Nothing We Say EP

by Courtney Hartman

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Patrick Chassé
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Patrick Chassé Hello Courtney,

At the first listening I wanted to hear more. I'm glad I did. Thanks for the peacefull songs. Favorite track: Nothing We Say.
April D Struthers
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April D Struthers Courtney's skills and personality shine through on this EP! Good stuff! Favorite track: Nothing We Say.
Phil Mann
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Phil Mann Although I live in the UK I've seen you play with Della Mae at Merlefest NC, Charleston SC and Manchester, England. Impressed by your flat picking guitar style with DM and now this solo project. Looking forward to receiving the rest of the album. Phil Mann Favorite track: When You See the Morning.
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    Album design by Loren Witcher

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credits

released September 30, 2016

Courtney Hartman: voice, guitars, banjo
Mark Schatz: bass
Michael John Mckee: drums
Taylor Ashton: harmony

Produced by: Courtney Hartman & Jacob Blumberg
Engineered & Mixed by: Jacob Blumberg
Recorded at: Pipe Dream Ranch, Del Norte, CO
& eTown Studios, Boulder, CO
Mixed at: Thump Recording, Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by: Kim Rosen at Knack Mastering
Photography by: Sasha Arutyunova
Design by: Loren Witcher

All tracks by Courtney Hartman, Fearless Hum Publishing (BMI)
except "When You See the Morning" written with Taylor Ashton (ISOCAN) & Cumberland Gap (traditional)




With just six songs, it’s astonishing how Courtney Hartman’s debut solo recording tells such a vivid story. Nothing We Say is flush with intimate ruminations on her life as a traveling musician and a deep curiosity about the world around her.

“This album is a collection of songs that I wrote and labored over in hotel rooms, late at night, early in the morning, on the road, or at home during a few days of rest and laundry,” says the revered roots musician. “They are outpourings of the last couple years that I spent touring the world with Della Mae. Observations of the people and places that have infiltrated my mind.”

The luminous EP, released on Sept 30, delivers on the promise always apparent in her work as a guitarist and songwriter for Della Mae, the Grammy-nominated string band.

A sense of home threads through these songs, as a tribute to Hartman’s Colorado heritage and how it continues to inspire her wherever she goes. Although she’s based in Brooklyn, her home state still looms large, as evident on the closing “Take Me Back Colorado”:

The sky is clear and cold there
My lungs fill with sharp air
I'll stay out till the stars fill my cup
Take me back Colorado
I'm headed home

In the dead of a Colorado winter – under clear, cold skies and, at night, an unending panorama of shimmering stars – Hartman recorded the album with co-producer Jacob Blumberg in a small cabin on a ranch in Del Norte. Bassist Mark Schatz and drummer Michael John McKee fleshed out the songs with graceful precision, giving them room to grow and explore, and Taylor Ashton added close harmonies on “When You See the Morning.”

Hartman casts a gimlet eye not only on her own life, but also that of others. Take “Noah,” a hymn-like lullaby that relays the heartbreaking story of a mother who lost custody of her young child. Meanwhile, the title track aches with the hard truth that sometimes connection is simply fleeting. “I can love you today, but don’t ask for tomorrow,” she warns on “Nothing We Say.” “Don't ask if tomorrow I can stay/ With the sun arising/ I've got to be travelin’/ But we can make a night of it again someday.”

Adding to her five original songs, Hartman puts a freewheeling spin on the folk standard “Cumberland Gap,” reimagining it with fresh and downright wild variations. An instrumental, it’s also a prime showcase for the flatpicking guitar prowess that has earned Hartman acclaim from the magazines Acoustic Guitar and Fretboard Journal and peers such as jazz virtuoso Julian Lage.

Holed up in that secluded cabin, where the temperature outside rarely climbed above the teens, Hartman and her crew conjured warmth and communion. We hear the shape of the room on these unvarnished recordings, as if you’re seated beside them. We hear the quietude of the landscape, the crackle of the wood-burning stove as Hartman fingerpicks the melody on “Take Me Back Colorado.” She wasn’t afraid to leave in the imperfections, knowing that they reflected the honesty at the heart of her lyrics. She was more interested in capturing what she calls “an urgency of solitude.”

“I’ll put an extroverted album out into the world one day. But this one isn’t quite that,” Hartman says. “I wanted the songs to sound whole with just my voice and guitar, and then slowly add what was wanted. What I didn’t want was for a listener to hear it and ask, Yes, but where is Courtney?”

There’s no mistaking where and what Hartman is on Nothing We Say: She’s open-hearted and in the spotlight. Right where she belongs.

– James Reed

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Track Name: When You See the Morning
When You See the Morning
Courtney Hartman, Taylor Ashton

It's five o'clock in the morning
I'm wide awake with nothing to do
Jet lag has tricked my mind
I'm still far behind in Spain with you
Outside the streets are glowing orange
In a haze of November frost a-coming
Oh when you see the morning darling
Know that I'm not far behind you

Was it only yesterday
That we sang those old songs in Barcelona
You offered me a cigarette
I said, I don't smoke, but sure I'll take one
Your eyes glowed like a pair of moons
So I kissed you and said until next time
Oh when you see the morning darling
Know that I'm not far behind you

You'll be out about your day
While I'm still waiting on the sun to break the morning
I cannot see it now
But just around the bend I know it's burning
In another day or two
It'll sway my body back into a rhythm
Oh when you see the morning darling
Know that I'm not far behind you

Breaking like a wave of blue
When you see the morning darling
Know that I'm not far behind you
Track Name: Nothing We Say
Nothing We Say
Courtney Hartman


I try to travel round as light as I can
I only carry my body for its sentimentality
It was the first thing my mother gave to me
God bless her soul

I never let myself fall hard
Too afraid to make the same mistakes I've already made
I only stay so long in the same place
Then I carry on

I can love you today
But don't ask for tomorrow
Don't ask if tomorrow I can stay
With the sun's arising I've got to be travelin'
But we can make a night of it again someday

And in the hour before goodbye
When nothing we say seems to hold its own weight
And the click of the clock like rattling chains
Say it's time to go

I can love you today
But don't ask for tomorrow
Don't ask if tomorrow I can stay
With the sun's arising I've got to be travelin'
But we can make a night of it again someday

You and I like the northern geese
Never at home and never at ease
When we're on the ground

So hold me here for another night
I will say what I can but the touch of my hand
Speaks more than the words that slip my mind
Failing me again

I can love you today
But don't ask for tomorrow
Don't ask if tomorrow I can stay
With the sun's arising I've got to be travelin'
But we can make a night of it again someday
Track Name: Noah
Noah
Courtney Hartman


Sweet dreams little one
Everythings's alright
I cannot hold your head at my breast
Rock you to sleep or kiss you goodnight

Eight months old
When they took you away
Stripped me of all that I had
Of every defense that I gave

Noah, Noah
My only son
Noah, Noah
What I have I done

Small knit cap
In an empty blue room
Round in my head goes your chitter chat voice
Your pit patter feet on the warm kitchen floor

Oh they called me crazy
Then they put you in his hands
And now I'm the guest at your father's house
One day in ten, how will you understand?

Noah, Noah
My only son
Noah, Noah
What I have I done
Track Name: Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek
Courtney Hartman


I know it's cold but don't complain
You know what happens if daddy hears ya
Just hold my hand, walk real close
Sometimes it helps to wiggle your toes

We'll give it a bit, he'll soon forget
That he ever brought us into town with him
We'll find enough change to catch the Q train
If you find a dime you win this race

Cuz daddy's lost his mind again
He's layin there asleep
Don't he look a little like a manatee
So come on brother let's run and play
You close your eyes I'll run away
Through Atlantic station
Playing hide and seek

When we get home we'll snuggle up warm
Underneath Momma's old curtain cover
We'll lay right there, as long as we can
Til daddy comes stumbling home again

And if we get lucky we'll find some food
Hiding in the cupboard or the living room
Oh boy, if only it'd be
A box of crackers or a can of cheese

But daddy's lost his mind again
He's layin there asleep
Don't he look a little like a manatee
So come on brother let's run and play
You close your eyes I'll run away
Through Atlantic station
Playing hide and seek

Wake up, we gotta climb through the window
Cuz daddy's brought his rowdy friends home
You know what happens, if we stay
Come on now, we got to run away

Cuz daddy's lost his mind again
He's blowin at the seams
Don't he sound a little like a manatee
So come on brother let's run away
You close your eyes I'll pretend it's play time
Running to the station
Playing hide and seek

Oh, come on brother let's run and play
You close your eyes, I'll run away
Through Atlantic station
Playing hide and seek
Track Name: Take Me Back Colorado
Take Me Back Colorado
Courtney Hartman


Traffic is bickering
The streets are full of shouting
My furnace hums with the car horns
The oak trees have faded
Left the streets looking jaded
Oh November why're you wearin such a scorn

Everyone's hasty
This city's growing angsty
Waiting on thanksgiving day to come
I am too

Take me back Colorado
I'm headed home


I'll miss you in December
Like I did in November
When you kissed me goodbye gently
Wild wild leaves
Blew up and down the streets
But you didn't know the wind when you held me

Gray paints the sky
Pours fog into the night
The drizzle can't decide to stay or go
It'll lift soon, I'm a leavin soon


The sky is clear and cold there
My lungs fill with sharp air
I'll stay out til the stars fill my cup

Take me back Colorado
I'm headed home