Left Open in a Room

by Lucy Roleff

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released May 15, 2019

Songs by Lucy Roleff
Arrangements by Lucy Roleff and Pascal Babare
Recorded and Mixed by Pascal Babare at Electric Dreams
Mastered by Nick Huggins

Lucy Roleff – vocals, classical guitar, harp, flute, piano
Pascal Babare – electric guitar, bass, piano, moog guitar
Rosalind Hall - clarinet
Alex Badham – guitar on ‘I Went to the Ocean’

Back cover photograph by Alex Badham
Insert photograph by Annika Kafcaloudis
Front cover artwork by Lucy Roleff
Artwork reproduction by Matthew Stanton
Graphic design by Luci Everett

Special thanks to my family and friends, especially my parents Myra and Hans, to Pascal, Alex and Rosalind for all their hard work and support making this record happen, to Marky at Lost & Lonesome, Matthias at Oscarson Records, Nick and Chris at Little Lake Records, to Annika, Luci, Matthew and Kate, and to Lorelei and Jeremy at Jacky Winter Gardens in Belgrave, where most of this record was arranged during my time there as artist in residence.


With an eye on the contemporary but an affinity for the traditional, Melbourne folk artist Lucy Roleff returns with Left Open in a Room – a chamber-folk inflected expansion on the fingerpicked purity of her 2016 debut, This Paradise.

Autobiographical in essence but vast in theming, Left Open in a Room reminds of both the simple, vignette songwriting of Sibylle Baier, and the intricate stylings and blunt tongue of Bridget St John and Nick Drake. Lucy’s vocals are truly the centrepiece, imbued with a precise, classical enunciation and soft duskiness. The peaks and valleys of her voice allowed to shine, as her rare contralto register shows all shades of its deep colour. We also welcome a new addition since This Paradise, Lucy’s 36-string celtic harp, alternating beautifully with her fingerpicked classical guitar.

The collection of songs here find Lucy looking inward, musing on domestic spaces and contemplating relationships past and present. Latent memories of an early, unresolved romance are reflected upon during 'Sometimes Do', details of a faltering household ruminate on 'He Heard Everything', and finally an opportunity to step inside Lucy’s own space with titular track, 'Left Open in a Room'.

While the songs were written over a three year period, Left Open in a Room has much of its essence in the fern-shaded grounds of the artists residence Jacky Winter Gardens in the Dandenong Ranges. Here, Lucy composed the majority of the album’s arrangements; the divine tranquility of the gardens imbued in the album’s verdant instrumentation.

Left Open in a Room was recorded with longtime collaborator and fellow composer Pascal Babare – much of the recording and mixing split between Pascal’s home and his recording studio at Electric Dreams in South Melbourne, a process to which Pascal also contributed electric guitar, bass, piano, percussion and Moog guitar. Lucy’s musical collaborators Rosalind Hall and Alex Badham also lend their talents to the record on clarinet and guitar, respectively.


Sunday, May 26th at Eastmint, Northcote VIC
Matinee Show – 1pm
with guests Mindy Meng Wang & Genevieve Fry + Pascal Babare and Band

Releases May 15, 2019 on Lost & Lonesome Records, Little Lake Records (au) and Oscarson Records (eu)


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Lucy Roleff Melbourne, Australia

Lucy Roleff is a classically trained, folk musician from Melbourne. Born to a German Opera singer father and Maltese mother, she spent a childhood steeped in ornate European classical music, storytelling and folk styles.

"The focal point of Roleff’s music is, of course, her voice: this quavering, rather deep husk, that has the blunt European tongue of singers like Nico and Sibylle Baier"- Happy
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Track Name: Waiting for My Friend
I’m waiting for my friend
soon he’ll be
coming down the hill
not much matters to me
when we sit
with the snacks and tea

and I think he likes
to look in my eyes
to my surprise

I’m waiting for my friend
there he is
coming down the hill
not much matters to me
when he laughs
and tries to hold my feet

and when he looks
into my eyes
I look back
to my surprise
Track Name: A Woman's Worth
Night dreams
how they cling to us
thick and sweet
how they trouble us

and I woke to a dark house

barely in the hall
he drops the keys
I wake and turn
walk down to meet him

I know a woman’s worth
but have given mine
again, again, again

skirting the lawn
with his tennis ball
training the dog
how to beg
I tried as well
but didn’t know
what to say

dreams fulfilled
but the edges worn with
drawn out grievances
long nights
and the sullen dinners

yes I know a woman’s worth
but have given mine
again, again, again

I’d better keep the rest

there it is
no shining mantelpiece
there it is
in the stars!
Track Name: Rheingold
How can I touch you
with your back to my face?
how can I say what matters,
what’s dearest to me now?

I thought it was good

out in the soil patch
I dig in a daze
circling for metaphor
or a herb to make me
better today
when I know it’s just thought

your shoulders
on my mind
I forget
all I have learned

I guess it is love

in this cliff perched
we potter and pace
and I can see the outlines
of a sea storm taking shape

was it ever soft and still?
I can’t recall

how can I touch you
in this wind blown place
how can I love you
with my spirit
blown away?
Track Name: Silver
As a long night settles in
I set out for his studio
seeking beer and company
by the factories -
great, sleeping tombs

the desk is cluttered, sinking
but he pours the drink
so carefully
we talk in turns
on a borrowed couch
watch the lamp throw shadows
on our feet

what is this I feel?
sentiment or thrill?
a bit of gold
or silver?

share a smoke
with the windows wide
through the burn of his throat
he says
give it a try
see this passing
going cold and steely
leave me wrapped up
going over
visions of this night

riding home
sun threatening to rise
brush the hair back
from my brow
coffee pouring
in the quiet and stillness
fancy leaving behind all this
for him


send in the light!
Track Name: Sometimes Do
Long were the afternoons spent
trying to be different girls
only to find that the one you first met
dizzy on cheap cigarettes
had caught you

that late evening
I borrowed your lighter
I didn’t know how to use it
I think of the morning after
in the coffee shop
I think of the rainy hills
where we hid in my car

I think of you
sometimes do
even now

but how could I ever
return to that thought?
how many seasons
until I am done?

when your housemate
he went away
you invited me in
damp from the shower
I looked at the plants
and studied your belongings
we sat on the couch
drank something

even in silence
and even in solitude
I’ll see a reminder
I’ll think of the holidays
and that we never touched
I’ll think of our city shoes
wet in the forest brush

I’ll think of you
sometimes will
even now

but how could I ever
return to that house?
how many summers
until it burns down?
Track Name: Autumn Song
Where did the season begin?
heavier quilts
and the trees darkening
auburn, red and gold
chimneys puff plumes
into the eve

leaving the city to sleep
something to do with
the light seeping in
underneath the door
picks my dreams up
and flips them around

head to the north
and the east
stopping for chestnuts,
a lime and star anise
airing out the house
pulling down cobwebs
pouring tea

passing the hatchet to you
leaning the firewood
to dry upon the porch
I believe in this,
alpine, red bottle brush
and the sun

where did the season end?
heavier quilts
and the trees naked
auburn, red and gold
choking the gutters
on the strip

back to the city for heat
something to do
with the night air breezing in
underneath the door
picks my dreams up
and flips them around
Track Name: He Heard Everything
When I get home by dark
and he’s there
with a solemn hand in hello
I walk to the kitchen
make myself a snack

and I know
that something is amiss
all the silence
tells me that it is
why I call myself
a widow of sorts

he falls asleep in the chair
I smoke by a window
on the landing
tell him I’m going out to see
a film or a friend
for a drink at the inn

I go over all the details, again
part the blind to see
the world still down,
dithering there
told him I’m sorry, again
but he won’t hear it

and he heard everything
television, creaks
and the clink of gin
days since pass
in the cloak of a dream
washing dishes and
staring at folks in the street

I take myself into the town
a lowly lizard
looking for somewhere to sun
warm my blood
shed the skin
of all that’s done
Track Name: I Went to the Ocean
I went to the ocean
through the veil
of a January fog
sun spilling emulsions
upon a cape
unaware of anyone

throw my dress onto the beach
knee deep in the salty cold
and the seaweed
swim out ‘til hurts to breathe
roll over and let the water
come hold me

see how the heavens
hold time for us
still we insist
we can do it ourselves
stitch in the cloth
or a speck in the sea
I remember

a cove of pleasantries
and the sound of animals
wring my hair into the sink
draw a face
where some adversary was

madeleines and milky tea
in the garden
beneath the fig
and the loquat tree
call a friend to hear her speak
wait for something
to come around
and involve me

how can I mend this life for us?
detail the hems and the ties for us?
deep in the night
with the cat at my feet
I remember to stop
Track Name: Leave It There
Given enough time
I’ll find your hair
filling the sink

given enough time
you’ll find me clipping
your sentences

let’s leave it there
with the songs
and the chats
the coffee
and the visits

there’s a lamp
I read by
when you went away
it needs a shake to come on
it only tilts one way

let’s leave it there
with the kicks
and hotels
the city
and the hills
Track Name: Left Open in a Room
I’ll leave the door wide open
check the view
and I know the little things
could be better

settle the dogs
and towel dry my hair
better wait ‘til morning
to bring in the clothes

a fern getting dusty
in the corner
I saw myself
getting old

and all this
while waiting for you
like a book
left open in a room

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