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[liner notes]

Snow Cherries from France


I knew a boy who would
not share his bike
oh but he let me go sailing
I swore that I
could survive any storm
oh then he let me go

"Can you Launch Rockets from here?"
Boy I've done it for years
right over my head
and when I promised my hand
he promised me back
Snow Cherries from France
all that summer
we traveled the world
never leaving his own back garden
girls I didn't know
just what it could be
oh but he let me go sailing

you question me,
"Can you ride anything?"
Lord do you mean like your mood swings
Invaders and Traders with
the best intentions
may convince you to go
"They look like Pirates from here"
Boy I've been one for years
just keeping my head
and when I promised my hand
you promised me back
Snow Cherries from France

and then one day he said
"Girl it's been nice,
oh but I have to go sailing"
with cinnamon lips
that did not match his eyes
oh then he let me go

Tori Quotes

There is a song I wrote for Choirgirl that didn't come out and I didn't record it. It's one of my favorites, called "Snow Cherries from France." And I haven't recorded it yet, and I wrote it for this record. So we'll see. [Yahoo online chat - August 5, 1998]

Okay, "Snow Cherries from France" took a long time to write, yes, about seven years maybe. Um, I finally finished it this summer. And it's not that it was just finished as far as a song goes, but I couldn't seem to find the point of view to sing it. I went back and forth, depending on if I was mad at my husband or not, I mean, it kept changing. But then finally I found a place with it, that I began to understand what it was saying to me, and in the recording I changed some of the quotes that he had said originally, no, she says. And because of that, it all began to make sense. So her position in it changed from when I started to write it, and she's a little more involved. She's a little more up to shenanigans than I thought she originally was, and that's why it worked. [Tales of a Librarian press kit - October 2003]

It's a love story... and this woman agrees to go on this adventure with this man. Even though, I think, deep down she knows that eventually he's going to go -- because that's what he does -- she offers her hand, after a fashion, and he offers her snow cherries from France, which sound delicious, but don't exist. [BBC 6, Tom Robinson - December 2003]

And then one day he said / "Girl it's been nice / Oh, but I have to go sailing." / With cinnamon lips that did not match his eyes / Oh then he let me go

I started writing this song in 1996 to '97. It's been a long time coming. I think it finally came together because I changed the narrator's point of view ever so slightly. That is, that she knew on some level that he was going to leave her. The previous angle was that she didn't think he would go. She came into it a lot more naive the first go 'round. And finally, once I kind of cracked who this woman was -- how she thought, and how she felt -- it came together. That is, that deep down, she knew he was a wanderer. And she took the risk anyway. [Women Who Rock - January 2004]

As a composer, if something isn't finished but it has potential, you can't just let it out. "Snow Cherries" was another one of these things. The conception began a long time ago, around the choirgirl era. We had tried to get it on tape, but it just didn't come together for whatever reason. But we were playing around with it during the Scarlet tour. By this time Matt, Jon, and I had been playing night after night together, and we decided it was time to track it. You sometimes just get to a place where there is a chemistry to all of this. It's hard to define. But when we originally tried to record it we could never match what was coming out of a demo I'd made at the Beach House on my little crap cassette recorder. Mark would always say to me, "I hate to tell yo this, but you haven't quite been able to come close to that yet, I don't think you should just settle." So we tried it on choirgirl and we tried it on Venus, but no luck. The three strickes you're out idea was looming, but we recorded it again for the third time not knowing where it was going. Thankfully it just happened, it came together, because it was one of those ones I didn't want to relegate to the bench. No riding the pine for this girl. [A Piano liner notes - 2006]

Neil Gaiman Quote

"Then it was this morning and we were on our way to the airport, and on the road she sang me a song called 'Snow Cherries from France' which hasn't been recorded yet and isn't on the new album but has to be recorded and go and live somewhere, because it's truly lovely." [Neil's online journal - May 31, 2002]

Live Versions

"Snow Cherries from France"
October 5, 2012 - New York, New York

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