Learning Faith

by Jess Klein

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    - AND IT SAYS "I AM SO FUCKING COOL" ON THE FRONT!
    (and www.jessklein.com on the back)

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    Men's T-Shirts (description from the manufacturer)

    780 Anvil Ringspun 5.4 oz. pre-shrunk midweight T-shirt
    100% ring spun cotton
    Tubular construction
    Shoulder-to-shoulder tape and seamed collar
    Double-needle neck, sleeve and bottom hem
    TearAway label
    Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Certified


    Women's T-Shirts (description from the manufacturer)

    Fitted American Apparel 100% combed cotton
    100% fine jersey cotton construction
    Durable rib neckband
    Form-fitting
    Fine-gauge preshrunk combed cotton
    constructed in a sweatshop-free environment
    workers are paid fair wages and have access to affordable healthcare and benefits

    - AND IT SAYS "LEARNING FAITH" ON THE FRONT (AIN'T WE ALL!)
    (and www.jessklein.com on the back)

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about

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."

credits

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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about

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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Track Name: Learning Faith
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
Track Name: So Fucking Cool
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
Track Name: If There's a God
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
Track Name: Surrender
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
Track Name: Loving You
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
Track Name: Wish
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
Track Name: Dear God
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
Track Name: Only the Blues
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
Track Name: Open Road
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
Track Name: Long Way Down
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