Suppose You Grow

by Stagbriar

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You were last on my list. I’ve been throwing fits about following up with what we started. Every few weeks or so I’m freaking out. Throw my fist to the top of my car, screaming to God, telling him what I think he knows nothing about. It feels nice to grab a hammer to the brick wall in my mind. So darling, I suppose that’s why I’m back again this time. Cause I don’t wanna make you angry. I don’t need a reason to tell you so. I don’t wanna fail my family. I’m avoiding disappointment. ‘Cause I don’t wanna see that movie. I don’t wanna watch that video. I know the scene ain’t pretty-- things I believe. You were first to the feast. I’ve been waiting weeks, ‘cause I’ve been talking in my sleep. And every few years or so I flip my shit ‘cause I can’t find the means to quit. So darling, I suppose that’s it. So, potion and light for atonement. Go on, try to get by in the moment. Is it the pace of the fog that you’re facing now, or is it part of your sight that’s the culprit? I was in love with a modern day Maia, on call for a plundering prize at the pulpit. I know if I was in medicine I’d take my fortune and screw on my head again. Oh, goddamn Hollywood for making me think too much. Soft round the edges, I’m hot to the touch. God bless this mess for making me drink too much. You were next in the row, and I want you to know that it was good to let this go ‘cause it was making me think too much. You were quick to the punch, but we want what we want and I can’t help the things I don’t ‘cause it was making me hate my guts. You were first to the feast, and I’ve been waiting weeks. You were last on my list, and I wasted all my time for this.
Gradients 01:47
Cheers to you darlin’. You did it again: caught smoke colored gradients over my head and begged me satisfy your wonderin’. Got myself caught into a staring contest. The doorway proved to keep the loser from a fair fight too. My whole damn body ached for me to ask you. I never asked you.
Off Day 03:17
I wasn’t denying shit. I kept my evenings lit. It weighed a lot then. Off, so what’s a day of death? You’ve got no motive left, I’ve got my hands tied. Let it die. Let it rot like a thing you forgot. Give me time. Give me space. I can peel a new face if I try. You don’t have to tell me ‘bout everything that won’t do. You don’t have to tell me ‘bout everything. I don’t want to hear all about your wickedness lately out on 66. Carry on. Your passion subsides quickly. Did you get your fix? I can recognize your tricks. I’ve got my stones and sticks, you’ve got your hair tied. Let it die. Let it rot like a thing you forgot. Give me time. Give me space. I can peel a new face. You don’t have to tell me ‘bout everything. Tell me ‘bout everything.
I was a sad sack lunch out at the state park once. She dug the cray’s head clear straight through the hook, and as I expressed my doubts she caught a rainbow trout and I caught the flu. And I bought a birthday dress. Wore it just once then left it hanging up there like a joke told too soon. Packing to leave that house, I had my lies laid out and he had no clue. Oh I’ll break or bury this, whichever fits. Oh I’ll break and bury this. And I took a backseat trip back east to bite my lip. You got away with it, and I hope it hurts, ‘cause even when things go south I’d rather shut my mouth than say something first. And I didn’t know I’d lost. I had my signals crossed. All of my language wrong and worse than I meant. ‘Cause each way you size me up, factoring in my luck, I can’t contend.
When you were drunk you taught me all the things you held behind your tongue, and I’d entertain the invitation if I had the heart. Would you say that love is just a thing you do and then you don’t, my friend? I was just fine until you told me that you don’t. I’ve not the words to change your mind, and you won’t. What if I told you I made coffee in your favorite cup, bitter the way you like, and I lose my step and paint the hardwood floor with oily glass? Would you say that love is just a thing you do before you fall, my friend? I was just fine until you told me that you don’t. I’ve not the words to change your mind, and you won’t. I was on the wait list. I need you to hear me out. And I was just fine until you told me I’ve not the words to change your mind. So now you’re an old man. Raise the rent, buy the fence, and you’re carving exits out of an open floor plan. I don’t understand this. I don’t mean to figure this out.
You were fished out from Kentucky. You broke a line and took it with you, and I’ve been shattering my knees just a’beggin’ to forgive you. And you’re a child when you’re discouraged. Said someone set you up for failure. So, throw my casket in the river but don’t call my ass a sailor. Did you think there was space in my head now to siphon and sip, or to belittle things I’ve been through? I don’t think you meant to. You never meant to. I’ll always miss you.
Snapped the wire of a crackling sound. Didn’t notice ’til I tasted blood in my mouth. I wasn’t trying to freak you out. I’ll be leaving now. Bought the rights to get us numb. Thought to ruckus might just lend us a little fun. A ten-cent piece of chewing gum— I’ll eventually calm down. You didn’t ask, didn’t care, can’t go there. Placing bets on making moves. Lord, you’re bored, impatient and I guess my money’s on you. The table folds, you can’t find your shoes. Will I still be home by two? You didn’t ask, didn’t care, can’t go there.
Take a Stab 04:29
Take a stab at the stuff, I won’t stop you. It’s hopeless. I sense I can’t silence this since I lost all of my patience. You cussed out that waitress and I was embarrassed. It’s a bust. I got time, but I ain’t got that much and I’m fine with the featurette. Is it my debt not to envy the fool or the fight of the century? Sometimes I’d just rather be alone. You see, I have been practicing patience in spite of the way that I’m wearing thin, and I can’t help if I get nostalgic for wearing that outfit and telling my friends I’ll be fine in a little while. Does that wear you down? It’s the scraps that we’re eating that’s keeping our plates full, so God, how we’re grateful for whatever we get our hands on. So Christ, keep your pants on. You’re costing us millions (the whole damn thing). And I have been practicing slower reactions and a science that is saving my friends from their sins. And I am no savior of my own bad behavior, but I can forget, and I can forgive, and I can commit to letting things grow and helping things live.
How many lines can you draw? I let my best get lost. I had my signals crossed. And what are you making of me? I’m just an anger machine triggered by what I believe to be true of me and of you. Hiding out for days. Now I’m blowing everyone away. Quickly, so paint me a masterpiece please, an abstract, a beauty, something I can bare to look at to spare my mind the tragic kickback. For goodness sake, you had it all right. You had it all right in your head, and I sang the wrong line. I lost my damn mind. You had it all right and I talked you out of it. Triggered by bitter disease, I am the guilty party. I am an anger machine. That’s not news to you, or to me.
I solemnly swear I am up to no good since longingly begging for new neighborhoods. I tried to sneak out when the first siren sounded. I thought it’d be better to feel somewhat surrounded. I thought it’d be better to feel intentionally grounded. So, pull up my roots and pull back my eyelids. They’re tied to unfortunate case of surprises. You asked me not to, and I purposefully did. I’m sorry I ever messed with your head. Suppose you go. Suppose you grow. Supposedly I’m the one supposed to know where you go when you die, if we ever get it right. Filled houses with sound, with carpets and couches filled to the brim with how deep my foot in my mouth is. It’ll suck, packing up in the back of some truck I borrowed from work. Good god, help me unpack it elsewhere. Dear lord, I’m a little unsure how to get there. Taking it in, making last minute friends with the holes in the ceiling.


Suppose You Grow was recorded almost entirely live over the course of 8 hours at Archer Avenue Studio in Columbia, SC. Stagbriar's long-awaited sophomore LP is an emotionally raw depiction of the sometimes infinite space between forgiving and forgetting and what it means to move forward. A departure from their duo-centric debut, Stagbriar finds themselves creating bigger, edgier moments that more closely mirror their energized live experience, while still finding space for the subtle and softer folk they're loved for.


released August 21, 2020

Stagbriar is:
Alex McCollum (vox, e. guitar, piano, synth, vibraphone, tambo)
Emily McCollum (vox, e. guitar, a. guitar)
Jared Pyritz (e. guitar)
Cam Powell (e. bass)
Brendan Bull (drums, shaker, vibraphone)

Additional performers:
Patrick O’Neil (cello)
Cayla Fralick (vox, a. guitar)
Matt Wentz (e. guitar) appears courtesy of Zack Mexico.

All songs written by Alex & Emily McCollum except for “The Flu” written by Alex McCollum & Cayla Fralick.

Recorded, for the most part, live at Archer Avenue Studio in Columbia, SC on October 29, 2019.

Other parts recorded at Alex's house, Matt’s house, and in the basement of the University of South Carolina School of Music.

Engineered and mixed by Kenny McWilliams and Stagbriar at Archer Avenue Studio.

Mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B in Charlotte, NC.

Art Direction & Production by Andrea Fuhrman.
Layout & Design by Alex McCollum.

Handwritten text by our mom, Christi McCollum.

Cover photo by Scott Webb.
Insert Photo by Kati Baldwin.

For Adam.


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Stagbriar Columbia, South Carolina

Sibling duo, Alex & Emily McCollum, backed by a band of spacetime manipulators from Columbia, SC.


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