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by Girls in Trouble

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SEPARATE HISTORIES (Ruth) Sometimes the road chooses you and not the other way around I don't know how but I just knew you would lead me to sacred ground I was living in a place but it was time for me to leave I'd lost all of my faith but I was ready to believe In the middle of the night I went and lay down by your feet I knew that if the time was right you would welcome me I crept away before the break of day By then I knew that you would come to me And all the people in the gate and all the elders they will say We are the witnesses today to this covenant you make Generations pass generations come And now our separate histories are one
OF MEETING IN THE NIGHT (Lot’s wife) Of meeting in the night, and parting after day Of early morning light to wash our sins away Of glasses raised and emptied and of corners in the dark Of drawing back our arrows and of aiming at the mark Of windows that don’t open and doors that never close Of putting on our costumes and taking off our clothes Of falling in, and falling out, and falling in again And dancing at the Minaret til 2:30 am Farewell, farewell, I loved you well, but now it’s time to part And though we made a kind of hell, to leave you breaks my heart For who were you and who was I, and where did we both go If I could have just one more night, maybe I would know
RIVER SO WIDE (Sarah) I went down to the river so wide Satan was standing on the other side He said to me, look and see I saw you with our only child With a knife in your hand and your eyes so wild On the mountaintop, and then the vision stopped Oh… My love, my love, what have you done And where have you taken my only son Some terrible place where I can’t see his face All these years I been a faithful wife And I gave you a child so late in my life My time was done, when I bore you a son Oh…. So take me home And put me to bed Cause the sun is in the sky But it’s dark inside my head And I don’t care If I never do wake up If I can’t be With the one I love Well I went down to the river so wide Satan was standing on the other side He said to me, Look and see But hush little baby, don’t you cry Cause I’ll be waiting on the other side You won’t be alone, I’ll make it feel like home Oh…
NEW ARITHMETIC (daughters of Tzelofchad) I’ve been trying to explain The parts are different but the sum is the same Trying to make you realize That half the winners taking all of the prize 1 2 3 4 5 Still breathing still alive But when I disappear Will anybody know that I was here Two sides of a river, two sides of a coin And a place in the middle where both sides join The light of the moon and the light of the sun And a place in the dark where the two become one 5 4 3 2 1 You tell us how it’s done But your daughters and your sons Know a new arithmetic will come. I’ve been trying to explain what you call a theory I call a game Trying to make you understand that you can’t count the stars and you can’t count the sand. 1 2 3 4 5 Still breathing still alive But when we disappear Will anybody anybody anybody know that we were here
WISE HEARTED (the women and men of Exodus 35) Wise hearted men, wise hearted women bring what you can, silver and linen wool of crimson, and of blue and the bodies I gave you Build me a tent that I can dwell in incense and oil and precious stones and when you walk I’ll walk beside you and where you live will be my home Betzalel, guide them well Build me a place to dwell Melt down melt down your copper mirrors to make a sacred bowl and every day when you approach me wash your bodies and your souls Make me a lamp with seven branches from a single piece of gold seven arms like almond blossoms in their fire your eyes will glow Oholiav, fill them with love Make me a place to live Weave me a cloth with angels’ faces just as fine as thread can sew and when I see how they surround me I will know that I am home Wise hearted men, wise hearted women Bring what you can, silver and linen
ARROW & BOW 04:23
ARROW & BOW (Hagar) The arrow leaves the bow and goes off on its own and when the arrow’s gone the bow remains alone My little grain of rice my little blueberry my fig, my pear, my orange, how you grew in me My father said to me when I was leaving home a princess never cries even when she’s alone So I’ll be over here and you stay over there as long as we both breathe this unforgiving air
MEASURING TAPE (Noah’s wife) Before the rain, before the clouds even I felt a change, a part of you leaving You went outside, you didn’t say goodbye You didn’t look at me, you just picked up your measuring tape And all I wanted was to understand How you grew into this other man Who built a giant boat in his backyard And two by two, I watched them follow you And in the end I followed too, what else could I do There was no night, there was no day But you promised there was color underneath the gray The scientists took all their measurements The preachers said that it was heaven-sent And you below deck with your head bent Just like you said, we came to rest But what about the others, the ones who failed the test So you were right, so we survived But when I looked into your eyes I saw the ones we left behind And all I wanted was to understand How you grew into this other man Who built a giant boat in our backyard
I’M DONE DRESSING UP (Vashti) I’m done dressing up for you, I’m done dressing up for you So long I’m done, I’m done dressing up for you You gave me a golden crown, you gave me a golden crown Sometimes a golden crown just wears a person down I’m done dressing up for you… You say those people are your friends, you say those people are your friends Where those people gonna be when the party ends I’m done dressing up for you… Get yourself a pretty new wife, get yourself a pretty new wife I’ll walk out that door and get myself a life I’m done dressing up…


Open the Ground, Girls in Trouble's third release, follows their first two critically acclaimed albums, self-titled debut (2009) and Half You Half Me (2011). Beautiful orchestral indie-folk about the complicated lives of Biblical women. Lyrics, music, violin and voice by Portland-based bandleader Alicia Jo Rabins, who combines her background in poetry, music and Jewish studies to create an original song cycle. Ancient stories of love, sex, betrayal and inheritance come to life in surprisingly intimate songs ranging from old-timey ballads to indie-pop.


released September 8, 2015

Music and lyrics by Alicia Jo Rabins
Produced by AJR, Aaron Hartman and Karl Blau
Recorded by Jason Powers @ Type Foundry, Portland, OR
Mixed by Karl Blau @ Unknown, Anacortes, WA
Mastered by Roger Seibel, SAE Mastering, Phoenix, AZ
Front cover art by Julianna Bright
Back cover art by Jen P. Harris
Design by Jenny Panush

Vocals, violin and viola by AJR
Electric bass by Aaron Hartman
Cello: Colette Alexander
Guitars: AJR (2, 4, 5, 9), Karl Blau (7)
Acoustic guitar and mandolin: Michael Daves (3, 8)
Drums and percussion: Sara Lund (1, 7), Ralf Youtz (2, 4, 5, 6)
Keyboards: Mike Clark (except one finger piano solo by AJR on 2)
Arrow & Bow was commissioned by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Separate Histories and Wise Hearted were commissioned by G-dcast. Open the Ground was written for LABA Artist Fellowship at the 14th St Y.
This album was recorded the help of a RACC grant from the Portland Regional Arts and Culture Council, as well as generous support from fans and friends of Girls in Trouble. Thank you for making this album possible.


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Girls in Trouble Portland, Oregon

Feminist indie-folk/ art-pop songs about women in Torah. Androgynous storm-demons, sisters with secrets, fancy dresses, and knives; ancient stories in modern mouths; violin-centric, open-hearted.

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