing! Can you still guide us back home?

And captain, my captain, your men are dying! Why are you crying for one so many miles away?

You said, "Son, she left me long ago, and I'm afraid that I now know there's nothing for me here on land or air or sea, and in the waves, I've seen her eyes, and those eyes, how I've watched them die in nightmares, weeping as she's swept away from me. Now the creaking of the boards as we're blown further off of our course brings me the feeling that she's gone further away, so raise the masts, this wretched sea has no hope of ever stopping me from finding her someday."

O captain, my captain, the mast is ashes! The sky is crashes! Don't let us die out here alone.

And captain, if we set sail for the bottom of the sea, who'll be there to wipe salt from the eyes of the one I love, and when she dies, will she still be there by the shores waiting for me?

You said, "There's more at work than you and I," and then you looked me in the eye, said, "I've been waiting all of my life for this day!" You drifted back to long ago, said, "Son, there's something you should know: a captain's heart's not something easily-betrayed. but when she died, I took a vow that I'd get back to her somehow, and in this storm, I think I've finally found a way.So raise the masts, this wretched sea has no hope of ever stopping me from finding her someday!"

My captain, was it you or I that hoped our voyage soon would fail? We left home in a paper ship with all our pages raised as sails. The waves were colder than her touch, the waves were colder than my heart. The sky was ink I'd set adrift to share all my most secret parts.

My love, I left you long ago, I harbored heart and hate, and hoped that I'd find something, here, alone, out in the sea, but in the waves I saw your eyes, and those eyes, how they've been my life since the first time they peered across the way at me. Now the breaking of the boards, it brings me closer, still, towards the feeling that you'll never get to hear me say: "You, love, are all my live and dreams, the prettiest lass I've ever seen; the one I'd want most by my side when I get pulled down by the tide; before I go, I hope you know that I will always love you, so don't let this last waterlogged note rob you of all your heart and hope of finding me someday."
Track Name: Hearts as Anchors
To a Sad Seafarer's Maiden,
My heart is with you, page by page. I dropped my hope into the ocean, watched you carry it away. Below the surface, I see clearer than I ever did before that every heart's an anchor and we're tethered at the core. Sleepless nights out alone by the waves, I wished that, to you, I could be anyone, since I'm not who I want, who you want me to be--neither man, nor lover, nor son. If you were a star, I would wish upon you that someday your own wishes would at once become true, and that somewhere among them, deep down in your heart, you'd been wishing that we would never be apart.

I know that someday I'll be with you, maybe, but I can't keep on sailing on masts you build up with sad eyes and sad smiles and sad hearts and I don't know if this thing can last. I don't know if I can keep living this way, so forgive my departure from you--know that you're always with me, in dreams and in days, to ask the same is the most I can do.

I'm keeping close to no one, I'm setting sail for nowhere; I'm a self-made shipwreck and your flashing lights are all I have left.

And someday when you're older, maybe you'll go walking on the beach at sundown, and the way the waves pull at your feet will remind you of older days, and how we couldn't be, all the reasons I left, and did I ever find an answer in the sea? You'll dig up my old chest, waterlogged, but open it and inside you'll see this same heart, listen close, hear it beat, hear it sing songs of days long ago, of you and me: hear that same old refrain, how you kept me alive; hear the story of the sailor, wipe the tears from your eyes, and remember my captain, remember his crew; love, hold my heart close to your own, because it's you alone I wanted, and for you that I tried, and for you that I've been searching for my entire life; you were out there in the ocean, you were waiting there for me; for you I set sail for the bottom of the sea.