in the year you were born

by the young novelists

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recorded between january 16th and february 3rd at the lincoln county social club under the guidance of chris stringer and the distant wisdom of john dinsmore. there were a few additional days in march there but those don't really count...we just wanted to hang out some more and finish reading the books we had started and left on john's shelves.

as is true of any artistic undertaking, there are times when you ask yourself "what in the name of sweet jalnorr am i doing?" the answer is that it doesn't matter what you're doing, but that you're doing it. well, we did it, but not without a significant amount of assistance and support. to that end the young novelists would like to thank eileen, lara, and eva for their patience; the strumbellas, peter katz, shawn clarke & the green hearts, the fires of, the maladies of adam stokes, parks & rec, and myke mazzei for sharing the stage with us on occasion; preetam sengupta and the LAMA (letting artists make art) team for the kind words, the good vibes, and the hard work; amie therrien for performing the labours of hercules on a fortnightly basis; meghan gamble and theresa micallef for their unflappable awesomeness in the face of publicity; and, chris stringer for yelling at us.

music doesn't really matter much without an audience. thank you for listening.

please note that unauthorized reproduction of this work is highly encouraged. share all you want.


released September 11, 2012

all songs written & arranged by graydon james & the young novelists

the band:
alex dodd - keyboards
graydon james - vocals, acoustic guitar
shawn jurek - vocals, bass
john law - electric guitar
mike paddags - drums
laura spink - vocals

additional players:
chris stringer - general mayhem
jaron freeman-fox - violin & cello
joshua van tassel - additional drums
jalnorr klezmigond - omnichord
shreddin' jack peugelatt - handclaps
eva o'brien, eileen paddags, leah hunter, tess benger, charles tilden, allan raun, amber raun, lara martin, erin schildermans - group vocals on "in your defence"

string arrangements by jaron freeman-fox

produced, engineered, & mixed by chris stringer at the lincoln county social club
mastered by jeff elliot (
management - amie therrien (
photography by emily maureen and liz gareri
design by adam therrien (

we acknowledge the financial support of the government of canada through the department of canadian heritage (canada music fund) and canada's private radio broadcasters.




the young novelists Toronto, Ontario

Exclaim! dubbed their first EP “unpretentious brilliance” and this Toronto-based folk-roots band has won critical acclaim ever since. Stephen Fearing described them as having “tight arrangements, great dynamics, and good songs with beautiful harmonies” and their live shows capture audiences with both barnstorming singalongs and heartbreaking folk ballads. ... more

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Track Name: i was a young man's son

verse(6 count): C G
pre-chorus: (Am Em) x2 Am C
chorus: G Bdim C C
bridge: G G D D Em Em C C (G D Em Em) x2 G D Em C

kentucky stole my soul & nothing can bring it back
you give me everything you owe. you owe me a second act

oh someday they will sell my grave
another acre they will pave & i need somebody to save me

oh i was a young man's son x2

the river, like the heart you break
forever takes the same old path
mistakes any man could make my father couldn't do the math

& someday they will sell my name
every acre stays the same. i don't need anyone to blame me

oh i was a young man's son x2
the work here is never done

& we will stay true & pay all our dues
but if our best can't make it last
well my old man's already passed
i hope my children never ask
why their old man is always living in the past

oh i was a young man's son x2
the work here is never done
we work through the setting sun
these fields never get full grown
but i've got a son of my own
Track Name: in your defence

capo III
verse/chorus: G [G C] G G
pre-chorus: (Em Em D C) x4
outro: G C

trapped behind blue eyes without a word
the engine of your heart a broken bird
that drives your only hope off the rails
& breaks each small success, it never fails
don't spare details...full-blown the sails

& take apart his eminence
the officers, the evidence
the ones who came to speak

in your defense
in your defense

the lens refracts the light until it burns
your common cause was never taking turns
all praise a don't deserve

when friends exchange with enemies
the ghosts inside your family
& hold you back to speak

in your defense
in your defense...

Track Name: standing still

verse: C Am x4 F Fm
pre-chorus: C G Am F
chorus: C Am

the day may come when i do not recall
the little push, the tumble or the fall
but twice i looked & twice i saw you
twice i looked & twice i saw you
twice i looked...& you looked too
& did you sing me note for note?
or see my heart was in my throat?

oh i have never been the type
to take a chance, the moment ripe
i'm locked inside, i try to try
i had to watch you pass me by & i...

i'm standing still...i'm standing still

when all we had was new we knew at last
we'll build upon the ruins of the past
& once i spoke & once you held me
once i spoke & once you held me
once i spoke...& then i knew
that words would always come between
what was said & what it means

oh i could hardly stand the break
& watch you make the same mistake
you don't recall you made at all
i'll never let you see me fall cause i...


the day may come when i do not recall
Track Name: small-town hymns

capo I
verse: Am Em F C
chorus: F C F C F C Am Em F C
bridge: (C Em) x4 (F C) x2 Am Em F C

these telephone wires sing over the fields
the man of the hour, the only shield
an instant addiction has been revealed
moments you share in moments you steal

& it begins with these small-town hymns
carrying through your heart & all your limbs

a parade of wrongs will serve you right
like the moth has a choice when it sees the light
& word has spread like a forest fire
all the voices forming a small-town choir

& it begins in these small-town hymns
judging them over & over & over again

[br] (instr. w/harmonies)

[repeat 1st ch]
...through your heart & all your limbs
through your heart & all your limbs
Track Name: make the same mistakes

capo III
verse: F C Dm F
chorus: Bb Dm C C

broken by her hand, cradled in your arms
sirens in your head – all five alarms
& the city is the perfect confidante
it gives you what you need, never what you want

& the lie you're sold is the same as every one you told
& whatever it takes you need another break
or a chance to make the same mistake

your broken baggage now heavy in your chest
the feeling that you lost all you possessed
all of your demands made without a voice
the fire in your head never had a choice
& artificial sympathies
dividing all your friends & enemies

& all you've been is a ghost in someone else's dream
& now that they're awak you only know the ache
& the need to make the same mistake

forgetting what you save, all your common grounds
a king is what you kept, wearing other crowns

[1st ch]
[2nd ch]
Track Name: it takes all kinds

verse: (G D D D) x3 G A Asus4 A
chorus: (D A Bm Bm) x3 A Asus4 A
outro: (G A Asus4 A) x3 G D

caught in my head my one foolish friend
getting ahead by playing pretend
you left us for dead we were just at the end
of the verse of the song
when i come along...come along x3
& do everything wrong
you felt like you[tacit] belonged
like a harmony sung

break these ties as restless as
two young lies between us
it takes all kinds
we know what it takes

[solo over verse]
you're [tacit]here in my mind
so easy to find
i just look down or behind to make sure
to make sure to make sure you're not scared
oh i know you so well don't say that i don't
& i put you through hell as you already know
oh i meant well, but i guess that don't
make it easy to bear

[chorus] x2
[outro] ...we know what it takes x3
Track Name: left behind

capo II
verse: (E E A E E) x2 (E E A A F#m E E) x2
chorus: (Bm Bm F#m E E E E) x2
Bm Bm F#m E A A Adim Adim E (hold)
bridge: (E E A E E) x4 (E E A A) x4
(E E F#m/A A) to drum crash out

Adim: [01210x]
F#m/A: [00240x]

oh dear why won't you try?
new year's when you said goodbye
& down here there's a crowd they're young &
they're proud tonight
& one tear for each mistake, you're wrong & you
can't make it right

& i can't understand
& now you can't defend
how you could end your life
& i am left behind

oh dear what does it take?
right here there's an endless ache
& small hurts that i made but i am afraid to break
what words? they're only part. the sound that my
heart still makes


[instr. bridge]

[repeat last verse]
Track Name: you're on your own

verse: G Em G Bm C G Am (Am D)
chorus: G G G D C C C D
bridge: C C G D

the rose is the lion of blooms
these singers will fill up a room
but every note they throw your way is false
you change how a room takes a sound
& measure a man by the pound
& the weight of his mistakes can give you pause

don't you see that you're on your own? x2
you've never been so alone
don't you see that you're on your own

the night has the stars in its eyes
cause the depth of the dark terrifies
but the strange is commonplace when you bring it home
they will prove what can never have proof
they will scare you by telling the truth
but the truth is all that you have when you're alone


G Em...

[ch] x2
Track Name: the way it was

verse: A [riff] A A F#m E
chorus: D D D E A A A E D D D E A A E E

everyone here is a candidate
to break the record or set the record straight
you'll come out the other side in a couple years
& wash your hands of all of this with all your tears
oh don't you leave me, don't you believe me?
& don't you wanna come down & grieve me?
i'm doing damage in all my anguish
you're saying sorry in every language, yeah

tell me nothing's changed; it never does
everything remains the way it was...the way it was

now everyone wants to be popular
so she copies you & you copy her
& no one's going anywhere
with the hint of disaster in the air
oh don't you know it, don't you show it
don't back down & don't you blow it
i'm on my knees in a farmer's field
only a momma's boy would ever yield


well everyone's got a different take
there's the truth you know & the truth you make
& every word down from the rumour mill
is a stab in the back or a look that kills
& weather the shake up
'til i say...i think we should break up

don't you wish it was the way it was
you can't go back because
the way it was is the way it was
Track Name: for what it's worth

verse: C C G Am Am Am Am Am Am F C C C C
chorus: F C G Am F C G G
bridge: Dm [Dm F] G G Am [Am /B] C C

have a little faith in what you make
stop keeping track of your mistakes
oh you wrote a ghost there in the words
about another pain that you endured
& if you're lonely now well still you're young
getting older with every song you've sung
'til your voice is broke & your heart is played
well a star is born but a man is made

the heart string is breaking like you rehearsed
centuries in the making, for what it's worth

you're trapped in the amber of your flaws
& you soldier on where others pause
accused until you can't succeed
well you cut yourself 'til you can't bleed
& the strings will play to name your fear
if only you could disappear

alarms sing the break-in & the fifth becomes the first
centuries in the making, for what it's worth

every lonely one you take them on
& nothing's easy for you don't belong...
you don't belong

(instr. verse)
have a little faith in what you make
stop keeping track of your mistakes
cause your voice is broke & your heart is played
well a star is born but a man is made

[1st chorus]
Track Name: long long long

verse: D# D# Cm G#
chorus: D# (D# Bb) G# (G# Bb)

only the constant survive
not the weak with their lies
letting the ocean tides
yet they never decide
the permanent storm / has human form
exacting a terrible price
come on open your eyes / once they were closed...

long long long

never convinced / someone has since
told you the evidence
all you need is an inch
next to the end / trying to mend
suffering discipline
until nobody wins / really it's been...

[solo over verse]

violent lives / if we survive
vacate the constant past
each one will last...

[chorus out]
Track Name: waste of time

verse: G G C G Em Em C G
chorus: Em Em C G
bridge: Em C G G Em C D D Em C G D Em C...G

i was born in your town / seems a hundred years ago
the shadow that's behind me / ain't the only one i know
i left you once before, oh / but i am here to stay

i can promise you tomorrow
i can't give you much today

i went through the canyon / & came out by the lake
i was thinking of forgiveness
can i make one more mistake?
i am still a poor man / & that's not my only crime

you deserve a better offer
am i just a waste of time?

& change is just a product of regret
& so i've changed & i'm not finished yet
but i can't change the past, & i can't change your mind
i can only pray...i'm not a waste of time

i've been down new orleans
& through the carolines
i've gambled with my virtue
& lost every time
& you would never say it
but i have drawn the line

[ch] x3
oh i do not deserve you
i am a waste of time