The Secret You Can't Bear to Keep

by Willow Steps

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released September 24, 2015

Jesse Strickman – songwriter, voice, guitar
Leiya Mahoney – vocal harmony
Guest musicians: Chris Nishimoto – percussion, glockenspiel, third part harmonies; Matt Cascardi – bass; Graham Patzner – violin; Lewis Patzner – cello. Group vocals by Erica Chen, Stephen Michael, Yarrow Doerfler, and Maia Wiitala. Recorded by Bryan Lovett & Chris Nishimoto. Mixed by Derek Schultz. Mastered by John McBain. Artwork by Willow Steps. Cover layout by Brian Azevedo with photography by Nathan Abercrombie.



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Willow Steps Oakland, California

Willow Steps combines the folky, introspective tunes of singer/songwriter Jesse Strickman with the angelic, textural harmonies of vocalist Leiya Mahoney.

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Track Name: Parting Pangaea
Pangaea broke like a poem
And set all the islands free
When the pieces set out for the ocean
Do you think they laughed with glee?
I bet they cried like babies lost at sea

When best friends become lovers
It’s not too far of a leap
One night of one unlikely Summer
After all our friends fall asleep
You kiss me like it’s a secret you can’t bear to keep

A fool for romances,
I can fall hard from a few advances
But I take my chances
And now one year together
Our hearts just know no better
Steered for forever
And you’re still my best friend

You take me across the world
To see the life you left behind
Show me your country, your culture, your family
We explore states of mind
But to make room for freedom your heart pushes me aside

I’m holding on
I still believe
So if you’re letting go
Do it gently

Life’s full of changes
Just when you forget what pain is
The good rearranges
And now we face a fire
Mom said I was born a fighter
So let’s hold on tighter
You’re my best friend

One day we’re kissing goodbye cuz I’m leaving
Saying, “We’ll be together soon. Yes we will”
And today I’m kicking myself for believing
We’d ever make it to a greener hill
That we’d really be together still
Our love never made it out of Brazil

I’m letting go
Since you let go of me
If you ever come back
Do it gently
Track Name: Promise
We could watch as the hands move
All so blindly on this wall
Brushing by, barely grasping
Any moments quite at all
So oblivious to life
And this world in which they guide
And the ties they build so close
Just to turn and wear through most

These hands are so stubborn
Incessant and determined
But I won’t let you slip
And watch you fall to their grip
This I promise

We could sit and hear the phone ring
Less and less with time
Notice that the meaning
Slowly drains from your voice and from mine

Such a bitter regret
One I could not live with
I won’t reduce you
To “that girl I once knew”
This I promise

I refuse to watch
With open eyes and empty thoughts
As the photographs lay dormant and abandoned
The remnants of something I lost

These hands are so stubborn
Incessant and determined
But I won’t let you slip
And watch you fall to their grip
No, I won’t reduce you
To “that girl I once knew”
This I promise