Elephants

by Aaron Strumpel

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about

About Elephants:
Elephants won Calvin College's 2009 Festival of Faith and Art's Bandspotting Competition:
"This is the clear winner. The singing is heartfelt, honest and highly unique…a voice of earnest longing. The production is highly original and simultaneously melodic and aggressive when need be. It is rare that I hear such clearly communicated Gospel music that is soulful, articulate and adventurous." -Michael Kaufmann, Asthmatic Kitty Records and Andy Whitman, Paste Magazine and Christianity Today.

“The album title is fitting as most tracks are interlaced with deep drum stomps, rough-skinned backing loops and
Aaron’s own trumpet. The sound is experimental, but with purpose, folk rock based but uniquely integrated with
a variety of instrumentation; it carries an element of abstraction to it with soul that bleeds through the vocals...and with the strength of an Elephant, you were going to be moved whether you originally wanted to or not.”
-Justin Boyer, Relevant Magazine

"'Elephants' is an acoustic smorgasbord of spiritual musings with prophetic and operatic overtones that insist on being listened to again and again to be fully understood and appreciated. There is weeping and wailing-- literally--amidst shouts and cries of joy." -Kris Rasmussen, Beliefnet


About Aaron:
Aaron Strumpel lives in a bursted bubble. His heart drips empathy for the freedom and revelation of fellow saints and sinners. Elephants, his new self-released recording is the first in a series of song collections where he has devoted himself to singing in the voices of these forgotten people. So, muster up your courage and sit with them for a spell and let their groanings soften you. There’s life to be found in the passed-over cast-offs, and he won’t stop until you have heard them. These recordings chronicle a gathering strengh, a force to reckoned with, a rumbling preamble to coming stampede, a survival of the ones deemed unfit.

His past endeavors have informed his current direction: a collaborator with inspirational collective, Enter the Worship Circle, fellow songwriter/performer with Tracy Howe’s Restoration Project, a contributing artist to Brian McLaren’s “Everything Must Change” tour, fellow Agent of Future with Todd and Angie Fadel at the 2009 Greenbelt Festival and tourmate with John Mark McMillan on a benefit tour to help supply clean drinking water for people in developing nations.

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released April 2, 2009

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about

Aaron Strumpel Boulder, Colorado

Aaron Strumpel is a songwriter based in Boulder, CO.  A collaborator with Enter the Worship Circle, an avante-garde worshipper with his Elephants, Birds, and Vespers, he has been featured in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and Paste Magazine.

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Track Name: One Twenty One
my pride has been quenched
by my failures i’ve been broken
my mind has been stilled
by these thoughts unspoken
my eyes have been dimmed
by my straining in the dark
my strength has been faded
these nights just don’t end

my back has been broke
by the help that i’ve refused
my hands have been bloodied
by walls i’ve punched through
my voice has been worn
by useless songs i’ve sung
my heads always aching
empty words, things undone

i don’t trust myself
who, who, who
who can i hope in
who, who, who
who can i trust in

i’ll lift my eyes up
up to the mountains
from where does my help come from
from you oh father
maker of the heavens
i’ll find myself in you
Track Name: Blow Out the Wick
blow out the wick
it's time to quit this circus
it's a trapeze pinned down
it's a carnival without clowns
it's a town without houses
a forest without trees
it's the opposite of identity
a world without sound

we need you

you step into town
with a staff in your hand
you're a shepherd with a word
it's sharp like a sword
you're a breath of fresh air
you're a reason to look up
a clean piece of dirt
an electric chair unplugged

we need you

pull out the cork
it's time to roll this parade
you're a message in a bottle
the drink in this song
you're the red on the page
the gold in the streets
you're the soul's first stirring
a lion that can sing
Track Name: Fifty One
surely i was sinful
from the day that i was born
surely i was broken
before i could even tell
surely you don't want
to leave me like this
surely you don't want me
to fall down in my mess

i wanna be cleansed
from the wrong that i've sown
i wanna do battle
on these weeds that have grown
i wanna feel joy
and gladness wash over me
i wanna see my broken bones
stand up and sing

create in me
a clean heart o god
don't take your holy spirit
so far from me
restore to me the joy
of your salvation
grant me a willing spirit
to sustain me
Track Name: Family
they’re the poor and the dead
that we’ve ignored
they’re the screwed in the head
the ones knocking on doors
the unpretty the undesired
the undressed, the undone

they’re the hungry the alone
that we’ve ignored
they’re kneeling on stone
just begging for bones
the unpretty the undesired
the undressed, the undone

come back
and see with eyes of water
clearer than streams
come back
and hear with ears less hollow
ready to dream

of days in gardens
and time spent together
of hours embracing
safely held in warmth

our father won’t forget the least of these
friends torn and ripped and scraped, diseased
he won’t neglect the raped and the wronged
he won’t forget his kids he’s not gonna run
Track Name: Right Thru
heavy knocks upon my doorway
there's no way the deadbolts can stay
you might knock right through


heavy steps upon my ceiling
there's no thinking, there's no feeling
you might fall right through


heavy hits upon my forehead
there's no rest there's no warm bed
you might break right through
Track Name: In Babylon
if i forget you o jerusalem
may my right hand forget its skill
may my tongue stand still
if i forget you

if i can’t find joy in you o jerusalem
may my mind shut down
may my heart drop down
if i can’t find joy in you

in babylon i put down my harp
in babylon i crushed my flutes
in babylon i burned my drums
in babylon i forgot who i was

no one really knows
the trouble i’ve seen
Track Name: Won't Stop
your breath it rushes in fills my lungs
like a hurricane rushes and floods my home
you won't sit back you never sit back
you come in close you never hold back

your light it comes and blinds my eyes
like a blizzard it comes and takes my sight
you won't sit back you never sit back
you come in close you never hold back

your fire it comes and burns my heart
like an earth quake shakes my whole world down
you won't sit back you never sit back
you come in close you never hold back

your hand it grabs and shakes my soul
like a locomotive rumbling tumbling goes
you won't sit back you never sit back
you come in close you never hold back

you just won't stop until you're done
you can't just stop until you're done
i'll never love you like i know i can
until you're done but you just won't stop
Track Name: This Can't Last
chains hold my hands
i almost think they’re friends
but my heart still can feel

time marches in
pretending to make me old
but my heart still can feel

worries rule my mind
i almost think they’re right
but my heart still can feel

tremors rack my bones
i think i might be broken
but my heart still can feel

this can’t last
world goes round
sun will rise
in your arms i’ll be found
Track Name: First Love
you
are
my
first
love