The Rubicon

by SkywardEye

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about

More than anything this album was made to simply see if it could indeed be done.

To write a set of songs, create an over-arching theme, play almost all the instrumentation and learn the recording software ...myself.

Growing up I had always admired artists with a DIY attitude to producing music and always knew if I ever had the opportunity to create my own album, this was the way I wanted to proceed.

I remember when I picked up a copy of the Foo Fighters first album when I was a kid. When I learned that Dave performed almost everything himself, I was blown away.

So, fast-forward to 2011, through a number of failed bands, during a particularly tumultuous time in my life.

After going many years without writing, one day while waiting in my vehicle, I picked up my little travel guitar and started strumming the opening chords to what would turn out to be The Last Page.

It was a song about realizing you're on the wrong path. It seemed to come out of nowhere and it got things moving again.

Over the proceeding days, weeks and months, one after another, songs kept coming and before I knew it, I had over 20 in the bag. I thought nothing of it until I started playing a few here and there for friends.

After some enthusiastic responses, I gradually started revising, rewriting and condensing this music further and noticed a narrative start to take shape. From there, I began the long process of committing my music, "to tape".

Well, after 4 years of production I present to you what I hope is the first of many albums to come, The Rubicon.

The Rubicon itself is, for the most part, autobiographical but I made a point to write it in generalities.

During the writing process, I realized that the struggle I was going through was a similar struggle that everyone goes through at some point or another in their own lives.

It's the time where the path you've taken ends up at a dead end and everything you've come to rely upon falls away. Your whole life gets turned upside down, you start to not recognize the person in the mirror and you begin to retreat into fear. The album is about that journey and about coming through it wiser and happier.

The creation of the album has been an intensely personal and cathartic one for me. It's especially poignant now that I find myself embarking upon yet a new chapter in my life now that's it completed.

All I hope for is that listening to this album somehow helps anyone listening to it the same way writing it helped me.

Enjoy!

credits

released May 28, 2015

All songs written, arranged and performed by James Alexander except where noted.

Lyrics by James Alexander except Eyes Skyward, written by James Alexander / Care Failure and Past Lives, Future Self, written by James Alexander / John Poff

Additional performers:

Care Failure - backing and lead vocals on Eyes Skyward
John Poff - spoken word on Past Lives, Future Self
Tracy Tong - piano on Chasing Light, Dear Enemy and Past Lives, Future Self

Produced by Kenta Aoki and James Alexander
Mixed by Kenta Aoki
Mastered by Phil Demetro at Lacquer Channel Mastering
Sleeve photo by Black Umbrella Photography
Art Direction and design by Cody James Finney

Dedicated to my beautiful girls.

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about

SkywardEye Toronto, Ontario

SkywardEye is a one man music project by multi-instrumentalist, James Alexander based near Toronto, Ontario.

Please consider sponsoring him at www.patreon.com/skywardeye

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Track Name: The Last Page
Welcome to the ending
You skipped right through to the last page
Was it worth the time saved?
Or did you make a mistake?

Well I say;
Slow down before it's too late
The path you're on just ain't that straight

You always live for the weekend
And when it comes you pretend
Like you're okay with decent
You're running low on rain cheques

But you'll say;
Maybe next week I will...
Yeah, maybe next week

...I will too

I swear I will, I will
I will too

So get back to the beginning
And find the time to start living
But all these days can't be replayed
And I've come so far in this state

But then I think;
Maybe this just isn't my fate

So chose a path 'cause life won't wait...
Track Name: Eyes Skyward
Again I'll try
To live the lie
But I feel their eyes
Trained on me

I always know
Just what to show
But in the end
I feel incomplete

So jam a square peg
Into a round hole
Never see that a better fit
Is possible

Why do we never cease
All the opportunities?
And refuse to believe
We can be so much more?

Look to the sky
And leave it all behind
Your doubts confine
So leave them all behind
No matter what's outside
Leave it all behind

You've been in here too long
And everything feels wrong
So get movin' on!

Young girl/old crimes
Of a thousand lives
I trip and fade
With my broke down life

So who am I
To save your life?
We reign divine
In its failed design

Sustain the choir
Of demented fire
We sing in rhymes
And battle cries

So all hail and all rise
Like electric light
Eyes skyward high
And we'll never die

Look to the sky
And leave it all behind
Your soul will fly
And leave them all behind
No matter what's outside
Leave it all behind

When you've been afraid so long
That everything feels wrong
Get movin' on!

We're moving on ...YEAH!

So look to the sky
And leave it all behind
Get away from the lies
And leave them all behind
No matter what's outside
Leave it all behind

You've been in here too long
And everything feels wrong

So get movin' on!
...I'm moving on...
Get movin' on!
...I'm moving on...
Get movin' on!

I'M MOVIN' ON!
Track Name: Chasing Light
All I do
Is chase the sun
Run like hell
Not sure what from
Feet are bruised
Hands are burned
Don't know if I'll
Soon return...

But if I stop
There will be hell to pay
But to whom
I cannot stay
I'm slowing down
It's what I fear
The shadow's behind
Are getting near

But as I slow
I start see
The night is when
I feel at peace

What is this I finally see?
Is it the strength that I seek?

If it is I cannot lie
It arrived
Right in the nick of time
'Cause I was starting to
Lose the scope
And feel at home
On a downward slope

There is no
Life for me here
So why do I
Hold it so dear?
It isolates me
From those I love
My jaw is clenched
And my stomach's fucked

AND FOR WHAT?
Nothing at all...

GO!

What is this I see in me?
Is it the strength that I seek?
Will I stay in this place?
Or will it all just drift away?

What is this I finally feel?
A glimpse of serenity
Could this be real?
I've waited so long
To see you
Please, don't leave
Or I'm through

Oh, I'm so afraid...
Track Name: Sundown
Hit the road, headed east
Still in search of inner peace
"Maybe today's the day..."
I say

What you think of me matters so
More than I'd care to show
All I do, I do for you
It's true

I again begin to feel displaced
But can my mind be changed
With a few more hollow victories?
We'll see

Why do I still feel so alone?
Is it something that I will outgrow?
Maybe then again I'll be inspired
To aspire

And take that leap of faith?
Find a better way?
See what I should've seen From the start?

There's days when it's all so clear
And not obscured by fear
What do I see...

But all that I've tried to hide
Once again swells inside
And as shadows wash over me
All I want to do is retreat
Struggle as I may try
Over time I've come to rely
So as my will dissolves
I fall

Again and again and again...

Try to fight it
As it draws near
But in the end
You are what you fear

Try to fight it
As it draws near
But in the end
You became what you fear

I'm becoming what I fear...
I've become what I fear
Track Name: The Traveller
A breath of air
A vacant stare
Why can't he share
That he can't bare
This all alone
But it's all he knows
It's so absurd
But he can't find the words

God rest the time travellers mind
The one who thinks ahead but is always left behind
Tragedy's always near but when it works out fine
There's still no rest
For his mind

To himself
He does this to
And though inside he's screaming
He fears the truth
That it rules his life
...It is his life
And he's content to see
A self-fulfilling prophecy...

God rest the time travellers mind
The one who thinks ahead but is always left behind
Tragedy's always near but when it works out fine
There's still no rest
For my mind

...turn it up

God rest the time travellers mind
The one who thinks ahead but is always left behind
Tragedy's always near but when it works out fine
There's still no rest
For my mind
Track Name: Unto the Breach
They don't see you're empty
They don't know how you fight
Every day is the same
Is this all there is to my life?

You're terrified of failing
You're angry all of the time
Every day it worsens
Will this be the end of my life?

I don't want to die
I'm not ready to do die
But I'm not going to lie
I am terrified
Track Name: Dear Enemy
When push comes to shove
And I lay in a pool of my own blood
I fear he's coming for me

I feel it in my bones
The result of a broken home?
Or sheer lunacy?

So I'll run and hide
And bury myself inside
And dwell on the black that I see

Times' running out
The whispers turn to shouts
What now could it be?

But death never came
Though you'd ask him to stay
'Cause all he gives you is free
He's the only friend you've known
He's got the keys to your home
But still he peers through the trees

He's watching me...

Have you returned?
What have I learned?
Apparently nothing at all

Try as I might
There is no respite
And peace I can't recall

Voices in my head
Who follow me to bed
Whisper my end is near

The sadness pulls and tears
So much it can't be repaired
I am consumed by fear...

But when death never came
You felt nothing but shame
And you began to realize

It's stealing everything you knew
So has it broken you?
Or will you find the strength inside...

To take back your life?

Though you try to turn the tide
You still feel it inside
Why do these doubts still remain?

This bridge you must cross
But you get so lost
When you give in to this pain

When death comes some day
Well, what will you say?
That you let fear rule your life?

Or will you take life as it comes
And not dwell on what may
And leave what was behind

Before your last goodbye?
Track Name: Shields
Shall I stay or walk away?
Head held high or regress again?
Or do I pretend to be someone I cannot stand?

Will this mask become the man?
Is this an improvement?
Or am I fine the way I am and it's you who are wrong?

I'm tired of being everything
To everyone I ever meet
I don't know why I feel compelled to act so weak
I'm sick of feeling anxious
And worrying about how I come across
I want to give up control and in time...
...let you in

My fear is that I'll die alone
Sitting in a silent home
So I'll be the doormat that you walk upon
In the hopes you'll be a friend
One that stays until the end
But what use is all of this if I have to pretend?
That's not who I am ...not this time!

I'm tired of being everything
To everyone I ever meet
I don't know why I feel compelled to act so weak
I'm sick of feeling anxious
And worrying about how I come across
I need to give up control and in time
...let you in

Will you go if I speak up and take a stand?
Does it show just how uncertain I am?
Let me know if you think that I'm not worth a damn
But you don't know... the real man

I'm tired of being everything To everyone I ever meet
I don't know why I feel compelled to act so weak
I'm sick of feeling anxious
And worrying about how I come across
I know just how to give up control but I need...

Oh, I need...

...to let someone in
Track Name: Polaris
Sometimes when life gets me down
Down I will stay
When friends and enemies alike
Cause equal parts misery

There's so much uncertainty all around
It wears me out through and through
I feel so close but still so far away
Oh, I'm not sure what to do...

But when I see her it all goes away
And when I touch her I'm home to stay

Am I where I am supposed to be?
Or am I lost and wandering?
The next step obscured in a haze
Oh, it really could be anything

But with every single day that comes to pass
A simple truth occurs to me
Two steps forward and then the one step back
Is the progress that I seem to need

For if I had it all oh, what would be the point?
'Cause I know I already... have all I need

Because you know with her you have all that you deserve
And with each day that comes you're reassured
Because she guides the way without saying a word...
She needs no words

You are the man you want to be
And can have the life that you seek
But the only thing that keeps you from seeing
Are the same old fears that have ruled your life and still cause you all this strife

You are the man you want to be
So when will you finally see?
That the only thing keeping you from being
At peace with yourself and free of the past are things that matter to no one else but you

But you
But you
BUT YOU

...you

You are the man you want to be
And with her you see
That everything will be okay
And with her you're safe

Because when I see her it all goes away
And when I touch her...

I'm home
Track Name: Through It All
Was this what you call
A crisis of faith?
When it's not in a God
But in yourself?

I was unsure of who
And where I was
So the anger grew
And wouldn't ...stop

No matter what I couldn't feel
Blind is the man who's heart is steel

I'd kill myself
For nothing at all
And stress about
Things out of my control

I was such a fool
For living this way
How did I get so lost?
I cannot say

No matter what I couldn't feel
Blind is the man who's heart is steel
No matter where I couldn't see
How negativity enveloped me

So open up wide
Take in the outside

Why do I hide?
Foolish pride?

What's so wrong with
Believing in yourself?

And trusting that
Everything will work out well?

Day by day by day
A chain is forged
Before you know it
All you want is more

Thought by thought by thought
A line is drawn
Before you know it
Your life's come undone

I see it now...

But through it all I found a friend
One that's here until the end
What I have with her I hold so dear
It gives me the strength to persevere

But forgive me
For a time may come
Where I'm not strong enough ...again
Track Name: Past Lives, Future Self
Look at all you've done
How far you've come
Do you see?
What you lost
And all it cost
To be
Where you stand
Finally a man?
Have you figured it out now?

Oh, how you miss the days
When your world was safe
Before it all
Got ripped away
But do you see
The forest for the trees?
Or are you stuck on the leaves?

Now when you look back
On the past
Do you see
What it was
Or what you need it to be?
Too many days
Finding ways to live
Inside a dream, always

But when you see the lie
All you do
Is try
To run and hide
And escape the tide
But when it hits
The world you built
Will fade
Like footprints in the sand

Our lives can change so fast
But when we dwell upon the past
Sometimes we lose sight of what we have

Maybe the good ol' days have gone
Maybe we're not as strong
But maybe the best is still yet to come...

So what will you do
When you return to the place
That causes you to feel
So much pain?

Your mind is on fire
And there's nowhere to turn
You've gotta let it all go
Maybe then will you learn...

That what once was can haunt us so
And those memories affect
The way we grow and view ourselves
An illusion we accept
The pain's passed on to our young
Our past becomes theirs
So the battle of one will rage on
And another lifetime will be spent
Overcoming it

We are all born the same
With a breath and a name
Our aim is forged on the collective passions that we acquire uniquely
The way we walk and converse
Lock down and traverse is juxtaposed between the last and first page
Show me the way
The heroes journey starts today
A little boy susceptible, to the sway; with an internal compass never quite conveyed
A story...
We all have one that's worth telling
On the road and in the rye
Our first kiss and when we cry
We all want to be the protagonist yet raise our fist at the first thing that makes us sigh
I've drifted through the lives of passerby's too afraid to try to be the guy i want to be
Dreamt to be
For my soul that I should be
But the old stories coming to an end, my friend
I've sat back as the pages were turned, and learned only what i was confident to
But today the bookmark hits the wind...

I'm ready to find a page to sink in

As you stare into the abyss
Your content in your solitude
But it pushes away those
Who you love and are closest to you
But you stick with what you know
And as your life passes you by
You see those around move on
While you cling to the anger inside

But look at where you stand
The envy of any man
Can't you see?

The beauty all around
And the love that you've found
Don't retreat

We've got it all wrong
Our time here isn't long
Before we leave
So ask yourself why
You're afraid to live your life
Presently

Maybe then you'd be
Truly free

Set me free