Home in the Heartland

by Tim Cheesebrow

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about

The sophomore release from Tim Cheesebrow, titled Home in the Heartland, is a folk/Americana album that explores the concept of home. The record details the experience of raising a family in the Twin Cities and coupled with the talents of prominent area musicians, captures the essence of Minnesota.

“There’s a little something for everyone in there,” Tim said of Home in the Heartland. “Some tracks are slow and graceful, bringing to mind open plains and moonlit lakes. Others touch our immigrant roots with folky melodies. There are contemplative songs that call for a greater sense of community and some toe-tappers that will have you reaching for your dancing shoes. All the songs are tied together with the idea of ‘home,’ whether that’s within one’s self, among family or the global community of which we are all a part. This album will get you thinking about and appreciating wherever it is you have put down roots and called home.”

Written during a self-imposed, solo retreat to a cabin on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn., Home in the Heartland took Tim took four days last September to buckle down, during which he wrote an entire album of material, made initial recordings, and left with a plan to produce and perform those songs within the year.

“Having two young boys at home, 3 years and 18 months, makes time for writing more of an ethereal concept than a reality,” he said. “Time alone was crucial, and the location on one of Minnesota’s greatest lakes allowed me to really connect with my Minnesota roots. It was also a chance for me to develop my songwriting skills.”

However, deciding on a theme was a large part of the lyrical development, and the idea of ‘Home’ speaks to Tim’s emerging maturity as an artist. He looks outward to his circle of family, community and world, and writes music about the little joys, big ideas and moments worth holding onto that make up our messy, beautiful daily lives.

The plan created at the retreat included a crowdfunding effort to finance the project through independent support from people who support his music. In early 2013, Tim launched an Indiegogo campaign, which was successfully funded, and he was able to create what would become Home in the Heartland through the generous gifts of local music lovers and fans.

The album was recorded at Essential Sessions Studios in Falcon Heights, Minn., a studio known for producing work for such artists as Cloud Cult, Lady Gaga and Sheila Ray Charles. A community-focused studio, Essential Sessions Studios is less like an intimidating high-powered studio seen in the movies and more like a group of friends who really know their stuff getting together to make great music. The studio holds classes for local youth, provides internships for local students and works to make their studio available and accessible to all local musicians.

The studio’s intimate community of engineers and artists includes some heavy-hitters that are featured on Home in the Heartland, including percussion guru Marc Anderson, mandolin phenom Peter Ostroushko, accordion wizard Dan Newton, keyboard master Kevin Gastonguay, banjo player and the voice of bluegrass every Saturday morning on Jazz88, Phil Nusbaum, the big, bad Jack Brass Band, super-steel guitarist John Schjolberg, and talented ukulele-slinging songwriter Katy Vernon. Each artist was asked to add their personal flair to the record, which allowed each song to develop its own personality. Every one of these artists did what they do best and transformed each track into something unique and memorable.

Home in the Heartland is an album that tells our story, and it has quite the story of its own. Local artists and music lovers came together to create a body of fun and thoughtful songs to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Look for Tim at venues around Minnesota that host local artists. Concert dates and more information is available at www.cheesebrowmusic.com.

credits

released 15 September 2013
Tim Cheesebrow - Vocals, guitar, bouzouki
Katy Vernon - Vocals
Jenn Cheesebrow - Vocals
Matt Blake - Bass, violin
Marc Anderson - Percussion
Kevin Gastonguay - Piano, organ
Peter Ostroushko - Mandolin, fiddle
Dan Newton - Accordion
Phil Nusbuam - Banjo
John Schjolberg - Pedal steel guitar
Brass: Jack Brass Band
Renee Klitzke - Cello
Brett Schimke - Arr.

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about

Tim Cheesebrow St Paul, Minnesota

For over 15 years, experienced singer/songwriter Tim Cheesebrow has entertained audiences across Minnesota. His music has been described as a “hopeful and heartfelt celebration of life on Earth” with a liberal dose of “Great Lakes heart.” His melodies are simple, catchy and artfully crafted, and his lyrics are a mixture of profound and lighthearted messages but always thoughtful and detailed. ... more

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Track Name: Favorite
I wish I could stand my own or make friends with a garden gnome
I wish it wasn't so very far to reach up to the cookie jar
I wish that I could have some say in the way I'm dressed on holidays
I wish that all of you could see how strange you look making faces at me
There are things I wish I could say I'd tell you every day
In all this wonderful world, so bright and blue, my favorite part is you.
I wish you could be inside my head because what I want I don't always get
For instance, let me be very clear, I'm tired of milk let me try Dad's beer.
When you want to talk to me I wish you'd just speak normally
and I wish I could articulate all the things that make life great
Like mother's milk and tater tots, books we read and shows we watch
nap time, cuddle time, wrestle time too sunrise, chubby thighs and chicken soup
summer breeze and sprinkler spray and the times when we're snowed in all day
harvest moon and the stars above and all the people that we love
A bath with the water temp just right and waking you up in the middle of the night
string cheese, green beans and my toy block set and all the things, all the things,
I haven't heard of yet
Track Name: Open Wide
We all know a bit differently because
what we find depends on how we see
So the choice between hate and love
isn’t in the stars, it’s left up to us

When my heart is open wide
and there is stillness in my mind
I ignore those words that would weigh another’s worth
and can hold the world inside

The heart is a curious place
The more it’s filled the more room it makes
In everyone, there's something good
but it’s only seen by those who look.
Track Name: The Road That Leads Me Home
To know who I am, it depends who you ask I've known lots of people, I've worn lots of masks, some didn't fit
So I got rid of it.

I've been an artist, a teacher, I thought of being a preacher
I've been a friend and a brother, and sometimes a lover, but it wasn't right
until I met my wife.

CH
I've walked all kinds of roads in this world
and crossed many bridges, some I burned.
but no matter where I roam, the best road I know
Is the one that leads me home.

I've been a cook and composed for a string quartet
I made lots of paintings, haven't sold one yet, but I don't mind
It's probably because I'm colorblind

I made coffee, did statistic research
I played music in the prison for Sunday church, it taught me
to be grateful that I'm free.

I think of all the masks wear throughout the day
some get uncomfortable, most fit okay
the best part of home, though it may be cliche
when I get there I can put them all away
Track Name: My Love Will Never Rest
I’m a lucky man, I can’t count on my hands
all the times I felt really loved
or the times you’ve closed your eyes with your hand in mine
all the things good songs are made of

My child, my wife, you’re my reason for life
you’re my lighthouse on the shore
It would take a thousand years to tell you how sweet life is
to say it right would take a thousand more
CH:
Like the waves out on the ocean
Like the morning chasing night into the west
Like the starlight burning through darkness
My love for you will never rest

We try to make it last, but the years go by fast
I wanna make sure I don’t miss the chance
to tell you dears how you made my years
the best a man can have

There will come a day when I can’t kiss your face
because my heart’s asleep in my chest
Don’t you feel afraid, just know that sunshine or rain
my love for you will never rest.
Track Name: The Greatest Divide
Some days when the hands strike 5, I like to pour a glass of wine
and just let my mind wander where it likes
I like to think about the pace we're running the human race
or try to picture the fabric made by time and space

or I think of where I've been, how I've changed without and within
am I headed anywhere? How will I know when I get there?
On my own life is hard to do, probably why we're not meant to
So I'll sip my wine and just be thankful I got you

CH:
Standing on the edge of that greatest divide
between who we are and who we want to be
We're gonna need some help to get to the other side
Good thing I got you, and you always got me

I remember being told "being the best means you're on your own"
and of all the things I've heard, that might be the most absurd
you can only touch the sky when those who love you lift you high
at least I think that's a better way to go through life

I gotta fight that urge to be headstrong and instead ask others along
Because if they're not around no dream will last too long
and if we're judged as a species on how well we've succeeded
the marker is how well the least of us is treated. (hold out F7)

So when I'm feeling stressed I try to think of how I'm blessed
close to those I love the best, in the heartland of the midwest
Wherever I might go. there's one thing of that I'm sure
when it comes to life we're all in it together
Track Name: Breathing Grace
The wind, she whisper’s low, is she speaking to my soul? And I wonder who else can hear what she’s saying…
When I breathe, will it whirl through her body, ‘round the world
And do we take her in or are we within her?

When we speak in joy or shame, does it make her feel the same carried on the lightning through her atmospheric brain? If she does take our thoughts, whispering back to each of us, then we’re the blood running through her gulfstream veins.

So let us spend our days breathing grace and let our laughter fill the night.
Let us raise a glass to the friends we’ve had and the bounty of our lives.

Does she feels the first gasp of birth, or gives life to our dying words and was she under wing as the Wright’s gave flight to man?
Does the sun warm her skin? When the tide goes out does she breathe in blowing every word back to the mouth where it began?
Track Name: Anything But One
If I asked you to define yourself to me, you might describe
the places you call home or the people you call your own
talk about what you believe or what you have achieved so far

What if I told you all these thingsdo not exist beyond imaginings
they’re just lines that we draw to lift us up and knock others around
and when you open your mind you can’t help but redefine yourself
CH
It doesn’t matter who you are
We’re all made from the same burned out stars
and the illusion is to think we are anything but one

The difference, it seems to me,between people and reality
We got some who think they can control, and yet others think it's a free for all, but
the best thing that you can do is the love world staring right back at you

Everything that we knowwas once the same stellar core
All our bodies, all our minds, are just each other realigned
and there’s no best way to be arranged, just what’s familiar and what’s strange
there’s no one way to be, just where you’re going and where you’ve been
Everybody’s got a soul , burning bright for all who take the time to know.
Track Name: Heroes
Little Susie looks up at the sky, she don’t need no wings, she’s figured how to fly
Always there to help wherever there’s a need. If only the world had more heroes like these
Susie’s man seems to have it all. Like a reed in the wind he’ll bend before he falls.
His glass ain’t half empty it’s full up to the brim, maybe we could all learn a thing or two from him
CH:
But when He’s all by himself he’s thinking
“Why can’t I be like everybody else?
and like everything, there seems to be a reason I was made to be me.”

Johnny’s got that smile that says he’s headedfor a storm.
He’s got fortune and fame, all he can take and more.
He makes all the guys jealous. He makes all the girls scream.
The price is always so much higher than it seems.

And Ben, you’d never know just by looking at him.
You’d think he was made of stone, always looking grim.
He’s never let anyone down, he stands up for those getting pushed around and we’d be lucky to ever find a friend like him.

3rd CH:
And when you're all by yourself
and you're thinking "Why can't I be like everybody else?"
Like everything that's both old and new...you're the one, the only ,ever you
Track Name: The Minnesota Rag
Other states, just don't equate If you think so here, let me set you straight
We don't get big fires or earthquakes Who needs an ocean view when you got 10,000 lakes?

Autumn leaves can't be beat We got wetlands full of tamaracks and peat
We got cows and corn, beer, beets, beans, soy and wheat. We mine the iron ore in almost everything you see

CH:
We don't get no hurricanes, but we got wide open plains
It gets cold sometimes, but that's alright, just a good excuse to hold someone tight
We got trees and rivers too and lakes, I heard we have a few
You can't help but be taken by the sight of the northern lights under a summer sky
that's right, Minnesota's pretty nice.

We're set apart by our love for art
We got the oldest theater in the country for a start
You want classical, funk, folk, blues, rock or jazz
our music scene is really where it's at

You like to eat? you're in for a treat
There's a place in St. Paul we all like to meet
At the State Fair you can take your pick
just be warned you’re gonna get it on a stick

In the middle of the winter months you might think we'd rather be down south, but it's just not that way
When it comes to ice we got no fear, we drive our trucks on lakes up here and we don't like to complain

So in short, it's better up north just follow the Mississippi to the source
And you'll see you can't disagree There's no place in this world you'd rather be
Track Name: Our Story
I think of all that had to be just to make you and me
in awe of the complexity of all that had to go right
Start with zero net energy, add the force of gravity,
magnetic electricity, forces strong and weak to hold tight

Expand it all in one big bang, inflate and some atoms decayed
that's how the universe became a soup of matter and light
uneven distribution meant that atoms start to clump and blend
they smashed into each other and in fusion stars ignited

CH:
All of space and time had to be aligned and in tune
with a vast and deep mystery for centuries just to be here with you

Some stars were just so immense they spent their fuel a few eras hence
and then began to condense producing supernovae
the crushing force was so intense it formed the higher elements
which then were blown into the depths in a shining blaze of glory

The gas and dust start to stick and like the flipping of a switch
a new sun and accretion disc start to form a solar system
rocks crash together and soon there's only 8 left standing
planets start to cool and then begin to find a rhythm

Because of all the water here life was able to appear
and algae made our atmosphere that paved the way for more life
First there were prokeryotes and then some plants began to grow
and fish came to join the show some grew lungs and they breathed sky

Once we had life on the land things happened rather fast
in half a billion years there's man, becoming migratory
20,000 years or so of technology and social growth
is where we are and there you go, the beginning of our story
Track Name: January Tree
Our time is filled with the lives we built and there's so much left undone
Intoxicated with promises made in the days when we were young

Every day we're in a race we can't remember why we run
Find no rest so we get what's left and just hope that it's enough

CH:
but your stare it leaves me bare, like a January tree
it makes me whole and frees my soul to a quiet peace like moonlight dancing on the sea

With every choice we add shapes and colors to make our masterpiece
all the work I know it's worth it when you look at me
Track Name: Spread the Good Around
I know a guy, he's a good friend of mine. He's got a way of taking things off of your mind
He's quick with a smile and quick to be kind and when we get together it's a mighty good time
his advertised approach to life is hanging over the doorway on a big brown sign
saying "Welcome friends, leave your cares outside and stay until you're sure they're out of sight. ".
Come on over and we'll

CH:
We're going to shout and light up this town
We're going to clap and sing out loud
We're going to stomp our troubles down
We're going to spread the good around

I know a child, he's not what you'd call wise, but what he can't say with words he says with his eyes
he seems so excited just to be alive, so I think he must be doing something right
So I sat him down and said "What's your secret, dude to keeping such a positive attitutde?"
He says "I watch cartoons instead of news, then I take a nap and drink some apple juice."

wouldn't it be so nice to have a pithy guide to living right, and be able not to think about your sacrifices?
Maybe we just think too much, sweating all the little stuff and it's better to relax and take it as it comes.

I got one more, yeah I know this girl, she's like a ship with all the sails unfurled
sailing out to the edge of the world and still she wouldn't be the least concerned
She's got a motto written in her locket and sewn into every jacket pocket
Reminds her "until you try it, don't knock it, life's too short to be faint hearted."
Track Name: It Didn't Work Out That Way
12 or so years ago, the guys and I had just played a show
alive in that way only stage folk know
We stayed up at least till 5 planning out our future lives
and it would have been quite a ride

We were destined for the road, no time for wives or kids in tow
we'd travel around from show to show
crowds and lights and writing tunes, we'd never have to wear a suit
and retire on the beach at 42.

CH:
but Hey It didn't work out that way
I gave up on a dream, but I'm not ashamed
between a life on the road or a family at home
there's nothing that I'd want to change.

We'd have no homes or loads of stuff, our fellowship would be enough
and the music would keep us all filled up
On tour we'd meet adoring fans and have parties in stretch limo vans
and the next day we'd do it again.

I still like music, but not too loud, I like to be home at a decent hour
and I don't really care for large crowds
I learned sometimes to let dreams go and make space for something more
and the best may yet be in store

CH:
Oh, Life ain't the same anymore
the landscape changes the more I roam
To the fields I will go to plant ideas in rows
and wait to see what will grow
Track Name: Home
A path of stone cracked like broken glass leads to the door
to a house that's seen so many things it can't recall them all
how many times have those window eyes seen the sun rise or felt the rain fall?

It's known the joy of little feet tickling its floor
There's a beam that knows every inch as those children grow
It knows what it holds is more precious than gold so it keeps them safe from the cold

CH:
(With its) heart burning bright it keeps out the night and holds on tight to the laughter and the light
because it knows you need both to keep out the ghosts and make a (home, home, home) x2

it's walls have heard all the music made, and know every song
On the last chord you can hear them ring like they were singing along
Within its bones there's a story being told and it stands still and allows it to unfold

this house has many tales to tell and some that will remain untold
because inside you know, it's has humans to grow, and a million memories to mold