When You're Gone, You're Still In My Songs

by Wes Leslie

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All proceeds will be matched (up to $500) and donated to ACLU to progress the fight for civil liberties.


Today I’m releasing this short break-up album called “When You’re Gone, You’re Still In My Songs.” For those not in the know, Courtney and I parted ways recently, and between phone calls to my best friends and finding a counselor, this was my attempt to make sense of it all and track something while those feelings were still raw. Just a week after recording it, these songs already feel like a time capsule. I sort of like that they have no perspective, no space yet to look back and figure it all out.

It’s just called Wes Leslie, not “The Bedroom Player” or any of that, because I’m not really a character in these songs, just myself, writing how I feel and not overthinking it. Written during that great storm that just passed, and with a slight cold too.

Tracks 1 and 3 were composed the week of our breakup, track 2 was one I’d written earlier, trying to visualize what would happen if our relationship were to end one day, and track 4 was written when I lived in Spain. I once gave Courtney a CD with something like thirty unreleased Wes Leslie songs I didn’t know what to do with, and that one really resonated and has become a personal favorite of hers. It’s sort of become her song, this bit of myself that nobody else got to know, so it’s included as a sendoff.

As a side note, I’m secretly concerned that our relationship ending will reflect badly on polyamory as a premise and serve to vindicate those who judge open relationships, but the truth is, our communication did grow stronger than ever during that time, and helped us realize what our needs truly are, and how to meet them. It’s made us healthier people in our other relationships, romantic or not, and I’m happy to talk more about those lessons with you sometime.

Until then, you can donate bottles of Chartreuse or Take 5 candy bars in my honor to: 479 14th Street Apt A, SF CA 94103.

The album is set up as a free/pay-what-you-wish download, and all proceeds will be matched by me (up to $500) and go directly to the ACLU.

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released January 30, 2017

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Wes Leslie San Francisco

Wes Leslie sings bedroom soul music.

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Track Name: Mister Foothill
You arrive, cheap bottle of wine,
My favorite candy bar, Take 5
Ask me how I’ve been, what’s on my mind
Haven’t seen you since Christmas time

You don’t shy away from the hard stuff
Call out the problems, man, we had problems
Now we have others, a lover in Lia for me
And you and the Pink House, people spent crying

On days while I strive for greatness
Setting emotions away like how they raised me
Laughing if you show off your vulnerable side
So I’ve learned a lot about hiding

Mister Foothill:
1 ½ oz rye whiskey
1 ½ oz Cocchi Americano
½ oz yellow Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters

Build in rocks glass, add large ice cube and briefly stir
Garnish with expressed orange peel

I made you a nightcap, I made you a burger
Ask you if break-up sex we could consider
It’s late and a long way back to the Excelsior
So you check the buses and say it’s that time

So I’ll see you at the co-op, the bulk foods section
Stocking on grains and powdery protein
I’ve been working out, but not to escape, just to feel alright
It’s nice cause the gym gets empty that hour of night
Track Name: Should I Run Into You On Market Street
No one can love you more than I do
But if they do, then love them too if you want to, just
Please don’t slip out in the early morning light
Tell me over a glass of rye

I just want to see you happy
“Libre, linda y loca”
Like the Spanish feminist blogs say
That we’d read in bed on Sundays
Well I’ll still read them, although it won’t feel the same
If you leave me now

Should I run into you on Market Street
With my nemesis all wrapped up in your sleeve
I’ll probably give you all my money and my blessings
Then walk away before I weep

I just want to see you happy
“Libre, linda y loca”
Like I learned when I lived in Spain
Maybe I’ll move back to the old country
San Francisco sure as hell won’t feel the same
If you leave me now
Track Name: What We've Made Just Isn't Working
I love you so much, babe, that’s for certain
A good run done, pull closed the curtains
Maybe there’s a reprise someday, don’t be discouraged
But what we’ve made, babe, just isn’t working

Took my jumpsuit back when you was in the bathroom
Put it in my tote bag with all the essentials
Didn’t end it then, but I wondered if I’d be in your bedroom
Ever again where the sunlight shines through, so bright

Now it’s me in the Mission, my ex in the Ex
Me in the kitchen, surveying what’s left
Sort of saying, like death it had to come

Storms hit harder when you walked out that door
Heard the fat drops fall on the windowsill of my Victorian
Flooding the backyard of my neighbors, the Mexicans
Grab my acoustic, stifle the soul singing bit

I’ve got the tissues you left on my bed
Wasted from tears that we’d alternate let
You kept my keys, said we’d still be friends
But you didn’t want your toothbrush back

Now it’s me in the Mission, my ex in the Ex
Me in the kitchen, surveying what’s left
Sort of saying, like death it had to come
Track Name: Dead Weight Sails
I still hold hope that my dead weight sails
Will be whipped by wind
Into something more beautiful
And stronger, more vulnerable, and true
More like you

Said no amount of beaten down
Gale force storm winds
Will announce my light flag surrender, it’s true
This is about you