/
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $12 USD  or more

     

1.
2.
04:30
3.
04:35
4.
04:19
5.
03:40
6.
7.
8.
03:53
9.
06:41
10.
11.

about

"... There is a rare elegance and subtle drama to her lyrics. The melodies sway and soar, haunting in one moment, majestic in the next...Every track is a gem. Pasqual is a very special artist, exploring love, loss and life in profoundly moving ways. To know her music is to love it. Far more people should know it."
- Paul Freeman, Pop Culture Classiccs

"Stunning in its power, cathartic in its depth -
Is Fortune a Wheel is a musical triumph born from the ashes of grief".
Patrick O'Heffernon, Shutter 16

Monica Pasqual’s Concept Album Explores a Theme that is Rarely Addressed in Pop Music

Everyone understands the need to grieve when someone you love dies, but what about when they slowly disappear right before your eyes, becoming a different person housed in the same body? Monica Pasqual’s new concept album, Is Fortune a Wheel, explores her experience with a more subtle, incessant kind of loss as she cared for her partner of seventeen years who was diagnosed with degenerative brain disease.

The songs propel the listener on a journey through time and place, a journey which almost mirrors the stages of grief. There is the moment of discovery that something is about to change, followed by the battle of trying to stop the unstoppable. Even as the change is occurring there is the understandable attempt to hold onto the past and the inevitable realization that it’s not going to be possible. Ultimately, there is acceptance, and the recognition that the only way forward is to move through.

The album opens with the title track, recalling a walk in the Spanish hillside above Granada when it first became apparent that something was wrong. In the midst of a perfectly beautiful day surrounded by idyllic scenery, an encounter with a gypsy generated a foreboding premonition that settled in. As things changed rapidly, tiny and seemingly insignificant moments would trigger vivid memories of earlier times when the love was new, leaving Monica feeling a profound sense of loneliness as she confronted the discord of the current reality. Swann’s Way is a recounting of this carousel and a nod to the French philosopher Marcel Proust. At times these memories of the start of the relationship were overwhelming. The passionate and unbridled beginning of love that was so exciting and unforgettable is explored in the song Wild. Golden Cuff confronts the alienation and loneliness that Pasqual felt on the road as she tried to hold everything together from afar.

Memories of her sister’s house in the Barcelona hills are at the center of Strings In My Human Heart. Monica and Tom spent time there on several occasions before and after his sickness was discovered and this song explores how experience is tied to place and the conflicting emotion that can go along with that, the desire to abandon the past completely. These special places can be so precious and at the same time so painful as it becomes clear that the good memories experienced there are gone, never to return.

Monica found that the person she had loved for 17 years was disappearing before her very eyes. As his brain declined she realized that she “was losing him slowly - losing his mind, his memories, and a certain essence that his incredible wit and intellect defined.” The essence of what made him who he was dissipated like steam billows out into nothingness. Steam chronicles this parallel between her love and the nature of steam. Steam begins with so much power that it can be used to propel a locomotive and eventually releases into the ether leaving nothing behind. In much the same way her love for her partner began with such immense power and so much of it, but it had come to a point where he was essentially gone because he was no longer able to see her or understand her experience, not because he didn’t want to, but because he just wasn’t capable of it anymore.

To complicate matters further Monica’s band Blame Sally reached a point in their career when things really started taking off. She had to juggle caring for her partner alongside a busy schedule of touring and recording with the band. It was an interesting dichotomy to live through as professionally things began to soar even as this situation in her personal life steadily declined. It was during this time that Monica won in five categories of the Independent Music Awards, three with Blame Sally, and two for her solo album, This Cold Desire.

When Monica came to the realization that she was not able to continue being the primary caretaker for her partner, she found she was simply not able to be the person that she thought she had to be. “No one can say I didn’t try” is one line from Saint in the Yard, which is about reaching a point where she knew she could no longer deny herself the right to her own happiness and self-actualization. “I could see that I was starting to go down with the ship. To separate from him was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and though I believe I have done everything possible to help him stay comfortable and happy, that decision still hurts me.” The album ends with The Color Blue is Everywhere which was a phrase uttered by a psychic and became the mantra for her new future, transitioning into a phase of reclaiming her power, her nature, and her life.

Making an album wasn’t the first thing on her list of things to do after this overwhelming and often draining process, but when she met and began collaborating with a talented young cellist, the wild and unrestrained nature of their musical connection was just the catalyst she needed to form Monica Pasqual & The Handsome Brunettes. Josh McClain “wields his cello like a post-impressionist brush” and his playing acts as a counterpoint, weaving between Monica’s piano and vocals to create a big, emotionally complex sound. Together they create a soundscape that is rich in dynamics, moving easily from quiet fragility to unrestrained propulsion. Brilliant percussionist, Pam Delgado is the thread that connects through so much of Monica’s musical life. She is a fellow band mate from Blame Sally and a long time collaborator with Monica prior to the Blame Sally days. Her impeccable rhythm, color, and gorgeous vocal harmonies add depth and breadth to these songs.

Is Fortune a Wheel, was recorded at Opus Studios with the core musicians all in one room to capture the potent energy of the live trio. This was a new way of recording for Monica and made for an incredibly dynamic sound. She then took these core recordings into the studio and worked with her accomplished co-producer BZ Lewis to add more layers of guitar, bass, and looping and brought in the adept Velvy Appleton to play additional guitar.

credits

released June 26, 2016

All Songs by Monica Pasqual
except UmaUma by Monica Pasqual and BZ Lewis


MONICA PASQUAL: lead vocals, background vocals, piano, keyboard, accordion

JOSHUA MCCLAIN: cello

PAM DELGADO: drums, percussion, background vocals

BZ LEWIS - acoustic & electric guitars, bass, drum programming and loops

VELVY APPLETON - acoustic & electric guitars, background vocals


Produced by Monica Pasqual and BZ Lewis

Recorded and Mixed by BZ Lewis

Album Art and Design by Hugh d'Andrade

tags

license

all rights reserved

about

Monica Pasqual San Francisco

In August 2012, This Cold Desire won the 11th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Concept Album, Vox Popular (Audience Choice). In addition, Monica had two songs that won - Best Eclectic and Best Story songs.
www.independentmusicawards.com/imanominee/11th/Album/Concept-Album
Pasqual is also a member of the popular all-women band, Blame Sally. www.blamesally.com
... more

contact / help

Contact Monica Pasqual

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Is Fortune a Wheel
Is Fortune a Wheel

I remember the heat of the road
The road we climbed as far as it goes
First time and last
Held a dream but we didn’t hold fast

I remember a woman in black
First she cursed and then she laughed
Shivered my spine
Took what’s yours, she took what’s mine

Is Fortune a wheel
Or a ship that keels
A fate that’s been sealed
Or is fortune a wheel?

I remember the sun so high
Raised our hands to shield our eyes
Oh how we laughed
Held a dream but we didn’t hold fast

I remember a storm of crows
Filled the sky like devil’s snow
My Valentine
Took what’s yours, took what’s mine

I remember the winding road
The road we climbed as far as it goes
First time and last
Held a dream but we didn’t hold fast

Is Fortune a wheel
Or a ship that keels
A fate that’s been sealed
Or is fortune a wheel?

Could fortune be blind
Be cruel or be kind
A fate that’s been sealed
Or is fortune a wheel?
Track Name: Swann's Way
Swann’s Way

I don’t know what I want,
Don’t know why, I don’t know how
I don’t know what I want
I just know that I want it now

I walk a narrow road
One place to another
Dreams know where to find me
But it seems like they don’t bother

Have you got something going?
We could meet down at the Swann’s Way
Where everything has meaning
The taste, the touch, the smell
Oh, that winter day

I don’t know what I want,
Don’t know why, I don’t know how
I don’t know what I want
I just know that I want it now

I never learned how to ask
I was better with the giving
But time took me by surprise
I forgot about the living

Sweet was the storm, blankets of white
Wondrously fragile and bold
Held in your arms, flame in the night
That we carelessly let grow cold

I walk a narrow road
All signs point to nowhere
You know where to find me
But I don’t think your headed there
Track Name: Golden Cuff
Golden Cuff

What are you thinking in the middle of the night
with a face staring back in the cold bathroom light
You can’t sleep but you can’t wake up
It’s just you and the tv and the truth that you can’t make right

10,000 miles or 20 years is not enough
There ain’t no key to unlock the golden cuffs

You wanna fly, fly, fly
But your wings got stuck
There’s nothing left to try
You’re feeling all washed up
It’s just a lie, lie, lie
You never beat that stuff
You need a lullaby, you got the golden cuffs

You caught a train in the fog and the rain,
Still lost in a daze and far away from home
So much time’s been lost on this line
It goes on and on and then another year’s been blown

10,000 miles and 20 years didn’t get you far
There ain’t no ride that could catch a shooting star

You wanna fly, fly, fly
But your wings got stuck
There’s nothing left to try
You’re feeling all washed up
It’s just a lie, lie, lie
You never beat that stuff
You need a lullaby, you got the golden cuffs

Oh, you wanna float away

What are you thinking on a New York night
With your eyes staring out underneath the cold stage lights
You can’t sleep and you can’t wake up
It’s just you and a crowd and the truth that they can’t make right

You wanna fly, fly, fly
But your wings got stuck
There’s nothing left to try
You’re feeling all washed up
It’s just a lie, lie, lie
You never beat that stuff
You need a lullaby, you got the golden cuffs
Track Name: Wild
I held the book of days – it fell open to your page,
It’s been 15 years since we burned, since we raged ,
In the book of days, they call you the dreamer
But oh, I felt the sting of an angel and a demon

You were wild
You were beautiful
You were unbent
You were vast
You were savage
You were innocent

I’m sitting in the sun, got my hands in the dirt
Digging to the bone, I’m going to bury that hurt
In the book of days they name me rebellion
I calling on that force, for the primal, for the hellion

I was wild…

We tried to break it down
Reason to give it sense
Tore from the apple tree
Cashed in our ignorance
All that was left were names
Like swords that cut right through
Across a battlefield
Pieces of me and you

I held the book of days, it fell open to your page
It’s been 15 years since we burned, since we raged
In the book of days, they call you the dreamer
But I knew two men, a devil and a redeemer

We were wild…..
Track Name: 1969
1969

Ghost in the graveyard, sugar-burn tongue
Shells in our pockets, pink from the sun
Sailor girl dresses, my hair always messy
They told us a man had just walked on the moon

Biked on two wheels, went around and around
Fell for my cousin, his skin was all brown
Swam in the ocean, I've never forgotten
The summer in Spain when the world seemed so small

We believed the impossible was possible back then

Old Spanish Grandma said don't believe lies
The man on the moon is just a trick of the eye
She prayed for salvation, we almost died laughing
Spinning in circles 'til someone fell down

We believed the impossible was possible back then

That was when anti-gravity, rarely vertical
Time could bend
We had particles of stardust in the cells of our skin

Big white bird flew in the room and we screamed
The pillow-fight ended, it broke at the seams
Ran to the window, the city rushed below
Thousands of feathers danced in the night sky

We believed the impossible was possible back then
Track Name: Down by the Mill
Down by the Mill

Summer’s over, you have gone
House is empty, shades are drawn
Sun is setting on the hill
Once we were lovers down by the mill

Down by the mill at the rivers edge
You took my lips, you took my dress
We lay there naked in the light
You held me close into the night

Oh, oh – sparrow sings, but other birds have flown
Oh, oh – summer’s died and you have gone for home
you have gone for home

Languid days when we belonged
A gypsy and her vagabond
We swam the river, climbed the hills
We ended up down by the mill

Down by the mill, at the rivers edge
You touched my skin and stole my breath
I lay with you, your summer bride
I felt no shame, you told no lie

Summer’s over, you have gone
House is empty, shades are drawn
Sun is setting on the hill
Once we were lovers down by the mill

A rough wind came to shake the trees
Our path was covered up with leaves
All around me barren fields
Once we were lovers down by the mill
Track Name: Strings in my Human Heart
Strings in My Human Heart

There’s the train, there are stairs down a hill
There’s a pig in a yard and a dog that barks
There’s the sun, it looks different up here
The light on the stone where I set my foot

There’s that house set behind a rock wall
All the windows are tall, mostly covered in vines
All the lives that have walked on those floors
I want to know more, I want to know more

There are strings in my human heart
That can pull apart, they can pull apart
I could leave everything I know
I could let it go, I could just let go

There’s a bench at the end of her street
No park and no grass, where the men sit and smoke
I pass by, but I don’t ever pause
I wave, I don’t talk, though I want to know more

There are strings in my human heart
That can pull apart, they can pull apart
I could leave everything I know
I could let it go, I could just let go

There’s a gate and it keeps me outside
So I press my face up against the cracks
In the garden sits an empty chair
I can see myself there, I can see myself there
Track Name: Steam
Steam

If you could hear me
I’d know just what to say
A ghost of spring still walks these passageways
If you could see me, If you could see
you’d see it runs so deep
Like a root that clings while storms attack the tree
If you could feel me
You’d feel the running blood, the constant beat
Of a heart just like a train that runs on steam

And I call you back
I call you back
I call you back

If this was easy
I guess it wouldn’t count
Though words have been my thing they fail me now
If you could see me,
If you could see you’d see how hard I try
But years have passed, you never said goodbye

So I call you back
I call you back
I call you back

If you could feel me
You’d feel the rushing pulse, the burning heat
Of a love that boiled up and turned to steam

I call you back
I call you back
Track Name: Saint in the Yard
Saint in the Yard

I was the saint in the yard,
I learned my role and I played her hard
I was a shepherdess guard
I held his hand and I drove the car
I held his hand and I drove the car

I tried to make everything bright
I pushed through the days, threw away every night
No one can say I didn’t try
But nothing you say is gonna’ make it all right
No, nothing you say can make this thing right

Fire all around me
Fire, Burn this house down!
All around me

I rushed on the scene, my sword drawn
Like a doe becomes fierce, I defended the fawn
Covered my body in steel
I ran the baths and I cooked the meals
I ran the baths and I cooked the meals

But a part of me watched from outside
Saw the glasses break and the flowers die
No one can say I didn’t try
But nothing you say is gonna’ make it all right
No, nothing you say can make this thing right
Track Name: The Color Blue is Everywhere
The Color Blue is Everywhere

The color blue is everywhere
She said I should dive in
Has come the time to face my fear
To shed this crinoline
The water’s deep, the waves are high
And I am like a seal
The stone was warm, it kept me dry
But come the time to feel

I learned the prelude, not the fugue
And I was captured there
My fingers could repeat the moves
Well-trained, but cold with fear
The water’s deep and has no end
But I had been beguiled
And for the desert I did bend
Though I’m a mermaid’s child

The color blue, the sea and sky
She said I should dive in
There is no time for living lies
Go be the heroine
The water’s deep, the shore is far
Once more I’ve been beguiled
I’ll drink the light of a shooting star
And be one with the wild
I’ll drink the light of a falling star
And be one with the wild