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Gild The Black Lily

by Queen Esther

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    Comes in a lovely little jacket, with photography by Amy Arbus and graphic design by DM Gillock.

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1.
Cowboy life doesn't suit me Punching doggies isn't easy Stars ignite and make me hazy When a prairie tenor sings to me Life in a saddle gets no glory My pokes got pop skull guaranteed Above my bend is Big Sky Country Every airline road makes me believe Absquatulate with no direction They're in the badlands asking questions Banded, balled up, no persuaders Pull in your horns and sing to me
2.
Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals Now God stepped out in the cool of the day Called Adam by his name But Adam wouldn't answer Cause he was naked and ashamed Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals You know Christ had twelve apostles Three, he led away He said watch with me While I go up yonder and pray Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals For Christ rose on Easter morning Mary and Martha went down to see He said go and tell my apostles To meet me in Galilee Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Tell me who's that writin' John the Revelator Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals
3.
The Whiskey Wouldn’t Let Me Pray I fell in to a bottle and nearly drowned I had to fight not to fade away I tipped it over slow with my broken heart ‘Cause the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray/Let me pray I had to fight so hard not to fade away ‘Cause the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray I swam all the way home through this dirty old town A bright light to guide the way I wanna get so high, I’ll tell the world goodbye ‘Cause the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray, let me pray I had a bright light to show me the way ‘Cause the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray In my dreams, I saw a city on a hill The sun shined all the live long day There's so much light in this heart of mine But the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray/Let me pray The sun shined all the livelong day But the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray/Let me pray I had a bright light to guide the way But the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray The whiskey in the bottle wouldn't let me pray
4.
Oleander 03:05
Oleander, Oleander Won't you stay with me and ease my troubled mind Oleander, Oleander Oh, the peace you'd bring might be a friend of mine Far away from here Is a place so near And dear to all who claim To be glory bound from this evil town Because the blood done signed our names SOLO I feel so much despair All the live long day Still it pains me to say There are moments here and there When I don't care If you would carry me away Oleander, Oleander Won't you stay with me and ease my troubled mind Oleander, Oleander Oh, the peace you'd bring might be a friend of mine A friend of mine A friend of mine A friend of mine A friend of mine
5.
All alone at the end of the evening And the bright lights have faded to blue. I was thinking 'bout a nan who truly loved me But I never knew. You know I've always been a dreamer Spent my life runnin' 'round And it's so hard to change Can't seem to settle down But the dreams I've seen lately keep on turning out And burning out and turning out the same. So put me on a highway and show me a sign And take it to the limit one more time. You can spend all your time making money, You can spend all your love making time. If it all fell to pieces tomorrow Would you still be mine? And when you're looking for your freedom Nobody seems to care And you can't find the door Can't find it anywhere When there's nothing to believe in still you're coming back, You're running back, you're coming back for more. So put me on a highway and show me a sign And take it to the limit one more time. Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time Take it to the limit, take it to the limit Take it to the limit one more time
6.
Look down, look down that lonesome road Before you travel on Look up, look up and seek your maker Before Gabriel blows his horn Weary totin' such a load Trudgin' down the lonesome road Look down, look down that lonesome road Before, before you travel on True love, true love, what have I done That you should treat me so? You caused me to walk and talk Like I never did before Weary totin' such a load Trudgin' down that lonesome road Look down, look down that lonesome road Before you travel on SOLO Weary of totin' such heavy load Trudgin' down that lonesome road Look down, look down that lonesome road Before, before you travel on Before you travel on
7.
This yearning thing I fear will take me under Like the pull I feel when you are near me Catastrophic lovely hurting thing I feel for you This yearning thing It holds me close and sometimes makes me wonder When the special one that you adore Will someday someday soon embrace the heartache that you bring This yearning thing This yearning thing is a pain that never goes This yearning thing it just grows and grows and grows Evermore alive and lingering This yearning thing SOLO This yearning thing must be some kind of hunger It shadows me and mesmerizes Pretty jagged painful bittersweetness on a wing This yearning thing It lets me go and never lets me notice That the time to go has long since passed Pressing down upon us so with nothing remaininhg This yearning thing This yearning thing is a pain that never goes This yearning thing it just grows and grows and grows Evermore alive and lingering This yearning thing This yearning thing
8.
I will never know why You're with me as time goes by The love that we feel In time reveals Hearts broken and bound by His side The truth will never lead us astray The dawn will be endless someday And as we grow/we'll see how little we know Until our dying day I will never know why After so long, you're still by my side This love can't go away It's promised to stay Until the end of time The truth will never lead us astray The dawn will be endless someday And as we grow/we'll see how little we know Until our dying day SOLO The truth will never lead me astray The dawn will be endless someday And as we grow, we'll see how little we know Until our dying day And as we grow/we'll see how little we know Until our dying day
9.
Here you come looking for home No matter how far you get You still have a million miles to go God knows how hard you tried You tried to make it on your own But no one does anything alone If you open your heart, you'll fly when your feet touch the ground Hold my hand and He'll lift us up when the world puts us down When love is all we have and all that we are So you think you're the brave ones In the land of the free With a heart full of fear and a mouthful of hate While millions of bullets fill the streets The truth is, there's so many lies We're fighting a battle that's over and done And a war for hearts and minds that 's just begun If you open your heart, you'll fly when your feet touch the ground Hold my hand and He'll lift us up when the world puts us down When love is all we have and all that we are When love is all we have and all that we are When love is all we have and all that we are
10.
Just because I asked a friend about him Just because I spoke his name somewhere Just because I rang his number by mistake today He thinks I still care Just because I haunt the same old places Where the memory of him lingers everywhere Just because I'm not the happy gal I used to be He thinks I still care But if he's happy thinking I still need him Then let that silly notion bring him cheer But how could he ever be so foolish Oh where would he get such an idea? Just because I asked a friend about him Just because I spoke his name somewhere Just because I saw him then went all to pieces He thinks I still care He thinks I still care
11.
When your world is on fire Your feet are out of juice Losing balance on the wire And screws are coming loose I'll be there for you I'll be there for you When your parking lots are empty Your dinners getting cold And the wind is stealing whispers From the stories that we told I'll be there for you I'll be there for you Though some miles may lay between us I swear I'll never be too far I'll keep my porchlight burning And I'll keep wishing on the cars Til I am there with you I'll be there for you
12.
I Love You 03:23
We had a ways to go before the day he left me He said he didn’t want to make me blue Or break my heart in two Somehow you hurt me so And that’s a thing you’ll never know ‘Cause I never stopped to tell you that I love you I had a ways to go before the day I saw him He looked grim as he was walking down the street His life seemed so complete Meet me somewhere in my dreams And hold me once again ‘Cause I just can’t wait to tell you that I love you BRIDGE: I love you for the time we spent away Into a wonderland of sun and haze But then your open heart became a maze And I couldn’t make up for lost yesterdays We had a ways to go before we said we’re sorry We left each other dangling on a line So much wasted time I promise that I’ll answer when you call me up next time ‘Cause I just can’t wait to tell you that I love you SOLO BRIDGE: I love you for the time we spent away Into a wonderland of sun and haze But then your open heart became a maze And I couldn’t make up for lost yesterdays We had a ways to go before we said we’re sorry We left each other dangling on a line So much wasted time I promise that I’ll answer when you call me up next time ‘Cause I just can’t wait to tell you that I love you
13.
The Whiskey Wouldn’t Let Me Pray I fell in to a bottle and I nearly drowned I had to fight not to fade away I tipped it over slow with my broken heart ‘Cause the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray, let me pray I had to fight so hard not to fade away ‘Cause the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray I swam all the way home through this dirty old town A bright light to guide the way Don't wanna get so high, I tell the world goodbye ‘Cause the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray, let me pray I had a bright light to guide the way ‘Cause the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray In my dreams, I saw a city on a hill The sun shined all the live long day There's so much light in this heart of mine But the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray, let me pray There’s sun shined all the live long day But the whiskey wouldn’t let me pray Let me pray, let me pray I had a bright light to guide the way But the whiskey in the bottle wouldn’t let me pray The whiskey in the bottle wouldn't let me pray

about

"Queen Esther’s fourth studio album Gild The Black Lily highlights the gift of being an African-American woman willing to make daring, reclamation-driven musical navigations into unexpected sonic spaces. It audaciously succeeds at crafting a narrative thread from gospel blues vocalist Blind Willie Johnson to The Eagles’ soft rock to her own heartwarming Black Americana. Notably, the album grows in distinction when Esther’s artistry expands beyond her prodigious roots and profoundly connects with the listener’s emotional core." - Parton and Pearl

"It’s revealing that “black” is often used as a qualifier before describing Queen Esther‘s music. Whatever music you are listening to is black music. In fact, Queen Esther descends from the Low Country, a foundational source of food, music, and community traditions for all modern America. We should call everyone else’s music 'Americana a la Queen Esther'." - American Standard Time

"If we look back at the basics of everything we now experience as American, there is a good chance that the origin is different from what we had previously thought. Much of what belongs to the Americana can be traced in part to the culture of those who came to the United States as enslaved people and often it is a woman who set things in motion. Often these are women who have since disappeared under the blanket of history and whose customs, cultural expressions and customs have been incorporated into what we now experience as Americana. Queen Esther's fourth studio album 'Gild The Black Lily' is often described genre-wise as “Black-Americana”. Actually, this is a kind of a step back to the original Americana and a tribute to those who formed the basis of a number of musical movements that we now capture under that umbrella concept, but actually roots music would be an even more accurate description." - The Next Gig (The Netherlands)

Gild The Black Lily’s Black Americana sound was curated by Harlem-based vocalist, songwriter, musician, and producer Queen Esther. Her creative output musically is the culmination of several important Southern elements, not the least of which are years of recording and touring internationally as frontwoman for several projects with her mentor, harmolodic guitar icon James “Blood” Ulmer, including a stint in his seminal band Odyssey. Queen Esther was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and rooted in Charleston, South Carolina’s culturally rich and enigmatic Lowcountry, a region with African traditions and Black folkways that span centuries and continue to inform her work.

These 13 songs include originals from Queen Esther as well as covers from Son House, Chip Robinson of The Backsliders, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Eagles, and George Jones, with performances from guitarist Boo Reiners (Demolition String Band), bassist Hilliard Greene (Little Jimmy Scott), organist and Thelonious Monk specialist Gregory Lewis, guitarist Jeff McLaughlin and drummer Shirazette Tinnin.

With each song, the Blackness that raised her moves steadily from The Old West (The Black Cowgirl Song) and the foundations of the Black church (John The Revelator) to heartbreak (He Thinks I Still Care) with soulful declarations (All That We Are) and country-rock reworked into black country soul (Take It To The Limit) and back again. Ultimately, the album illuminates other facets of the Black sonic experience.

credits

released March 26, 2021

Songs written by Queen Esther (Queen Hadassah's Music/BMI) except where indicated.
(Music publishing information: BMG Rights Mgmt US LLC DBA BMG Bumblebee.)

Produced by Queen Esther
Engineered by Craig Dreyer
Recorded at Mighty Toad Recording Studio -- Brooklyn, NY
Mixed by Jorg Mohr, Roadhouse Productions -- Bremen, Germany
Mastered by: Stephan Ulrich, Palais Aux Etoiles -- Bremen, Germany

Track 9 produced, performed, recorded and mixed by Ben Rubin at House of Cha Cha
with vocals recorded by Amon Drum at The Bridge Recording Studio, Jeff McLaughlin on guitar

Track 10 and 11 produced, performed, recorded and mixed by Boo Reiners

Photography: Amy Arbus
Graphic Design: Douglas Gillock

Musicians:
Queen Esther, vocals
Hilliard Green, double bass
Boo Reiners, guitar, mandolin, steel guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals
Ben Rubin, double bass + drum programming + Wurlitzer electric piano, organ and synthesizer
Jeff McLaughlin, acoustic + electric guitar
Greg Lewis, organ
Shirazette Tinnin, drums

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Queen Esther New York, New York

Queen Esther is a solo performer, songwriter, lyricist, topliner, vocalist, producer, musician and storyteller.

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