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Learning Faith

by Jess Klein

For two years I been walkin’ walkin’ on my feet because I had a vision a vision leading me a vision of a bridge braided out of rope crossing a great canyon a bridge made out of hope I remember looking off of that cliff at how the bridge would swing each time the wind would shift and yet I felt the need to grip the guardrails in my palms the need to move forward the need to carry on Chorus: If I had known what it would take I would have turned and run away instead of standing here learning faith learning to let it fly instead of standing here learning faith learning to not ask why and walkin’ til the day I die You would not believe how few words there are to say when you spend your days moving this way mostly all I’m thinking is the next two foot stretch and mostly all i’m feelin my toes gripped round the edge voices say I’m crazy I know that it’s true but on the day I close my eyes and bid this world adieu I will not pray for heaven or fear the fire below I will simply be asleep with nowhere left to go Chorus
I am so fucking cool I could take her skinny ass to school she’ll take her toll but I’ll keep my soul because I am so fucking cool I wish I could fake it like her but I guess I gotta deal with the breaks of a heart that’s pure and for me, love is not a pose it’s just standing here with my guts exposed how I wish i could fake it like her yeah she’s got the hundred dollar jeans and she’s staring down her plastic nose at me she might catch your eye but I know how to grit my teeth and turn the lies into something sweet I’ll turn the lies into something sweet Because I am so fucking cool I learned all the finest tricks at underdog school and everyone loves a story bout someone nearly lost who gains victory that’s why I am so fucking cool I am so fucking cool I am so fucking cool
Down at the State House it was 5,000 to 1 The air was electric something real had begun we sent our speaker in to talk about where we had been when I got to the chamber I could not speak the stories told there make a strong man weep but you threw back the blame said our lot was God’s domain caused a change I can’t explain like a slap ‘cross the cheek made me believe If there’s a God if there’s a God God is gonna rain down hell on you I’d sleep at night knowin that was true if there’s a God if there’s a God God is gonna rain down hell on you I may be only one but I am singin this song and I hear others I hear them singin’ along in a world of constant change I know one thing remains a heart broken in pain beats in anger too makes a body move And If there’s a God if there’s a God God is gonna rain down hell on you I’d sleep at night knowin that was true I’d find the strength to carry through if there’s a God if there’s a God God is gonna rain down hell on you Down at the State House it was 5,000 to 1 the air was electric something real had begun
Surrender 04:20
surrender surrender surrender lay down my sword and shield surrender surrender surrender kneel on this battlefield take it apart the metal plate over my heart leave the whole thing revealed surrender surrender surrender heed the voice that drowns out all I’ve know surrender surrender surrender hear the drum that beats all on its own driving me to what some part of me knew but I’ve never been shown When it all falls down and returns to dust in the thick of night and i wake up stoned down to my bones and i cannot fight feel my way out into God knows what but it must be right surrender surrender surrender where my sweet acceptance lives surrender surrender surrender where angels heal me with a kiss a choir sings voices lift manna for this When it all falls down and returns to dust in the thick of night and i wake up stoned down to my bones and i cannot fight feel my way out into God knows what but it must be right feel my way out into God knows what And I see the light the light the light surrender surrender surrender
Loving You 03:03
It’s different than it used to be we’re older than our parents were a funny world for you and me seems colder than it was before but one thing hasn’t changed and that’s the feeling of loving you so natural, so strange so timeless and so new With flashing lights and cluttered minds crowding us out everywhere the little things get left behind while we run off trying not to care but one thing makes me stay and that’s the feeling of loving you it won’t be washed away or proved to be untrue Some things we can’t explain away some dreams have gotta see their day come what may And so the human race goes on and swears it’s on a road to doom and still I’m moved to sing a song and pull some kind of magic through a hero in my way all for the feeling of loving you come to state my case for all the things you do come to state my case for all the things you do
Wish 04:16
Took me to Chez Gaston told me I could order anything I want showed me to the best seats in the house for My Fair Lady, the one the critics raved about I learned the actors’ names friends came back to our living room you said that my smarts must have come from you then the party was over time for them to go, you and me alone then the change came Chorus: Yelling curses hurling dishes turned my wish cold and blue sudden anger bred constant fear of what was hidden inside of you I tried hard not to upset like any child learning to survive mama since the day we met I’ve tried to keep my wish alive Bitter medicine to swallow not only for the patient but for the one who opens the bottle but this illness is real and spells you don’t recall left wounds i still gotta heal to stop the bleeding If I rip the bandage off expose it to the air can it be the act of love we’re needing Chorus
Dear God 04:44
Dear God tell me what I’m gonna do between bad and worse what am i gonna choose I tried to see the doctor today but the governor slammed the door right in my face and I’m seventeen years old is my time already told with the baby of a baby on its way Chorus And it’s life it’s life it’s life that’s got me talkin’ now to you was it life sweet life that brought me down or some old man who says he speaks for you Dear God I planned on going to school keepin’ up my grades gain the proper tools now I’ll be stuck here just like everyone else stackin’ boxes on some WalMart shelf or carryin’ to term a child who’ll never learn why his mama gave him up to someone else Chorus Dear God gonna go down to the depot tonight do what I gotta do in the flickering light got the name of a place out on 56 for some kind of price they’ll give me some kind of fix In the land of the free I’ve come to this Chorus
Since the day I left my hometown been lookin’ for a place to lay my burden down I walked around memphis I pranced around paris I drove across texas and I knelt before Jesus and I don’t know why and I don’t know how but only the blues will take my burden now Everybody asks me what on earth I think I’ll get that I haven’t gotten yet it won’t be riches probably not fame I still got my freedom But the price is my pain and i don’t know how but only the blues will take my burden now so go call your doctor go pray to your saint buy yourself a new house with a new coat of paint I’ll keep my last dollar on this three chord riff three chords and a microphone give me some kind of lift and I don’t know why and I don’t know how but only the blues will take my burden now so baby I love you with all of my heart I will til the end I did from the start but when my eyes are teary don’t think you got the cure and it ain’t because your love ain’t pure I don’t know why and I don’t know how but only the blues will take my burden now only the blues only the blues
Open Road 04:48
You and I had seen the open road had the nerve to give it one more go with a car from your old job and my book of songs a Mexican blanket to cover the guitars and the faith of those whose race is not run hey it might get rough out there I know but we can do this take my hand lets go Said you loved to drive through the night drove us up to Michigan alright then the old friend you never thought you’d see again came out in Cleveland, started buying you rounds you toasted freedom but your eyes were looking down I tried to ask “are you alright?” you didn’t answer just drove through the night out on the open road where long shadows show and riders pray for the light we know not to be dyin’ the same old friend showed up in three more towns seemed to turn your old nerve around somewhere near Buffalo that old car slowed too much weight too many miles I guess you knew something had to go like a dream your old friend took the wheel left me by the snowbanks with the pain you wouldn’t feel Now sometimes I see you around I can never seem to make a sound I heard you’re working an office job now I’m still out here I don’t always know why I think about you and it darkens my eyes but I guess this life still gives me hope some kind of freedom some kind of rope out on the open road where long shadows show and riders pray for the light we know not to be dyin’ And all us souls wanna turn around And crawl back underground but me I’ll head for the light I’ve found or grow old tryin’ you and I had seen the open road
I had been there before old man worry hangin’ round my door heard his heavy silence outside wishin i could run away and hide poured myself a stiff drink of gin looked around that hole i’d been in felt the old man’s whiskers ticklin’ my fingers as i opened the door and pushed him aside and it’s a long way back its a long way down it’s a long way won’t get there today but i won’t be turning around Hailed a cab and sped up the road to my lover’s abode thinkin’ bout the good times thinkin’ bout those sweet rhymes and all those funny dreams i hold I swept in there ready for the kill tried to move him by the sheer force of my will I pulled his arms around me said, ‘ain’t ya glad you found me?’ and he just stood there, stone still chorus And I don’t know how long the road don’t know how hard the right only that I’m goin’ though I’m only knowin’ of one friend who’ll stay by my side Now I’m here by the northern line and I am lost as a lone turtle dove watching lovers kiss in their lovers’ bliss while that old train rattles above chorus


Calling it her most "edgy and brutal" offering to date, Jess Klein's compelling 8th studio release features themes such as the hardships of youth and the search for self. Through it, Klein hits the sweet spot every time, making for an engaging listen.

"I pulled no punches on this album," Jess Klein says of Learning Faith. "It's edgy and brutal, but it was inspired by a genuine love for this world."

Learning Faith —which marks Klein's third collaboration with veteran producer Mark "Professor Feathers" Addison—boasts ten personally-charged new originals that rank with her most compelling and illuminating work. Such bracing tunes as "Surrender," "So Fucking Cool," "Wish," "Long Way Down" and "If There's A God" (which she was inspired to write after protesting in support of State Senator Wendy Davis' pro-choice 2013 filibuster at the Texas state capitol building) embody the complementary mix of personal fearlessness and musical craftsmanship that define Klein's music.

"It felt a little different this time," the artist notes. "It was the first time that I ever went into a record really feeling that I'd paid my dues, and that now I'm just gonna do and say whatever I want. I finally feel like I really don't care what anybody thinks now. That felt huge, and it felt really empowering. I felt comfortable going as dark as I could, and not feeling like I had to pull back from that.

"It's also the first time I've started a record with a concept and tried to follow it through," she explains. "After I wrote the song 'Learning Faith,' that started me thinking about writing a whole album of songs about the process of developing faith—faith in people, faith in the universe, faith in a higher power. I wanted each song to be about some kind of struggle with faith, and asking what faith really means to me.

Learning Faith's rich emotional and musical palette is consistent with the level of commitment that Jess Klein has always brought to her music. The Rochester, NY native taught herself to play her father's acoustic guitar in her teens, and began writing songs as a college student in Kingston, Jamaica. After graduation, she relocated to Boston, where she began performing locally and won acclaim for her self-released debut album Wishes Well Disguised. The attention helped to win her a deal with the Rykodisc label, for which she recorded the albums Draw Them Near and Strawberry Lover, which were warmly received by critics as well as Klein's growing audience.
Since parting ways with Rykodisc, Klein has continued to stake out brave new lyrical and musical territory on such albums as 2006's City Garden, 2009's Bound to Love and 2012's Behind A Veil.

"This can be a hard job, and it does require a certain amount of faith to continue doing it," Klein observes, adding, "There have been several points where I've questioned my career choice. But every time I've gotten close to feeling defeated, I've pulled myself back up and come out of it stronger. And the more times I choose to keep doing it, the stronger I feel about it, and the stronger I feel about reaching a little deeper and putting everything out on the table.”

"When you're younger, you don't totally know who you are yet, and you're still trying to figure things out. Now I feel more at ease with who I am and why I do this. My motivation now for playing music is to connect with people, and to do that by connecting with myself, which is the hardest and scariest part.”

"The reward," she concludes, "is those moments where all the other bullshit subsides and you have a total, pure connection with the audience, or with just one person. I feel so blessed to be able to have this connection with people that's based on something real, and I guess that that's what I look for now."


released July 24, 2014

Jess Klein - acoustic and electric guitars, porchboard

Professor Feathers - bass, baritone guitar, electric guitar, organs, arp, water tank, casio, loops, slide guitar, mellotron

Billy Masters - electric guitars

Rob Hooper, drums

John Paul Keenon - drums

Wendy Colonna - backing vocals

BJ Lazarus - mandolin

Produced by Professor Feathers

Executive Producers: Phil Collins and D Christopher Decker

Recorded and mixed by Professor Feathers

Mastered by Dave McNair

Photo: Phillip F. Patterson, Jr.

Artwork: Tommy Turner

All songs written by Jess Klein ©2014 House of Leo Music (ASCAP)
All rights reserved. Used by permission. International copyright secured. Licensing: Words & Music, Nashville

Thank you

Feathers, Billy, Rob, JP, Wendy, BJ, Colin Brooks, Dave McNair, Andy Carrell, Phillip, Tommy, PledgeMusic, Strange Brew, Arlo Guthrie, Jon Dee Graham, Paula Russell, Craig Grossman, Del Day, Jenni Finlay, Words & Music, Edgar Heckmann & Blue Rose, Gil Ramos, Bernard Zuel, Justin Fallen, Toni Bravo, Carol Ahlgren, The Steve & Eileen Engelmeyer Family, Christopher D. Brown, Mike & Pat Czepiel, Rich Hanson, Mike Fickel, June Howe, Martin Ziesch, Lisa Goldthwaite, Jennifer Staudenmaier, Andreas Laemmermann, Jack & Pam Neville, Blair McCloskey, Al Weiss, Matt the E & Wednesday song game peeps, Tanene Alison & all the brave Texan sisters & brothers for the inspiration Mom, Dad, Junie, Stripes and all of you who listen for helping me LEARN FAITH


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Jess Klein Hillsborough, North Carolina

Rochester, NY native Jess Klein is known for staking out brave lyrical and musical territory with such albums as Wishes Well Disguised (1998), Draw Them Near (2000), Strawberry Lover (2005), City Garden (2006), Bound to Love (2009), Behind A Veil (2012) and Learning Faith (2014) which Folk Radio UK calls “unquestionably the finest album of [her] impressive career.” ... more


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