SW​​:​​S Retreat - August 23​-​25, 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 Katie Dowell, Charles Hayes, Ernest Johnson, Rebekah Layton, Stacy Pearsall, Greg Masiello, AJ Merrifield, Katie Robinson, Nikki Shaw, and Jamie Trent.
    These songs are their stories and are recorded on site at retreats. They capture a song just hours after being written, like the song taking its first breath.
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1.
BATTLE BUDDIES Stacy Pearsall / Katie Robinson / Darden Smith / Greg Trooper In a land of sand and oil cans Me and Katie would stand with any man We’d crack a joke or lend a helping hand Everywhere that we went From a mission to the defac tent Chaos was our most loyal friend Battle buddy, We’re alive Love and laughter brought us to the other side Carry me and I’ll carry you Together we can make it through Battle buddies to the end We could make the Chaplain blush Give an FNG a rush Or calm each other with a tender touch But most of all sisters in Arms Under bullet fire and exploding bombs We were each other’s lucky charms I damn near broke my neck for one Then they shot off Katie’s fucking thumb Sent us home and said thank you’re on your own When my back’s against the wall You’re the first number that I call Because we’re battle buddies ‘til the end
2.
CHARACTER FLAW Greg Masiello / Greg Trooper Bright light gleaming from an old streetlight Shimmers in the pool of a Saturday night Your silhouette screams to this old boy But don’t start thinking I’m the real McCoy I don’t have to guess how this might end I’ve always thrown caution to the wind Girl your spell is drawing me in Another mistake I’m about to begin You’d think by now I’d figure this out I can hear them talking ‘bout this old lout However this ends win, lose or draw I’m still stuck inside this character flaw When I was at war I swore by Jim When I got home I wouldn’t fall back in To taking some girl on a one night ride I’d clip the wings off my wild side But you over there all sultry and sleek Remind me of a tragedy Roman or Greek Just like Cupids arrow gone astray I’ll save that promise for another day You’d think by now I’d figure this out I can hear them talking ‘bout this old lout However this ends win, lose or draw I’m still stuck inside this character flaw What do you mean you want to come home with me I’m just a snake and your mom would agree
3.
Mama 03:28
MAMA Charles Hayes / Greg Trooper We went running through the blue Felt like nothing we couldn’t do Train whistle crying familiar moan Baseball sliding into home Mama, Oh mama I miss you so Fishing on the river bank Fish give that bobber a mighty yank Pitch a tent down by the river side Start the fire we got fish to fry Mama, Oh mama I miss you so Suppertime six pm Sometimes chicken sometimes ham Apple pie still needs to cool You have one slice, I’ll take two Mama, Oh mama I miss you so Paper boy riding by Sun’s not even in the sky Milk delivered in the box Not one worry, no doors locked Mama, Oh mama I miss you so Nighttime falls time for bed You said a prayer kissed my head Mama, Oh mama I miss you so Mama, Oh mama I love you so
4.
THE MAN OF THE FAMILY Charles Hayes / Darden Smith I was called to be the chaplain Of another hero fallen in the fray From a leaden sky a bone chilling rain Was coming down on Saratoga Cemetery There was a twelve-year boy all dressed blue And a mother full of pain that didn’t know what to do And that boy said "tell me sir will I ever see my daddy again" I got down on my knees I said "yes you will Because your daddy’s in God’s hands And someday through faith You’ll see him in that promised land But for now your dad would want you to be The man of the family" I said "He’d want you to take care of your mother And help her through this troubled storm Be there for your sister Ellen And comfort her in your sure, strong arms I know this all might seem like a burden to you But ponder what your daddy would want you to do ‘Cause one day son, you’re gonna see your daddy again" He got down on his knees He said "yes I will Because my daddy’s in God’s hands And I know one day I’ll see him in that promised land But for now my dad would want me to be The man of the family" And off in the distance the bugle played The tears came down we walked away Except for that boy I heard him softly say "I know now Daddy you are in God’s hands I can see you walking with the Lord Hand in hand through that promised land So don’t worry dad I know I can be The man of the family The man of the family"
5.
MY LITTLE ANGEL Greg Masiello / Darden Smith You were seven years when I got the call You had to be strong, stand up big tall Daddy’s little girl all set to grow Front teeth missing, hair in a bow I’d lay in my bunk biding my time Thinking bout that little girl of mine Time just crawled, I wished it would fly I’d a given anything to sing you a lullaby As that year went by I saw you there Larger than life playing truth or dare Sitting on the edge fifty feet high Spreading your wings like you’re gonna fly My little angel My little angel You built sand castles on the white sea shore Fussed with your momma over dresses and chores I did my time and when I came home again You were more a woman than a girl by then Standing in the kitchen on a Tuesday night Looking at your school picture and your smile so bright I just wanted to hold you, I fought back the tears Because I knew that I could never get back those years As time goes by I will see you there Larger than life playing truth or dare Sitting on the edge fifty feet high Spreading your wings girl you’re gonna fly My little angel My little angel My little angel You’ll always be My little angel
6.
NEVER REALLY MADE IT HOME Greg Masiello / Jamie Trent / Beth Nielsen Chapman You look right through my eyes Seems like all you see Are smoke filled desert skies Haunted memories I can never understand Those images so real Of a lost and distant land A sandbox battlefield Sometimes only time can heal You came back into my arms With a shattered broken heart Just a shadow of the man I’ve always known As if the man of my dreams unafraid of anything Never really made it home Never really made it home You lie here by my side I know you’re not asleep The battle scars you hide A million miles too deep There’s nothing I can say There’s nothing I can do I’m praying for the day When I have all of you And I pray we’ll make it through Baby won’t you come back home When you gonna come back home
7.
OUT OF MY HANDS Jamie Trent / Darden Smith I was just a punk kid Made a mess of my life My dad said son There are two roads And the way it looks to me You’re on the wrong one So I signed on the line Did a four year tour My life has never been the same Wound up in a hospital bed Staring at the ceiling damned near dead Trying to keep score in a losing game So I try everyday To walk a line a little more straight Live according to a plan That I can’t see Though it was written just for me The end is out of my hands Cause from what I’ve seen I can live a life so clean Cling to the letter of the law And still at the end of the day It don’t matter what I say It don’t matter what I did or what I saw It’s all about living right Try to turn a little bit towards the light Love my family, love my friends Cause the big man up above Has got his hand on the pulse Ain’t nobody knows when it’s gonna end There’s always another snake in the grass I could hunt down or just let it pass
8.
QUICKSAND Katie Dowell / Darden Smith I’m a farmer’s daughter, I was a rodeo queen But I’m a soldier now with a different dream I want you to love me for who I am Cause right now it feels like I’m trying to make a stand In quicksand I’ve known for more than half of my life Now you’re my husband and I’m your wife I think you still see me like the girl next door But baby I’m so much more I’ve been around the world, I’ve been to war I’ve seen things worth fighting for I love my country, I love what I do Baby if you let me I can love you too I try to talk and you don’t say a word Love should easier so I’ve heard The struggles of combat I’ve got to admit Are nothing compared to this I still believe in the two of us But it’s getting harder and harder to trust That you’re gonna be there when I need you I’m a farmer’s daughter, I was a rodeo queen But I’m a soldier now with a different dream I want you to love me for who I am Cause right now it feels like I’m trying to make a stand I’m reaching out my hand In quicksand
9.
SOLDIERS HATE WAR Katie Dowell / Rebekah Layton / A.J. Merrifield / Gary Nicholson You wanna protest raise up some unrest You say it shouldn't even be our fight you want world peace you want the fire to cease You say might is never gonna make right Till you find a way to bring it to an end stand behind the troops or get in front of them Soldiers hate war more than anyone They're the ones facing enemy guns They want some good news in Washington But it ain't good till its done Soldiers hate war more than anyone You think you got the cure make love not war But there' ain't nobody shooting at you You sit and complain and try to lay blame While you watch it on the six o'clock news It's the home of the brave and the land of the free Cause there's lives on the line for you and me Soldiers hate war more than anyone They're the ones facing enemy guns They want some good news in Washington But it ain't good till its done Soldiers hate war more than anyone It's the home of the brave and the land of the free Cause there's soldiers on the front lines just like me
10.
SOMEBODY ELSE'S WAR Nikki Shaw / Beth Nielsen Chapman People say this is somebody else’s war So much at stake ~that’s what I signed up for What I gave there’s not much measure for But I’m alright When we were kids I had a vision for where I’d go We loved that flag I’d play with my GI Joe lAnd little sister you’d tag along And always have to keep me in your sight When I left that day it was to keep you safe You cried and cried You didn’t know why And you held me tight As I walked out the door To somebody else’s war Then I heard you joined up just like me My heart was broken as it could be I love my country from sea to shining sea But I love you more When you left that day I couldn’t keep you safe I cried and cried And I knew why To let you fly Made it’s so much more Than somebody else’s war bridge: they can’t have you they can’t have you I went so you would not have to..... I could have stopped you But the choice was yours I had your back, talked you through that tour And now that you are home I’m alright You’re alright The war goes on But we’re alright
11.
Soul 03:25
SOUL Greg Masiello / Darden Smith What is it that I had when I was a child I would talk to the moon I could make him smile I knew what made the sun shine and the green grass grow Some things you don’t have to learn some things you just know I think it’s soul I think it’s soul What is it about a song that makes you want to cry What is it that makes me think that I know how to fly What is it makes a man get paper and a pen And write down all the darkest secrets that he holds within Sometimes I think that I must’ve lost my way I can’t find the feeling I had back in the day I miss the curve of a woman and her hand upon my neck I miss the way her smell would hit me and make my life a wreck So what is it I’m missing, what is it I need Could it still be hiding somewhere inside of me If I look a little deeper beyond this great divide What is it that waits there, what could I find?
12.
STORM WARNING Ernest Johnson / Katie Robinson / Greg Trooper You can’t change a storm’s direction I’ll tell you what you can do You can harness its power Baby it’s up to you I’ve built this levee Built it six years high The clouds are growing darker And water’s on the rise You can feel the thunder You can feel the thunder Feel the lightening and thunder But you won’t see the rain I am flying over water I’m being drawn into the heat On a wind that’s cold and unforgiving I pray these opposing fronts don’t meet I look for light in shadows I look for clouds to part Rain don’t come any closer I’m afraid you won’t stop once you start There’s no clear path I see to take But I can surely let these rain clouds break
13.
The List 04:34
THE LIST Jamie Trent / Gary Nicholson I know you had to be crazy to do it Or you wouldn’t have put us all through it What could make a man take his own life And break the hearts of his children and wife When we found the list you left And tried to imagine the pain you felt It didn’t help us make much sense when we read What the list said Pay Jamie the fifty bucks I lost When Virginia beat UNC Give Bobby back the green tie I borrowed It never looked right on me Return the tools to the neighbor next door That tried to help me fix my car And stop by the Idle Hour when you can I left quite a bill at the bar Yeah I know this list gets a little long But there’s really nothing left to say Just try to forgive me if you can for leaving this way None of us knew how hard you got hit That it was enough to make you want to quit We all just wondered if you thought it through Was there really nothing left to do We just think of all you left behind Trying to understand what goes through the mind Of a desperate man With no better plan Give my good golf clubs to Nick Lavelle He’s too cheap to buy his own Give my season tickets to Trevor The biggest Bristol fan I’ve ever known Pass my autographed Michael Jordan basketball To anyone you want to pass it to If anybody wants to come to my funeral Have ‘em wear Carolina blue After all this I know there’s not a lot to say But please try to forgive me if you can for leaving this way Yeah when you talk to the kids I know it’s gonna be hard To find anything to say But just ask them to forgive me if they can For leaving this way
14.
THE ROAD TO VICTORY Katie Dowell / Rebekah Layton / A.J. Merrifield / Gary Nicholson On the long road to victory You never know what you're gonna see You just do what you know you gotta do Whatever it takes whatever gets you through There's s fist and a saber still haunting me On the long road to victory Rules of engagement Laws of war You give it all you got and wonder what for When was the last time leaders put it on the line How can you say don't fire when you never leave the wire On the long road to victory You never know what you're gonna see You just do what you know you gotta do Whatever it takes whatever gets you through There's fist and saber still haunting me On the long road to victory We don't néed to brag don't need to wave the flag Still gonna feel the pain and never be the same Seems so pointless we keep losing kids We keep wondering how we're gonna get out of this Tears drops on the horizon My heart cries for home Every day i'm more alone But i've got to soldier on On the long road to victory You never know what you're gonna see Here's a fist and a saber still haunting me On the long road to victory
15.
Waterfalls 03:45
WATERFALLS Rebekah Layton / Stacy Pearsall / Gary Nicholson / Beth Nielsen Chapman There were waterfalls There were trees to climb Moons and suns to rise and fall in perfect time There were unicorns There were fairy queens I grew up in a place where I was safe to dream All these things I want to pass along to you All the things every child would want to do There was mortar fire There were bombs that fell There were endless nights of living through a burning hell There were soldiers’ cries There was broken trust There were friends that disappeared in a cloud of dust All the things no child should ever have to face All the pain that I know time cannot erase The best and the worst has to live together now The good and bad memories haunting me The winding road I have to take to get me home I know I have to walk alone There is nothing, babe That I wouldn’t do Anything to keep this world Even paradise Isn’t meant to last You turn around and life is coming at you fast Someday I know I’ll have to let you go But today I want love to be all you know The best and the worst has to live together now The good and bad memories stay with me The winding road I have to take to get me home We can walk together but the burden’s mine alone I want to give you waterfalls and trees to climb Moons and suns that rise and fall in perfect time Unicorns and fairy queens I want to give you a place safe to dream
16.
WOMEN IN THE WAR Katie Dowell / Rebekah Layton / Gary Nicholson She starts her day before she sees the sun Evening comes and she’s not done Cooking and cleaning paying bills Laundry and dishes and baby spills Making lunch and driving carpool Get the husband to work get the kids to school A woman’s work is never done She closes her eyes the next day’s begun She starts her day before she sees the sun But this day starts with a four mile run Puts on her armor and picks up her gun Equipment checks and maintenance done Mission ready lock and load Rolling out to the danger zone Women in the war Really know what they’re fighting for Freedom for her children And a better life She’s more than a soldier She’s a mother and a wife Every man can be thankful for Women in the war Some say are they strong enough Can they really be that tough Will they cry when they get hurt But what hurts more than childbirth They can pull the trigger and carry the weight Take a life when that’s what it takes A woman’s work is never done She closes her eyes the next day’s begun

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Songwriters include Gary Nicholson, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Darden Smith, and Greg Trooper.

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released August 26, 2013

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SongwritingWith:Soldiers Nashville, Tennessee

SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a non-profit 501c (3) organization.

Our Mission: We transform lives by using collaborative songwriting to expand creativity, connections, and strengths.

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