Howard Gladstone

Howard Gladstone

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandFolkSinger/Songwriter

Howard Gladstone writes songs that "shape ordinary words into beautiful visions". (Rambles). Well crafted lyrics, laid-back vocal style, plus strong acoustic guitar work. Four CDs. Solo to 4 piece band.

Biography

…" .I'm enthralled ... The way Gladstone delivers lyrics; it's as if you are hearing him sculpt a song. Just like ice carvers at a winter festival, Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions… these are songs of strength and courage…with .…lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart…Virginia MacIsaac www.rambles.net

Howard Gladstone has independently released four well-received albums of original music - "Sunflowers Light The Room" (2002) , "Candles On The River" (2005), and "The Breath In The Wind" (2007) featuring Howard in a stripped-back trio format. The latest album "Roots and Rain" was released in January 2010 at Toronto's premier folk club, Hugh's Room, and has received national airplay on campus radio and CBC.

Gladstone’s songs are populated with vivid characters, diverse themes , powerful images, and set in varied locales around North America and the world. The music is melodic and diverse, featuring varied musical styles – ballads, blues, folk, pop with a touch of country and jazz, carefully crafted with meaningful lyrics, and presented with a fitting laid-back vocal style and strong acoustic guitar playing.
Gladstone sometimes approaches his subject matter as a seasoned journalist would: with an eye for detail, a sense of story and a desire for objectivity. He sticks to the facts, tells it like it is and maintains a measured and slightly detached quality in his vocal delivery. Other times, a more lyrical and poetic side emerges.

Howard is a convincing solo performer. He also appears on a regular basis with guitarist Tony Quarrington who helps explore and claim additional musical territory. With Kevin Zarnett on bass, Robin Pirson on drums, and Shelley Coopersmith on violin the ensemble is completed.

Gladstone’s observations and concerns are deeply etched in his songs, ranging from the plight of First Nations (“Aboriginal Burial Ground”), to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (“Damaged Angel”) to the closing of Canadian Maritime fisheries (“Fishin’ by the Book”), to globalization and corporate indifference (“Goin’ Offshore”). “ Down to the Delta” surveys the history of the blues and wonders where that music is going. His piercing social commentary on the Ontario justice system in the song "Tammy (The Wheels of Justice)" is based on the true story Tammy Marquadt, a wrongfully convicted mother who served 15 years for a crime she did not commit. "Loon on the Lake" is a meditation based on the rugged Canadian landscape, and surviving in a harsh world where it is essential to "find your song" like the loon.

Other songs reflect on love, loss, and the vagaries of life. “Prisoner of New Orleans” and “Photograph” are atmospheric, moody songs with an air of mystery. “Candles on the River” takes its inspiration and rhythm from a sunrise Gladstone observed in India. His song "Sunflowers Light The Room" has been compared to "Changes" and "Here Comes The Sun."

Howard also organizes musical events, including the Toronto City Roots Festival (www.torontocityroots.com), at the historic Distillery District in Toronto.

A self-described romantic-realist, Howard Gladstone’s songs cover a lot of musical territory and themes. Gladstone gets around, and the songs reference locations as diverse as Paris’ Left Bank, Jerusalem, Georgia (USA, not USSR) , Delhi (Ontario), and the Good Old USA.

Virginia McIsaac wrote, “Howard Gladstone shapes ordinary words into beautiful visions… these are songs of strength and courage.. with lyrics (that) bite into the social conscience of humanity and touch us right in the heart …(and) arrangements that really make the songs interesting” in reference to Gladstone’s previous album. It serves as an apt description of all of Gladstone's music.

More songs on www.myspace.com/howardgladstonemusic

Lyrics

Sunflowers Light The Room

Written By: Howard Gladstone

Sunflowers Light The Room
Afternoon sun pours through these windows
Broken by the winds of time
Sun casts shadows on a frozen moment
Dust settles in this room and forms a line
I’m waking to a dream I once dreamed
It’s finally becoming all that it seemed
In all their glory, and their blooms
Sunflowers light the room
Sunflowers light the room

Feel the music beneath the bone
Vibrate to a rhythm never heard
Sun drops petals, seeds from flowers
You can tell me now and don’t use words
Feel and sense their living breath
In the sunlight and in the death
Between the lightning and the thunder’s gloom
Sunflowers light the room
Sunflowers light the room

Afternoon sun flows to an ocean
Beyond the gulf beyond all time
If we are stranded it’s just a moment
We can wait our turn and then it’s fine
They turn their heads towards a door
Sailors struggling to a distant shore
And when they die it’s all too soon
Sunflowers light the room
Sunflowers light the room

Tear Down These Walls in God's Garden

Written By: Howard Gladstone

Tear down these walls in God’s garden
Tear down these walls that keep us apart
Tear down these walls in God’s garden
We’ve been falling, a voice is calling us home

Man’s shadow falls on the dark side
Into a place where nothing is learned
Someone’s to blame, someone has to pay
Lives uprooted, a house overturned

God knows I love you and will protect you
We build these walls to keep us from harm
An uneasy voice says “It’s already crumbling”
They stand at the gates, we sound the alarm

This world is closed and cold as prison
Dark frozen minds and burnt hearts
Today we’re guards tomorrow prisoners
Sometimes it’s hard to tell us apart

Jerusalem your golden sunlight
Tear down these walls that keep us apart
That Freedom might grow in Man’s garden
We’ve been falling a voice is calling us home

King of Bad Choices

Written By: Howard Gladstone

My judgment’s a bit clouded lately
Lately been goin’ on a long long time
That woman I saw you with is a Georgia peach
There’s some fuzz stuck in my mind
I’m turning over a brand new leaf
No telling what I’ll find
Lord, can you send me a real fine woman
Someone I don’t need to watch all the time …

Chorus:
I’m the King of bad choices
I’ve been down on my luck
I need a Queen and a real good looker
Someone who won’t steal my truck

It seems I just can’t help myself
I’ve been fishin’ too close to home
Where do all the good women hide?
If I find one maybe for sure I won’t need to roam
I need one that’s true,
Don’t want another fake
Well that’s what I said the last time
Don’t want to make that same mistake

When Lightning Strikes

Written By: Howard Gladstone

When Lightning Strikes by Howard Gladstone

When lighting strikes
It can burn your house down to the ground
When lighting strikes
It can turn your whole world around
When lighting strikes

When lighting strikes
It can come when you least expect it
When lighting strikes
No early warning can detect it
When lighting strikes

You’ll grow accustomed to the light
When lightning strikes
Cuts the dark of the darkest night
When lighting strikes

When lighting strikes
I ‘m reading your bible in the rain
When lighting strikes
I fall and lighting burns off these chains
When lighting strikes

When lighting strikes
I feel your touch for one last time
When lighting strikes
I feel your heart so close to mine
When lighting strikes

The holy land’s ablaze
When lighting strikes
Gunfire in a golden maze
When lighting strikes

When lighting strikes
Burn your house down to the ground
When lighting strikes
Turn your whole world around
When lighting strikes

Let Go Of The Rain

Written By: Howard Gladstone

Snow is swirling ‘round my window
Seems so fragile but it’s oh so strong
Winter’s got a hold and it won’t let go
Till someday spring’s going to come along

As the frozen bud holds the promise of the flower
Your love will be unveiled at the unknown chosen hour

Let it flood, let it go
Let the water overflow
Let go of the rain
In the sun, watch it grow
The healing only love can now
Let go of the rain
Let go of the rain

There was time you believed in me
I know I believed in you
We can’t go back to how it was before
Still the spring can make it all feel new

As your frozen heart will also melt again
I‘ll be there as spring sets free the prisoner rain

We’ll never hold what soon will be gone
Farewell winter friend, the rain is comin’ down

Let it flood, let it go
Let the water overflow
Let go of the rain
In the sun, watch it grow
The healing only love can now
Let go of the rain
Let go of the rain

Tammy (The Wheels of Justice)

Written By: Howard Gladstone

Tammy (The Wheels of Justice )
By Howard Gladstone
February 22, 2009

Tammy Marquardt was a poor single mother
Never had a break and her whole life was rough
Just scraping by taking care of Kenneth
Her epileptic 2-year old, man, they never had enough

All in a panic she calls out emergency
And 911, Kenneth tangled in bedclothes
He drew his last breath calling out for Mommy
Tammy’s charged with murder and her life’s put on hold

The wheels of justice turn slowly
Sometimes it seems they don’t turn at all

Dr. Charles Smith the prosecution star witness
Self-taught expert unchallenged god of pathology
Swore in confidence and outdated science
That Tammy Marquardt was guilty by degree

Tammy holds firm and she’s found guilty
She won’t accept a 5-year plea
I didn’t kill him, he’s my son and I loved him
She always thought the truth would set her free

Chorus
The wheels of justice turn slowly
Sometimes it seems they don’t turn at all
Trapped in a system that lives by process
Justice sometime don’t matter at all

Innocent people were convicted with false testimony
Dr Charles Smith misled the courts many times
Fifteen years gone, Tammy’s still in prison
Her tight set mouth and soft sad eyes

Why must a person wrongfully convicted
Be kept in prison and robbed of dignity?
Injustice defended and then compounded
That, my friends, is the greater tragedy

Repeat Chorus (note changes :
The wheels of justice turn slowly
In Ontario sometimes they don’t turn at all
Trapped in a system that kills by process
Justice sometime don’t matter at all

Justice sometime don’t matter at all
Justice don’t seem to matter at all
Justice don’t seem to matter at all

The Mercy Of The Wind

Written By: Howard Gladstone

The Mercy Of The Wind
©Howard Gladstone

We’re at the mercy of the wind
No matter which way it blows
Fire’s rising up the hills
From the valley below
When everything is burning fast
There’s nothing left we can defend
With our backs against the wall
We’re at the mercy of the wind

We’re at the mercy of the wind
As we set out to sea
Passage may be rough or fair
It will be as it will be
We’d heard warning of the storm
Even hurricanes are gonna end
With our tell-tales torn to shred
We're at the mercy of the wind

CHORUS :
The fickle wind
Can’t hold our fate
Just hold on
It’s not too late

We’re at the mercy of the wind
On the cold and bitter street
Times are hard and getting harder
But people gotta eat
We’re the homeless, unemployed
And we’re always sinking fast
If you help us help ourselves
That’s a mercy that lasts

CHORUS

We’re at the mercy of the wind
Tumbleweeds or plain dust
With the will to survive
We just roll on as we must
I’m so glad you’re by my side
My true and trusted friend
Till we’re gathered safely home
We’re at the mercy of the wind

It's Gospel To You

Written By: Howard Gladstone

When we’re crossing River Jordan
Where so many went before
Is there anyone who will meet us?
Over on that other shore
They say Jesus walked on the water
Blood and faith have not yet set us free
In the groves the doves are calling
It’s gospel to you
It’s (a) mystery to me
It’s gospel to you,

When we’re climbing Jacob’s ladder
In the mist it gets so hard to see
The heavy boot prints of history’s rampage
That brought the crying angels down to their knees
The red sun is swiftly setting
Blood flows in the sanctuary
In the groves the doves are calling
It’s gospel to you
It’s a dream to me
It’s gospel to you,

There’s Moses, Peter, Paul, and Jesus
And Mohamed, and what their good books teach
They said that all men could share the goodwill
That’s an illusion that hangs just out of reach
Where is the justice and the mercy
Black night descends on Galilee
In the groves the doves are calling
It’s gospel to you
It’s faint hope to me
It’s gospel to you
It’s a prayer to me
It’s gospel to you, Amen!

It’s gospel to you
It’s a prayer to me, Amen!

Roamin' Hands

Written By: Howard Gladstone

They say in Rome, do as the Romans do
No Roman man could keep his hands off you
I become so Roman
Every time you pass by
The way you look at me
Is there any wonder why?

They also say - all roads lead to Rome
That’s fine with me - I’m gonna take you home
Baby walk with me awhile
We both got lovin’ on our minds
We’ve got all our lives to spend
One lovin’ footstep at a time

Just like Vesuvius, I’m gonna blow my top
Pressure builds up all inside
Darlin’ I just can’t stop !

When it comes to you - I’m gonna take a stand
I may not be Roman - but I got roamin’ hands
It’s so amazing
The wonders of a Roman spring
It’s not the sights and sounds
At long last – the real thing !

Loon On The Lake

Written By: Howard Gladstone

Loon on the lake, a lonesome cry
There are no traces of summers passed by
Not enough days to ever know why
When the cold wind blows

Summer’s short, life’s not long
To survive in this world, you have to be strong
Summer’s short, life’s not long
To stay alive in this land, you have to find your song
Like a loon on the lake

Day to day, you’re a voice in the rat-race choir
Burning inside with an urgent desire
They can use you up, like gasoline on a fire
But it’s not too late

Summer’s short, life’s not long
To survive in this world, you have to be strong
Summer’s short, life’s not long
To stay alive in this land, you have to find your song
Like a loon on the lake
Like a loon on the lake

Discography

"Roots and Rain" (2010)
"The Breath In The Wind (2007)
"Candles On the River" (2005)
"Sunflowers Light The Room" (2002)

Set List

Can perform 1, 2 or 3 sets per evening of original material. Sets depends upon the venues requirement. Typical set is 10 songs, and 50 -60 minute set.

Typical set list:
Follow Your Heart
Twelve Candles
Tear Down These Walls in God's Garden
I Want To Be Closer To You
Down To The Delta
Prisoner of New Orleans
South of the Border (Good Old USA)
Sunflowers Light The Room
The Breath In The Wind