Two Suitcases

by Joshua Fialkoff

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about

Almost 4 years ago, I got rid of most of my stuff, bought a van, and traveled around the world making music, meeting amazing people, and collecting memories. While behind the wheel or on an airplane, I would often turn inward, tumbling lyrics and melodies around in my head and recording them on my phone when I thought they were ready. Back then, I’d frequently revisit those recordings and cringe at the lyrics, laughing when I remembered how excited I was about them upon their inception. It was even more fun (and if anyone else were to hear them, likely embarrassing) to listen to the mumbled recordings of melodies. To this day, I wonder how a tone-deaf cat keeps getting ahold of my phone. 

I distinctly remember making a scratch recording of the bridge and chorus of “Two Suitcases”. I was more excited than I’d ever been about anything I’ve created. Have you ever pulled up to a stoplight to see the person in the car next to you busting out to their favorite song, completely  oblivious to the world outside their car? I’m pretty sure that’s what I would’ve looked like had you been driving next to me on the freeway somewhere between Portland and Philadelphia as I was belting the hook into my phone: “TWOOOOO SUITCASES and that rusty beat up car.” It is absolutely thrilling to listen to old recordings of that song now and see how far it’s come.

This album was wrought from an array of feelings, from fear to fascination to joy. In short, it’s been an enlightening adventure, a small piece of life captured in 10 songs. I’m thrilled to share it with you, and I hope that it inspires you to create, grow, adventure, and dance.

-Joshua Fialkoff

credits

released November 16, 2019

Music and lyrics by Joshua Fialkoff

Joshua Fialkoff – vocals, piano, keyboards, claps
Ross Bellenoit – guitars, keyboards, percussion, vocals
Matt Keppler – bass guitar, double–bass
Alex Maio – drums

Nicole Tranquillo – vocals
Eli Winderman – organ (“A Different Game” and “Closed Eyes and a Setting Sun”)
John Swana – EVI (“Once We Reached For The Sun”)

Orchestration by Ross Bellenoit
Russell Kotcher – violin
Liz Carlson – violin
Andriana Markano – viola
Andrea Weber – cello
Elliot Bild – trumpet
Hailey Brinnel – trombone
Korey Riker – saxophone

Ryan Calloway - album cover
Devon Rowland - photography

Produced by Ross Bellenoit
Mixed by Doug Raus
Recorded and mastered by Sean Svadlenak
Additional recording by Jeff Hiatt and Doug Raus
Recorded and mixed at Turtle Studios, Philadelphia

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all rights reserved

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about

Joshua Fialkoff Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Josh Fialkoff has been blending his smoky voice and soulful instrumentals for audiences since 2006. His music features a refreshing take on both traditional blues and jazz music as well as modern songs, and his arrangements blend these influences in a way that is neither stale nor abstract. ... more

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Track Name: Once We Reached For The Sun
Once We Reached For The Sun

(Chorus)
Once we reached for the sun
Now we falter
Once we reached for the sun
Now we fade

(Verse)
But I once sailed the galaxy,
Tore stars down from where angels dance and sing
And then I came to you and offered you the sky
Until you took it, until you had the faith to try

I heard the ocean sing its song
I sat and listened until I could sing along
And then I sang it to you softer than a sigh
Until you heard it, until you had the faith to try

(Chorus)

(Verse)
I danced among the redwood trees,
Painted pictures of possibilities
Then I showed it to you ‘til you heard the cry
Until you listened, until you had the faith to try

And as we sauntered through the park,
It was I who gave to you that infant spark
Electricity surged inside your mind
Until you felt it, until you had the faith to try

(Bridge)
I'm the raging fire
I'm the beating drum
I'm the shepherd, the savior
The will to run
I’m the Angel’s song
I’m the symphony
I am what you make of it
Am what you let me be

(Chorus)

(Verse)
I sailed across the galaxy,
Tore stars down from where angels dance and sing
Then I came to you and offered you the sky
Until you took it, until you had the faith to try

And there's a place you call the truth
You rarely spoke of it when you were in your youth,
But now you hold me there my hands and feet are tied
And I’ll keep screaming, please won’t you just let me try
Let me try…

Once we reached for the sun

"Thank you to the persistence and power of imagination. Even from your cells, you ignite the world." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Get On With It
Get On With It

Welcome to life
Let me introduce you
‘Cause you don’t seem you know it like someone who’s livin’ it is supposed to
It’s got ups, downs, it’ll knock you around
But boy, you know it’s the only life you got

So you best make the most of it
And give it a real strong go of it
Keep loving, growing, strutting, flowing
And do it until you stop…
You’re complainin’
‘Cause we’re all over here waiting
For you to chill and cool your top

All ya gotta do is:
Work hard,
Love hard,
Play hard,
And don’t disregard
The fact every stray scar’s just a little proof you passed the test

Ya want love?
Gotta create love
Ya know that hate just ain’t the cure for what ails, cuz
You can choose happiness or hatred -
Both are as contagious -
And they’ll each find their way back to you
Let me boil it down, son:
Life’s just what you make it, so

Get on with it, get on with it, get on
Get on with it, get on with it, get on
Get on with it, get on with it, get on
Get on with it, get on with it, get on, get on with it, get on with it, get on

"Special thanks to Emiliano Estevez for his support in creating this song. I’m sorry there aren’t any airplane sounds. Hope you still enjoy it ;)" - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Why Must We Make Easy So Hard
Why Must We Make Easy So Hard

(Verse)
It’s been a long, hard and lonely season
But I finally found a way to feel fine
But now the echoes of your touch have left it freezing
‘Cause for the moment you were here, I felt it shine
How foolish was I to think things might be different this time?

(Chorus)
Why must we make easy so hard?
Why must we see endings before there’s even a start?
Why must all my nights be sleepless nights
Where dreams of you tear me apart?
Why must we make easy so hard?

(Verse)
The muffled din of performers out on Crescent
Mingled with the hopes of the passersby,
While on a pearl-white tablecloth, two hands pretended
That forever was a day nestled into late July
But soon sentiments fade and leave reason to conquer the rhyme.

(Chorus)

(Bridge)
Such stories are told
By authors and artists
By canvas and rhymes
By stars and blue skies
And oh, how we dine
On sensibility’s harvest
And though never without,
We’re always unsatisfied

(Chorus)

"What a wonderful world we live in where love is manifest. What a splendorous place it would be if we let it be as simple as it wants to be." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Tear You Down
Tear You Down

(Verse)
It was such a surprise
When you showed up at my place
Tracking dirt on the floor
Throwing mud in my face
I coulda sworn you were gone
But you're still taking up space
Hiding out in the corners
Trying out different shapes

(Verse)
I was enjoying myself
Pretending you weren’t around
I was out shaking hands
With everybody in town
Now it’s clear that you're here
I'll keep you wearing a frown
I’m gonna make you a promise
Resolute is my vow

(Chorus)
I’m gonna tear you down
Wipe the surface clean
Keep fighting ‘til it’s ended
Keep fighting ‘til I set me free
I can take the blows-
Can you take what you got coming?

I’m gonna tear you down
I won’t leave a trace
You coulda left when I asked nicely
Woulda let you off so easily
Now, I’m rage and flame
And I’m burning through your fables
And I only stop at victory

(Bridge)
These fields are overgrown
With all the lies you’ve sown
And their roots extend to where soil meets the sea
And you can watch them burn
Each root and tree in turn
‘Cause it’ll take more than your lies to conquer me

(Chorus)

"A big middle finger goes out to fear in all its forms. We’ll not mistake your persistence for strength." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Closed Eyes and a Setting Sun
Closed Eyes and a Setting Sun

(Verse)
Lightning tore the curtains
Off a dark and desperate sky
The townsfolk rushed for cover
As the sleet began to fly
A little boy ran once the storm began
And his father followed close behind,
But runnin’ won’t get you nowhere
When there ain't nowhere to hide

(Chorus)
It's too late now, lord, don't you see what we have done?
We've been trading in lies and we bought ourselves a setting sun

(Verse)
The preacher asked forgiveness
As he fell upon his knees
The rain dripped down his forehead
To meet the tears upon his cheeks
Please, oh lord, won’t you help us
In this, our time of need?
“We'll change,” he said, but he recognized
The pretense of his plea

(Chorus)

(Verse)
Towers succumbed to the rumble
Of the ground that shook below
Whole towns turned to rubble
As the earthquakes took their toll
Once, the wind it whispered
A message we all ignored,
But now that same voice is shouting out
These grave and final words

(Chorus)

"Thank you to our home. You will surely outlast us. I’m sorry for how we’ve treated you." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: A Different Game
A Different Game

(Verse)
Sitting, waiting, hoping that the train don’t show
But it’s here every morning
And at 9am, you can hear that engine roaring

Too afraid to stay, too afraid to go
Just sittin’ here waitin'
Since the first damn time that the train came to the station
But now it's time for me to climb on board

(Verse)
I can’t remember the last time I felt this good
Watching myself from the ceiling
While a crowded floor moves to the music that we’re creating

It’ll seem like a dream come tomorrow morn
Doing hard time on a keyboard
While I distract myself remembering moments I was made for
Perhaps it’s time I made those times the norm

(Chorus)
Ya know the world is riddled with excuses
(Riddled with excuses)
And that our fears makes them seem sane
(It's just a shame, shame, shame)
What if we all made a resolution
(Make a resolution)
Picking up all this shit advice (all this shit advice), and kickin' it to the flames
It’s time we played a different game

"So much thanks goes out to the magical people of the blues, fusion, and swing dance communities. You inspire me to be better. I hope that I have honored all that you’ve given me." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Another Yesterday
Another Yesterday

Far from the city, we can see the stars
Feel the moon shining bright upon our tangled limbs
But would he shine as bright if he had seen beyond the dark?

I never thought that there would be an end
To this river I’ve been drinking from
That you could say a word without me falling deeper in

Where’s that northern star
That beacon heart
I found yesterday, yesterday

Where’s that lover’s spell
That endless well
I found yesterday, yesterday
Yesterday, yesterday

That’s how the story goes
It’s the only one I know
You can find me tumbling towards the end

Did I drink you up?
Are you flesh?
Or have I made you a desert
Just sand in a sweatshirt
Praying for rain

And when I’m dry
Will I go out
And find me another
Yesterday, yesterday, yesterday

Where’s that northern star
That beacon heart
I found yesterday, yesterday

Where’s that lover’s spell
That endless well
I found yesterday, yesterday
Yesterday, yesterday...
Track Name: Soldiers Made Of Stone
Soldiers Made of Stone

(Verse)
A bench, a tree
A pond, a stream,
His suit is pressed and cleaned
The pattern’s dated

A dance, a grin
A song, he spins
The man is lost within
Thus he's evaded

(Chorus)
We are free now
But we are soldiers made of stone
We’ve eluded the unknown

We're at peace now
But our fields are bricks and bones
We are free and on our own
We are free....

(Verse)
A desk, a chair
A screen, he stares
Pretends he's unaware
Pretends he's sated

He walks on by
No smiles, replies
The man is lost inside
His hope has faded

(Chorus)

"Special thanks to the fine gentleman I met one day in Scotland who loved birds and dancing. It was a treat to talk with you." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Oh Fortunate One
Oh Fortunate One

Good fortune’s a fairytale fable, a Tinkerbell dream
For I who once sat at your table but now drowns in the streets
Why won't you lift me up?
Lift me up
Lift me up, I’ve been undone
Lift me up, oh fortunate one

He unrolls his bed outside on the pavement
And remembers the room he once had long ago
The smell of the cotton, the feel of the blanket
But that star’s in the distance and this hell’s now his home

And so we stumble our way through the darkness
We are torn by the winds and the seas
And our gardens will grow whatever seeds we sow
And we are left wandering

The doors were closed and disabled the day I opened my eyes
And I’ve heard your talk of freedom but I’ve seen only lies
Why won't you lift me up
Lift me up
Lift me up, I’ve been undone
Lift me up, oh fortunate one

My house is a home to anger and sorrow
My heart has grown hungry, seldom knows a repast
So I've built up a wall with the bricks that I borrowed
From the City of Angels where the devil's held fast

And so we stumble our way through the darkness
We are torn by the winds and the seas
And our gardens will grow whatever seeds we sow
And we are left wandering

"Gabe, you are still in my thoughts. I just wish I knew how to help you. I miss having you as a companion, an instigator, and the world’s finest mobile bartender." - Joshua Fialkoff
Track Name: Two Suitcases
Two Suitcases

(Verse)
All these pictures bring back faded revery
But who’s this person, the one who made those memories?
Are you caught inside a picture frame
Or lost behind a window pane?

All these boxes filled with fragments from the past
Buried treasure she hoped would make the moments last
and now you’re trapped behind these plaster walls
Thinking maybe you were better off

(Chorus)
With just two suitcases
And that rusty beat-up car
Two suitcases
And time to stare up at the stars
How these paths diverged so suddenly
Did I choose this or did it choose me?
Guess I’ll let those two suitcases be

(Verse)
Through these windows, there are marigolds in bloom
A mother’s present from a child who grew too soon
They explode upon these fields of green
And remind me of all these eyes have seen

This old piano, all the stories it could tell
About little fingers casting their first spells
I can almost hear those melodies
But I’m too lost in thoughts of what could be

(Chorus)

(Bridge)
Always speaking in past tenses
Peeking through the fences
Thinking of jumping to the other side
The grass there might look greener
‘Cause here the shade’s much deeper
I'll see it when I open my eyes
And then I’ll find a way to just put aside

(Chorus)
Those two suitcases
and that rusty beat up car
Two suitcases
From here I still can see the stars
And I’ll cherish all those memories
Ya know they’ll always be a part of me
But it’s time to love the life I lead
And let those two suitcases be

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