Pulling on Strings

by Kelly Howerton

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    If the candy is junk, you gotta emphasize the wrapper. I am suspicious that many of my supporters who buy my cds do so for the album artwork more so than they do the musical content! Fair enough- I put a lot of work into my album artwork and my DIY production is getting more proficient all the time. I started the endeavor of crafting my own packaging because I couldn't afford the prices of CD Baby and other similar production companies. Incidentally, creating the album artwork has become one of my favorite parts of writing and producing an album. If you would like the full experience of "Pulling on Strings" then you need to get the hard copy. I might even throw in some bonus material in the envelope as well before mailing it- maybe some stickers, or a hand written letter, or a few strands of my hair, who knows...!

    Includes unlimited streaming of Pulling on Strings via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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released November 22, 2016

The Quell is made up of Jamie Understein, Jeff Kustusch, and Steve Munoz. Thank you guys for all of your hard work in bringing this project to life. I would also like to thank my friends, Misty, Jessalyn, and Danny for contributing their talents and their time.



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Kelly Howerton Durham, North Carolina

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Track Name: Waiting on a Halo
For the first time in my life I am not afraid
Of what waits me in the end when they lay me in the grave
If I rise or just decay
Because before I was born I knew nothing of the world
And when I die I’ll know nothing more

And if I find myself on trial before the Lord and all his angels
I’ll stand and I’ll ask Him, Tell me what’s your angle now?
Did you set me up to watch me fall?
For if you knew before you made me that I would surely burn in Hades
Tell me now: Did I have any choice at all?

Is there an effort to conspire against the nature of desire?
They say somewhere up in Heaven God is watching all the while
And He’s gonna judge you in the end
But if you threaten me with fire and hold my life on trial
Don’t try to tell me you just wanna be my friend

Cause I ain’t waiting on a halo. I ain’t putting life on hold
I say now what good’s a soul if it ain’t got no bone?
Track Name: All Together
Living in a gated flat,
Sharing walls with folks called neighbors
I hope they never stop to chat
You’re not supposed to talk to strangers
There’s a knocking at the door
And I feel like I’m living in danger

All together we’re lost and blind
The sun won’t shine and the love won’t bind
Separate lives of a kindred kind
Like broken strings of a rope untwined
Straining at the weight of a lonesome weary mind

Living in a cardboard box
Wrapping plastic round my socks
Carrying a sign of shame
People tell me I’m to blame
So hang me on a cross
And bless me in Jesus’ name


Living in a micro mansion
Following the latest fashions
With every kind of pleasure pill
Depression’s just a lack of thrill
But it’s lonely on the hill and I still feel rather ill
Track Name: Son of a Gun
Congratulations, said a father to son,
Now that you’re older I bought you a gun
It’s your very first pistol, keep it holstered and hot
Never hesitate or be the one to get shot
But look out kid, there ain’t nobody you can trust
Keep it close; never let your pistol rust

But now it’s up in the closet, tucked in a box
A broken down pistol with a trigger guard lock
It sits and it waits ‘til it’s back at the range
Shooting paper targets that will never engage
But look out kid, you see it on the TV screen
Why it’s another killer going on a shoot’n spree

Walking my sidearm, late out at night
When a stranger approached me and gave me a fright
There was a twitch of the finger and a reach for the hip
A flashing of lightning and a crack of a whip
Look out kid, there ain’t no way to hide what you did
You can try and try, but lead ain’t something you can forgive

When you carry your gun, well you always can find
A reason to use it in the peace of your mind
There’s a bullet to send, there’s a means to an end,
A threat to attend, and a will to defend
But look out kid, everybody’s too damn spooked
They’re just sitting at their windows, looking for somebody to shoot
Track Name: Terminal Friend
You were the first true love I ever had and though you weren’t my last
I never thought I’d come to see you pass
But now your life line’s etched straight down your neck and it’s stretching ever slow
As the fracture grows, your time will come to a close

But until then we’ll do your favorite things
We’ll sing your favorite songs
Cause when you love someone you can’t love long
You better love them strong

Well I’m sorry for the times I made you spend the night in the car
I should’ve carried you up the stairs when we’d come home from the bar
You always know just what to say to comfort my heartaches
But whose gonna be there when the fault line breaks?


We should’ve gone to Nashville baby, but instead we played it safe
And then I left you for a while in a storage space
Well I hope you can forgive me for the time spent in your case
And I hope you don’t feel like your life was a waste

Well now, my terminal guitar, we never got too far
But on broken strings and angel’s wings
We’re gonna hold out for tomorrow
Track Name: The Anarchy Anthem
Come let us gather up our pitch forks,
We’ll go kill all of the rich folks
We can force them from their mansions
If we hold their children ransom
We can take back all the wealth
They’ve been hoarding to themselves
Then we’ll divvy up the spoils ‘tween you and me

Cause if it’s ninety-nine to one
Then the war should long be won
But we’ve been hiding in our suburbs
Left our brother in the gutters
In this house of state we furnish
We’re just fodder for the furnace
They’ll cut us from our roots and then they’ll burn us

Now if they’re ain’t no God who sees us
And we don’t believe in Jesus
Then that pastor preaching patience
He’s just trying to deceive us
If there’s no reward for meekness
Then there ain’t much use in weakness
And no I ain’t just trying to be facetious

I say let us gather up our pitch forks
We’ll go kill all of the rich folks
We can force them from their mansions
If we hold their children ransom
We can take back all the wealth
They’ve been hoarding to themselves
Then we’ll divvy up the spoils ‘tween you and me
Track Name: Can't Buy Soul
Even if you’re just some suburbian brat
You can get yourself a carbon copy custom Strat
You can shred some Stevie Ray through a Chinese amp
And show everyone in town where it’s really at

But you can’t buy soul
No you can’t buy soul
No you can’t buy soul
But you can sell it for something to hold

I said devils don’t you do me no harm
And I’ll let you have my soul for a song
Just give me something heavy to say
But don’t let my voice fade away

But you can’t buy soul
No you can’t buy soul
No you can’t buy soul
But you can sell it for something to hold
Track Name: Warmest Regards
I was there when He made them: The man and the women, naked and ignorant and blind.
They were there just to please Him, they had no higher reason,
Than to worship and praise the divine.
And for them I took pity. They were without committee, without any will to devise.
With the snake as my proxy I challenged God’s moxie and showed them how to open their eyes
Give my regards to Michael; tell him I’ll see him in Hell
When he comes to deliver my shackles and chains that were forged long before I fell.

Well I rallied the cherubs and I called to the seraphs, “Let power be shared and divided.”
But the riot was wrangled and the protest was strangled. By a tyrant my fate was decided.
I was sentenced for labor by the almighty slaver. He handed me down a pitch fork.
Now I shovel the shit down in the deep pit, and they blame me when things don’t work.
Give my regards to Gabriel; tell him I don’t understand
How a god with such infinite mercy and grace can have such disregard for the damned?

If you live to be old and you fear for your soul there’s a man with a plan to redeem
And all it will cost is to carry your cross for a portion of grace to receive.
But don’t believe what you’re told, things are not what they seem
In the realm of the holy regime.
You can have your own mansion, the wards in expansion,
but once you’re there you never can leave.
Give my regards to Jesus, if ever he comes around
When they send me away, to that lake full of fire, think of me when the trumpets resound.

Give my regards to Prometheus; I would gladly lend him my flame.
No I don’t want the glory and I don’t want the fame, just a reallocation of blame.
Track Name: Living Aimlessly
When I was just a little child standing at the edge of the road
Knowing then that I’d have to wait a while ‘til I didn’t need a hand to hold
And I’ve been waiting so long now, been waiting patiently
Now I’m wondering if I’m living aimlessly

Of everywhere you go and everything you do
I heard it said we don’t live life, instead your life lives you
And I’m afraid that I’ll regret the things that fate might choose
‘Cause I can’t help but feel that I got something to lose

They were huddled up together on bended knees with their thoughts turned towards the sky
The preacher said they’d pray until something happened so the congregation closed their eyes
But what is known by sight that isn’t brought to light?
Just ‘cause you can’t see the stars don’t mean they’re not burning bright.

Am I the rain?
Am I the stone?
Am I the blood in the vein
That’s driving the bone?
Or am I just passing by, caught in the breeze?
Am I the blink of an eye in a long goodbye?
Track Name: As It Was Before
You say that you’re trading your pain and your sorrows
For a portion of promise beyond your tomorrows
But take what you can with the time that you have to borrow

Don’t weep for the weary, don’t pray for the poor
Your guardian angels won’t hear you no more
And everything will be as it was before

There won’t be no more four lane highways,
No more bright city lights
There won’t be no more endless war
And no more meaningless fights.
There will just be the stars shining bright
Without any watchers to delight.

If this world is so terrible and Heaven’s so great
Then why do you linger, no why do you wait?
Go on, fly away home to your white pearly gates.
Track Name: To Adam
Well the butcher, the baker, and the candle stick maker, delight in the trades of their favor
But when I come to cater the town undertaker, they’ll all have to sign off my waiver
So go and cry to your savior, I’ll be back for you later when you realize who’s truly the traitor
I would lay down my wager on the babe in the manger, but the game was rigged by the maker
Give my regards to Adam; tell him to be kind to Eve.
My intentions were never to hurt or deceive, but to help them better perceive.
Track Name: Pulling on Strings
I was thinking ‘bout Noah’s ark
I was wondering how he could have seen in the dark
If he lit a candle light
Wouldn’t all the methane gas inside ignite?
What if Mary told a lie
And her baby wasn’t born up on Heaven high?
What if Christ was a bastard child
And Joseph was fooled all the while?

I just want to be certain
There isn’t just a man behind the curtain.
But if I ruin the tapestry
While I’m pulling on a broken string,
Well I hope you know that all I ever wanted
Was to see what’s behind everything.

Someone told me they talked to God
I was wondering how to make sure they were not a fraud.
So I read the holy word
But its authors were men who claimed to talk to the Lord.
I don’t want to be mislead
By elders who advocate the voices in their head.
If God is real, then here I am
Let Him come and strike me where I stand.

Track Name: To Lilith
I was born out of fiction to explain the affliction
Of the pain and the sorrows of man
I’m the source of addiction and old superstitions
To grasp what they can’t understand
And of the saint’s benedictions and the church’s restrictions
Fear not the wrath of my hand
For all the war and divisions and hateful contentions
It’s all part of some greater plan
Give my regards to Lilith; tell her I’ll never forget.
And for all of the sins that I should repent, for her I hold no regret.
Track Name: Waste Away
All day long, wasting all my time away
While fretting o’er the clock
I wish I could make it stop
I’m just trying to delay
Everything that will decay
And waste away
And waste away

But take my life, I’m not really using it
And I don’t think I’ll mind
When it’s over
No I won’t mind when it’s over
I won’t have a mind when it’s over
And in time you won’t miss me anymore
When I walk out through the door
Forever more
Forever more

No it won’t be very long now
It won’t be very long now
It could be any moment
Why not choose your own moment?
It won’t hurt when it’s over
Nothing hurts when it’s over
Don’t be scared
Nothing matters anyway
If we choose to go or stay
And waste away
Track Name: Me Oh My
Am I only as wise as my grammar implies?
Does truth reside in words that rhyme?
Or does beauty just beguile sincerity with style?
Of all the songs I’ve sung and the words I’ve spun,
The heaps of dung that I have flung,
What wisdom have I to impart that’s genuine at heart?

Singing me, oh me, oh me, oh my
Think of me fondly after I die
But if I am forgotten as the time goes by
Keep your eyes on the ones who have
Yet to say goodbye

I’ll be back in a little while as the wind the rain and the dust
But the part of me I called my soul will surely not adjust.
For it was just an illusion, a trickery of the mind,
A longing wish of a fearful heart, watching time unwind.


Perhaps they’ll make me a statue and stand me up in the street,
And cover me in pigeon shit with beggars at my feet.
And all the torturous tourists with the cameras round their necks
Will pose before an image they do not recollect.