Where We Go, We Grow

by Friendly Strangers

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released March 13, 2012

---------------------------------Friendly Strangers---------------------------------
Curtis McMurtry: Banjo, Guitar, Amplified Mandolin, Vocals
Liam O’Brien: Fiddle, Viola, Vocals
Lucy Kahn: Bass, Vocals
Max Mamis: Accordion, Piano (Prepared & Otherwise), Harpsichord, Vocals

---------------------------------------& Friends--------------------------------------
Aaron Latos: Percussion, Cymbal-Monster, Gang Vocal

Recorded by Alex Mead-Fox, Patrick Southern, & Tom Tierney
Mixed & Mastered by Tom Tierney
@ Spaceman Sound in Brooklyn, NY

Artwork: Julie Fraenkel



all rights reserved


Friendly Strangers Bronxville, New York

The members of Friendly Strangers came together at Sarah Lawrence College when front man Curtis McMurtry (banjo) assembled Liam O' Brien (fiddle), Max Mamis (accordion), and Lucy Kahn (bass) in September 2010. Since then, Friendly Strangers have developed a repertoire of songs regarding cosmopolitan angst, southern funerals, general bitterness and occasionally love (but usually not). ... more

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Track Name: Robert Downey Jr.
On the day that I outgrew you
I could feel it in my cheeks
All the purpose that I thought we had
Got mashed up round my teeth
But I won’t be the one to say
“No don’t go
I need you here”
Even if I do

I received misinformation
About the value of your lips
And the price of making love to pass the time
Oh I hope that I’ll get to say

“Darling I’m destined for fortune and fame
I wish that I could but I can’t say the same about you”

Well I’m sorry that I had to show you that side of yourself
And you know I never meant to make cry
And if that’s the way you think you feel
So be it
I’ll be fine

Why don’t you just blow me
A kiss
Say goodnight
And be on your way

Darling I’m destined for fortune and fame
I wish that I could but I can’t say the same about you
Track Name: Peppers
Nothing I can say will purify my foolish tongue

Honey, don’t pretend that you’re not overjoyed to see me
I can see it in the muscles in your mouth
But I don’t expect sincerity, up here it’s such a rarity
Nothing like our home back in the south

Do you remember that preacher with his back so straight
And his voice so full of command?
But once his sermon was over, he’d be whole other person
Always falling off the wagon with his pistol in his hand

You know I always did enjoy holding hands with you in church

Once when I was lost inside some little market town
I kissed someone who reminded me of you
With his fingers so careful and his breathing so steady
And his eyes just that certain shade of blue

Well after him I learned my lesson and I never wasted time
I don’t fall in love with strangers anymore
So I floated over oceans and I sailed through the air
Trying everything I hadn’t tried before

Well I never did believe you when you told me you were scared of heights

I should have listened to my sister but I never trust her word
She told me that you’d made yourself a name
Somewhere in the northern states a frigid, frozen, barren place
I fear that I’ve got just myself to blame

I could have rescued you when we were young, been your wife and had your son
And turned you into someone with some class
Instead I had to go my way, growing wiser everyday
And leave you there with no one to harass

Well nothing I can say will purify my foolish tongue
Track Name: Oh Solomon
Oh Solomon, when will you learn?
The means of the matter are not our concern
With all of your secrets just floating around
There’s so much potential for us to fall down

I used to believe in you

We made a promise of copper and tin
Stars tied together with pieces of skin
We may get lost but we’ll never be wrong
With a system of symbols to help us along and

I used to believe in you

Stones won’t hold the demons down
They grow like saplings out of the ground
I know they’ll always be around
No, stones won’t hold the demons down

Oh Solomon, When will you see?
There’s no other student as clever as me
Do yourself a favor, and in your next show
Try not to reveal just how little you know

I used to believe in you
Track Name: Cemetery Road
I don't know anyone in Memphis anymore
And when I wrote to tell you
That I found a place to stay,
Well, I'm afraid I lied.

Now it's three a.m., and when you call
I'll try hard not to mention that
I think the world would be much better
If your father died.

My uncle taught me how to stroke
A wineglass with my fingertips:
It takes a wet and gentle touch,
But finally it sings.

When I get to New York City,
I'll buy all of the blood oranges
And embroidered shirts they have,
And maybe then I'll buy a ring.

It's a long way home if you take Cemetery Road.
The bikers turn their lights on and the corner store is closing.
I can't say I know that our house will still be standing
When we get there if we get there, but it's good to think of home.

When we took Hector's taxicab,
He drove through Williamsburg,
And there I saw two Jewish boys in motion
Just about to kiss.

They were standing on the doorstep
With their black hats in their hands
And roses in the light above them. Dear,
Do you remember this?


Well, I'm in the bus stop now
With all my instruments and books
And I am hoping when I reach
Your father's house you'll be alone.

It was in this month a year ago
You first let me unbutton you:
Will you unbutton me?
Will you pick up the telephone?

Track Name: Eleanor's House
Despite being noble you always were
Sad as a dog that can’t find its way home
But I saw you smile back when you were a boy
I promised that I’d never leave you alone

We spent the summer at Eleanor’s house
Fishing for minnows and making up words
I broke a jar of honey on the kitchen floor
And your grandmother smiled ever so politely
I wanted to cry
But not around you

And I can’t remember the things that we used to pretend in those days
But I hope that wherever you are I’m on your mind always
Some say I’m wasting my time here by the windowsill
But I never knew better and I don’t think that I ever will

My sister was chasing your grandmother’s cat
Your brothers were building a house out of sticks
And us in the attic learning about lips
And you said you loved me
Or something silly like that

And all my new friends
Are no friends at all
And they don’t run around in the wind
And I still miss you like nobody’s business
And I don’t know how long it’s been

Since we held hands down at Eleanor’s house
And I promised never to leave you alone
And despite being noble
You always were
Sad as a dog that can’t find its way home
Track Name: Bellflower
I thought you were a myth (Hell no)
Your fingers on my lips (Like This)
There was a time you told me what to do (Oh what to do)
With a bible by my side (Right here)
I gambled far and wide (Damn right)
But I said “enough of that, enough of you”

My little dear, how long will you remain (How long my dear)
Ruining your feathers in the rain (In the rain)
I tell you now as I told you before (He said before)
I refuse to be your shelter anymore (Nevermore)

And though I love this wretched war
I have to give it up before
My love decides to bar me from her bed
So in the end I’ll try my best
To change my spots and all the rest
Will have to find another way to buy their bread

I can’t be satisfied (Not I)
By that which you provide (Nice Try)
Oh Darling, where were you when I was low? (So low)
You’re crazy as a loon (She’s nuts)
Expensive as the moon (Too much)
I always was a sucker I suppose

One by one the Gods they all went mad (They all went mad)
Pining for the things they never knew they never had
And even though they tried their best (No good)
They couldn’t pass the test (Who could?)
So what do you expect for me and you?

All the players, all the spoils
All the sugar, all the oil
All the blessings, all the prayers and all the sins
They aren’t part of any grand ordeal
Despite what you’ve been forced to feel
It’s over now and everybody wins
Track Name: Oh My Stars
Let me be your moon and I will follow you around
In the morning when you wake I’ll disappear without a sound
I promise not to compliment your sister all the time
Just please don’t leave me alone with people like this

And look at you now baby
Dressed up in diamonds and silk
I wish I could say I was happy to see you so happy
And look at you now baby
Oh my stars
Oh my stars

I remember when we met, the pleasure was yours, you know it was
And I had to wonder if I would survive your affections
But it’s never too late to fall on your face and make a fool of yourself
I did it and said that I did it for you

And look at you now baby
Dressed up in diamonds and silk
I wish I could say I was sorry to see you so sad
And look at you now baby
Oh my stars
Oh my stars

I just want you to love me like you did when we were kids
You say you don’t care about money girl but I know you always did
I promise not to compliment your sister anymore
Just please don’t leave me alone, no not again

And look at you now baby
Oh my stars
Oh my stars
Oh my stars…
Track Name: Ezekiel
And all your friends they worship you
You make them dance
Like they always wanted
And you always were the prettiest dress in the room

Sometimes you look so lost and puzzled and innocent and ashamed
Like a lonely bird with a broken wing on the side of road in the rain
Waiting for God
Or a hungry dog

We grow
We grow
We grow
We grow
We grow
Until we don’t fit

My father asked me
How do you stay warm with a mouth like that?
In my day we only said such things behind our parents’ backs

He reminds me of you when he smiles sometimes
When he doesn’t seem sure where he is
Like a child who laughs when he sees those around him start laughing


My father, he never knew that he changed when he came home from war
And a wounded bird doesn’t understand why it can’t fly anymore

And all your friends they worship you
Make them dance
Like they always wanted
And you always were the prettiest dress in the room
Track Name: Where We Go, We Grow
Small and heavy, fits right in your arms
Louder than the best of alarms
A new you to be proud of
Well I don’t suppose you’ve noticed but I do believe in love and

Where we go, we grow
Rain or shine or wind and snow
Everything’s a game until it’s gone
As twisted as we are we carry on

Now that we’re old enough to make a difference
Let us do everything we can
We’ll build a dream of stone and steel
We’ll make it all by hand

Draw up the blueprints for heaven
For who says we can’t have it now?
And may all my friends forget my sins once I am in the ground


Oh how ever so perfectly crooked we are
Singing our songs, chasing our tails
No matter how foolish our stories become
We’ll plant our seeds in the teeth of a gale
And they’ll do just fine