SW​:​S Retreat - December 16​-​17, 2013

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.

    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 Brian Gardy, Tom Gilmore, Bill Keyes, Joe Lydon, Bob Naimo, Peter Nardolillo, and Sam Spitzer. These songs are their stories.

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Songwriters include Jay Clementi, Darden Smith, and Greg Trooper.

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released May 16, 2014

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: In Country
IN COUNTRY
Bill Keyes / Sam Spitzer / Greg Trooper

When you’re in country
You got a job to do
Maybe right or wrong
But it’s not up to you
Sometimes put a friend
On the freedom bird
Sometimes light a match
Watch a village burn

When you’re in country
Just get through the day
One false move
Could blow your ass away
I saw a brother fall
And to my surprise
My very first thought
Better you than I

When you’re in country
And you gotta go
Bring fallen brothers in
So they can send them home
For the very first time
In your very young life
You got to stare into
A dead man’s eyes

Nobody knows, nobody sees
What it’s like my friend
To be in country

Some find hope
I know it’s hard to believe
Some score dope
Some never want to leave
Whatever it is
Whoever you might be
You’re never the same
Once you’re in country
Track Name: Every Soldier's Story
EVERY SOLDIER'S STORY
Tom Gilmore / Peter Nardolillo / Darden Smith

Tom goes down to the wall
But he can’t face the names
So many have heard the call
It’s a damn shame
It feels like it was yesterday
They took our youth away
Where would they all be today

Every soldier has a story
He lives it day to day
It never goes away
The pain is here to stay
Every soldier has a story
And every soldier’s story is the same

People say that was years ago
Man forget about it
But that’s what brought these tears you know
The man needs to talk about it
It’s like it happened yesterday
Who’s gonna listen to what he has to say
It ain’t the damned VA

Tom could be Pete
Pete could be Bob
Bob could be anyone
The stories are the same
Ends with different names
What if it was your son
Or your brother, or your father
Or your sister, or your mother
It could be anyone
Track Name: Best Of Christmas
BEST OF CHRISTMAS
Peter Nardolillo / Thomas Gilmore / Bill Keyes / Jay Clementi

Sitting out here with my new family telling
Stories from home round a cutout Christmas tree
With blinking lights plugged to a white generator
Hot turkey supper straight from a dehydrator
Praying we're blessed
Scared to death
Making the best of Christmas

Just improvising laughing to keep from crying
Bragging on our moms homemade pie
Wishing it was colder looking over our shoulder
While we're singing Silent Night
Got my baby taped to my vest
We're just making the best of Christmas

Ed's got a girlfriend says she's a model
Mailed him some Crown in a Listerine bottle
We passed it around, it didn't last too long
We're all hoping something doesn't go wrong
Saying we're blessed
Lying to death
Making the best of Christmas

Just improvising laughing to keep from crying
Bragging on our moms' homemade pie
Wishing it was colder looking over our shoulder
While we’re singing Silent Night
Got my baby taped to my vest
We're just making the best of Christmas

No dessert left
Play some cards I guess
Making the best of Christmas

©2013 Warner Chappell / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Tough Shit
TOUGH SHIT
Darden Smith & Group

Tough shit buddy tough shit
Get in line like all the rest
Tough shit buddy tough shit
Everybody’s just doing their best

Everybody’s trying to get over on somebody
Feeling ground up into little bitty pieces
I feel like my hands 're on the trigger
I feel hot inside, I got to release it
I say get your selfish ass out the door
Or you’ll wind up on the floor

You might think I’m whining
But you don’t know where I’ve been
You don’t know the baggage I carry
You don’t know the shape I’m in
You might think I’m looking out for myself
But I did my time looking for everyone else

But back off buddy get out of my face
I’ve earned the right to have my space
You might like the words I speak
It’s high time I said my piece
Track Name: Everyone Is Different
Everyone Is Different
Brian Gardy / Joe Lydon / Greg Trooper

Everyone is different
Everyone’s the same
Who knows what we’re doing
Who knows why we came
We look in your eyes
Do we see trust? Do we see blame?
Everyone is different
Everyone’s the same

We want for our children
Shelter from the storm
Cover up our families
Keep them safe and warm
We’re from another time zone
But like you we all have names
Everyone is different
Everyone’s the same

You told us we were dreaming
And it was our dream never yours
Then tell us what your dreams are
Tell us what we’re shooting for

Everyone is different
Everyone’s the same
If you were standing in our shoes
And to our shores your armies came
When you looked into our eyes
Would you see trust? would you see blame?
Everyone is different
Everyone’s the same
Track Name: Damage Done
DAMAGE DONE
Tom Gilmore / Peter Nardolillo / Darden Smith

I’m afraid to go to sleep
Faces I won’t meet
Names I’ll never know
Where’d they go

My brothers and my friends
Stories in the wind
Here then they’re gone
No right or wrong

Some folks have all the luck
Some have none
The damage done

When I was a little boy
I had soldier toys
It was hard to tell
Why some fell

Some came home
To sit alone
Pretend they’re doing well
In a living hell

Some folks have all the luck
Some have none
The damage done

I’m torn inside
No place left to hide
There’s still a hole
In my soldier's soul

Some folks have all the luck
Some have none
With the damage done
I’m not the only one
Look around you some
Damage done
Track Name: Your Gun
YOUR GUN
Thomas Gilmore / Bill Keyes / Peter Nardolillo / Jay Clementi

It was cold and storming that day
That I walked into the county VA
Ma’am I’ve never been here before
She said, All I need is your last four
Sorry to say but we just learned, there was a fire in St. Louis
And all of your records have burned

So what you’re trying to say
Is there's more bullets coming my way
I gotta tell you ma'am it's hard to believe
This country’s turning its back on me
After everything I've done, living and dying by your gun

She said, Can you call somebody that served with you
To verify that your story is true
Ma'am all the proof is on that wall, everybody I knew,
There's no one left to call

So are you trying to say
There's more bullets coming my way
I gotta tell you ma'am it's hard to believe
This country’s turning its back on me
After everything I've done, living and dying by your gun

I'm hurting right now
Must be some mistake
I'm all out of rounds
Let me get this straight

Are you trying to say
There's more bullets coming my way
I gotta tell you ma’am it's hard to believe
This country’s turning its back on me
After everything I've done, just another American son
Living and dying by your gun
Track Name: The Question
THE QUESTION IS
Joe Lydon / Sam Spitzberg / Darden Smith

My buddy Peter we joked about girls
I liked Iron Butterfly he like the Temptations
The one thing we never talked about
Was the shit that we were facing
He was my brother when we were under attack
Till that night he didn’t come back

Why not me
Why not me
The question is
Why not me

I was one step ahead, one step behind
I was at wrong place at the right time
I was a dead man waiting for my day to come
And that’s still in the back of my mind
I bought a life insurance policy tried to cash in
So many lost, I’m the one that wins

It should've been me
It should’ve been me
The question is
Why wasn’t it me

A bullet don’t ask what’s your MOS
A bullet has a job to do
War is hell it’s kill or be killed
There’s no rules

Others move on, others forgive
They stop asking why I got to live
They’re living the minutes living the days
They’ve been given, they’re not throwing it away
But I’m not there yet, buddy give me some time
I’m still fighting that war inside of my mind

Why not me
Why not me
The question is
Can I ever be free
Track Name: Searching For Why
SEARCHING FOR WHY
Brian Gardy / Joe Lydon / Greg Trooper

Here I am searching for why
Why am I feeling this way
I’ll forgive you right here and now
But can’t forgive my own mistakes

I’ve seen things no one should seen
I’ve done things no one should do
Why is the world built this way
I can’t find an answer can you

Maybe just maybe I can
Unlock this pain inside
If I lend a helping hand
To someone else lost wondering why

A young innocent girl is gone
Nothing can bring her back
My rucksack is heavier now
Then it was when I left for Iraq

She was just coming to say goodbye
Never saw her step behind my Humvee
Until I can figure out why
From this pain I’ll never be free

Maybe just maybe I can
Unlock this pain inside
If I lend a helping hand
To someone else lost wondering why

I’m walking around and around
It’s time to start moving ahead
It’s time to stop looking for why
And look for forgiveness instead

Here I am, searching for why
Track Name: Learning To Forgive
FORGIVE MYSELF
Bob Naimo / Sam Spitzberg / Darden Smith

I’m learning to live
I’m learning to forgive
I’m gonna be alright
If I can make it through tonight
And learn to forgive myself

The guy I used to be
Is just a memory
I wish you could understand
That I’m a different man
I lost my faith
I lost my trust
I lost who I was

My friends and my family
They want the old me
They think I’m just a mess
They say I drink more and talk less
I know dark
I know pain
I know my heart is stained

I want to get to that place
Where I can want to want to find a way
To want to see another day

I’m learning to forgive
Learning to live
I think I’ll be alright
I want to see the light
I won’t stop till I forgive myself
Track Name: Hands
HANDS
Brian Gardy / Joe Lydon / Jay Clementi

I'm a 22 year-old cavalry scout
Up in the gun on 50 cal
A car ran the checkpoint the only thing to do
Was just like we were trained, shout, show then shoot
But a bullet has a mind of its own
In an instant an innocent little boy was gone
And here I am, here I am
With blood on my hands

I'm a 51 year-old combat MP
Thought I'd just about seen everything
Till I arrived at the carnage there was so damned much blood
I didn't recognize the kid that I covered up
Then somebody said that was Pig Pen
That Missouri country boy that was my good friend
And here I am, here I am
With blood on my hands

I can tell you all about it standing right here
You can even sigh and nod your head, you might even shed a tear
But you just can't understand,
‘Til you’ve had blood on your hands

Wars pass on just like my best friends
But the battle still rages inside my head
And here I am, here I am
With blood on my hands

I can tell you all about it standing right here
You can sigh and nod your head, you might even shed a tear
But you just can't understand,
‘Til you’ve had blood on your hands
Blood on your hands
Track Name: The Positive Side
THE POSITIVE SIDE
Bob Naimo / Darden Smith

I was there in the Tet offensive
I seen the bodies in the wire
I flew in the helicopters
I took their fire
I came home they called me names
After all I’d done
It’s not like I had any choice in the matter
I fought for your freedom

I can take anything you throw at me
No matter what happens I’m gonna see
The positive side of things
The good where others see bad
The positive of living this life I’ve had

I hate to say it but the darkest things
Can just become second nature
I wasn’t thinking I was doing
For so long I’d do anything not to face it
I just blocked it out, tried not think about
What I did to that Mama-san
Now I’m trying to make a brand new day
From the damage that I've done

Every precious day I have is mine
Living in the past is a waste of time
I’ve just got one life to live
Maybe I had to do what I did so I could learn to forgive