Border Town Shades

by Saline Grace

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Saline Grace is the new project of Ricardo Hoffmann, who is known as the composer and poet of the German avant-garde band Nobility Of Salt. Supported by his long-term bass player and companion through
life, Ines Pollok, the amazing multi-instrumentalist and singer presents his first solo album, called “Border Town Shades”.
Strongly influenced by the works of Dostoevsky, Kafka and Bukowski, Ricardo Hoffmann has written claustrophobicly profound songs about desperation and the blackest depths of misery, candle-lit rooms full of tragedies, forlorn sinners and deceptive roads which are surrounded by broken telegraph poles, low-hanging wires, sadness and peculiarly grown trees, leading into nowhere and failure. He also tells us about the human’s eternal yearning for deliverance and his hope for God’s doubtful mercy, presenting now with Saline Grace a 17-track-album of incredibly emotional depth.
On “Border Town Shades” his extraordinarily filigree guitar style has been woven into antiques such as piano, organ, banjo and marimba, building up together with Ines Pollok’s powerful bass, admonishing bells and stylishly played drums a remarkable mixture of Americana, psychedelic and folklore of old Eastern Europe which creates an oppressively sinister atmosphere.
Within the centre of this soundscape, in the tradition of Nick Cave, And Also The Trees, Woven Hand or Leonard Cohen stands ominously, full of urgency and often with amazing warmth the marvellously narrative voice of Ricardo Hoffmann, who, like creeping out of the human psyche’s repressed depths, sometimes supported by means of using choirs, knows to celebrate his fateful tales and philosophic poems.
Indeed, with “Border Town Shades” Saline Grace seems to roam a sinister valley on a rain soaked, covered wagon whose wheels pass through that muddy soil, where Nick Cave once laid down
The Carny’s old nag named Sorrow.


released September 1, 2007

Ricardo Hoffmann:
vocals, guitar, piano, organ, banjo, marimba, chimes, percussion and additional Instruments

Ines Hoffmann:
except: bass on 'Stumbling Mary And The Tree At The Dry Riverbed', 'Stream' and 'A Good Man's Shadow' by Ricardo Hoffmann

Saline Grace guest:
Chinaski: drums

Words and music written by Ricardo Hoffmann
Lyrics reproduced by permission
All songs published by COPYRIGHT CONTROL (C) 2007 Saline Grace



all rights reserved


Saline Grace Berlin, Germany

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Track Name: Mercy And Deliverance
‘Mercy And Deliverance’

Within those realms of community
The days rage like the tearing claws
Of the beast of prey
But in gnawing nights searching for peace
The sufferer’s stolen soul fails inside

The beast’s hurtful paunch
And its acid laughter

Far from here within the storm’s raging
The fleeting years swirl like leaves
In those ruins of a human soul
But reaching for those years
The seeker drowns in

A surging ocean of
Fading memories

The weak senses change illusions
Into glimmers of hope
A suspected deeper truth
The observer cannot realize
For he plunges into passion and faith
As a way of passing the time
The exhausted death itself miserably fails

Giving no certainty of
Mercy and deliverance

And behind an intangible horizon
The swaying comedian squeals
And laughs scornfully
Track Name: In My Room
‘In My Room’

Oppressive dusk in my room
But lights like splintered bones outside
A stupid moon doubles up laughing
It sees you struggling far away from me
Where the carving blades of community
Drink off the willing or unwilling blood
Of their beasts of burden

Suffocating heartbeats in my room
And the glass of whiskey shatters
Like a snail-shell
My clinging hand wriggles itself bloody
It shows me slavering pain and absurdity
Where the darkened sky fails
To carry the colour of your eyes

Dead silence of night in my room
And the grotesque face of the
Waiting grey-haired in the corridor
The plants squeal and wither away
They succumb to threat and let me shiver
Where the timeless wayfarer pricks
Our scarred hearts with further needles
Track Name: A Good Man's Shadow
‘A Good Man’s Shadow’

Down under a cruel
And eastern moon
There is a new tale
From Bordertown

Don’t ask Maggie about her damaged face
She knows her garden’s malignant trees
And fears the boughs they sometimes raise
Maggie deeply loves a good man’s shadow
Who cuts the boughs with saw and crown
Confidently laughing from upon his throne

Don’t ask Maggie about her shrieking voice
She knows her attic’s squawking sparrows
And fears their violently raging noise
Maggie deeply loves a good man’s shadow
Who shoots the birds with gun and crown
Mischievously laughing from upon his throne

Don’t ask Maggie about her strangled son
She knows her fairy tales and comfort
And fears the truths which sometimes dun
Maggie deeply loves a good man’s shadow
Who loves fairy tales with rope and crown
Contentedly laughing from upon his throne

Don’t ask Maggie about that rude car crash
She knows the poor and tragic guy
And fears the day he wants more cash
Maggie deeply loves a good man’s shadow
Who drives his car with bottle and crown
Merrily laughing from upon his throne

Don’t ask Maggie about her anxious mother
She knows mum’s childhood, that old hat
And fears the questions of her beloved brother
Maggie deeply loves a good man’s shadow
Who kindles the hat with words and crown
Sympathetically laughing from upon his throne

Down under a mad
And eastern moon
Silent years have passed
The river on the edge
The good man’s restless bones
Have felt uncomfortable
Clattering and dancing
In a tiny, rotten coffin
Buried in a shallow grave
That swolen hill of soil

Don’t ask Maggie about a dead man’s shadow
She knows the gossip and her inner truths
And fears the mocking children on the meadow
Maggie deeply loves a good man’s shadow
Who haunts in town with sceptre and crown
Terribly laughing from upon his holy throne
Track Name: Border Town Shades
‘Border Town Shades’

Once more the train stopped
In the town of my irksome birth
And my contorted reflection
Was breaking away from
The silent spectacle behind
The old window’s cloudiness

Unspeakably blind eyes
Welcomed me home
With glances dedicated
To suspicious strangers
Who threatened the

While I was crossing a ghost town
I reached the river on the edge
The stream was flowing cleaner
But dirtier in knowledge
Realizing the final decline

I remembered
Those companions
Who meant a lot to me
But who fed the unholy maw
Of jealous estrangement

The beginning rain became a flood
And a lunatic reverend screamed out of
The protestant’s house about wiping out
The evil through the hands of his Lord
I remembered the devil of my childhood
Who still was fairly alive
Revealing the old parson’s cursed lies
The murder of mine had failed twice though
In defiance of the devil’s willing hands

Those waters of the opened sky above
I reached my early childhood’s empty house
Which made me think of the woman
Who had given birth to me
Weakness had led to the betrayal of her son
And had been the devil’s strength

But through grey windows
I saw the light of my cloudy days
In the good eyes of that soul
Who had been stronger
Than her daughter

The subsiding rain washed away
The scum in the streets
But I saw a gross town dweller
Smugly swaggering along these streets
I recognized the one he never wanted to be
Walking on his circular trails

Once more the train
Would stop in the town
Of my irksome birth
Taking me away from
The river’s knowledge
Track Name: Stream

The powerful realms of time
Shroud us dream figures in
Frightening dreams of that
Hateful defencelessness
Our pale silhouettes are
Strange prisoners on that old
And rudderless raft of truth
Chained to the changeable
Whirls of waiting on
The stream of fading

And while the daylight is waiting
Hidden behind the bare skull’s top
Of a cruelly grinning moon
My figure is staring into a whispering
And lively landscape of trees
Which is filled with hope and
Speaks the stranger’s language
The temptation to understand
Bears peculiar pictures
Of an unsuspecting boy

The dawn appears grey and
Contorted beyond recognition
In deep loss of the former pride
Swept away on rudderless raft
By raging stream’s power
In those deeper waters of
Our blinded existence
While sad eye sockets rove
Through their chamber’s
Everlasting emptiness
Track Name: Theresa The Sinking
‚Theresa The Sinking’

Bloody and sore back
Crawls on crooked trails
Through the structures of her lifetime
Swaying and dancing
Burdened with a poor smile
Of that safety giving dramatic art
Where strange word plaitings search
For the ears of those charitable creatures
Who understand to carry their own burdens

Theresa the admired
Exalted on the trails
Of her mincing lifetime
Laughs and looks down to
Those who are truthful

Theresa’s words
Are those streams of nothing
Floating on the transfigured surface
Of an unpredictable ocean
While broken eyes
Tell their own unconscious tale
Telling about the fiends of seclusion
About her nights moistened with sweat
Lying in those strangers’ arms
Who send warmth from necropolis

Theresa the imprisoned
Lost in the streams of
Her wretched existence
Kneels down and looks up
To the one who is called Jesus
Track Name: Nightly Sea
‘Nightly Sea’

Standing on the hill
In the lighthouse’s shades
Jack was conscious of his malignancy
Like the sin’s pestilential atom
Which had driven a pure to lust and lie
He was waiting for Desirable Sally

Understanding her misdemeanour
She had become cruel
And let him suffer from

Through the sea breeze Sinful Sally
Left the fallow love of her youth
Stumbling whilst climbing the hill of truth
Acquainted with sorrow through confession
And thirsting for torture she loved the pain

Sally assumed
The recognition of truth
On those trails of martyrdom

Standing on the hill
In the lighthouse’s shades
Jack considered Sally’s sinful body
With the slaughter’s eyes and self-hate stricken
Her fragant flesh he had conceived
Incapable of decency or even love

Imbued with malignancy and hate
They spoke of brotherhood
And humanity

But not bearing her wretched fate
Repentant Sally shed her own blood
Before Jack’s murderously waiting hands
His desperate eyes spoke of that justice
Which had sprung from the criminal’s head

Betrayed Jack took Dead Sally downhill
And committed both pale bodies to the
Purifying strength of the nightly sea

Inspired from the story
“The Dream Of A Ridiculous Man”
by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
Track Name: Endless

Woodlands of eternal silence
Oceans of dullness without storms
Trails of infinite desolation
In those moments when we look
In empty eyes

Curious creatures want
The mirror of last truth
Like restless water
Easy to destroy
With a stone’s throw

Never-ending mires of wilderness
Unattainably glowing horizons
Messengers of apocalypse
That never arrive
While musty smell is spreading

Curious creatures want
The mirror of last truth
Like restless water
Easy to destroy
With a stone’s throw

Deserting streams
Like rays of hope
To drive us into a corner
In a wasteland
Devoted to nothing

Curious creatures want
The mirror of last truth
Like restless water
Easy to destroy
With a stone’s throw
Track Name: The Valley
‘The Valley’

O brother
Tied to that saline grace of
A noble but fragile ocean
We meet us in frightening dreams
With painful silence

My brother
The failure’s bloody flood
Fills the valley of valleys

O sister
Tied to that saline grace of
A noble and indestructible ocean
We meet us closely enfolded
Looking for the lands of our coming years

My sister
Through the flood’s coagulated depths
We wade through the valley of valleys
Track Name: Crossing Trails
‘Crossing Trails’

Whenever the relentless claws of years
Renounce their exalted throne
Of marble breakage
Whenever the darkened window opens
Illuminating the vaults of our history

I see
The estranged for life
On crossing trails

Whenever the relentless grief of recognition
Refracts sadly through the vault
Covered in dust
Whenever the illuminating window fails
And the clockwork’s noise laughs scornfully

I see
The hopful for life
On crossing trails

Whenever the relentless silence
Echoes awfully along the well-known
Wallpaper’s colour
Whenever the blinded window shuts
Declaring its cold and everlasting scars

I see
The failure for life
On crossing trails
Track Name: From The Fruit Of The Womb, The Liveliness And The Fatigue
‘From The Fruit Of The Womb, The Liveliness And The Fatigue’

The fruit of the womb is still strong
For the firstborn in Mary’s arms
Will learn the pure child’s play
In gentle embraces of the world
Where that swampy and creeping water
Of that obscure existence
Washes its glutinous streams
Around the heir’s expectant bones

But the firstborn
In Mary’s arms
Will learn the
Pure child’s play

The liveliness is a whore
For the trialed digs deep
The faithful will’s spade into
The deepest dungeons of devotion
Where that will to live is being
Sucked out of human bodies
As a fee for their shortly
Lasting light-heartedness

But the trialed digs deep
The faithful will’s spade
Into the deepest dungeons
Of devotion

The fatigue’s eye is a friend
For the enraptured loses his meagre home
Smouldering in the embers
Of too long digging hands
Where that agony is prepared
To give a new home
Buried underneath the ruins
Of its suffocating power

But the enraptured loses
His meagre home
Smouldering in the embers
Of too long digging hands
Track Name: Last Day Of September
‘Last Day Of September’

Hank’s graceful countenance vanished
With the last breath of September
In the year of his birth
Robbed of the life’s bright goodness
Under the Lord’s envious power

Once upon a time
The fallow world bore vast warmth
When he wrested free from the womb
Showing the true loving-kindness
But too early robbed of his poor mother
Illness only was his mind’s reward

With the betrayed’s floods of tears and
Through the slough of deepest lifelessness
Two faithful followers took his tiny coffin
To the chosen place of holiest peace
While the weeping rain was hammering down

Those faithful followers who had covered
His ill body with tears of love before
Buried him on the last day of September
Resting in the bosom of the lamenting earth
Nestled under warming roses’ strength

For a faithful friend
Track Name: Bird Song
‘Bird Song’

From the deceptive days in Bordertown
We set off holding our hands
Through the frosty woodlands’s paths
Those silently whispering, sinister lands

Leaving the white woodlands behind
We saw it coming, the cold-tortured countenance
Within a fallow wasteland a frozen stream was
Sadly flowing on wrong tracks, without a chance

Losing the distant murmur of Bordertown
Your exhausted eyes shed bitter tears
An easier fate we had tried to reach
But along the stream no bird was singing within our years