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Secrets Are The Best Stories

by Kurt Elling ft. Danilo Pérez

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Michaelw89 thumbnail
Michaelw89 An appropriate song with powerful and relevant lyrics delivered brilliantly by Kurt's unique vocal.

This song is so relevant for today's world. Favorite track: Song Of The Rio Grande (for Oscar and Valeria Martinez-Ramirez).
Raymond thumbnail
Raymond The nightmare fruit of that “low dishonest decade” of the 20th Century is conflated with the Strange Fruit that has ripened lately in the good ol’ Land of the Free (sic) and across the pond here in the UK; that cutting loose of the marginalised, the persecuted and the poor in need of refuge by men and women of no conscience. A full-force refutation of the hateful, prepper-orientated swill (and its conspiracy theory-besotted spawn) that pretends to the title of Christianity these days. Bravo!
randycbrown thumbnail
randycbrown I simply love Kurt's style. His delivery of passion expressed through the audible shapes of his words has gone unmatched in current times. A true and genuine crooner… doubt! Favorite track: Overjoyed (Bonus Track).
gregvince thumbnail
gregvince Absolutely love the new track. Can't wait to check our the new album. Elling never disappoints!
fish_ac thumbnail
fish_ac The vinyl just arrived this afternoon and I’m already in the third round to hear it. Brilliant! Favorite track: A Certain Continuum.
mattrichard11 thumbnail
mattrichard11 This is REAL good! After one listen, you can tell that there are many other things to hear in this unique collection of tunes. The lyrics are just thick/emotional, great stories of all kinds. At this extra odd time, we need beauty like this. A great collaboration, I'm not surprised. So far , I guess Rio Grande' is my favorite, also because I already knew the song from another recording. That could change. Five stars, highly recommended!
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    The first 100 will be signed by Kurt Elling. Shipping to North America is delivered and priced from the US.

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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      £7.99 GBP  or more


Think that / or imagine you are just / just gliding The hawk flies / in clear skies / mirroring fire / floating higher higher than any spire unconcerned or aware / of empty / forgotten prayers He’s one with the air His golden skull / all full of null / and void except for the will of God and not with crazed incessant sounds the noisy echoes that pull us to what makes us ill Why do we go / after what drives us mad / you know? We push and elbow / grabbing what makes us sad / like every ego fad Quiet the mind / find your flow aligned / or stay blind Nothing comes of — Making the same / blunder a thousand times / that’s just inane and lame And how to go sane / reading between the lines when all the lines are your chains? It isn’t easy You’ll have to show some spine / some spirit Move from within / Bust out of what confines / Because
Because / Because / Because There’s a mystery / an enigma / there’s a memory oh so slight There’s a message / in the mirror / that will flicker to a spark / of light Turn the dark in to sight Questions about love are as old as / everything that’s ever been Questions linger on until the end There’s a ribbon / in the river / that is running through your heart There’s a whisper / in the water / with a wisdom to impart: Restart … Be your own / work of art Questions about life are as old as / everything that’s ever been Questions linger on until the end We are the face in the mirror / and the mirror We are tasting forever / every moment WE are stars in the night / and we are the night There’s a ribbon / in the river / that is running through your heart There’s a whisper / in the water / with a wisdom to impart: Restart … Be your own / work of art
Stays 05:28
There was a man on the second floor He’d always retreat behind his door whenever I’d come off a tour From what I gathered he’d never leave the floor I’d hold my breath when I’d hear his sneak-ering pause at the door Creaking the floor hiding, for sure ________________ Once came a fiery flame / and the fireman came Hurrying staircases / dropping floods up / up above me Making a vertical sea We ran around saving what could / until the fireman said that we should Get out of doors and stay for good / like we knew we should They brought the man from the second floor / He was carried out by police and more Pitching forward / running out of air / down the stair / into glaring lights Looking unaware of the night They set him down and he sat by me For once in time began speaking free / pointing out a flaming tree Just two refugees / looking at the spectacle sight / and crying That was when he said something to the air “I saw a burning like this before / The fire there / it was war, for sure Screaming into the air / Soldiers on the stair / I could only stare / I couldn’t endure” Looking at the man / he was pretty old And I began to fear he was shuddering from the cold But what he said sent an icy hold & told me what his unconsoled / beholding eyes knew: “I lost my family in ’42 The reason I would hide from your view: The SS man looked just like you” ________________ From what I gathered he’d never leave the floor I’d hold my breath when I’d hear his sneak-ering pause at the door Creaking the floor hiding, for sure ________________ ‘Cause where is the cure? / & how to endure? When fear and hate is such a lure At history’s core The answer’s obscure . . .
Just as sunlight casts a shadow / the first shade of another day Interrupted in his sleep / still in half a dream Nettled into awaking / wishing light away Drinking his cup of coffee / puzzling what he wants to say The evening before he’d tried to tell it He’d showed off all his ecstatic truths … and wine had encouraged his bray He’d gone to bed / long before the point was proved And risen / deep in the night / to walk To wander under stars / And time and again He’d wished then / that his children had come walking with hm To wonder at stars / until they grew dim Sharing the thoughts that spin him / like butterflies trapped within him ______________ And so he thinks himself unlucky / this someone who has eyes to see Who finds stars when wanting stars / who can sing the moon Someone whose feet get sandy / in the hidden dunes Someone who knows the ocean / who knows what he has to do He still thinks his mind is full of tangles Whose mind to him just a mangle is … and who thinks his poems a mess Even though he tells the truth / long before the point is proved And rises / deep in the night / to write To wander until light / and fly words like kites Whose children / share their father’s inner intuition To sing to the moon / I think maybe soon Somebody ought to tell him / Maybe we ought to tell him Something he ought to know Something his poems show
Stage I 05:04
like being in a story like starring in a play acting out some destiny far, far away from anywhere like watching yourself walk down the street like what’s new? tossing your hair watching people watching you hanging out in No-Town like you knew the Lingo like flying kites from a basement window like checking it out saying to yourself yes okay yes like going somewhere like Astral Weeks for months on end and always Blue mean old daddy and do the way young lovers do like finding a room and painting it white like a bridal gown like being with someone like we were going somewhere like a Chelsea Morning like a Tenderberry oh, darling like I was never there
I have just four / the treasures of my spirit Laying like doves / all around my heart In memory they soar / But only I can see it Gone, as with love / since we’ve been torn apart The oldest was a girl / Curious of eye and gen/tle/she The next was a boy / Mighty Then came along / a boy who brought us laughter And finally the babe / safe in her mother’s arms And each was a joyful gift of God But what God gives you - God can take it too ____________________________________ Escaping with the nestlings of my heart / to swim through the ice Across The Ohio’s frozen bridge of hopes The the sky that held the Bright Northern star was as cold as the frigid sea We’d rush over open fields and hide in woods crowded with feeble trees in fear and tears and whispered hymns and prayers to find where some safe place might be Dangerous bargains were entered then Signed, with my finger the bloody pen … Scared of the smuggling men Prayed, and then prayed again But (still) the blood-thirsty dogs gave raging chase … My hope began to fall / I couldn’t save us all Where no one would hear us call / The river became a wall What did I do? We were too few / with dreams to pursue We couldn’t push through … Judea's refuge cities had power To shelter, shield and save, E'en Rome had altars, 'neath whose shade Might crouch the wan and weary slave. But Ohio had no sacred fane, To human rights so consecrated, Where thou may'st shield thy hapless ones From their darkly gathering fate.** And so I pleaded for strength enough to strike a blow for freedom Oh Lord … transfigure us! Knowing we would soon be seeing heaven made my heart a shining flare I lit a torchlight with God’s flaming words and set ablaze my head of hair Rising to the air I felt a sense of power reaching everywhere Overcoming all that I could see / The Lord’s Holy Spirit used me And, seeing the pathway / my children let go their fright Surrendering nothing / they burned up their place in the night _________________ Now they’re with God / surrounded by the angels Someday I’ll see / my doves once again / with all of the heavenly host . . . Amen
I live in a white room it is empty and silent I wear a white dress it is soft and light I live in a white room with a narrow flight of stairs spiralling upwards right through the ceiling into the night air there I summon a small wind to undo my clothing there I capture a moonbeam to wipe out my shadow to unweave my skin to start the unravelling now cross the room now climb the stairs now walk through me I won’t feel a thing I am not remembering I must bathe in the moonlight I must reclaim my old sadness my old,discarded coat I must retrace my steps and climb the stony hillside far above the monuments I must seek out my old domain my old stomping-grounds I must become one with my shadow I must bathe in the moonlight and howl and howl
I used to hear the running of the river as a song with no ending The sound was like a message to my spirit that the river was sending The rushing of the water played with harmonies continually ascending Enchanted by the river I would stand alone in fear / and ever trembling The Rio Grande filled my heart But now I've seen a side of things that makes the song a curious tune (It seems) the river is a siren calling underneath a cowardly moon And harmonies grow darker as as the revelation opens up to me (and up to you) Because now I’ve seen the river kill our brother and our tiny sister too The Rio Grande has drowned my heart Of course, it’s not the river / It’s the people we’ve elected to lead us Who make the walls and send the armored wagons for the ones who would join us While billionaires recline upon divans upholstered in the skins of slaughter And feast upon the children we should think of as our only sons and daughters America, you’ve lost your heart (And it’s no excuse / just being blind) America, you’ve lost your mind
Rabo de Nube 03:20
Esperanto 05:01
There’s a secret that never dies / Like a dance of hidden meanings that we never apprehend There are questions just as old as time / And the answers that come never quite make amends Even so when you look at time / You can get a subtle feeling of the way it ought to be Take a good look at your own real life / And you will see if you want what you’ve gotten to be It’s a hope / a sign / a measure of quiet rapture / of love and what might come after It’s letting go / and letting no answer be an answer ________ How did smoke learn how to fly? Where do birds go off to die? Why does coal sleep in darkness? Do dreams live in apartments? Is a number forever? Where’s the soul of the water? How old is old November? No one here can remember . . . If I die, where does time go? Do the bees feel vertigo? To get love, is there potion? Or is love only motion? ________________ Holy lift / holy reading — Holy gift / Holy needing Holy sound / holy waiting — Holy light / animating Holy food / Holy breathing — Holy light interweaving Holy night / Holy handwrite — Holy flight / Holy insight Holy Sun / Holy brother — Holy moon / Holy mother Holy dream / Holy vision — Holy scheme / Holy mission Holy one to another — Holy me / holy other Holy lives / holy blending / Holy start / holy ending
Epílogo 01:32


Secrets Are The Best Stories is the new album from acclaimed vocalist and Grammy-winning artist Kurt Elling featuring renowned pianist Danilo Pérez. Edition Records is delighted to provide the support and artistic freedom for Kurt to pursue his goals while placing artistry and integrity at the forefront. Secrets Are The Best Stories is set to be a career-defining album for Kurt, confirming his trajectory on a new and evolving path of artistic excellence, and further exploring the passion and the messages, political, personal, that inspire him.

Here, Elling adds evocative new lyrics to compositions by greats like Pérez’s iconic collaborator Wayne Shorter, late fusion bass genius Jaco Pastorius, and visionary composer/arranger Vince Mendoza, and to pieces from Pérez’s own catalogue. Along with his own compelling narratives, Elling adapts the works of contemporary poets Franz Wright and Robert Bly, the 19th century abolitionist poet Frances E.W. Harper and Nobel-winning author Toni Morrison.


released April 3, 2020

Shipping to North America is from and priced from the US.

Recorded and mixed at Sear Sound, NYC by Chris Allen.
Prepared piano for Song of The Rio Grande and Fender Rhodes on Esperanto recorded at Cholo Music Studios engineered by David Rosenspire.
Mastered by Chris Allen


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Kurt Elling Chicago, Illinois

Renowned for his singular combination of robust swing and poetic insight, GRAMMY winner Kurt Elling has secured his place among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. Declared “the standout male vocalist of our time” by The New York Times, Elling has garnered unprecedented accolades, including a fourteen-year run atop the DownBeat Critics Poll, as well as a dozen GRAMMY nominations ... more


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