Anna Tivel

Anna Tivel

 Portland, Oregon, USA
SoloFolkSinger/Songwriter

A bucket of small truths and silver linings, snap-shot images and vivid dreams.

Biography

Anna Tivel has spent some quality hours in a dodge caravan repeating lyrical lines over and over until the words fall in time with the windshield wipers, or until the gas light comes on.

A nationally touring artist with a deep love of quiet stories, Anna is beginning to carve a place for herself in the songwriting world. She was raised in the forest and farmland of rural northern Washington and currently calls Portland, OR home. Her songs reflect both the stark colors of small town life, and the hard, sharp lines of the city. 

“Portland songwriter Anna Tivel is a favorite over at Hearth. She’s a deft, clever songwriter with a knack for observing the small, subtle beauties of our lives.” – Kithfolk

“Raw yet superbly composed and executed, as well as intelligent and personal and deeply expressive in their experience, observation and storytelling, the fifteen tracks on Before Machines don’t just serve as an absorbing and utterly worthwhile listen but as indisputable evidence that the folk scene is in good hands with both its longtime artists and newcomers alike.” – No Depression

“To be sure, these are organic songs that freely reveal the poetry of the mind, heart and soul, the sharp imagery of the world translated into sound, and both the simple and complex things represented sentimentally and at length.” – Examiner

“Anna Tivel’s voice is haunting, exhibiting the timbre of a precocious child, whispering to a teddy bear underneath the covers.” – The Bluegrass Situation

“Anna Tivel brings a raft of beautiful songs with brine-soaked images of Pacific Northwest tidepools, oceans, and the birds that wheel above them in the gray skies.” – Devon Leger, No Depression

“Anna’s strength is that of a lyricist. Her songs are filled with lines that intrigue and haunt.” – David Steinberg 

Lyrics

The tallest man

Written By: Anna Tivel

The tallest man (2)

Golden city come and see the roots of all the olive trees
Are buried underneath a thousand prayers
Close your eyes and mind your step there’s bones along the western bank
And shouting oh my god is everywhere

Friday night we climb the stairs we sway until we lose ourselves
We sway until the moon is on our shoulders
And in the light the morning finds us sleeping with our shiny guns
And terrified of getting any older

Stop the bus, I’m getting off, I watched that building turn to dust
I saw my shadow shooting down a doorway
And I am thinking what became, of the tallest man they ever slayed
And what is all this shouting even for

We broke apart the sand and stone we broke into each others’ homes
And lo and behold no one else was there
Our shoes are lined up on the floor the streets are full of angry hoards
And heaven knows but doesn’t really care

Stop the bus, I’m getting off, I watched that building turn to dust
I saw my shadow shooting down a doorway
And I am thinking what became of the tallest man they ever slayed
And what is all this shouting even for

For 40 years we wrote our names in caves and on the sides of planes
And built our towns of hope and dusty pages
And before that the sun still came and people still prayed hard for rain
And brought it up to meet their weathered faces

Stop the bus, I’m getting off, I watched that building turn to dust
I saw my shadow shooting down a doorway
And I am thinking what became of the tallest man they ever slayed
And what is all this shouting even for
What is all this shouting even for.

San Francisco

Written By: Anna Tivel

San Francisco

Hell is full of silver tongues and
White river boats, white river boats
It’s nobody’s fault
And nobody wants to go
She sold your watch for a worn out gun and
Bang how it fell, bang how it fell
The sun came down
And she is shooting still

And hallelujah you
Will rise straight up until
You come down again

Flying far to see your words I
Pulled out my eyes, pulled out my eyes
They won’t help me now
And I don’t want to see you small
And raised by wild wolves I was and
Curled up so tight, curled up so tight
We howled at the sky
And we slept there beneath it all

And Hallelujah you
Will rise straight up until
You come down again

Running fast, through windy streets
Please don’t fall, you used to catch me
On sunny days, when the schoolyard took its toll
Brilliant reds and solid greens
Are flying past your wildest dreams
But this old world
It misses you I know

And hallelujah you
Will rise straight up until
You come down again

Repeat verse 1

Just a Gentle War

Written By: Anna Tivel

The things that broke are rusted now
And leaning on the sides of houses
Peeling paint and older dresses, drying on the line
And this is just a gentle war
A quiet fight, no reason for
The curtains and the funeral this time

This time, there’ll be nothing but the night
A highway built of evergreens and pine
So close your eyes, I’ll keep us safe, at least until it’s light again
And the morning moves along the powerlines

We worked in banks and grocery stores
And sent our hearts and letters home
Where no one’s living anymore, but the birds inside the walls
And this is just a gentle dream
A clarinet and the violin
A peach tree and a picket fence that’s all

This time, there’ll be nothing but the night
A highway built of evergreens and pine
So close your eyes, I’ll keep us safe, at least until it’s light again
And the morning moves along the powerlines

And it’s all right, if we get lost
Cause we are fighting in a gentle war
Where no one wins, and no one dies
And no one will, remember us tomorrow

And we are parts of other things
Of someone else’s melodies
Of buried gold and broken keys, just waiting on some grace
And this is just a gentle love
A losing game then a lucky draw
A pen that knows the miles across a page

This time, there’ll be nothing but the night
A highway built of evergreens and pine
So close your eyes, I’ll keep us safe, at least until it’s light again
And the morning moves along the powerlines
And the morning moves along the powerlines

Reservation Road

Written By: Anna Tivel

Reach into your pockets there are holidays and dimes
By the time you count them it will be well after night
The lights are on, the bridges hold a sky of tired birds
Sound asleep and huddled on their cold and rusty perch

We’ll get there when we do
We’ll get there when we go
But just for now keep looking out
On reservation road

Worn out tires and paper cups we’re feeling mighty low
Moving to the piano coming out the old backdoor
Pull your red coat tighter now that spring is almost here
Tuck away your photographs against the winter air

We’ll get there when we do
We’ll get there when we go
But just for now keep looking out
On reservation road

Move back from the window or you’ll catch your death of cold
Television’s on and blue light moves across the wall
Close your eyes and think of me the way I was before
Dream of cranes and robin’s eggs and edges of a storm

We’ll get there when we do
We’ll get there when we go
But just for now keep looking out
On reservation road

Lay your flowers down my friend it’s time to walk back home
Sing the song your brother did the day that you were born
Empty all your pockets of the dust and dirt and snow
And fill them up with holidays and dimes and hold them close

We’ll get there when we do
We’ll get there when we go
But just for now keep looking out
On reservation road.

Rosy-Colored Skulls

Written By: Anna Tivel

Oh our home it is, just a hole in an old oak tree,
And the birds and the bees are flying through our living room and watching our tv
Come October we’ll, fill our blankets up with leaves,
But for now we can dangle down our feet below and collect nuts and things

And holy Augustine, just let me sleep tonight
With one arm around a great white dove
And the window open wide

Bring your brother, bring your baby sister too,
There are stones to throw, and coins to press down on the rails and holes in all our shoes
If you’re lonesome, there’s a sky all full of stars
If you’re hungry, there’s always something buried in the backseat of our car

And holy Augustine, just let me sleep tonight
With one arm around a great white dove
And the window open wide

And waking up beside you, we got rosy-colored skulls
We got huckleberry medicine, and sparrows in our throats
And shouting out sweet Augustine, there’s nowhere else but here
So throw your arms up wild then and let that dove fly free

If you miss me, you can look down by the docks,
Where the seagulls catch those tiny crabs in hiding and the wooden sailboats rock
I am waiting, growing old and growing up,
I am staying, here inside the old oak tree with my daydreams and my love
So stay awhile here beside me
my lonesome great white dove

Discography

Brimstone Lullaby - full length album