Wake of Waking

by Grand Lake Islands

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Grand Lake Islands, the musical undertaking of Connecticut-born, Oregon songwriter, Erik Emanuelson and his humble compatriots. They crafts songs that can erupt in twangy free-for-alls,  but at times stand bare-boned on a thin guitar line and a shaky voice. Grand Lake Island’s debut album “Wake of Waking” is a testament to questions, declarations, and deliberations that coincide with Emanuelson’s decision to leave his teaching job and the eastern seaboard, sell his possessions, and head west with a single acoustic guitar and a gifted antique mandolin.


released October 30, 2013

Erik Emanuelson- guitar/vox/mandolin
Nick Smeraski- drums
Justin Kilburn- Vocals/guitar/lapsteel
Dan Bindschedler- bass/cello
Robin Bacior- piano/vocals
Ellis Bahl- vocals


Recorded by Nick Smeraski @ Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn
Mastered by Salt Mastering


cover art- Diego Fernandez and Cutetastrophe
design- Cutetastrophe



all rights reserved


Grand Lake Islands Portland, Oregon

"Grand Lake Islands...Rides the link between cerebral folk mysticism and dreamy beach-bum sunshine nostalgia with surprising ease."
-Independent Clauses

Grand Lake Islands is a hazy folk collective led by Portland-based songwriter Erik Emanuelson. Emanuelson’s expressive tenor recalls Nashville Skyline era Dylan and delivers lyrics soaked in metaphors and stark emotional landscapes.
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Track Name: Flood
finally one day,
when the sea sick fades
i’ll grow my sea legs
i'll curse at the coast
i'll cringe at the boat landing

set my mind
to make what once was taken
starving by the seedlings
and just before the harvest broke
you'll leave baskets by my window

here comes the flood
stumbling through my blood
I’m trying to understand its hum
before the damn comes back up.

my ripe skin, thick from thin
stop clutching in the rain,
start soaking in the lake,
its easier, its easier but strange

I felt the rope, tight enough to choke
it was loosening its grip.
nearly a fugitive
wanted to break free, not be acquitted

here comes the flood,
stumbling like a drunk,
I’m trying to understand its hum
before the damn comes back up.
Track Name: Greenwood
 The parrots of the Greenwood steeples,
keep the decorum for the former people.
We climbed up a Brooklyn mountain range,
trying not to let the guards, humiliate us.

Standing high upon the hairline of a hill.
The grass and graves worn out like faded coins and bills.
We slept upon treasures, but what's buried in your head.
We were visiting something, but nobody was dead.

I wanna know, whats really on your mind.
I gotta know who's at the reins this time.
You gotta tell me, you were my brother.
You gotta tell me, who's the assailant in this struggle.

Five days waiting through the skeleton of a storm,
that moved through town to the tune of a ghost is born.
Now you're spinning in the rubble like a half smoked cigarette,
dissolving slowly, oh so slowly in a puddle.

Hey poor boy, thats what you want us all to believe,
In the shadow of the underground, we built our adult teeth.
Quotations on the wall, saying everything's a struggle,
we came out to stretch our limbs and offer our rebuttals.

I wanna know what's really on your mind.
I gotta know who's at the reins this time.
Are you a fortress, are you defenseless?
You were never a prophet, but you got a few things right.

Now you're just in between, spend your days all in a dream, gotta little old, don't get mean, walking in between these gravestones.

I wanna know what's really on your mind.
I gotta know, who's at the reins this time.
open mind like a locket, didnt care if you lost it,
not concerned for the profit, such an awful waste of time. 
Track Name: House Fire
Stop coming home so hysterical, holding out your hand won't invoke a miracle. the world falls apart, you're putting pieces together. See the end oh so Biblical, don't you know its revolution, not revelation that brought us here? 

Spread yourself so so minimal the smoke you see is not literal; where you gonna run when the door is locked behind you? when you're splitting hairs, so so cynical, are you hot or cold in your direction? the sun's gonna rise will you carry the night in your pocket?
Like a child in a house, like a child helpless in a house. see the smoke but you can't get out. see the smoke but you can't get out. you're like a child helpless in a house. 
Track Name: Old Soul
Gonna blow up big, kid. Your eyes are like peepholes in the cave i'm in. Sing yourself sweeter. Hum a little freer, I'm just breathing in the ether with a smile . Dreamed I woke with the dawn, found you dancing on my neighbor's front lawn. I asked you why you smiled, you just looked at me and laughed, said i don't understand but it's been happening for a while. Hey you're a good woman, but i think its time you snuff out your man. Put your life up for auction, head back to California. They're dying out west to hear how the east was won.

But you know, you're voice is old soul-sepia tone, dripping down slow from a tube radio.

Who the hell an think in all this heat? These revelations bleed the bank but seem so free. Abstractions in my teeth, the concrete on my feet, a city ripe with conceits and a ghost that won't be born. My old shit falls around your new room, ideas and notes the wind blew, right out of your hand before you could understand the things you want to say can't find no shape in words.

I get so sad when you sing to them, smile when you sing to me, just me. Get so sad when you sing for them, smile when you sing for me, just me.

But you know, your voice is old soul-sepia tone, dripping down slow from a tube radio.

The floor creaks that we sleep on, a mattress out in the street; i'm a garden grown child, with a thin, thin skin, and absolutely no sense of the wild. 
Track Name: Stuart
Stuart "Something" Miller,
your hair outgrew your spine,
now it's matted down in a box of pine.
fifteen years inside you,
outside the snow falls down,
covers jackets doesn't reach the ground.
my broken pencil fingers,
pointless and without lead,
can't find no words to raise no dead.
my broken pencil fingers,
leadless and without point,
pacing around trying to case the joint. 

all this sad sighing
all this low looking
all this soft talking
and i just get to walk in.

somewhere after midnight,
the morning birds all sing.
from the gothic trees they sounds they swing.
your little,little mother,
talks to another man.
about the money you gave
and your big, big plans.
now your holy, holy father smiles when he can,
all black cloth benedictions. 

all this sad sighing
all this low looking
all this soft talking
and i just get to walking.
Track Name: Warm Keeping
There’s a little box in the back of my head by the window.
I’ve been buying up seeds with my spare bank notes.
But they're sitting all still just collecting, not blooming.
My mind gets crowded and I feel like moving.

If I could figure out what dried up I could water it.
Or at least burn the evidence.

I can tell my friends by their smokers cough in their breathing, these days,
Down by the river bed, not sleeping.
They’ve coupled off their loneliness for warm keeping,
Trying not to do much speaking.

If they tell me where they got off I could give em a lift
and we could get out of Brooklyn.

I met a girl from west of Sacramento.
Part of her is mine, the other part unsettled
Sometimes she leaves my bed when the morning's new,
and I hope that she’s not gone when the night comes through
If she tells me where she’s going I will follow,
Blurry eyed Portland or thin-aired Colorado.

In the east you only dream about the west,
From the sun soaked weeds of a hill’s crest.
Staring down the headlights in the August of sweat,
Looking for the tears in this city’s fabric.
gonna find where broken and make my way in
Or im gonna just start laughing.