Jonathan Rundman

by Jonathan Rundman

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about

Singer/songwriter Jonathan Rundman has had a busy decade. One relocation from Chicago to Minneapolis. Two children. Multiple albums. Dozens of songs. Hundreds of performances. Thousands of miles traveled. Now in 2012, this significant period is summarized in a new self-titled retrospective CD.

Twenty songs from throughout the aughts are included on this eponymous album. Framed by infectious melodies and inventive arrangements, Rundman's razor-sharp songwriting addresses the intricacies of adulthood: vocation (Librarian, Workin My Committee), parenting (List of Things To Do), politics (The Serious Kind, Second Language), romance (Surgical Precision, Smart Girls), looming mortality (Dialysis Carpool, Bright Funeral, Ashes), crises of faith (If You Have a Question, That Man Upstairs), and moments of joy and transcendence (747s, Carol of the Bells, Forgiveness Waltz).

Rundman's new anthology collects songs from four albums released since 2000 (Sound Theology, Tennesota, Public Library, and Insomniaccomplishments) as well as previously unreleased recordings, remixes, and brand new songs. Appearing on the CD are ten years worth of collaborators including producer Walter Salas-Humara of legendary indie band The Silos, duet vocalist Beki Hemingway, multi-instrumentalist Drew Glackin (Susan Tedeschi, The Hold Steady), violinist Mary Rowell (Sheryl Crow, Todd Rundgren), drummer Konrad Meissner (Matt Nathanson, My Brightest Diamond), percussionist/engineer Pat Tomek (The Rainmakers), and engineer Tom Herbers (Low, Soul Asylum).

Deftly navigating between garagey rock, Americana, sophisticated pop, and folk music, the new CD Jonathan Rundman summarizes the work of one of America's most ingenious and persistent independent songwriters.

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released January 3, 2012

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Jonathan Rundman Minneapolis, Minnesota

"bright, catchy indie pop" NEW YORK TIMES
“clever, intelligent songwriting” PASTE MAGAZINE
“clever phrasing and fresh rhymes" PERFORMING SONGWRITER
“literate…excellent…a record for anyone who hasn't given up on the idea that good songs, electric/acoustic guitars, and a great drummer are the key to all sorts of epiphanies” CITY PAGES
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Track Name: Smart Girls
listen to me boys and learn important things
benefit from wisdom that experience brings
I will be specific, I will be direct
when you look for love, look for intellect

smart girls shine like laser light
‘cause they’re so sharp and they’re so bright
smart girls know the human heart
‘cause love is science, love is art

smart girls do their best and take a second look
smart girls wear their glasses to read their books
practice the piano in the afternoon
and hold your hand by the light of the moon

smart girls shine like laser light
‘cause they’re so sharp and they’re so bright
smart girls know the human heart
‘cause love is science, love is art
you’ll do well if you take my advice:
fall in love with a smart girl

smart girls make the grade, study through the night
smart girls pass the test, get the answers right
they’ll meet you after class at the library
and speak your name so quietly

smart girls shine like laser light
‘cause they’re so sharp and they’re so bright
smart girls know the human heart
‘cause love is science, love is art
you’ll do well if you take my advice:
fall in love with a smart girl
Track Name: Carol of the Bells
i prayed to God to help me fall in love
and bless me with my young heart's desire
and on Sunday when i went to church i saw
this girl in the Bethany handbell choir

she rings G and she rings A
i can't wait to hear her play
they don't trust those notes to anyone else
Carol of the bells

in the middle of the C major scale
she's the girl that i been dreaming of
so let me tell you something about that church
there ain't no better place to fall in love

she rings G and she rings A
i can't wait to hear her play
they don't trust those notes to anyone else
Carol of the bells

standing in her driveway
her father's at the door
there's a light in her window
where's Carol?
where's Carol?
come on out

she rings G and she rings A
i can't wait to hear her play
they don't trust those notes to anyone else
Carol of the bells
Track Name: Librarian
when I was just a baby, before I could speak
I would line up all my letter blocks alphabetically
and now it’s my vocation and my passion to assign
every decimal-numbered shelf to every decimal-numbered spine

I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I like it quiet so the pages can be heard
I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I do it for the love of the word

I bring order out of chaos, I shine light into the dark
because power comes from knowledge just like fire from a spark
and like Gutenberg and Luther with press and pen in hand
I take the message to the masses in a form they understand

I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I like it quiet so the pages can be heard
I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I do it for the love of the word

and when the day is over I go home at 5:03
and I give thanks to God and then to Andrew Carnegie
and the U.S. Constitution and Orwell, Poe, and Twain
and I’ll return at 8AM to open up again

I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I like it quiet so the pages can be heard
I’m a librarian, I’m a librarian
and I do it for the love of the word
Track Name: Ashes
i got ashes on my forehead
and i'm trying hard to learn
this dust that i have started from
is where i shall return
and i will follow out of love
'cause there is nothing i can earn
i got ashes on my forehead
and i'm trying hard to learn

sometime in the dead of winter
this Wednesday rolls around
we got purple on the altar
we got snow upon the ground
and this world starts spinning slower
and we sing some quiet songs
facing our mortality
and all that we done wrong

i got ashes on my forehead
and i'm trying hard to learn
this dust that i have started from
is where i shall return
and i will follow out of love
'cause there is nothing i can earn
i got ashes on my forehead
and i'm trying hard to learn

forty days in the wilderness
forty days on the ark
driving home this evening
i can still trace the mark
everybody sees the big sun setting
everybody rides the hearse
yeah, but you can't build up nothin'
'til you knock down somethin' first

i got ashes on my forehead
and i'm trying hard to learn
this dust that i have started from
is where i shall return
and i will follow out of love
'cause there is nothing i can earn
i got ashes on my forehead
and i'm trying hard to learn
Track Name: Surgical Precision
SURGICAL PRECISION
(words and music by Jonathan Rundman)

I was a small town school boy dreamer
minding my business with my glasses on
nobody knew it but I became a student
in the ways of love

seen it on the TV and magazines
people in love and then falling apart
had the occasion for solving the equation
of a one true love

I made a logical decision
I made a vertical incision
with surgical precision
I made a promise and I gave you my heart

despite the wreckage of failed romances
I went searching for a love that would last
looked at the options and the qualifications
I would narrow it down

pediatricians and CPAs
runway models and astronauts
thought I’d never find what I had pictured in my mind
until I met you

I made a logical decision
I made a vertical incision
with surgical precision
I made a promise and I gave you my heart

if love is multiple choice
then my answer is U
Track Name: Second Language
gotta get my license and learn my lessons
learn when Texas became a state
and I wish I never had this baby
I cannot study or sleep in late

when I wake up I speak my second language
I speak my second language when I catch my train
I work all day, I speak my second language
I speak my second language and do it all again

got a video camera built in my native country
I can set it up so it points at me
throughout my daytime just keep it running
I can make a movie, play it on TV

when I wake up I speak my second language
I speak my second language when I catch my train
I work all day, I speak my second language
I speak my second language and do it all again

about this time last year I was all alone
my fiancée was put in jail
now we’re together but it’s no better
we were sweeter when we sent mail

when I wake up I speak my second language
I speak my second language when I catch my train
I work all day, I speak my second language
I speak my second language and do it all again
Track Name: I Thought You Were Mine
I thought you were mine
But I was so wrong
And all of that time I followed along
I counted each of us
I thought we were just two
But now I see a crowd surrounding you
And I thought you were mine

I was so blind
But I felt so strong
Thought I was the only one who knew those songs
I could not believe
What I saw and heard
Voices in the dark, singing all your words
And I thought you were mine

Not so long ago I felt so fine
Oh, what did I know?
I thought you were mine
Track Name: 747s
let’s go out to the airfield
for them transatlantic flights
stop out by the chain-link fence
at the end of the runway lights
see the sunshine on the wingspan
see the wheels lifting off the ground
yeah, I think our love’s going somewhere baby
can’t you hear the engine sound

747s look beautiful
soaring into skies of blue
747s are taking off
like my love for you

let’s lay back on the tarmac
just looking up at the clouds
see that jet pass overhead
and our hearts start pounding loud
love is fast, love is dangerous
love can take you high
like a hundred tons of steel and fuel
graceful in the sky

747s look beautiful
soaring into skies of blue
747s are taking off
like my love for you

I wanna be your darlin’
in the shadow of the planes
we can build our home in the flight path
so we can hear them call our names
and when those engines roar up in the air
you can turn your eyes above
and see that silver angel fly
and know how much I love you

747s look beautiful
soaring into skies of blue
747s are taking off
like my love for you
Track Name: Forgiveness Waltz
it's like a dance
it's like a wheel
less like math
less like a deal
more like a heartbreak
beginning to heal
we can start over
we know forgiveness

these are hard words to hear
in a world where nothing is free
and it's hard to trust in a promise
that sounds too good to believe
but know that it's true
this is for you

it's like a dance
it's like a wheel
less like math
less like a deal
more like a heartbreak
beginning to heal
we can start over
we know forgiveness

it's so easy to drown
in the numbers and judgements and earnings
keeping score, keeping track, keeping time
as the hours keep turning
but you can turn a new way
it's a new day

it's like a dance
it's like a wheel
less like math
less like a deal
more like a heartbreak
beginning to heal
we can start over
we know forgiveness
Track Name: Dialysis Carpool
we live on the Oak Street hill
you live by the flooring mill
I could be at your door in a flash
Why should we each take a car?
There's room in yours, room in ours
For the gasoline we'll save some cash
Dialysis carpool

We got a rough road ahead
It's tough to get up out of bed
Now we got a reason to pull through
We can share this holy drive
Keeping both of us alive
Misery loves company, it's true
Dialysis carpool

See you next time
At the same time
Track Name: The Serious Kind
we got trouble, a whole lot of trouble
we got the serious kind
we got trouble, a whole lot of trouble
we got the serious kind

we got fear, a whole lot of fear
we got the serious kind
we got fear, a whole lot of fear
we got the serious kind

we all got fear, the greatest to least
South to the North, West to the East
everywhere you look you’re gonna find
we got fear – the serious kind

we need hope, a whole lot of hope
we need the serious kind
we need hope, a whole lot of hope
we need the serious kind

we need love, a whole lot of love
we need the serious kind
we need love, a whole lot of love
we need the serious kind

we all need love, the greatest to least
South to the North, West to the East
everywhere you look, you’re gonna find
we need love – the serious kind
Track Name: Workin' My Committee
I go out to church now
workin' my committee for the Lord
I go every second Tuesday night
workin' my committee for the Lord

Jesus called disciples
workin' that committee for the Lord
yeah he went down to the lakeshore
workin' that committee for the Lord

St. Paul hit the road now
workin' that committee for the Lord
he's using voice and pen and paper
workin' that committee for the Lord

Luther took his hammer
workin' that committee for the Lord
yeah he walked up to the front door
workin' that committee for the Lord

Mildred goes to church now
workin' her committee for the Lord
she got her needle and her thread now
workin' her committee for the Lord
Track Name: You Never Last Where You Land
I saw you runnin' through the darkness, baby
down along the cemetery road
what were you doin' on the outskirts, baby?
why were you out there in the cold?
you got no excuse for me
you got no excuse to be
out there where you should not go alone
I see you takin' lots of chances, baby
don't say that I never told you so

still you push your luck, you get out of touch
well, you know I never understand
and I wonder how you can keep your mind
when you never last where you land

I wish I never even met you, baby
you don't bring me nothin' but regret
when will I see you in the headlines, baby?
I'm surprised that hasn't happened yet
I got nothin' else to say
you ain't listening anyway
I guess I'll take this as a lesson learned
everybody's got a date with trouble, baby
watch it, 'cause you're gonna get your turn
Track Name: Narthex
shadows are long in the parking lot
the sun is at the horizon
20-some cars line up together
the headlights and engines shut down
people then walk to the building
some will hold open the doors
inside are walls and windows and ceilings
inside are the footsteps from decades before
and I’ll meet you there in the narthex

people step through the double doors
to find their place in the nave
row after row they close their eyes
heaven knows what they will say
half-light shines from the outside
turned into colors by glass
echoing high in the rafters above
are the sounds of a thousand years past
and I’ll meet you there in the narthex

this place is just brick and mortar and stone
held together by wood and steel alone
just a building on a road in a town in the world
and I’ll meet you there

everyone forms two parallel lines
moving up close to the front
steadily crossing the transcept
flowing like blood through a heart
under the arch of the chancel
under the banners and flames
the spin of the earth is in rhythm
and the people are hearing their names
and I’ll meet you there in the narthex
Track Name: If You Have A Question
if you have a question just raise your hand
and the teacher will call on you

there's a lot of things that I don't know
there's a lot that I can't see
there's a lot of doubt and wondering
there's a lot of mystery

when you lie awake at 3AM
trouble running through your mind
you don't need to be afraid to ask
you can leave your fear behind

everybody's on a search for truth
questioning is not a sin
there's a lot of love to pull you through
sow the seed of faith within
Track Name: List Of Things To Do
tune up the engine, polish the floor
dust the piano, fix the screen door
stop by the bank when I go into town
check my savings account

yeah, I got it down on my list of things to do
at the top of that list is me taking care of you

look for yourself, baby, you gotta see
you're my number one priority
more than money or country or sound
nothing else matters as much

don't you don't you don't you worry
you can count on me
I don't mind and I got time and I got energy

everyone's busy, everyone's tired
everyone's manic, everybody's wired
running their sanity into the ground
baby, I'll keep it together

I'm gonna take good care...
at the top of that list is me taking care of you
Track Name: Bright Funeral
have a bright bright funeral
for me when i die
not some gloomy dirge parade
to tell me your goodbye
have a bright bright funeral
'cause love don't stop at death
and the hands of God are reaching out
beyond our blood and breath

leave them dress-up shoes at home
that tie you hate to wear
you can come just as you are
me and God don't care
if my sweetheart outlives me
let her know how much i loved her
you can take both my guitars
and give them to my brother

just have a bright bright funeral
for me when i die
not some gloomy dirge parade
to tell me your goodbye
have a bright bright funeral
'cause love don't stop at death
and the hands of God are reaching out
beyond our blood and breath

don't go spending fourteen grand
to carve my name in rock
and buy up some small square of land
and a six foot box
you can give my eyes
so they can help somebody see
and the students at the med school
they can have the rest of me

just have a bright bright funeral
for me when i die
not some gloomy dirge parade
to tell me your goodbye
have a bright bright funeral
'cause love don't stop at death
and the hands of God are reaching out
beyond our blood and breath