King's Daughters Home For Incurables

by Karla Kane

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about

Karla Kane’s debut solo album, “King’s Daughters Home for Incurables,” leads listeners into an intriguing land of acorns and tea leaves; feminism and fairy tales; pagan pop and pastoral protest songs; whimsical wanderings and sharp observations on the current state of the world. It’s a place for chronic worriers, hopeless romantics, Anglophiles, patriarchy smashers and gentle dreamers, where sunny California indie meets melancholy English folk and the redwood meets the oak.

The first solo release from the singer/songwriter/uke player of The Corner Laughers, the creation of this enchanting acoustic collection was inspired partly by the tours of England she’s undertaken over the past few years. Recorded over a few weeks at home, rather than in a studio with a producer, the album is Kane at her most independent and intimate, with sweet vocals and songwriting at the forefront. Themes include anxious thoughts on motherhood and the passing of time, the search for “home,” and a deep desire to summon optimism and hope in a dark world.

Many of the songs were written under the shade of a beloved oak tree in Kane’s California backyard. Armed with a laptop, her ukulele and a single microphone, she recorded them, usually in the evening, after her young daughter was tucked into bed.

But the simplicity of the set-up doesn’t mean the album is short on sonic riches. Though it has DIY, backyard-pop roots, the album expands its scope from the micro to the macro level. Woven into to many of the songs are the astonishing nature recordings of Richard Youell, which bring the sounds of the English countryside (buzzing beehives, dawn choruses, rainstorms) alive in harmony with Kane’s music. And though it’s officially a solo album, “King’s Daughters Home For Incurables” includes a number of notable guest appearances from England and beyond, including Kane’s songwriting hero Martin Newell (Cleaners from Venus), who contributes vocals and poetry to “Wishing Tree.”

Concerned Corner Laughers fans, take heart. All three of Kane’s fellow band members appear here, with husband/bandmate Khoi Huynh taking on co-producer duties as well accompanying her on most songs on a variety of instruments (including on two remakes of Corner Laughers works). Listeners familiar with Kane’s previous catalogue will recognize the clever, literate lyric style, and ethereal melodies and harmonies highlighted in her new, folk-inflected direction.

Everyone, at some point, feels like an “incurable” in search of a home. With Kane’s new album, listeners are invited to share in the mix of beauty and confusion in which we all find ourselves in these times. All aboard.

credits

released October 6, 2017

All songs by Karla Kane (BMI) except "Weight of Acorns," by Kane/Huynh (BMI).

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Karla Kane & The Corner Laughers Redwood City, California

Clever wordplay, magical melodies and heartbreaking harmonies.

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Track Name: King's Daughters Home For Incurables
The queen of the west said her peaches were best
she'd give you a taste for a mushroom or two
The queen of the east didn't come to the feast
She said, "I've seen enough of what peaches can do"
And that was a long time ago
I don't even know why I told you
But that's how these songs tend to go
Be happy with what I've just sold you

I wanted to be an English folk singer
A new Shirley Collins, the next Cecil Sharp
And I would restore the folk songs to my people
Armed with their history, my voice and a harp

But I was a Golden State girl
And I didn't have any people
and that was the olden-day world
And I couldn't climb up that steep hill

A terrible troll lived up in his tower
Surrounded by minions who couldn't say no
And it was our role to take back the power
To turn our opinions up high as they'd go

I went to the King's daughters home
I wanted to know how to fix you
I stood under that starry dome
and learned all damage their tricks do

I went to the King's daughters home
I wanted a cure for what ailed you
I stood in the gloom of the gloam
and heard all the ways I had failed you

I don't know if this machine can kill fascists
but maybe annoying them's alright for now
I'm not very loud, you're rarely the brashest
But we can make trouble together somehow
Come on, let's make trouble together somehow
Track Name: Wishing Tree
What'll we do when the tour is over?
And we wake up before it’s light
Make chai in the dark; try and write Helen and Mark
What'll we do when the tour is over?
Set all the magicians free
Go send them to the wishing tree

What'll we do when the grass is greener?
Or the afternoons no longer gold?
Leave salad for the gods; find it with our dowsing rods
What'll we do when the grass is greener?

Take out the ignition key
Go hang it from the wishing tree

And if you hear that Yorkshire string band
Lie back down and think of England
Marmite toast on equinoxes
Starlight coast and frequent foxes
Choose a branch and tie a ribbon
Take a chance you'll be forgiven
We're all forgiven

And if you find you're missing me
Go tell it to the wishing tree
Track Name: Skylarks Of Britain
Rosie Abbott had a rabbit in the library
Cosy habits, books, oh yeah, but also songs lovely
And, oh, how we loved to sing ‘em, traveled all the way to Bingham
Just for lovely Rosie’s rabbit in the library

Lorna Morris sang the chorus in the grocery
Cooking for us, tea she’d pour us, get our toast for free
And, oh, anyone who heard would travel all the way to Birdwood
Just for lovely Lorna’s chorus in the grocery

All you skylarks of Britain, high marks are written for you
All you bright druid daughters, write fluid waters anew
Track Name: The Lilac Line
I woke up to a space in the ceiling in the shape of a circle that lets the sunlight in
I spoke up to let you know how I was feeling, I wouldn't let you go to work ill or let the gunfight win
You said I know that we'll be fine riding the Lilac Line
I know that there's still good deep in the Dersingham wood
Little Apple, I could live forever in you

I woke up to the scent of eucalyptus or the sound of ukuleles, lost in the Dreamtime again
And someday I'll say exactly what I'm thinking, make you spit out the tea you're drinking, and then it's tea time again
I said I know that we'll be fine riding the Lilac Line
I know that there's still good deep in the Dersingham wood
Lolly Leopard, I could live forever with you

Snowdrop, bluebell
Grow up, do well
If I could freeze this moment like an insect in the amber
fossilize the way your eyes light up, your voice's timbre

Well...

Little Apple, I could live forever in you
Lolly Leopard, I could live forever with you
Track Name: Don't Hush, Darling
Don't hush, darling. Go 'head and cry
Like those starlings, fill up the sky
Don't be afraid to take up space; you should be seen
And don't choose princess when you should be the queen

Don't hush, darling. You know the words
Like a starling or priceless mockingbird
Don't be afraid to use your voice; say what you mean
And don't take princes when you should be the queen

Don't want to always wonder what might have been
So don't choose princes(s) when you should be the queen
Track Name: Mother Of The Future
Seed, stem, flowers, fruit
Leaves, branches, trunk and root

Touch the corn maiden, her hair is like silk
Soft in their fingers like berries in milk
They've tilled all her fields, they've crowned her with gold
See, she is fruitful and never grows old

"Touch the corn maiden," they say, "make her cry"
They've covered the ground, petitioned the sky
They've ploughed and watered, their seeds buried deep
"We've done all we can," they say, "let us reap"

But she doesn't answer, her braids turned dust
They whisper and worry, their plans discussed
She greets them with silence, her eyes are white
The vultures all circle, blocking the light

"We've done it all," they say, "reap what we've sown"
And the corn maiden says, "leave me alone."

Another is the mother of the future now
Track Name: Under The Oak In May
If you sleep under the oak in May
take care, you may be spirited away
seasons pass in just a day
under the oak in May

A maiden under the oak did lay
When she awoke her hair was gray
Flesh to bone, become a crone
under the oak in May

Earth keeps spinning
Births, beginnings
What's the same, what has changed?

Midwife eye sees
Midlife crises
Some familiar, some strange

If you sleep under the oak in May
take care, you may be spirited away
seasons pass in just a day
under the oak in May
Track Name: Midsommar
Ley lines and their traces formed a map of ancient places where
We walked together from Jerusalem to Rome.
The puddles formed a mini-Nile, turned inches into many miles
Followed in your footsteps from the train station to home.

And I could see us on Midsummer's Day in circles heralded by stones.
And I could cast us in a mummer's play and we would never feel alone.

You and I are stained-glass windows, not surprised the way that wind blows.

And out among the megaliths I wish that we could stay like this.
We spun together under orbs of stormy stars.
The lights of Swindon overheard, the fields of clover for our bed.
Followed in the drumbeats of those druids in the yard.

And I could see us on Midsummer's Day in circles heralded by stones.
And I could cast us in a mummer's play and we would never feel alone.

You and I are stained-glass windows, not surprised the way that wind blows.
Track Name: The Weight Of Acorns
The smokey sky, the oak and I
Awoke to find a cinnamon-shade world
The crimson leaves hid in my sleeves
The amber-ember-autumn flag unfurled

And I can hear it falling with the weight of acorns
Wondering for how much longer I can take more
The steady pitter patter from on high
We open our umbrellas to the weight of acorns
Crashing through the branches as they wait, then break more
Percussive and persistent lullaby

The vibrant air, a silent prayer
The violet, iridescent morning light
A vesper dream, a whispered scream
The morning turns to evening turns to night

And I can hear it falling with the weight of acorns
Wondering for how much longer I can take more
The steady pitter patter from on high
We open our umbrellas to the weight of acorns
Crashing through the branches as they wait, then break more
Percussive and persistent lullaby
Track Name: All Aboard
All aboard
All you souls in need of saving
All you roads in need of paving, all aboard

Gather ‘round
All you hearts in need of breaking
All you earths in need of quaking, all aboard

Queasy and terrified
That's the normal now
So please won't you verify it with a formal vow

All aboard
There's a train that’s in the station
Come and join the mass migration, all aboard

All aboard
Off the rails across the nation
Don't forget the red carnation, all aboard

And if you're a ghost now
Be careful whom you haunt
Remember your two children: ignorance and want

All aboard
All you tears in need of mending
All you worlds in need of ending, all aboard

All aboard
All you tired, you poor, you hungry
All you lonely, lost, unlucky, all aboard

Come sinner and debtor
Come in and shake my hand
Come in and know me better, man.
Track Name: Grasshopper Clock
Ants in the sugar bowl are something to behold

Shining in the silverware like little specks of gold

Milling through the sweetness like bees in honeycomb

You'll put it in your tea when we can bring some money home


Pendulum swings, energy's unlocked
Counting down the seconds like a grasshopper clock

Down by the river where the water meets the dock

We're rowing in the rhythm of the grasshopper clock


When I see a lovely flower I can't help but pick it

When you look to me for answers all you get is crickets



Stone on stone, brick upon the block

Munching up the minutes like the grasshopper clock
Wings take flight, people take a walk

And end up all together at the grasshopper clock


I saw the sky today, the colors made me feel so lowly
I saw the world outside my window below, turning slowly



When I see a perfect surface then I'll want to nick it

When you ask me for solutions all I'll give is crickets



Heartbeats start like small electric shocks
Going through the motions like a grasshopper clock

Round I go and on your door I'll knock

Saying meet me in an hour at the grasshopper clock



The world passeth away and lust thereof will vanish with it

They'll say it's for the best but I will miss it, oh, I'll miss it

When I find a puddle then I'll always want to kick it
When I try out new ideas all I get it is ...crickets