It's Your Parade

by Surplus Cheaper Hands

  • Streaming + Download


    #10 on Top Twenty Favorite Colorado Albums of 2011
    by Scott Foley of Routes & Branches -KRFC Radio -(10 Dec, 2011)

    Westword -"Moovers and Shakers of 2011"
    Annual Year End List of Favorite Local Releases

    Nominated for Best Band -Roots Rock Genre in 2011.
    2011 Westword Music Awards & Showcase
    -Editor, Westword (a Village Voice Media publication)

    Denver Post -"Christiansen’s debut release under this moniker — includes contributions from such local notables as Eric Shiveley, Tim Mallot of the Hollyfelds, John Waggoner and Tony Burke of Ten Cent Redemption, “Goose” Guzman of the Mighty 18 Wheeler and many more. But don’t worry — all those stars don’t outshine the sad, simple beauty of Christiansen’s songs."
    -Eryc Eyl, Denver Post Reverb (April 3, 2011)

    "His songs can only be what happens when you've hit a tipping point, and some higher power gives you the tools to convey something bigger than you are. His songs are the real real thing."
    Eric Shiveley, Eric Shiveley Music Net


    Complete 7 track album in hi fidelity, high resolution audio- mastered by Jim Wilson and Larry Nix, recorded at Silo Sound Studios.

    Artwork by Carlos Michael Finn, liner notes - included in download.

    My personal notes on making the album and tracks--
    It was a session album with a premise:
    Making a record with the condition no one among the recording ensemble is allowed to hear the songs in advance has a few requirements. Foremost on that list is finding talented musicians willing to take that risk. Trusting they are caring and patient friends that tolerate your song writing closely follows. But more than that, the folks you choose have to carry the music with them, needing only the prodding of the barebones soul of a song, a good hook, or a nice melody to coax them into opening up a guitar case or start pounding out a rhythm. I came to believe songs exist outside us. We are perhaps just conduits left to interpret them . Surplus Cheaper Hands was a project designed to reveal just how differently these songs are heard and performed by artists in a session. Add an incubator for art like Macy Sound Studios and a diligent engineer in Nick Sullivan, and you have a good chance of capturing some moments where it all works.

    Track Notes:

    I’m Your Man

    A few friends said it was the best song I’d ever written. So if figured I’d let one of them bring it to life and get back to making music with him after a few years walkin different paths. John Waggoner brought some friends- Tony Burke from Ten Cent Redemtpion and Tim Mallot of the Hollyfelds along. I put it in the engineering and production hands of Eric Shiveley, and we recorded it in a few hours in John’s living room near Washington Park. Not everything in life merits all your resources. Save your silver bullets, I always say…spent one in the form of folks always willing to help me over the years-and this cast was just what the song called for. Eric can do more with one mic and his porta studio than you can imagine. Magic.

    Restless Heart

    I’d been trying to write this song for my daughter for a few years, and when I finally hit on the groove and riff I was looking for, I called my trusted Three Miles West crew in so it wouldn’t get lost in translation. James Lovelace felt the drum groove instantly, Todd Divel delivered some stellar guitar work, and Robert Goose Guzman from the Mighty Eighteen Wheeler worked his genius on bass. I approached legendary steel player John Macy with it, he put the icing on it. T D Davis emerged as my go to guy for the rest of the record, crafting a subtle but essential baritone groove and firing up a Hammond B3. Proud of this one, and hope Hannah loves it…love you, daughter of mine.

    Baby, It’s Gonna Be Your Year

    Got stranded in Caslte Rock and couldn’t make it home for the Holidays, and wrote this one to take the chill off New Years Eve apart from the family. Had lots of friends walking out of some bad relationships, and decided since I couldn’t splurge for gifts or be cheery enough to compensate.- This was the best I could give them. T D Davis heard it, took charge of the collective session and arranged the song for piano in an hour. The cast of James again on drums, Ryan Chrys on Guitar, John Statz, and Goose followed where the muse took them. I never envisioned it like this, but fell in love with a piano driven interpretation of this song. Have a monster crush for a gal named Melanie Hoshiko, who was on hand to hang out during the sessions…decided to see if the girl could sing. We were all a bit floored by her voice. Collective sessions and spontaneity have their own energy, and this crew wanted to make this song at this moment. All the better for it.

    Your Parade

    Decided a roots session was in order, and had this song in reserve. After a quick listen to my walk thru, John Statz and T D Davis layed out some great acoustic work. I invited Statz along for the ride because it felt right up his alley. Great rythm work, clean and woodsy. I invited Mark Kosta of New Ben Franklins to find a solid drum groove. We recorded it in short session but I felt I lacked something. Note to the boys in the band, your whispers in the studio were audible. For the record, it didn’t take much pushing. Message received loud and bell clear-I handed the song to Melanie Hoshiko for vocal duties and it came back to life. Great voices can be like that, reviving melodies that ease a chaos we create. David Devoe of New Ben Franklins helped add a few telecaster licks to make it moody. Love how willing he is to lay back and let a song work him. Love this one.

    Self Portrait

    Wrote this five or six years ago. One of the first songs I had ever written. Guitarist Todd Divel was always passionate about getting this song on tape. Mark Kosta cleared the hurdle that always kept it from happening…a drum groove and nice brush work. Let Todd go off leash and just play. That is when he shines. T D Davis stepped up, Layered in some acoustics with magic tunings and some baritone guitar. I loved the intense depth, driving desperation, and hope laden sparkle they found in this lament. Heartfelt.

    Dark Passenger

    I’ve had a low or two in the past. Who hasn’t? Was watching Dexter on television, saw a remarkable scene that described a few demons we all harbor. Walked into my home studio and it just flowed out. Decided to take the crew to Monument Sound Studios for a session. I asked Dave Devoe to help fashion a weird vibe. With Johnny again on guitar, Goose on Bass, and Mark Kosta on Drums, they constructed a moody and swirling rendition that fit the intent. Monument engineer Chris Andrews knew what we were after, and gave it depth and character to plant the seed. We took the song over to Macy Sound and T D Davis and John added some more vibe to it. I had so much to work with after everyone layed down some inspiration that it took me a month just to produce the version I wanted. When you write something and need to say it clearly, sometimes a translator is in order. Dave Devoe and Johnny said it for me. Until then, it felt stuck inside a slightly out of tune Guild guitar and a voice warbly with some pain very close to home.

    Driving, Just as Fast as I Can

    After wrapping up a session I looked at a tired crew that had just brought a few songs to life. Dutch was hangin out offering his enthusiasm. Always wanted to play a smokey roadhouse with this cat on drums. Saw Ryan Chrys putting his guitar cables away. Saw a Hammon Organ in the corner, T D sitting on the bench. Snagged Todd Divel from his soldering iron on an old MCI mixing console he was restoring. Taught them a little number I was writing on the spot. Tom Oberheide of New Ben Franklins ditched the banjo and headed straight for the pedal steel. Figured we had all worked real hard, time to cut loose and have some fun. Man, this would be one fun crew to take on the road thru Hill Country. Hell, anywhere for that matter. Had to put this outtake on the record. Music can just happen every now and then.

    Album done. Show at the soiled dove april 15th with this ensemble, hoping to let you witness the energy in person, one last time -and pick up the record for sentimental visits. I would love that.

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released March 25, 2011



Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.


Surplus Cheaper Hands Denver, Colorado

Christiansen writes Rustic Folk that retains its intimacy in the face of ambitious arrangement. His outstanding ensemble may alternately swell and fade to punctuate mood, but the resulting journey ultimately takes the listener exactly where the band wants you -to the heart of the song. ... more

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Track Name: I'm Your Man
----------I'm Your Man--------------

Midnite train from California
if you're slow enough, hop on board you
the bible beaters they're forewarned, yeah
about the blackest parts and that's exactly where i am

i aint strong enough to pick you up
...deep enough to fill your cup
and if i had you here, it wouldnt be enought

just the same old things we're used to
gettting buried unitl they're out of view
like the same old fires you once denied

I'm Your Man

the darkness breaks just past Sedona
If you aint careful son, it will own you
I did some things she wont condone of
But I'm a changed man, I swear by my right hand

now i'm strong enough to pick you up
deep enough, to fill your cup
and if i had you here, it would be enough

of the same old things we're used to
getting buried until they're out of view
just like the same old fires that you once denied

I'm Your Man
Track Name: Restless Heart
don't look off
i didn't mean to stare at you
but it's been so long
i don't recognize you are a miracle
i need you here
here so i can care for you
but i wont give you
these unnecessary arms

how you gonna hold
onto a restless heart
you'll come up for air
before you fall apart
guess i should have known
it wasn't yours at the start
before it came down
to you, and your restless heart
yeah, before its down

don't push me off
i didn't mean to scare you
but i've been so lost
i fell off the edge of america
i need you here
i'm someone who could carry you
and i won't give you
these unnecessary arms

how you gonna hold
onto your restless heart
you'll come up for air
before you fall apart
someone should have shown
your love's a subtle art
before its down
to you, and your restless heart

'cause a heart, it knows
when it is not the only one

and a heart, it knows
when it is being stolen from

and a heart, it knows
when it has found a home
Track Name: Baby, It's Gonna Be Your Year
they say he got the best of you
and he took it somehow
you never say those words
but i feel you tremble when he's around

it's not the sort of thing you talk about
these walls have ears
but honey you could still stop a clock
i think your time is coming
and now it's here
baby, i think it's gonna be your year

they say the ones you love
ain't the ones you should choose
one will mend your heart
where the other left a bruise
you're losing next to nothing
when you leave this one behind
honey, you still got that something
i think you're gonna find
the coast is clear
baby, it's gonna be your year

baby, its gonna be your year
its been a long time coming
now its here
like the one's that you find
on those good old bottles of wine
this one is gonna be your year

baby, its gonna be your year
your turn to take the wheel now and steer
'cause 2010 it came screaming around the bend
but baby, this one - it's gonna be your year

don't let him say he got the best of you.
Track Name: Your Parade
the heart is a half lit hotel
where drunkards and tourists dwell
no vacancy sign up on the wall
i stare at her like an accident
i must admit it was time well spent
she said, "i wish we'd met before your fall"

'cause after all
you and i were made
to count lucky stars
and dance upon their graves
but more than tail lights
are gonna fade
if you don't stay
love, dear, it's only for the brave's your parade
yeah, it's your parade

you might yearn for the open road
baby, that is a heavy load
i'm not the one to make a call
gravity has had its way with you
seems it is lonely that you are attracted to
well, i wish we'd met before your fall

cuz after all.
you and i were made...

it's easy now
dont lose faith
in the moonlight
dancing face to face
dig your heels in now
what you are longing
so hard to replace.

hey, it's your parade...
Track Name: Self Portrait
friends throw roses
ever daring
but all the time, we're losing bearing
of courses true, from heart to mind
till gazing in, looking in on the divine

Friends and lovers are we..

a windless chime
i hang here muted
'cause all that i've said, they refuted
the tide crept in, on Newton's whim
i think that i'll drown with you pulling-pulling me in

Friends and lovers are we..
Track Name: Dark Passenger
every heartbeat, it sounds an echo
tells you if you are near enough
or if you have to let go
of what hides your likeness
holds the shadows
of those things that trip you up
take you off to battle

will you
carry my weight
i'm a dark passenger
and you need someone
someone to look after
i'm a saint a sinner
yeah, one of God's ambassadors
and we'll carry a dark passenger
yeah, a dark passenger

there's a dark street
where we can lay low
climb the rooftops
wait for sun's first glow
'cause i need some proof
that there's tomorrow
just need to buy some time
all of mine is borrowed

will you
carry my weight
i'm a dark passenger....

when all is said and done
i'm just looking for someone...

who will?
carry my weight
'cause i'm a dark passenger...
Track Name: Driving- just as fast as I can
i'm somewhere in the handle
texas is a frying pan
there are rings up on the dash
from the sweat off of Lone Star cans
the boys are shootin road signs
they're screamin like Yosemite Sam
and I, I'm drivin just as fast as i can

gotta make Helotes
gonna talk to the manager man
cuz if you ain't played John T Floore's
You aint a honky tonk band
they play me on the dial here
somewhere to the left on AM
im chasing radio waves
driving just as fast as i can

those lights will carry ya
all the way from here
to the Rio Grande

(this next verse we forgot to record -and decided to have tom oberheide do a wicked pedal steel solo- good choice!)

he looked beneath his hat
said, 'son, tell the boys in the van
i aint never heard of you, three miles west,
or surplus cheaper hands
but my boy lives up in austin
he's willing to give you a chance;
so - i'm driving just as fast as i can

till the bury me
listen up mister
i've got real big plans