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Balance

by Benjamin Russell

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1.
This Skin 03:38
This Skin - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) Some changes come from the outside in The best ones come, though From deep within And I’ve been changing Yeah really changing And I believe I’m ready to begin To change this skin So many memories, hopes and dreams Have grown within me And now it seems That I’ve been changing Yeah really changing And I believe I’m ready to begin To change this skin This skin, oh this skin It doesn’t define me It’s only the shape I have been And now I am full I am full up to bursting I’m coming apart at the seam This skin does not define me It’s just the shape I've been And now I'm full to bursting I'm splitting at the seam Not for the first time And not the last My future faces Away from past And I am grateful Yeah, really grateful And I believe I’m ready to begin To change this skin This skin, oh this skin It doesn’t define me It’s only the shape I have been And now I am full I am full up to bursting I’m coming apart at the seam This skin does not define me It’s just the shape I've been And now I'm overflowing I’m splitting at the seam
2.
I Am a Stranger - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) I am a stranger - I want to be your friend I’m turning toward you, my heart wide open And you could make me happy so easily Just take my hand, my heart and me I am a stranger but I am human too And all of my difference will strengthen you I’m asking you to join me, then we will see A whole new world would be, could be Bring down the wall of hurt and fear and pain It’s personal, this invitation To hope again Bring down the wall of prejudice and shame Listen to the call to rise In hope again I was a stranger, but not for long We’re making a good start Just singing this song I was a stranger but I’m not any more We’ve taken the first step We’ve opened a door
3.
Sunshine Set Me Up - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) Sunshine set me up for a moment of pain Showed me happiness then hid it again Gotta remember the vision inside It’s like the weather, a cyclical ride Don’t fly as high now and I don’t fall as low Learned to balance how the moods come and go Silenced the critic, well most of the time A work in progress, but I know it’s mine Sunlight will always return Patience is something you learn It’s OK, it’s all right You don’t have to lose sight Of everything you hold tight And wait for the sunlight’s return Not scared to feel now - I’m not locked in the pain I am safe with you, can see you again To be wide open to the air and the light We’ve learned how to share and know that it’s right Sunshine set me up for a moment of pain Showed me happiness then hid it again Sunlight will always return Patience is something you learn It’s OK, it’s all right You don’t have to lose sight Of everything you hold tight And wait for the sunlight’s return Sunlight will always return
4.
Quasimodo 03:53
Quasimodo - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) He looks quite normal to you or me His body’s straight enough and no-one can see The curse that he carries is hidden away It’s his conscience that’s crooked - oh, get down and pray This poor devil has nowhere to go Woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, woe, Quasimodo A monster from the future or maybe the past His questioning eyes move a little too fast A mind full of whirlpools, he could drag us all in This man is dangerous - oh, watch out for him He feels lonely like Vincent Van Gogh Woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, woe, Quasimodo He knows that he’s different - he thinks it’s a sin And who would disagree? He doesn’t fit in He questions ev’rything - his mind full of doubt He might be infectious - you’d better watch out He needs someone to love him but no! Woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, woe, Quasimodo He makes us uneasy, wakes our primal fear His warped way of wond’ring is not welcome around here We hate and fear this man with all of our might Take the hint, Quasimodo - stay out of our sight This poor devil has nowhere to go Woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, woe, Quasimodo He feels lonely like Vincent Van Gogh Woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, oh, woe, oh, woe, Quasimodo
5.
If 03:30
If - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) What if you were never here? If you pulled the thread, where would that have led? Maybe you were born instead In a good fam’ly, would you be happy? What if you were not afraid? If you started strong, where would you belong? Would that make our love be wrong? Or even exist - what would we have missed? If you never knew me, how would your world change? What would you be forced to rearrange? I want to tell you now, I have had my fear I don’t want to live without you near Never think what might have been Life is better now, we got through somehow Made a promise, kept our vow Glad we’re saved from cliffs - coulda woulda ifs Coulda woulda if Life is full of ifs
6.
Blinded By Need - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) Over there in a corner, staring at the floor There’s a man who doesn’t know what he came here for He’s hiding in his silence - he doesn’t want to share He’s sending off signals that say, "Don’t speak, beware!" And if you talk to him he’ll pay no heed He sees nothing but himself - he’s blinded by his need There’s woman who’s laughing - she’s playing the fool Scared to be herself, she acts dumb, but it’s a tool She blocks it from her mind - she’s made it a rule Not to show she’s a person - it wouldn’t be cool And if you spoke to her, she’d pay no heed She sees nothing but her fear - she’s blinded by her need And the man over there with the voice you can’t miss Is expounding on everything - he seems full of bliss Or is he running from something - himself? Is he Confusing human value for "personality"? If you to talk to him - he’ll pay no heed He sees nothing very clearly - he’s blinded by his need What am I doing getting drunk with strangers? I don’t know At least it beats being all by myself But does it though? We could have been doing something fruitful Maybe planting a seed But we’re too unaware of each other Blinded by need Well, I thought that I could see so much more I could see through the veils right down to the core But I’m nervous tonight - I’ve a mask of my own I’m not being myself - I should have stayed home If you talk to me, I will pay no heed 'Cause I’m lost in a haze and I’m blinded by my need Blinded by need
7.
Refuge 03:26
Refuge - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) The street looks just like a set in a movie Wet and shining in the night light’s glance I’ve just been sprung from a late night shift Looking for a cab but I don’t have a chance The city’s deserted, no people, just cars Cruising like sharks through the freezing rain Though empty and hollow, it’s heavy as hell The weight of this city could drive me insane Chorus And I long for the shelter I find in your arms Safe from this city’s cruel lies And I long for the refuge I find in your eyes I don’t think I knew what heartbreak was Till we were led here by my wandering soul The promise I saw then now seems a mirage Leading away from my elusive goal Chorus It’s raining, it’s cold, I’m tired and let down Kept my head above water but it’s hard to do You’re my island of peace in this blind concrete sea I wish I were already home, warm with you Chorus
8.
Word (You Make Me Feel) - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) You make me feel like I could live forever Young and happy for all time And who’s to say that could never happen? When I’m with you I feel so fine I feel like I could climb up any mountain See as far as I could see Oh, I could fly right now across the ocean When I’m with you I feel so free Chorus: Just say the word (word!) and I’ll answer With the beating of my heart I won’t forget (no!) I’ll remember That you’re a living work of art Just say the word (word!) and I’ll answer With the beating of my heart Don’t you forget (no!) you’ll remember How much I’ve loved you from the start You open up a place so far inside me I didn’t know that it was there Not afraid to show my deepest feelings Didn’t know how much I could care Chorus
9.
In the Zone 04:02
In the Zone - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) There is the sun Filtered through the trees Slanting through the leaves To the path beneath I see you steps ahead turn back and look Smiling at me Alone in company We set each other free We’re in the zone A long way from home Mountains in the fall We make them our own There’s no one else around That we can see Just you and me Alone in company We climb on peacefully Timeless memories, you make them with me I can hardly believe, each time we leave How different the same place can be
10.
The Magnificent Sky - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) I've been up and I've been down I've had my face rubbed in the ground But I can laugh though I still cry Listen close, I'll tell you why There's a force that we can't see It touches you, it touches me But we can glimpse it if we try In the magnificent sky The magnificent sky It's so big, it's so wide Makes me feel so small but high The magnificent sky I've heard the truth and I've heard lies I've heard my share of alibis I've hid my head down in the sand I've struggled hard to understand But through it all one thing is clear If you don't listen, you won't hear If you don't ask, you won't know why Ask the magnificent sky The magnificent sky It's so big, it's so wide Makes me feel so small but high The magnificent sky
11.
Alone 03:26
Alone - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) Winter sky was so clear and high, the pale moon hung low Sun was bright but its thin sharp light - a crystal glow Ice and snow are all I know, as far as I can see No one there, I’m all alone, all by myself, just me Far away the horizon lay, blending into sky Hard to say on that Solstice day, yet I would try I don’t know which way to go, no track that I can see No one there, I’m all alone, all by myself, just me I am not lonely alone, working things out on my own Doing it consciously, making a choice, finding a space for my inner voice It’s OK, I know today, my path is not yet clear Even though I’m here alone, I’m crossing this frontier Doing it consciously, making a choice Finding the space for my inner voice
12.
Bent Old Man and Mule - song by Elyce & Benjamin Russell (socan) Pale wind blows 'cross the mountain side 'Cross cliffs and ragged trees In haunting lisps it whispers as It moves dry grass and leaves Through chill grey early evening Comes a bent old man and mule This land shall soon know winter They come in search of fuel His back grown old and twisted A gnarled tree among the stones But there’s solid strength within him He feels peaceful in his bones Never left this land to roam Never seen a city street He feels no lack or emptiness His touch with life complete
13.
Charilie Coming Down Benjamin Russell He felt like Charlie coming down From on high toward the ground Going back to being stupid But not happy now he knew it Knowing just how far he'd seen But already losing memory Aware that he was more, no more Charlie coming down From a peak toward the ground Addicted to the highs, was he unwise To try to rise? Fear of falling kept him from the height But at night he dreamed of precipice Mountain top and cliff He fell, and fell, and fell Until he learned to fly Charlie coming down... Fear of failing kept him on the ground Until he learned to fly Charlie coming down... Until he learns to fly Charlie coming down

about

After years of struggling with highs and lows, I have reached a point of BALANCE.

I started writing songs back when I was in high school as a way of dealing with stuff I didn't understand. I felt like an alien, an outsider, a "stranger in a strange land". What kept me going was realizing other people felt like that too and the songs helped me connect.

Listening and creating helped keep me sane all these years. If my music helps one other person the way my favourite artists have helped me, it makes my life worth while.

Elyce is my life partner, my complementary soul. Although she has not been credited as much as she should until now, she has been part of every song I've written since I met her. These songs were created together and the balance between us imbues the album in every way.

This may well be my last album. If that turns out to be true, I will be OK with that. I think it's my best.

(BALANCE was begun before the last album, SHIKASTA SUITE, but production was interrupted when the inspiration for that "rock opera" hit.)

---

Interview with the inimitable Miss Parker
posted January 18 on Rave and Roll blog:
rave-and-roll.com?fbclid=IwAR2jHAZYx4FSIea3YaxvXNHXjDsov-lLFWcmZhODvhl4WxJQRsMCzZcMYWQ

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released February 26, 2021

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Benjamin Russell Montreal, Québec

Benjamin Russell is a multi-genre singer-songwriter, painter, graphic artist, videographer, writer living in Montreal, Quebec.

BALANCE - 2021 SUNDOG - 2013
ROCKHILL - 2010
Blue Cafe - 1989
Double A Side - 1981
... more

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