Resilience

Robinlee describes Resilience as an empathetic musical love letter to those who are struggling to overcome life’s challenges. Each song addresses a different theme that sometimes tells a story, and the lyrics depict with poignancy the emotions that come from wanting to make personal life changes or gain greater self-insight.

 

Consider quitting a job that you love because the workload is killing you in “My Imagination.” There is a woman testing the boundaries of her marriage by wanting to follow her dreams as she discovers the “Road To Paradise.” In “Nothing To Be Done” one comes to terms with the untimely death of a friend. “Resilience” describes surviving childhood bullying. These are some of the universal experiences that Robinlee writes and sings about. Nothing is ever simple, but there are still ways to rise above and thrive.

 

Resilience is warm, soulful, and meditative. It’s folk with a touch of torch. Robinlee’s distinct and soothing alto voice is complimented by the eclectic arrangements of Steve Dawson (of Chicago’s Dolly Varden and Funeral Bonsai Wedding), which feature: acoustic, electric and slide guitar; upright and electric bass; violin; cello; harmonium; accordion; hand percussion; piano; and banjo. The songs are lyric driven, and the melodies contain unpredictable aspects of jazz, folk and soul while still maintaining a straight forward acoustic feel. 

 

Robinlee recorded Resilience with Steve Dawson at Kernel Sound Studios in Chicago, except for “Tired of Being The Moon,” where she worked with Dan Hazlett in Home St Studio in Pontiac, Michigan. She is joined by various notable Chicago artists such as Larry Beers (percussion), Jordi Kleiner (violin), Dean Milano (upright bass), Patrick Burke (upright bass), Brad Cole (percussion), Melissa Bach (cello), and Rick Vines (percussion). The album was mixed and mastered by Gary Gordon at Inside-Out Entertainment. 

Lyrics and Credits

1. My Imagination

You got a smile that brings out the worst in me 

It questions the way I’ve let love rule my destiny 

One day I’m fine, the next I’m in agony 

‘cause my heart says to let you run the show

 

Working from sun-up ‘til I fall down again 

No one’s keeping score as far as I can see

Except my imagination, my imagination

my imagination and me 

 

Once I believed in a bigger picture 

I hoped one day I would see

and war to fight for some freedom 

that yearns to be

Another coin’s tossed and I’m lost 

singing songs like a bird in a tree

set to fly at the next sign of snow (Here I go!)

 

Working from sun-up until I fall down and then 

no one cares if the answers turn out false or true

Except my imagination, my imagination

my imagination and you

 

The more I relinquish the less it takes 

to see the choices I’ve been given

There’s safety in numbers to be sure

but honey there’s only one life that I’ll live

and it’s mine not yours

Mine not yours

 

There is a place and a time

in the future it seems

where concern for others 

coexists with dreams

And passion’s not spent 

keeping some judgement appeased 

while wondering if I should stay or go (Go! Go! Go!)

 

Working from sun-up until I let it 

all fall down and then

no one’s gonna notice me 

quietly slip away

Except my imagination, my imagination, my imagination 

and me they’ll say

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar, 

Larry Beers: drums & percussion

Patrick Burke: upright bass

Jordi Kleiner: violin

Steve Dawson: piano

 

2. Road To Paradise

She asked “what time is it?” fifteen years later

“Gotta make some changes, I wanna talk to strangers”

The world looks so much different if you turn it upside down

that’s what she means to do, so that everything she lost gets found

 

On the road to paradise there are rest stops and museums

and free parking overnight at the best one star hotels

You can’t expect to bypass tolls, ‘cause your life ain’t rock n’ roll

but if sung just right, honey, every story sells

 

Good hair or politics: which one will get you paid?

She’s late to work again, this day job’s getting in the way

How can she make a decision if things move from bad to worse?

Time’s a bike without a kickstand that’s got every option but reverse

 

On the road to paradise you don’t get comp-time for living

or a punch card keeping track of the hours that slipped away

So when passion’s worth more than gold, why not buy back the soul you sold?

If the right price makes you more brave and less afraid

 

It takes a lot of nerve letting dreams defend your reasons 

when what seems logical to some, to others gets lost in translation

By the coffee pot she left a note, just a few short lines was all it spoke

printed out in comic sans: sorry babe, you married Peter Pan 

 

On the road to paradise you’ll be sleeping with distractions

named Vanity and Ambivalence and they’ll always steal the sheets

So when fear has taken hold, why not aim for a different goal               

one that won’t confuse the truth with your beliefs

On the road to paradise...

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Steve Dawson: slide guitar, electric bass

Larry Beers: percussion

Jordi Kleiner: violin

 

3. You Can’t Break A Heart

It’s a pattern in my life

kiss me once and I’ll leave you twice

Sweeping your tears off the kitchen floor 

and finding notes 

in the bedroom down the hall

Promised to stay throughout the years, 

while getting offers in both ears

Now I’m a teenager no more

but I’m not old enough to say I know for sure

 

Chorus: 

Who do you love 

when it’s all been said and done?

‘Cause I have learned to be 

a party built for one

You can’t break a heart 

you might break a heart 

but you won’t break a heart 

that’s too soft to be broken 

 

I’ll write the words to sing along

keeping tempo with your songs

I’ll harmonize or match your pitch 

and let you know into which key I’ve switched

I always mean to tell the truth 

but time can change a point a view

between freedom and a rock 

can’t tell you where I am but I know what I am not

 

chorus...

 

Circling ‘round the fact that indecision is still a choice

and to do no harm means something different every time

In the aftermath I want to hear approval’s voice

‘cause I don’t want to stay and watch history rewind

 

Is it a dream or is it real 

that we get to do just what we feel?

Respect the order of the world

Reflect random twists of nature’s force unfurled

I’ll hold your hand if you think it helps

and say there’s been nobody else

But that won’t justify my claim

commitment means I will not make the same mistakes again 

chorus...

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar, accordion

Steve Dawson: electric bass, slide guitar

Brad Cole: percussion

 

4. Resilience

There’s a name I call myself

when I want to be someone else

but I won’t say it out loud 

Change my hair and hide my face

run a lap for the human race

maybe win, show, or place

just to make the family proud

 

Chorus:

Alone, always alone

with my nose pressed against the glass

of what’s seen as ordinary 

Can’t find my way back home

trying simply just to pass 

for who they want me to be

Who did they want me to be? 

 

A girl in a group of pretty girls 

they called me ugly in that world 

Tall and shy, but always singing 

School bus taunts and hidden tears

life was hell for 18 years

Labeled freakish, wrong and queer

denied love from the beginning 

 

Chorus...

 

I tell you I’m over it all

Never looked back answered the call

From somewhere deep inside my head

When I think of where I am now

Miracle 

I figured out how

I chose resilience instead 

I chose resilience instead 

I chose resilience  

 

There’s a name I call myself

when I’m glad I’m not someone else 

and I may tell you it one day

It defines a part of me 

from within and not what’s seen

A feeling words just can’t relay

 

‘Cause when I’m alone, always alone

with my nose pressed against the glass 

of what’s seen as ordinary

I’ll find my way back home

refusing just to pass 

for who they want me to be 

Who did they want me to be? 

More like them, less like me 

Who do they want me to be? 

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Steve Dawson: acoustic guitar, electric bass

 

5. Walk Away

Got motion sickness from all our ups and downs

And you don’t know the half of it 

I wake to hear you singing softly in my head

But you are prob’ly not the one who fits

 

My neat little boxes 

And nice little plans

All my secret silly fantasies

Line them up like tiny shiny silver cans

And shoot ‘em down for me 

‘Cause I can’t fall again

Walk away 

Be my friend

 

Fellow traveler

hitchhiker from last spring

I fell asleep at the wheel somehow

Now you’re the one 

who’s driving this thing

All I can say is “sorry” for now

 

‘Cause my neat little boxes 

And nice little plans

Hide intentions I did not expect to lead me to this end

I could tell the truth 

But make you lie again

Or walk away 

And just be friends

 

I know the way my passion make me turn

Like the branches on a crazy twisted tree

Obsessed to harbor every songbird that lands

But my future’s got a past you see

 

I wonder why it is and yes, it scares me so

You take my kindness all too gracefully

I’m secretly hoping that you’ll just tell me no

agendas aside, reciprocate, or let me be

 

With my neat little boxes and nice little plans

And desperation ticking silently as I let go of your hand

If betrayal’s real then I’ll just make pretend

you walked away

you were my friend

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Steve Dawson: piano, electric bass, percussion

 

 

 

 

 

6. Vacillate        

How much closer will you get to me 

before you cross some line?

I can lay beside you as you sleep

trading exhales, breathing deep 

curving your body into mine

         

But it’s not up to me entirely

the way I vacillate emotionally

Do I show you how I feel 

or stay safe behind a shield 

in quiet contemplation

of a heart’s manipulation 

 

How much distance will you keep between 

what you think and what is known?

You watched me disappear for days 

staring directly at your face 

searching your eyes to find a soul 

    

But it’s not up to you entirely

the way you vacillate emotionally

Will you tell me how you feel 

or stay safe behind a shield 

in quiet contemplation 

of a heart’s manipulation

 

Say it now or simply let me have this fantasy 

that every little thing will be o.k.

The future’s only something I just hope will be

a lot more clearer than today

and stay that way

 

How much meaning do we place on time 

if we want space to be a factor?                  

I can count the years right down to seconds 

in a voice that asks then beckons

meet me halfway ever after

 

Perhaps it’s up to us entirely

the way we vacillate emotionally                      

Denying everything we feel

expecting each other just to yield

upon sudden revelation 

of a heart’s manipulation

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Larry Beers: percussion

Patrick Burke: upright bass

Steve Dawson: electric guitar, organ, percussion

 

7. Tired Of Being The Moon

I’m tired of being the moon, she said

reflecting light from inside another’s head

The pretense of being lesser than: if she’s the girl then he’s the man

But looking backwards still a little sunlight might improve her will

And she’s tired of being the moon

 

I’m done with going home, he grieved  

There’s too much pain in memories

The instinct searching to belong is extinguished when he’s labeled “wrong”

But sometimes it feels good to rest in the safety of a familiar nest.

And he’s done with going home

 

What we are and who we’re meant to be

is the choice still ours if we believe in destiny?

What we are and who we’re meant to be

is the choice still ours?

 

I’m bored with thinking small, she breathed 

The universe expands past me

I’ve got a higher power that goes beyond manmade books and hollow wands

But superstition it runs deep and she prays to God her soul’s still good to keep

 

And she’s bored

And he’s done 

And I’m tired of being the moon

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Jordi Kleiner: violin

 

8. The Cure For Loneliness

Tell me more about the people and the damage

And how you put the things you love away

When life becomes a guest too shrewd to manage

And you can’t take another loss that comes your way

 

Chorus: 

It’s all or nothing now

No one’s gonna break your stride

You think kindness is a weakness

And a chance to let the bad guys win

I’m in your corner

I’m here to hold your hand

I’m wondering if you’ll let me in

 

Your brothers and sisters are now broken branches off the family tree

And associates are friends who come and go

You prefer a stranger’s ear to hear your sorrows

Then reject the help they offer blaming nothing apropos

 

Chorus….

 

You’re making money, not earning love

The faces all around you smile but you can’t see

You say you want to find the cure for loneliness

You say you’d pay any price if you could simply find belief

 

What exactly did you think I could give you 

When you expect another hit and run?

You shrug and say to me it’s nothing personal

‘til someone’s lost a heart this game just isn’t fun

 

Chorus…

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Steve Dawson: slide guitar, electric guitar, electric bass

 

9. I Am Water, I Am Fire

You’re my kind of trouble

Smooth as bourbon

Sweet like fine French champagne

Dizzy dancing with a feeling

Sometimes pleasure, sometimes pain

No rules, no walls

You just smile

And I just fall

 

Chorus:

You make me love you

then you make me leave

You tell me stories no one would believe

but I will 

I promise 

It’s the way that I’m wired 

Half sorrow, half joy 

I am water, I am fire

 

You’re my kind of exit 

Hidden enough that only those closest to the isle

can see you gesture toward a door 

no one’s used in a while

A welcomed escape 

A talent exclusively yours

Chorus....

It’s the paradox of persuasion

the art of desire’s an inside job 

I’ll fall quickly and without hesitation 

But seduction’s flame on me 

has left more than one scar

 

You’re my kind of ghost 

present enough to occupy the dreams in my day

Disappearing when I need you 

always a delay before the entrance

Still I loved feeling 

all that suspense   

Chorus...

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, electric guitar

Larry Beers: percussion

Patrick Burke: upright bass

Steve Dawson: organ, acoustic guitar, highest harmony in the background vocals

 

10. Nothing To Be Done

Nothing to be done about the stars up in the sky

Nothing to be done about the trouble last July

Nothing to be done about the way she wouldn't let us cry

when the moon eclipsed her sun

Nothing to be done

 

Nothing to be done because she never called us back

Nothing to be done because we gave her all we had

Nothing to be done and it only makes us sad

remembering we used to have fun

Now there's nothing to be done

 

"Go ahead now," is what she'd say

"I lived my life the way I chose, and I died still having faith"

But we want to bargain

it can't be the last time

Then her gentle voice's echo whispers through my memory's door

"There's nothing you can do for me. Not one thing more."

 

Nothing to be done after the company is gone

Nothing to be done after their cars tore up the whole front lawn

Nothing to be done after I wrote another song

I thought for her I could have sung

when there was nothing to be done

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, acoustic guitar

Steve Dawson: slide guitar, electric bass

 

11. Amelia by Joni Mitchell

I was driving across the burning desert

When I spotted six jet planes

Leaving six white vapor trails 

across the bleak terrain

It was the hexagram of the heavens

it was the strings of my guitar

Amelia it was just a false alarm  

 

The drone of flying engines

Is a song so wild and blue

It scrambles time and seasons 

if it gets through to you

Then your life becomes a travelogue

Of picture post card charms

Amelia it was just a false alarm

 

People will tell you where they've gone

They'll tell you where to go

But ‘til you get there yourself you’ll never really know

Where some have found their paradise

Other's just come to harm

Oh, Amelia 

it was just a false alarm     

 

I wish that he was here tonight

It's so hard to obey

His sad request of me to kindly stay away

So this is how I hide the hurt

As the road leads cursed and charmed

I tell Amelia it was just a false alarm

 

A ghost of aviation

She was swallowed by the sky

Or by the sea like me she had a dream to fly

Like Icarus ascending

On beautiful foolish arms

Amelia it was just a false alarm

 

Maybe I've never really loved

I guess that is the truth

I've spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitudes

And looking down on everything

I crashed into his arms

Amelia it was just a false alarm

 

I pulled into the Cactus Tree Motel

To shower off the dust

And I slept on the strange pillows 

of my wanderlust

I dreamed of 747s

Over geometric farms

Dreams Amelia 

dreams and false alarms

 

Robinlee Garber: vocals, banjo

Steve Dawson: slide guitar, harmonium, drums

Dean Milano: upright bass

Rick Vines: percussion

Melissa Bach: cello

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