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A Pebble of the Brook

by The Duke of Norfolk

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    12" Vinyl of forthcoming album, A Pebble of the Brook. The 180g, audiophile weight, record will be pressed from a mixture of leftover vinyl from other pressings in order to reduce waste. Because of this, the color of each record is random. (So far there have been reds, browns, and greys, but the future is exciting and unknown!)

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I spent the evening in reading poems from old lovers. Emily, again, paints the world in rare-used color. I dip my glass beneath the spring of this ancient fountain And sip thy jessamines. Hidden garden / forbidden mountain. If I leave, with the ringing bell, this is all I know of heaven and all I need of hell Calm the raging storm. If you can, I’ll give you everything. Gentle diligence, burning off my unseen offering. But would I leave if the seas don’t swell? I'll tell you what I can of heaven and what I must of hell Now my numb left forearm! Now the blood in my cheeks! Causes silent wonder, growing silent need. Oh the hope of heaven! Is this hope I feel? Still I hear the thunder, and the whimpering. 
I spent the evening in. And I dip my glass again. 
Hidden garden / forbidden mountain.
Oh the things that I have done And the things that I keep doing With the river I have run Washed in waters that keep keeping me awake Tiny wars and petty things I make Now a willow in the sun Golden light as I lay weeping For the love that I have wronged For the thought that came and carried me away Ever troubled by the trouble I have made Only cyclical or sickly? does it trend towards the better? Like st Francis of Assisi Am I drawn towards the desert? To build my hermitage from pieces I collected from these letters Trust the seer now in seeing that The tongue will loose the water from the gate And turn this empty valley to a lake Then death & life like lovers will embrace …mourning is mending / excuse my lamenting…
Lost again— I will say it slowly, honest friend, honestly, you know me. call it stupid, call it palimony, you tend the soil for this crop I'm growing.
I have heard the song of the bird in my breast saying, ‘lover be strong, though this world is a mess, "Thou my best thought, by day or by night"’ Will I fade when I lose you? Oh lover be kind. Seraphim angels attend to my doubts, in your living room Thursday, I cast it all out. 'Thou and thou only, first in my heart’, you were carved from the mountains, oh lover of art The breaking of dawn, like the fraying of thread, we were carried along with the breaking of bread. 'Heart of my own heart, whatever befall’, though the darkness may hide thee, still harken my call. Love of my summer and love of my fall, I may miss you in winter, if I must miss you at all. ‘Riches I heed not,’ nor arrogance cheer. That I may love thee in springtime, oh lover be near.
My barren arms My barren branches I smoked on the lawn, you were humming a song The tongue is fire and it burns my eyebrows. Curses and blessings pour out like confessions. I shouted your name in the halal grocery— the stress from the evening converging upon me. Please take the chisel now, take the mallet; the image envisioned in need of revision. And several times I awake each night with palpable terror for the ghosts in the stairwell then my mind returns for a while to the Lago D’iseo with a comfort indepreciable. The crisp autumn air, the memory woken; the joy and the pain wore the same face. All of these colors, these symbols of passing, the scent on the breeze, the fall of the leaves. And we wonder at the mystery like a couple of eastern orthodox missionaries. Still several times I awake each night with palpable terror for the ghosts in the stairwell for the grief and its bearers for the truth’s dark declarer for the trial and the error for the chain and its wearer for the lover and the sharer the poison and preparer the breaker and repairer
‘miss you dearly friend' Quoth the raven at my headboard. Three are counted restless for each that’s keeping still. Seven turns around the globe. Seven turns for each. September turns around, September like the death knoll. Was it not September that was death day? September that he left them, September so I leave then. September turns around To A dream as it is turning. To a sun not current warming And the weight that held me down was but this pebble that you bore me.
By my numb left forearm, by the blood in my cheeks, oh, I worry about the future; are you worrying with me? For the sign on the doorway, for the pain of the process, I'm afraid about the hollow; about what it might cost us. Now I'm waking at 1 in the morning to the tired & the restless hum. Now I'm thinking of the girl at the comedy club and ever afraid of love. I am ever afraid to love. Is it only just the jet lag? Is it only just the night? Will I worry about the silence when we’re done with the fight?
There is hope in being here, through 37 in a year. I take my porridge oats with cream and fruit & it turns day all lily white and orchid blue. With the light upon the lake and the swimmers in the shade, I’ve never seen this tint of teal before; the shadows dance across the harbor floor. and I pedal faster just to keep my balance, though I know not where I go. And she asks if I believe in magic. And I say that I don’t know
, but there is something in this glow. I witnessed care inside the train; a hand outstretched to feed the lame. While we were smoking at the reservoir, I saw her crying in the dining car. I carry nothing on my back that I would wish that we would lack and I pedal faster just to keep my balance, though I know not where I go. And she’ll ask if I believe in magic and I’ll keep saying I don’t know. Still there is something in this glow. And Christ is hanging by a rope And I saw the smoke begin to flow and lead the wanderers back home. And the muses whisper low as the wind moves through the close. Let the river lead us home. There is hope in being there; a beauty I would wish to share. The living water and the sylvan bed gown. With all this light inside, I lay my head down.


“The zealots may call me a prophet” the unknown voice proclaimed to my friend’s Seattle kitchen the first weekend of September. Finally having bought batteries to revive the handheld recorder I had found at an estate sale several months prior, we were sitting after breakfast listening to the 12 minutes of audio left by its previous owner. The first eight of these minutes had been a rather dull audio diary with thoughts on traffic jams and other gravely ordinary events, but it suddenly had transcended the ordinary to touch on prophecy.

The remainder of the tape was a smattering of preamble to some, apparently life-changing, experience. The audio clicking on with insistences of importance then off with recognitions of doubt. Dancing around a story but never presenting it, like a movie trailer hinting at themes but trying to give nothing away. Instead the recording ends unceremoniously with a question: “do we really see with our eyes or is it our minds that see through our eyes?”.

Though the question–like much of the recording before it–had an almost comically important air about itself, it was also haunting. As if this old man–recently survived by this small plastic diary–never reached a conclusion about his own story. Caught between conviction and doubt, his final act was to question the integrity of his perception; etching the doubt, half-speed, on a strip of oxidized plastic film.

A Pebble of the Brook, named for William Blake’s poem “The Clod and the Pebble”, is about perception. The songs attempt to look at the same things with different lenses. In many ways it is the second part to my last album, Attendre et Espérer, as it is also centered around grief. The album follows the thread of it as it leaves its sanctioned place at funerals and anniversaries to hide itself in travel photos, shifting relationships, and bicycle injuries.

A Pebble of the Brook begins with the voice of the dead questioning our perspective and ends with his admission of uncertainty.


released May 21, 2021

Written by Adam Howard

Recorded & Performed by Adam Howard with the help of:
Eve Goldman - Vocals (tracks 2, 6, 8)
Julia Michel - Clarinet (2)
Zach Gerzon - Additional engineering (2)
Margaret Wehr - Vocals (5, 9)
Chloé Serkissian - Vocals (6)
Molly Evered - Vocals (6)
Daniel Hutchinson - Trumpet (6)
Jason Bowyer - Field recording (7)
Márk Fédronic - Trombone (9)
Theo Fédronic - Trumpet (9)

Chorus (track 5):
Daniel Hutchinson, Hanna Hutchinson, Claire Laurenson, Rory Millar, Caroline Overy, Morgan Rinehart, Chloé Serkissian, Rebecca Wagner, James Whyte, Gaby Yánez

Additional thanks to Michael Jantz for providing a banjo for the recording and to Ali Burress, Molly Evered, Bethany Shorey Fennell, Zach Gerzon, Eve Goldman, Peter Myers, Caroline Overy, Cameron Reed, Chloé Serkissian, Eric Stalker for listening as the album took shape and for being a part of the shaping.

Sample of Zabelle Panosian’s Groung used on Track 5 with permission of Canary Records.


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The Duke of Norfolk Paris, France

The Duke of Norfolk is a peripatetic singer/songwriter from Oklahoma.


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