Stranger In My Own Hometown

by Greg Fleming and The Working Poor

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about

One of Greg's first shows was opening up for Townes Van Zandt since then he's built up a reputation as a razor sharp songwriter - now working with The Working Poor one of Australasia's finest, forward-thinking rock bands. Stranger follows on from the highly acclaimed 2014 album Forget the Past -

"Some albums come with lyrics sheets which you think must be embarrassing for the "songwriter". Not so Aucklander Greg Fleming whose lyrics are so economic that as you listen you can picture the scenarios and characters." Graham Reid Elsewhere

"Not all listeners like those masculine hard-edged whiskey-soaked voices like Tom Waits, Jon Dee Graham, Otis Gibbs or even John Haitt. But, Greg seems to have found a balanced mother-lode that straddles the mineral from the grasslands." John Apice No Depression.

Locked into the present - but sure to sound as fresh in years to come - Stranger In My Own Hometown is Greg's finest album to date and one of the must-have rock records of the year.
"This is a very direct record. I'm writing about what I see around me - the sublime, and especially the ridiculous. Let's just say it's got a nice sense of dry humour," says Greg.

Humour combined with some breath-taking narratives - see Gospel Choir and Corporate Hill, and the wry dystopian anthem Look Where We Ended Up (Killer's Town) - co-written with Working Poor guitarist Andrew Thorne. Elsewhere Down on The Corner and Heart's a Wreck - which live Greg dedicates to anyone over 40 - serve up some irresistibly hook-laden modern rock.

Parts of the record deal with Greg's love/hate relationship with his hometown Auckland (the title track and the beautiful piano ballad Autumn Auckland).
"I got the title track's name from an old Elvis song (penned by Percy Mayfield) and put my own spin on it. I think I hate the city and then leave it for two days and can't wait to get back!" (See Night Country Blues an edgy, beat driven rocker, arranged and played by ace Auckland producer Wayne Bell).
The last track on the record - This Love Is Gonna Survive - was also the last recorded.
"I said to that track's producer and co-writer Andrew Thorne - what if we slowed this right down and crossed a Lana Del Rey thing with a Willie Nelson feel. A weird combination but it really works. I wanted to keep my own sound but push in new directions with this record."
Another highlight is the one-take acoustic Sunday Spells Trouble which proves Fleming's songs are strong enough to be stripped back to their bones.
"A long time ago I drank a lot of peppermint tea and wrote these sad-as-hell love songs. The peppermint tea's long gone but this song stuck around."

credits

released July 9, 2015

Recorded at The Lab and The Anteroom and Double Happy Music. Produced by Wayne Bell. SIMOH is Greg’s second with The Working Poor.

All music and lyrics by Greg Fleming - except LWWEU and TLIGS music Greg Fleming/Andrew Thorne

Licensing enquiries to forgetthepastrecordsnz@gmail.com

The Working Poor are

Greg Fleming vocals, acoustic guitar, piano on Autumn Auckland.
John Segovia- elec gtr
Andrew Thorne - elec gtr
Nick Duirs - piano, bvs
Mark Hughes - bass
Wayne Bell - drums

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about

Greg Fleming and The Working Poor Auckland, New Zealand

Greg Fleming is often referred to as a pioneer of alt country in New Zealand. One of his first gigs was supporting Texan legend Townes Van Zandt, afterwards Van Zandt took him aside and told him “don’t ever stop writing” . Greg didn’t and has six critically acclaimed albums bear out Van Zandt's belief. The latest - and third with his band the Working Poor - is To Hell With These Streets. ... more

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Track Name: Stranger In My Own Hometown
I arrived
yesterday
gridlocked streets
cold and grey.
I loved you once
you let me down.
I'm a stranger
a stranger in my own hometown.


I'm passing through
I never stay
I cannot wait to get away
junkyard dogs
chase me down
I'm a stranger
a stranger in my own hometown.

I sit in my hotel,
I look outside
and I see hell.
I'm a stranger, a stranger in my own hometown


I can't get served
can't get a seat
I queue for hours
just to eat.
Buildings fall
beggars hound.
I'm a stranger
a stranger in my own hometown.

I used to live
over there
I said hello
and they just stared
I said goodbye
and they just scowled
I'm a stranger, a stranger in my own hometown
Track Name: Heart's A Wreck
Marianne stopped me in the middle of the street
She said boy you look like you could use something sweet.
I looked at her she hadn’t changed a bit,
Pretty as a peach, smart as a whip.

Time on me has taken its toll
My heart’s a wreck baby don’t you know.

I fell in love we had a blast
But things like that never last,
I’m back living with my sister Sue
Working with the same old crew.

Time on me has taken its toll
My heart’s a wreck baby don’t you know
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

I met Juliette on Princess Street
I buy the coffee she gets the seat.
We used to be married
Now we’re just friends.
And we’re building up the courage to do it again.

Time on us has taken its toll
My heart’s a wreck baby don’t you know
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Track Name: Corporate Hill
Corporate Hill

Another millionaire in a big old bed
white as a sheet and almost dead.
Friends lining up
to pay their respects
taking bets on who is next.

Then the truth came out
he stole and lied
and the world was better off the day he died.
He made a lot of rich men richer still.
He’s a hero up there on Corporate Hill.

They smile and they flatter and they throw down crumbs
and when we lose our jobs they call us bums.
They’ll buy you for a dollar and sell you for ten
and cut your wages back again.

On Corporate Hill
the lights shine bright,
they got the smartest minds
to make wrong seem right.
My Daddy wants me to work harder still,
so I can make it up there on Corporate Hill.

There’s a crowd at the gates
and they’re shaking their fists,
they aint got enough money
to feed their kids.
The market’s in flames
And the banks are closed,
a dollar aint worth a shake of salt.

On Corporate Hill
The flags still fly
“Was that the company fireworks
Lighting up the sky?”
Extra steaks go on the grill,
there’s some hungry people there on Corporate Hill.

And despite their hunger
And their hopeless minds
And their broken hearts up they climbed.
Somebody cried –
“make ‘em sign,
like they made us do, on the bottom line.”

Right at the top they found’ em all,
steaks on their plates in the banquet hall.
They climbed the tower,
they rang the bell.
There’s some new people now on Corporate Hill.

As I sit and watch the city at night
I pray for those who died in the fight.
I lost count of all the men I killed.
That’s the price you pay to stay on Corporate Hill.
Track Name: Gospel Choir
Gospel Choir

God left his fingerprints at the accident
nobody survived
hooker on the corner said
“I tried to warn her,
warn her about that guy.”

Pete showed his press pass smoked some Thai grass
read his magazine
went back to peddling some celebrity wedding
tickets selling like a dream

Chorus

The fish they float and the bank it's broke
but I'm doin' ok,
the gospel choir
it’s cheap to hire
but they got no songs to play
to play to play they got no songs to play
to play to play they got no songs to play


I told you words I never meant
I'm sentimental like that,
don't break down my door!
Pete’s still comatose
and Janey looks down her nose
rolls up a $100 straw.

You drowned in the apocalypse
sailed a 1000 ships across a burning sea
But you didn’t turn off your microphone and you weren’t home alone
having that good a time


Chorus

I loved you yesterday now I’m a million miles away.
You can’t be surprised.
You sold me up the river
and I pretended to forgive you, but baby I lied.
Pete put out a press release and went back to sleep
Janey caught a plane
And the street sweeper sweepin
got a hell of a beatin
when the cops read his name.
Track Name: Autumn Auckland
Autumn Auckland

Winter clothes in the store windows
but it aint even cold.
The days are getting shorter.
I don't know where they go.
Cars crawl up the North-Western
lovers park and ride -
no way you're up before the mobile coffee guy

Autumn Auckland
she wakes up and shines
and the night she leaves behind.

I'm talking and she aint listening
she's got her own thing goin on
Streetlights switching off as the day begins to dawn.
Make-up in the car mirror
incident up ahead
she's forgotten the man she left sleeping in her bed.

Autumn Auckland
she wakes up and shines
and the night she leaves behind.

The traffic's walking and nobody's on time
in Auckland in autumn
we don't mind.

Autumn Auckland
Autumn Auckland
Autumn Auckland