WINGSUNCAGED 

 

Credits

Aimée Allen - vocals

François Moutin – bass

Billy Test - piano (all tracks except 10)

Kush Abadey – drums (all tracks except 7, 9, 10, and 11)

 

Aimée Allen – producer

Michael Brorby – sound engineering

Misha Piatigorsky – sound editing

Brian Montgomery – sound mixing

Alan Silverman -mastering

Ksenia Scheffer – photography

Michael Lichter – design

 

Recorded December 3 & 4, 2017 and April 2, 2018

at Acoustic Recording In Brooklyn, NY

 

© and ℗ 2018 Aimée Allen.  All rights reserved.  Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

 

Azuline Music

Tracks

1.   Skylark  5:38

Music by Hoagy Carmichael

Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

 

2.   Shooting Star  5:28

Music and lyrics by Aimée Allen

 

3.   Invitation  5:15 †

Music by Bronisław Kaper 

Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster

 

4.   In My Web  5:36

Music and lyrics by Aimée Allen

 

5.   Democracy How (Harmony and Dissonance) 5:51  Video

Music and lyrics by Aimée Allen

 

6.   Touch the Sun  5:21

Music by François Moutin

Lyrics by Aimée Allen

 

7.   Fotografia  5:42 †

Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim

English lyrics by Ray Gilbert

 

8.   Night Owl  4:21

Music and lyrics by Aimée Allen

 

9.   Save Your Love for Me  4:41

Music and lyrics by Buddy Johnson

 

10.  Autumn Leaves / Les Feuilles Mortes  4:12

Music by Joseph Kosma

French lyrics By Jacques Prevert

English Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

 

11.  Midnight Sun  3:32 †

Music by Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke

Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

 

†  CD Bonus Tracks

 

Lyrics to Original Songs and Other Wings Uncaged

Most butterflies can fly with large portions of wing missing or damaged.  

Shooting Star

By Aimée Allen

 

Nobody knows whether the horse will drink

When it is finally led to water

Nobody knows what their lover will think

When she is finally told you love her

 

But everybody knows you

Can’t hide a shooting star

No matter where you are

A star will glow

 

And everybody knows you

Can’t keep a moth from flame

Though you may call his name

To fire he goes

 

Nobody knows whether a wound will heal

Invisible or leave a scar

Nobody know whether a love revealed

Will bring us close or take us far

 

But everybody knows you

Can’t hide a shooting star

No matter where you are

A star will glow

 

And everybody knows you

Can’t keep a moth from flame

Though you may call his name

To fire he goes

 

Twinkle twinkle shooting star

How we’re grateful

That you are

 

 

 

Night Owl

By Aimée Allen

 

The owl is a strange bird, thriving in darkness. It flies at night, silently, while the other birds are sleeping. Some owls' wings actually absorb sound, creating a cloak of silence wherever they go.

And with muted plumage, the owl can afford to fly slowly, confident it won’t be seen or heard. But it sees and hears all, with heightened powers of perception: night vision and superior hearing. Its eyes are also its ears, and its ears are eyes.


The owl is a paragon of non-conformity, a marvel of adaptation, thriving in darkness.

Sometimes it is useful to know how to thrive in darkness. This may be one of those times.

The darkness doesn’t phase you

The thrills of night amaze you

You see all that you need to

In blind defiance

 

You fly under the radar

The ground you’ve covered so far!

The world is none the wiser

You soar in silence

 

Night owl

Knowing right now

Is no time for sleepin’

With critters creepin’

 

Night Owl

Taking flight now

While the world’s in slumber

The nights are numbered

 

You’re slower than the fast birds

But you don’t know the fast birds

They litter up the daylight

While you wait for night

 

Articulate with less words

You never flew with the herds

But never are you lonely

You’re happy only

 

Wiser

You are wiser

Make a paradise

Out of the nighttime

 

Slower

In a slow whir

You fly low and stealthy

Below the boughs and leaves

 

You prowl as you please

Night Owl

 

 

 

In My Web

By Aimée Allen

 

In my web

Silken thread all around

Will glisten and will shine

So you will never mind

How lovingly you’re bound

 

In my web

No need to spread your wings

Suspended in the air

With me you’ll never miss

The rush that flying brings

 

Just say you’ll never fly away

And forever you will stay

My only one

And so in love we’ll always be

In time you will agree

Just you

Just me

Just wait, you’ll see

 

In my web

You’ll find I’m kind to you

I’ll give you everything

It’s all I have to give

And all I have will do

 

You’ll see then

How love’s its own reward

How letting yourself be

Entangled and happy

Will melt every discord

 

Just say you’ll never fly away

All you’ve gotta do is stay

My only one

And so in love we’ll always

That I will guarantee

Just you

Just me

Just wait, you’ll see

 

In my web

You’ll never want for love

My ties won’t gag and bind

They’ll glisten and they’ll shine

That you can be sure of

 

You’ll see then

How love’s its own reward

How letting yourself be

Entangled and happy

Will melt every discord

 

Just say you’ll never fly away

And forever you will stay

My only one

Alone together intertwined

In me always a friend you’ll find

I’m yours

You’re mine

And so in love we’ll always

In time you will agree

Just you

Just me

Just wait, you’ll see

 

Touch the Sun

Music by François Moutin

Lyrics by Aimée Allen

A flock of starlings in flight is a tapestry of choreographed wonder.

Thousand of birds' coordinated movement creates a stunning visual show, of shifting shapes and shadows, morphing depths and shallows. 

This natural phenomenon, of many birds moving as one, is called a murmuration. Murmurations are mesmerizing.  


Witness the power and beauty in a community of collective action. Consider how we might unite to create such power and beauty.

Touch the Sun is the lyric I wrote, to Francois Moutin’s music that reminded me of the movement of a starling flock. The song is about the phenomenon of murmuration, and much more. 

 

Being of flight

We catch the light

Take to the skies

Watch the sun rise

Wherever we happen to be

 

Air is our space

We dash we race

Moving as one

In unison

We’re riding high

We touch the sun

 

In record time

Our paths align

A thousand wings

New beginnings

The season ends

As we transcend

 

This migration

Moves toward the sun

Setting us free

Winter is done

We fill the skies

We touch the sun

 

The Paper Kite Butterfly has a wingspan of 5-6 inches. Due to the high ratio of its wing-to-body size, it has a weak, fluttery flight, interspersed with gliding. But it’s awkward flight hides a potent weapon. 


As a caterpillar this soon-to-be winged creature eats bitter-tasting alkaloid plants, giving it a bitter taste to predators. Once it emerges from its chrysalis of metallic black and gold, striking black and white wings become a warning for predators: try to eat me, and I will make you very sick. 


Like the Paper Kite Butterfly, we should edify ourselves with nourishment, and information, that will assure our survival in the face of predators.

Democracy How (Harmony and Dissonance)

By Aimée Allen

 

Stories contrived, concocted, misconstrued

To bring about a bitter feud

Voices silenced, muzzled, made lewd

They tell me all I have to lose

By looking and listening

By reading and researching

Or gathering several points of view

They tell me one and one is not two

The death of truth

 

Democracy is on the line

We’ve asked ourselves a thousand times

If this is what our voices mean

Can we be heard

Can we be seen

 

Democracy no way no how

Can all our voices be heard now

When truth is plundered, hollowed out

We do not speak

We only shout

 

Democracy

You say to me

This is democracy

How can it be

 

Democracy

I still don’t see

How this is democracy

It cannot be

 

And who are we

Menaced by authority

Who can we be

If this becomes normalcy

 

How are we free

If this rapidly

Democracy

Ceases to be

 

Democracy was sacred once

Now harmony is dissonance

The shared ideals no longer sway

A people who’ve

Been led astray

 

With all our common ground destroyed

The nihilists entered the void

They claim the piper must be paid

So we regress on progress made

 

Democracy

You say to me

This is democracy

How can it be

 

Democracy

I still don’t see

How this is democracy

How can it be

 

And who are we

If we go along with it

Who can we be

Finding nothing wrong with it

 

How are we free

If this rapidly

Democracy

Ceases to be

 

An amazing creature, the glasswing butterfly uses its transparent wings to hide from predators during flight.

Its wings appear delicate, but it is able to carry up to 40 times its own weight. It seems fragile, but it is strong, shrewd and strategic.  Sometimes the challenges before us call on us to find invisible wings and transcend our circumstances in creative ways. 

Liner Notes

 

Icarus dreamed of it. Maya Angelou spoke of it. To be caged is to dream of freedom but to be uncaged is to dare all, to risk all—no matter the consequences, no matter the peril.

 

“Wings Uncaged” is a musical epistle of freedom for freedom’s sake, a jeremiad on freedom in the Age of Trumpism.

 

In her previous albums, Aimée Allen sang in sometimes sweet, sometimes sultry tones of love and longing. In an era when love and sweetness are in danger of being trampled by savagery, Aimée responds with unquestionable force, subtle wit, and defiant beauty.

 

As ever, François Moutin’s bass work, and his compositional contributions, are peerless. He deftly navigates the determined shift to proclamation in partnership with Kush Abadey’s intricate textures on drums. and Billy Test’s brilliant lights on piano. They provide the punch to Aimée’s oracles. They are Greek chorus in the freedom drama.  And true to form, they play with abandon.

 

Even the covers interspersed here are transformed into revelations of emancipation and self-determination. Listen for it. You will hear it. However, it is those magnificent, sometimes prescient, originals that make every Aimée Allen album a marvel.

 

“Touch the Sun”, written with Moutin, rejoices in the Icarusian liberty of cooperative flight. It is what the camaraderie of boundlessness should be, as we reach possibilities together. While “Shooting Star” warns of the recklessness possible in freedom. Aimée sings, “Everybody knows you / Can’t keep a moth from flame / Though you may call his name / To fire he goes.”

 

“Night Owl” speaks of the wisdom in disenthralment and the responsibilities of autonomy.

 

“In My Web” sees Aimée switch perspective to the view of desperate love that can rob us of our freedom. “Democracy How” is the warning—not preachy but prophetic – of losing it ourselves.

 

At the end of the day, it’s one thing to have wings but it’s quite another to be uncaged. Freedom is so charming with its inevitable, irresistible, seductive complacency, and yet so tenuous, so fragile, so easy to lose.

 

This music mesmerizes and enlightens with rare beauty.  Aimée’s vocals penetrate the heart and quicken the soul. And Test, Moutin, and Abadey cast a dazzling light on the whole work. 

 

Through it all, Aimée sings a psalmist’s subtle message: the voice too has wings.

 

~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl

In My Web (Excerpt) - Aimée Allen - Wings Uncaged
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Night Owl (Excerpt) - Aimée Allen - Wings Uncaged
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Shooting Star (Excerpt) - Aimée Allen - Wings Uncaged
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