made us strangers

by the young novelists



winner of the 2015 canadian folk music award for new/emerging artist of the year, and nominated for vocal group of the year.

this album was recorded in the hot blaze of summer, from july 14th to august 12th, at ill eagle studios in the neighbourhood of leslieville in the city of toronto. we worked our schedule against the summertime minefield of weddings, work, and watersports. as often as not we recorded while eating late lunches and later dinners, and between takes we would call our loved ones to tell them not to wait up.

it means so much to us to have supportive folks in our lives, who allow us the opportunity to do what we love. we would like to take a moment to thank broghan, eileen, eva, kelly, lauren, and simon for their exceptional patience and support; we would like to thank our manager, amie therrien, for being able to get things done despite our decision-making process; and we would like to thank carlin nicholson for shepherding this album into existence with his mad producer skills. thanks as well to jaron freeman-fox, mike o'brien, neil quinn, janine stoll, and steve mcnie for lending their phenomenal talents to this album.

we would also like to thank all the fine folks who came to a show, hosted a house concert, gave us a space to crash while on tour, or bought a beer at a venue that supports live music. it doesn't mean much without you. thank you for listening.


released April 28, 2015

all songs written & arranged by the young novelists

the band:
alex dodd - piano, organ, rhodes
graydon james - acoustic guitar, vocals
john law - acoustic & electric guitar
laura spink - vocals, glockenspiel, percussion
michael paddags - drums, percussion
shawn jurek - bass, vocals

additional awesomeness:
carlin nicholson - organ, glockenspiel, percussion
mike o'brien - acoustic & electric guitar
neil quinn - electric & slide guitar
steve mcnie - accordion

string arrangements by jaron freeman-fox

produced, engineered, & mixed by carlin nicholson at ill eagle studio
mastered by philip shaw bova (
management by amie therrien (
design by janine stoll (

we acknowledge the financial support of the government of canada through the department of canadian heritage (canadian music fund) and of 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: palindrome

typical of you to feel it right in your bones

we never collide in a space of our own

can't you recognize that your life is a palindrome?
pulling at your teeth as your sister insists
she's never gonna change with a heart like a fist
but it's easy to arrange when fate is a fatalist

where do we belong?
& where did we go wrong?
each time that we were drawn
on & on & on & onward oh...

a summertime alone shouldn't be this hard
drab as a fool, aloof as a bard
proud in the rain & sensitive as a scar
& all my former
loves would warn her
the end will be as difficult as the start


in your wounded pride your failure to hide
how you react i'll come right back
you can brace yourself against every consequence
& when they fall your back against a wall & all
your subtle evidence defeats your own defense
& each exception to yourself oh it only seems to help
erase the lines that you have drawn
on & on & on & onward...

typical of you to feel it right in your bones
we'll never collide in a space of our own
can't you recognize that your life is a palindrome?
Track Name: singer-songwriter

i met you on my way to hollywood
you asked me to hold on, i said i would
FC by virtue of your will i hold on to you still
F AmGC the nights are bad & the days are just as good

you crawled in through my window after dark
your second show had torn you apart
you said you had to quit
i talked you out of it
we slept in late & i had played my part

your secrets walk the boards on the stage
& curtains drawn, your voice in a rage
i know you didn't mean
to ruin everything
i'm sorry if i got in your way

you told me i was your only safe bet
& then you told me the truth in a voice filled with regret
the critics always state
that you were not that great
but i swear it was your best performance yet
Track Name: always make the mistake

capo vi
intro: G(d) Gsus4 G(b)
verse: G C G x2 Em C G C G C G
chorus: C Em D G C Em D D7

there's a river i see from my room
that calls a young man to his doom
& if he hangs his head he's gone too soon
oh youth does not make you immune
the past is not burdened with proof
like the films i recall from my youth
& a young man dressed in his father's suit
i can make a lie from the hardest truth

& i always make the mistake oh i
always make the mistake

you were drawn to the clouds in his eyes
lord knows what you saw in mine
a promise we could compromise
oh love is a foolish prize
we could claim a great many things
you were the song i needed to sing
the truth was you always wore his ring
& we were only borrowing


there's a river i see from my room
& i will walk through the pale afternoon
& the birds still sing, i recall the tune
perhaps i will see you soon...
perhaps i will see you soon.
Track Name: hear your voice

verse: C [C F] C [C G] Am [Am F] C [C F]
chorus: F C F C Dm G
bridge: (Am F) x3 G G

i was outclassed i was staring into the flame
you were looking back we must have been feeling the same
oh i try & i fail & no one's to blame
i hate the face in the mirror & that hasn't changed
that hasn't changed

maybe all i need is to hear your voice
maybe all i need is to hear your voice
hear your voice, hear your voice

the rain was falling hard & steady over our home
the storm we've known will it ever leave us alone
& half of you can't stay & half won't go
the choice you make every day & nobody knows
nobody knows


(instr. verse)

oh the words that helped decide us
& now they just divide us
is there nothing that will tide us through the dark
oh i've nothing to regret you
you're only gone if i forget you
but the friction when i met you made the spark

Track Name: brothers in the garage

verse: E E7/G# A Am
chorus: D A E E D A E E D A C C G D E E
outro: E E A Am

don't you recall? your temper in the fall
& the lyrics you infer, well your brother won't concur
don't you recall? [instr. chorus]
stuck behind the cymbals where
you draw the line & disappear
for hours at a time / you rise & i'll decline
for now it seems the ends will
justify the means & you don't trust
the fact we both belong
& i will prove you wrong...oh

the rivalry's alight
& blood is on both sides
each song a civil war
each wave erodes the shore

pent up & analyzed for centuries it's no surprise
you've changed the middle eight
inciting the debate...oh

the rivalry's alight / & blood is on both sides
each song a civil war / each arrow you ignore
still up & takes its toll / those fires burning old
under the old barrage
brothers in the garage

Track Name: for the record

verse: G6 G x3 Em Em/F# G
chorus: Em C G x2
outro: Em C G D

for the record this is gonna hurt
i shed a tear for you at work
surrounded by people i didn't wanna tell
oh i hid it well.
i wanna risk it but i don't wanna fail
launch the boat with the broken sail
watch it sink beneath the

waves...anyways, what is beneath?
it'll stay the same just out of reach.

come clean with the wisdom of a year
you'll find love but you won't find it here
just a heart that'll never be enough
shy as you are you do not know your worth
your tears are the salt on the face of the earth
& i'm the only thing you should

[ch]'s a shame
to look into these blue eyes.

for the record you're the last word x2
this old memory you inside me

this is gonna hurt
this is gonna hurt (end on [C])
Track Name: come back to me

capo III
verse: G Am Am G
chorus: C G G C G D D
post-chorus: Em A Em A Em A C G

hide away when we could find a way
& finally say the words that measure the need
by the way you take my catastrophe
you don't have to pray but i have to believe

she'll come back to me
she'll come back to me for sure

take the reins, go find yourself again
it's your acumen to test the mettle that we've
got to spare & what we've got is rare
& you don't have to care but i have to believe

[chorus] x2


it's a fool who would start
in one chamber of your heart
& expect to find his mark
in the other three

hide away until we find a way
you don't have to say but i have to believe...


[chorus] x4
Track Name: when you once were wild

verse: D# F Bb Gm
chorus: Dm D# Bb
outro: Bb F Bb [Gm F]

verse chords:
D#: 66504x
F: 88706x
Bb: x1033x
Gm: 3x033x

tell me when you once were wild
did you keep it in? all that you pretend?
the evolution of your trial
you keep saving face, oh you can't erase
as sad as when you lost your child
well we all repent in the face of it
tell me when you once were wild
was it different?

i was always shy i can't hold a candle to
the one in your eyes they magnify it takes some time
'til you don't recognize & no surprise
it's always the blind leading the
blind-sided by: tell me when you once were wild

tell me how you reconciled
the truth that bends around your closest friends
your first & your last denial
did they feel the same? it's a crying shame
you've never walked a lonely mile
but it came & went & came back again
tell me when you once were wild
was it different?


tell me when you once were wild...
Track Name: what lies ahead
intro/chorus: F C C
verse: C E7 Am F
pre-chorus: C [G G7]
bridge: Dm Bb F A7

patience is spent
like a burnt cigarette
& the lie you're bound to forget
starts out like a friend
& it happens again
oh who the hell let you in?
in the end, what lies ahead?

subtle as skin
when the end just begins
& the line that suckered us in
is drawn in the sand
it's not like we planned
to know just the back of the hand
in the end, what lies ahead?

take one precious inch
your voice betrays
how hard it truly is
to give away the only thing you miss

patience is spent
like the days since we met
wondering how did we get
from the line in your heart
to the state of the art
in breaking the news to our friends
in the's what lies ahead
Track Name: couldn't be any worse

capo III (for L.)
verse: F Am Dm Am Bb F C C
chorus: Bb Bb F F Bb F C C

i'd been awake for hours
when i met you by the church
you'd recently been hurt
your face still wet with tears
i pointed to your bruises
& said it looks quite bad
you smiled but you were sad
& days turn into years

we couldn't be any worse...any worse
we could not be any worse for each other

i took you back to my place
the sun was coming up
i bandaged your cuts
as you critiqued my art
so i was most surprised
when you put your lips on mine
oh we were eye to eye
& heart to heart



Track Name: name your price

capo II
verse: G D Em C Bm Bm C C
chorus: C G C (G D) (end w/) C C C G
bridge: (C C C G) x3 Em D C C Em D C G

there's a slight despair in your voice at the end of the line all the empires carefully built are in decline
& if you look back you'll see how the lonely live
& the curse that ruined you has always been yours to forgive

moments that you hide
they always collide in time the sacrifice
you don't get to name your price

your mind's made up & the fire spread to the sky
the curious few & the furious who ask why
& explanations are calm & reasonable
your heart is empty in fact it's never been full


uncover the loss the havoc you cause
the face to the name & the line that you cross
placing the blame leading me on, stealing a song
take it from me


there's a slight despair in your voice at the end of the line all the empires carefully built are in decline
Track Name: who can say

verse: G D C G G D Bm C
chorus: Em C G G
bridge: D D C G x2 D Daug

you tasted your wine & you wasted my time
oh you made up your mind in a moment
well if choice is so free it's imprisoning me
you work so hard to be my opponent
come down or come clean no one else has been
instrumental indeed to my progress
well you taught me denial with an elegant smile
yes i've lived here a while with this whole mess

& who can say? who can say?
there's words on my tongue & they won't go away
who can say?

all the sunsets still last in our tangled up past
even dawn can't relax all those portraits
but sharing in tears it becomes a career
& your heart disappears in your fortress


keep hanging on for everyone's sake
until everyone feels so bent they will break
& excuses abound oh it's time to take some time

...take my time

oh time is at hand well whatever you've planned
it's not gonna land without folding
in truth i was worse but i didn't rehearse
until naming the curse i've been holding

[CH] x2