Cities

by Jonathon Roberts

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1.
I'm Small 05:27
I'm small I'm small All my brothers are bigger than me I'm small I'm small All my sisters are bigger, too But you don't know me I've been around since ancient times I got a plan, I got a plan that's old Though I'm small There'll come a day When out of me there will come a king There'll come a day when you too will feel small You'll feel abandoned Then stand with me and watch all my brothers and sisters stand, too You should know me I've been around since ancient times I got a plan, I got a plan that's old Out of me will come a king Just like you, he'll be small, too But when he stands, he'll be might He'll be tall, he'll be strong We are small, we are small Stand with me and sing We are small, we are small We're children of the king We are small, we are small Stand with me and sing We are small, we are small We're children of the king He will know us He's been around since ancient times He's got a plan He's got a plan that's old He will reign, he will lead A Shepherd and a King And there will be, there will be peace everywhere and on everything
2.
Ephesus 07:59
We were alive We were alive We were alive my streets were veins and the people, blood coursed in and out my ports were full I’m full I was proud I was proud as a king all the happenings when you walked here commerce flowed ideas sold I was told I had forgotten my first love When they chased you When they chased you They had to chase you said their gods were broken their lives a farce and I was afraid I was afraid in my theater huge and proud There was a sea of shouts and all my walls fall down My paths and roads congest and you are lost I was lost I had forgotten my first love You sailed away 'cross the Aegean sea leaving broken people inside of me You saw them as one sealed together with their fractures and their faults But all I feel are splintered pieces and if they fuse, these veins may block and bruise Will I be lost, will I lose I’ve forgotten my first love I’ve forgotten my first love Your letter came Before the sea had left You wished me fullness, while I I tried to know I tried to know as the walls grew around were you safe at last or were you walled up too Are bones all that remain of me and you? I will remember my first love
3.
I Passed By 05:17
I passed by I passed by I saw you kicking in your blood And as you lay there, I said “Live” I made you grow like a plant of the field And You grew into the most beautiful of jewels Your breasts were formed, your hair grew You who were naked and bare I passed by I saw you were old enough for love And as you lay there, I spread my cloak And covered over you I gave you my solemn oath And entered into a covenant with you And you became mine. I bathed you with water Washed your blood Robed you in linen Bracelets on your arm, ring in your nose And you rose, a queen But you trusted in your beauty and your fame And lavished favors on anyone who passed by Your beauty became his They passed by, your lovers I saw you gave them our children’s blood As you lay there I will your body to them Those you loved and those you hated They will strip you of your jewels, stone You body Leave you kicking in your blood, naked and bear You, who rose a queen Do you remember Do you remember, Do you remember I am the Lord, and I am your lover, your lover, Savior, and friend
4.
Jericho 05:12
I guard myself I know who you are That you will pursue me if I let my guard down So I stay secure, nothing in nothing out Still you say that I am, that I am, that I am already yours That I am already yours I am delivered in your hands You take your soul and your song and you play, you play music as you circle me once a day You never shout, You wrap around me early in the morning and you hold me for days You hold me for days I am delivered in your hands A week later you are still circling me A week later you are still circling me A week later you are still circling me You are circling me when I hear the blast I hear your voice, I hear you shout And all my walls, my walls fall down And I am exposed My silver and my gold What’s sacred, in your hands I can’t keep you out everything I have, everything I have is being destroyed I am cursed And so is anyone who helps me, don’t try to help me cause I’m already– I’m burned, Everything is over, There’s a fire behind my gates and I’m gone, I’m devoted, I am devoted, I am devoted by the edge of the sword Yet one small part of me that’s a harlot, a part I was sure you would hate, you love It’s a life you carry, a life you love, she's gonna save the world There’s a part of me that’s a harlot, a part I was sure you would hate, you love It’s a life you carry, a life you love, she’s gonna save the world
5.
New City 05:32
Everything here is new everything here is new everything here is new --I got new shoes, I got new shoes --If you can call them that --Yeah, the whole concept of shoes has been turned around Everything I see is new --And you look like a bride fine as jasper, clear as crystal Measured end to end, your brilliance counts to ten! Your gates a perfect twelve In parallel Everything I see is new Look He is here with all his people here, No sun or moon need shine, for we are bathed in sourceless light All the old has passed away, each stone and every street and train Begins and ends right here again And all the water here is free and I am released from death When I first saw you My breath came in a gasp the weight upon my heart held it and fast For all that I had done Was taken far away And all that I had lost Returned to stay The tree that had me damned On this new city street Was full of fruit that healed More would grow each week And now I see your face, i see your face the darkened days are past there’s no more need to hide I’m forgiven at last
6.
Mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow Mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow Mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow Mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow mow Also, sometimes "Whoaaaahhhh"

about

Cities is a song cycle personifying biblical cities. Each track responds to a specific city in the Bible–Bethlehem, Ephesus, Jerusalem, Jericho, and the "New City" as described in Revelation. They are inspired by specific passages that personify–Bethlehem being told in Micah that "though you are small, out of you will come a great ruler", and Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16 described as an adulterous wife, for example.

This project was developed in part while during a 2015 residency with Spark and Echo Arts
www.sparkandecho.org

credits

released February 22, 2017

Jonathon Roberts: vocals, piano, drum programming
Emily Clare Zempel: vocals, Boris the Bassoon (4)
Ariana Rosen: violin
Kevin Gosa: soprano and alto saxophones, backing vocals (1)
Meaghan Burke: cello, backing vocals (1,4)
James Hall: Trombone, backing vocals (1)
Walter Roberts: backing vocals (1, 6)

Lyrics by Emily Clare Zempel & Jonathon Roberts
Music and production by Jonathon Roberts

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about

Jonathon Roberts Beacon, New York

Jonathon MT Roberts is a composer and performer inspired by biblical text with a background in classical, jazz and, pop. He collaborates with his wife Emily Clare Zempel for the Spark & Echo band and write off the beaten path music and theatre. Founder of Spark and Echo Arts. ... more

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