SW​:​S Retreat - April 26​-​28, 2013

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    All purchases are tax-deductible donations to SongwritingWith:Soldiers. Our mission is to hold retreats that pair professional songwriters with military veterans to write songs about their experiences of combat and returning home.
    Participating military service members include Chris Chirco, Dustin Crites, Palermo Deschamps, Todd Hanna, Kathi Long, AJ Merrifield, Stacy Pearsall, Nikki Shaw, Winni Smith, and Dustin Wright. These songs are their stories.

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Songwriters include Jay Clementi, Darrell Scott, Gary Nicholson and Darden Smith.

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released June 21, 2013

Thank you for your support of SongwritingWith:Soldiers.

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SongwritingWith:Soldiers Austin, Texas

Founded by Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Darden Smith, SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a non-profit 501c (3) organization. Our mission is to assist in the emotional healing process of both active duty U.S. soldiers and veterans through collaborative songwriting. ... more

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Track Name: Be Right Here, Right Now
BE RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
Nikki Shaw / Dustin Wright / Robin Meade / Darrell Scott / Darden Smith

I never dreamed I would find you
In the middle of my war
When the bitterness can blind you
Make you forget your living for
I’ve got no illusions
I’m a hard one to love
But I think we can do this
And we rise above

Let that sand in the hour glass run
Let the past be past what’s done is done
We’ll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes
And be right here right now

There’s a new moon rising
There’s a wide open road
Don’t know where we’re going
This is the great unknown
But here’s what I’m saying
We’re making this up (as we go)
I think we can do this
And we can rise above

No fake fronts
No brick walls
Here and now
We have it all
Track Name: I'm A Soldier
I'm A Soldier
Palermo Deschamps / Gary Nicholson / Darrell Scott

To go where no one would dare to go
And do those things that no one would dare to do
Do not expect anyone to volunteer for but I will go there
I will go there because I am a soldier

I am a soldier I will go there
I will fight for the freedom of all men
I'm a soldier I will go there
I’m your father mother sister brother friend
I’m the one you want to be there
For your children for your country till the end
I'm a soldier I will go there
Count on me again again and again till the end

In the heat of battle or in the cool of peace
Rest assured I have your back no matter what it is
In the light of day in the dark of night
Don't you worry I’m ready for the fight

I'm a soldier I will go there
I will fight for the freedom of all men
I'm a soldier I will go there
I’m your father mother sister brother friend
I’m the one you want to be there for you
For your children for your country till the end
I'm a soldier I will go there
You can count on me again and again and again

I’m the one you want to be there for your children for your country amen I'm a soldier I will go there
I will fight for the freedom of all women and men
I'm a soldier I will go there
I’m your father mother sister brother friend
I’m the one you want to be there
For your children for your country amen

I'm a soldier I will go there
You can count on me again and again and again till the end
I'm a soldier
I'm a soldier
Track Name: I'm Not Supposed To Be Here
I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE
Chris Chirco / Darrell Scott

I'm not supposed to be here, I'm not supposed to tell
I'm to lie down in this darkness and live here in this hell
Make believe that nothing happened, make believe I'm still ok
This pain inside me fights me and will not go away
It never goes away

I'm not supposed to be here. I'm the accidental child
I live my accidental lifetime, and live in your denial
But I will break this code of silence, this shame is killing me
I will break the chains that bind me, this caged bird will be free

I'm not supposed to be here, I'm not supposed to tell
I'm to lie down in my darkness and live here in this hell
Make believe that nothing happened, make believe that I'm ok
Oh the pain inside me fights me and will not go away

If I am supposed to be here, with all my strength renewed
Then demons, I dispatch you to the dark side of the moon
And there you will be watching me as my life from you begins
When i know i'm supposed to be here I will have my true revenge
I will have my true revenge
Track Name: Illustrated Man
ILLUSTRATED MAN
Dustin Crites / Gary Nicholson / Darden Smith

Let me tell you a story
Written on my skin
Might help you understand
The shape I’m in
This one’s for my buddy
He’s gone as gone can be
Every time that I reach out
He’s right in front of me
This one’s for my love
On the inside of my arm
She’s my little geisha
Keeps me safe and warm

You might think I’m crazy
Might think I don’t have a plan
I’m just a decorated soldier
I’m an illustrated man

I got four letters on one hand
Four more on my right
Hit’em with love then hit’em with hope
When somebody wants to fight
I’ve got a few dark secrets
That won’t ever let me be
I put ‘em in the places
That very few can see
But baby if you love me
You can take a closer look
This ink is just a bookmark
Baby I’m an open book

You might think I’m crazy
Might think I don’t have a plan
I’m just a decorated soldier
I’m an illustrated man
Highly decorated soldier
I’m an illustrated man

SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music / Darden Smith Music / Gary Nicholson Songs (ASCAP)
Track Name: Involuntary Erection
INVOLUNTARY ERECTION
Palermo Deschamps / Gary Nicholson

Involuntary erection
That’s what happened to me
When my parachute didn’t open
And I fell a thousand feet
When you fall too hard right on your back
And your nerves don’t know how to react
And you get an involuntary erection
There’s only one cure for me

Involuntary erection
That’s what happened to me
When my parachute didn’t open
And I fell a thousand feet
When you fall too hard right on your back
And your nerves don’t know how to react
And you get an involuntary erection
There’s only one cure for me

My soldier came to attention looking at the ceiling
Standing up and watching me shave
I told the doctor to prescribe me a woman
I can’t go on this way

Involuntary erection
That’s what happened to me
I got this involuntary erection
And that nurse has a cure for me

They sent me home and I scared my wife
I said wait a minute honey you could save my life
I think you’re in the best possible position
To be my very favorite physician

And fix my involuntary erection
That’s what happened to me
When my parachute didn’t open
And I fell a thousand feet
And when you fall too hard on your back
And your nerves don’t know how to react
You get an involuntary erection
There’s only one cure for me

I got this involuntary erection
And there’s only one cure for me

SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music / Gary Nicholson Songs (ASCAP)
Track Name: Secrets
SECRETS
Kathi Long / Darrell Scott

You can't see me, but I'm right here
You can talk talk talk talk about me, but I can hear what you say
I'm not invisible but you think I am
I could scream my pain at you but you will never understand
The secrets that I hold
Secrets can't be told

You have your hopes and dreams that fly far away
Me I'm behind my prison bars praying lord help me thru another day
These secrets can't be told
Secrets that I hold

I am burdened with the shame and your conscience is free
I'm shackled to your past and you'll never know just what you've done to me
With these secrets

No one can touch me I think I'd break
This souvenir you've left me gave me more than this one soul can take
I'm in slow motion I can't be alone
My thoughts are my enemy, my enemy is everywhere I go
I got secrets that I hold
Secrets can't be told

I'm falling in the dark you're rising in the sun
My scars keep getting deeper you'll never see the damage you have done
Hey, whose secrets do I hold
Whose secrets can't be told
I know your secret

SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music / I Imagine Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: I Found What I've Been Missing
I FOUND WHAT I'VE BEEN MISSING
Chris Chirco / A.J. Merrifield / Darden Smith

I was silent for so long
I couldn’t listen to a song
I sat around the house and I couldn’t even watch TV
I just watched the world go by
When from the corner of my eye
I saw you walking, I saw you walking right up to me

I found what I’ve been missing
Someone who will listen
Someone who will listen to my soul

I’d forgotten how to feel
I’d forgotten what was real
I’m open for the first time in so long
Now I’ve let you in
I’m ready to begin
To find the man, the man in me I thought was gone

I found what I’ve been missing
Someone who will listen
Someone who will listen to my soul

Let the tears wash away
The darkness of my day
Let the fire inside of me burn again
Let the fire inside me be my friend

I found what I’ve been missing
Someone who will listen
Someone who will listen to my soul
Track Name: Freedom Song
FREEDOM SONG
Winni Smith / Darden Smith

I’ve never heard a freedom song
But I’ve heard the songs of a soldier
The tapping of his feet
On slap boards like a drum
A soldier who has no freedom
I’ve never heard the freedom songs
But I’ve hear the songs of my people
The soldier marching
The one whose soul
Has been played like a banjo

Still I never heard a freedom song
But yet I heard the cries
In the silver rain
I’ve heard his pain
And when I ask what’s wrong
He says a soldier has no song

If you hear a freedom song
If you hear them marching
Know that it’s a soldier
Whose soul
Has been played like a banjo
Track Name: We Were Watched Over
WE WERE WATCHED OVER
Dustin Wright / Gary Nicholson / Darden Smith

Humvee in the middle of the night
Racing home before the morning light
Presence patrol doing what we were told to do
Out of nowhere an IED
Blew up right in front of me
Tower of fire somehow we made it through

We were watched over
We were watched over
We were watched over
From above

We took incoming all night long
Hitting us hard till the dawn
Then came that moment time froze for me
I heard the whistle I saw the flash
I felt the gravel hit my back
Gave me good reason to get down on my knees
I knew…

Yeah we were trained and we were doing our job
Someone else was calling those shots
Something divine protected us
You can call it karma call it luck
But I know we were saved that night by love
Track Name: The Way I Came
THE WAY I CAME
Kathi Long / Darden Smith / Gary Nicholson

I ain’t listened to a song in a long, long time
I couldn’t let the world inside of my mind
I feel so tired from carrying a heavy load
I open my eyes and just see a long, long road

I wish I could go home the way I came
Be the girl I was before my whole world changed
I wish my tears could wash away the pain
And I could just go home the way I came

All the hurt, the tears it’s hard to cope
I’m tired of waking up with no hope
The ones I love should not have to live
Knowing that I’ve got little left to give

I’d love to have some love
I’d love to have some peace
I’d love to come in from the cold
I just want to be
The girl I used to be
I don’t want to cry anymore
I don’t want to cry anymore

Darden Smith Music / Gary Nicholson Songs, admin by Sony Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: What I Gotta Do
WHAT I GOTTA DO
Jay Clementi / Dustin Crites

We use to drive out, to Trinity Levee
Put makeshift hammock on the roof of that Chevy
Falling in love, making plans in the moonlight
Staying up all night
Always felt just right with you
Baby with you

You got a way about you like no one else
So beautiful put everyone before yourself
I had it all somewhere along the way
Got turned around forgot about the vows I said that day
To you
Baby to you

Wish that I never would have let you down
It's too late can't go back
Wish that I could somehow
Get back our love
It was me it wasn't you
Tell me what I gotta do
What I got, what I got, what I gotta do
What I got, what I got, what I gotta do

If we could make it back through hell again
I know we'd be closer than we've ever been
Baby we can do this don't listen to the doubt
I know we can make it but I can't do it without you
Baby without you

Wish that I never would have let you down
Can't go back it’s too late
Wish that I could somehow
Get it back the way it was
Wish that I never would have let you down
Don't give up let me make it up to you somehow
Got to get back to our love
It was me it wasn't you
Tell me what I gotta do
Track Name: Here I Am
HERE I AM
Winni Smith / Darden Smith

Here I am in colors beyond imagination
Red for the blood I’ve shed
Blue for the tears running down
Brown for my earthly connections
Black for the darkness that surrounds me
Through it all
Here I stand
Here I am

Here I am through all their smoke filled lies
Like wipe your face, stand firm, it didn’t hurt
You didn’t see that don’t cry
They’d say you’re in the military now don’t go embarrassing the brass
Get your head back up
Well I say you can kiss my ass
Cause I am strong
Here I stand
Here I am

(Spoken)
I’ve lost my sisters and brothers
I’m not gonna let it bring me down
Cause here I stand here before you
To tell you what’s true
I stand here for me
And I stand for them too

Yes here I am full of desire, hope and courage
Affection, innocence, pride and peace
I didn’t think I would ever get here
I didn’t think I would rise above
But in the darkness I remembered
I remembered love
Yeah baby, here I am
Take a deep breath
Let it out
Yes baby here I am
Boldly stand before you, here I am
Finally, finally, finally, here I am
Here I am…
Track Name: Something Bigger Than Myself
SOMETHING BIGGER THAN MYSELF
Gary Nicholson / Darden Smith / Dustin Wright

I guess for me it’s never been about me
It’s always about someone else
I find someone in need
I start trying to see
Some way that I can help

Serve something bigger than myself
Find a way that I can help
Bring the world a little more light
Try to turn some wrong to right
And serve something bigger than myself

Trying to find a way I signed up one day
It took me to a foreign land
Found people just like us looking for a little more love
All a part of a higher plan
I want to…

I made some sacrifice
Trying to do what’s right
Everything changed while I was gone
Looking in my children’s eyes
I realize
There’s so much to give right here at home
I know I can …
Track Name: Call To Prayer
A CALL TO PRAYER
A.J Merrifield / Chris Chirco / Stacy Pearsall / Jay Clementi

They call it a call to prayer
Five AM I'm lying there
It echoes loud through a foreign land
In a language I don't understand
Those speakers preaching bout their lord was like nails on a chalkboard
To this American boy missing home, kept reminding me just how far I'm gone

God is good God is great
I think that's what they say
One thing’s for sure about this place
It will make, or it’ll break your faith
Your faith

Well Upchurch was good as gold
He had a lion’s heart and a giving soul
I told him for patrol one day
I had a stogy with his name
And we'd light one up when we got back, but we never got the chance for that
He went down and when I heard, I knelt down in that dusty, empty plywood church

God is good God is great
I think that's what they say
One thing’s for sure about this place
It will make or it’ll break
Your faith

There’s not much out here to lean on
You’re surrounded by all this hate
And that's why you need your brothers
And that's why you need your faith

God is good God is great
I think that's what they say
One thing’s for sure about this place
It will make and it’ll break
Your faith

Sometimes I wonder who He's really listening to
Is it us or is it them, or does it even matter in the end
Track Name: Chasing Down A Hero
CHASING DOWN A HERO
Todd Hanna / Jay Clementi

My dad left when I was five
Slowly vanished from my life
Missed my high school graduation
And the day I took my wife
I'd drive slowly by his house
But he never came outside

I've been chasing down a hero
Damn near all my life

There's a missing part of my soul
I'm trying desperately find
Someone that leads the way
It's all gonna be okay
Yeah just out there on my own
While I'm chasing down a hero

So the few the proud the marines
Sounded pretty damn good to me
Just needed a hero
So I signed the dotted line
In the trenches and the convoys
They were right there by my side

I've been chasing down a hero
Damn near all my life
There's a missing part of my soul
I'm trying desperately find
Someone that leads the way
It's all gonna be okay
Yeah just out there on my own
While I'm chasing down a hero

I've looked in the mirror 'cross town and overseas
And finally found them, right in front of me

I've been chasing down a hero
Damn near all my life
That missing part of my soul
Was my children and my wife
With love they lead the way
It's all gonna be okay

I'm not out there on my own
While I'm chasing down a hero
I'm no longer on my own
Cause I found my heroes
Track Name: Fallen Angel
FALLEN ANGEL
Palermo Deschamps / Gary Nicholson

He was a one in a million kind of guy
The first one out the last to leave
The one you want by your side
We talked about our kids
We talked about our dreams
When he went down I went down with him
He took a part of me

Fallen angel you will always fly
There's a place for you in the sweet by and by
Back to your home waiting in the sky
Fallen angel you will always fly

The hardest thing I ever had to do
Was collect his things and clean out his room
Pictures of his children
All the letters from his friends
No one could imagine
It would all come to an end

Fallen angel you will always fly
There's a place for you in the sweet by and by
Back to your home waiting in the sky
Fallen angel you will always fly

The hardest thing i ever had to do
Was clean his room
Track Name: Funeral Detail
FUNERAL DETAIL
A.J. Merrifield / Gary Nicholson

I’m the one who hands the flag to the family
One last reminder of everything they’ve lost
We all pledge allegiance to
The red, white, and blue
And honor the ones that paid the cost

I can’t let a tear reveal
The sadness that I feel
I just say the words I know are not enough
We just hear Taps play
Salute and walk away
They’re gone without the one they love

I’m the one who hands the flag to the family
A symbol of the sacrifice they’ve seen
I take away the hope they’ve held on to
That maybe it’s all a bad dream
Some bring it home and place it on the mantle
Some just want to hide it away
I just hide how I feel and make that same speech
Knowing there’s nothing I can say

I’m the one that hands the flag to the family
Their eyes will haunt me always
I’m just a soldier on a funeral detail
With a speech and nothing I can say
I’m just a soldier on a funeral detail
With a speech and nothing I can say