SW​:​S Retreat - February 2015

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    Our retreats pair professional songwriters with veterans and active-duty service members to write songs about their military experiences and returning home. Mario Cavazos, Rosy Cavazos, Kevin Clay, Cheryl Clay, Chris Chirco, Joseph Costello, Chuck Hawthorne, Lewis McDonald, and Sandi Primous participated in the February 2015 retreat.
    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.
Drop The "D" 02:52
DROP THE “D” Mario Cavazos / Monte Warden Let’s call it PTS and drop the D That would mean the world to guys like me Starting from today let’s all agree To call it PTS and drop the D Brother, it’s a sad and simple fact What it’s called has held so many back We’re all just soldiers following orders So when we cry for help don’t holler out disorder Let’s call it PTS and drop the D That would mean the world to guys like me Starting from today let’s all agree To call it PTS and drop the D So what are we doing for them now With the budget cuts and shutting programs down They gave everything to keep us free So let’s help them be all that they can be Let’s call it PTS and drop the D That would mean the world to guys like me Starting from today let’s all agree To call it PTS and drop the D Let’s all unite and give them hope Let the winds of change take control A new day is gonna come just wait and see When we call it PTS and drop the D Let’s call it PTS and drop the D That would mean the world to guys like me Starting from today let’s all agree To call it PTS and drop the D
2.
I Drive 02:38
I DRIVE Kevin Clay / Gary Burr I grew up on Jerry Reed & CW McCall The Ghost of Phantom 309 Yeah I heard em all So knowing what I’m meant to do Didn’t take too long I drive I’ve spent countless long hours On the road all by myself But moving goods from point to point That’s something I do well So on that sad September morning When they asked how can I help I said “I drive” Now people think the army is all mortars, tanks, and guns But you need convoys on the MSR to make the whole thing run They try to prepare you, they honestly do For the things that you’ll see and the friends that you’ll lose I lost one when a HEMTT Rolled over in the sand But maybe I saved one When my soldier put that steering wheel in my hand From the highways of Texas To Baghdad’s hard packed sand I drive I went from missing that family of mine From days and weeks to a year at a time We all lost something in that desert we rolled through But I brought me and my men home like I promised I’d do I grew up on Jerry Reed & CW McCall The Ghost of Phantom 309 Yeah I loved em all So knowing what I’m meant to do Didn’t take too long I drive
3.
PREACHERS’ SON Lewis McDonald / Georgia Middleman I just wanted to…be the best that I could be I just wanted to…be the best that I could be My parents both were preachers Had no time for me at all They never came to one football game That I can recall So when I was in high school And that recruiter came through Suddenly, it occurred to me What I had to do I just wanted to…be the best that I could be I just wanted to…be the best that I could be A demolition expert A combat engineer I’d go ahead of my troops To make sure the road was clear I did 17 in the army 5 years in the Marines And I tried to live up to those words of that Commercial on TV I just wanted to…be the best that I could be I just wanted to…be the best that I could be These days I’m helping soldiers I couldn’t help before When they can’t see the possibilities I help them open that door And when they’re on a mission And things go from bad to worse I say hey, it’s alright, Champ Let’s do this one thing first Find your dream, look at me I’m still searching for some peace But deep down in my soul I know There’s a purpose here for me I spend time with my wife and kids I’m always learning something new And when someone says, will you help me out? You best believe I do I’m just trying to be the best that I can be I’m just trying to be the best that I can be I hope on my tombstone My parents write with love Though we weren’t there for him He was always there for us I just wanna be the best that I can be I just wanna be the best that I can be
4.
Superman 03:09
SUPERMAN Joe Costello / Darden Smith / Georgia Middleman / Gary Burr When I was a boy I went up on the roof Cause I wanted to fly I’d seen the movies Where he saved the world If he could do it why couldn’t I So when war came calling That’s when I knew To protect myself, here’s What I had to do I locked myself away It wasn’t safe for me there There was no one to hold my hand I had to learn how to fight Put a man in my sight That wasn’t a part of my plan This was no place for my kind of Superman I came home from war I spent 10 years looking Trying to find that little boy Who used to catch frogs Could outrun the sun His whole world was joy I feel like right now We’re finally talking But not that long ago I locked myself away It wasn’t safe for me there In that dangerous far away land It never felt right It was the darkest of nights And it’s always been part of my plan To find my way back to Superman So if you’re lost keep believing That little boy you thought you were leaving Is waiting for you to understand What it really means to be Superman
5.
I CAN DO THIS Rosy Cavazos / Cheryl Clay / Gary Burr I could have walked away I could have given up Cause sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve been thrown to the wind. We’re both in this together We’re both still in love And we both have the strength to try and try again. I kept all the plates spinning All the fires burning I had a family to raise And a husband to miss Nobody told me how hard it would be But if I can do that I can do this We’ll re-learn how to love Fight hard every day To break through that bubble you hide yourself in So let’s say “I love you” every day Sleep a little closer every night Maybe that will help the healing begin. I kept all the plates spinning All the fires burning I had a family to raise And a husband to miss Nobody told me how hard it would be But if I can do that I can do this We both served We both fought But the battle’s not over Like it or not I kept all the plates spinning All the fires burning I had a family to raise And a husband to miss Nobody told me how hard it would be But if I can do that I can do this But if we can do that We can do this
6.
24 FACES, 24 LIVES Lewis McDonald / Darden Smith These bad memories, like a plague upon my mind They make my spirit feel so low Trying to make new memories Fill my mind with joy I don’t want to be a man Living with an empty soul 24 faces, 24 lives They left mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters Husbands children and wives They come to me in my dreams at night They talk to me every day I embrace that PTS demon So that demon will go away These bad memories, like a plague upon my mind They make my spirit feel so low Trying to make new memories Fill my mind with joy I don’t want to be a man Living with an empty soul Every day, search for a way to let go of my past It’s a heavy load it’s a crooked road But I’m on a new path I see my daughter’s smile My son, walk down the aisle It’s the simplest things It’s my faith in the lord it’s love of the woman That wears my wedding ring These bad memories, like a plague upon my mind They make my spirit feel so low Trying to make new memories Fill my mind with joy I don’t want to be a man Living with an empty soul
7.
BEER AND BACON Chuck Hawthorne / Monte Warden Is it the lack of beer and bacon That makes ‘em come unglued No other logical explanation For all the crazy shit they do It’s like the 7th century except with RPGs You know the whole damn place is screwed But when I can’t have beer or bacon Hell, I get pissed off too I have tried to understand their culture I was told that we must empathize But when I ran out of beer last Sunday That’s when it hit me right between the eyes Is it the lack of beer and bacon That makes ‘em come unglued No other logical explanation For all the crazy shit they do It’s like the 7th century except with RPGs You know the whole damn place is screwed But when I can’t have beer or bacon Hell, I get pissed off too When they start in rantin’ and a ravin’ I wonder what could make ‘em feel so bad I’ve never seen an anger that’s this brazen Or a million screamin’ people quite so mad Is it the lack of beer and bacon That makes ‘em come unglued No other logical explanation For all the crazy shit they do It’s like the 7th century except with RPGs You know the whole damn place is screwed But when I can’t have beer or bacon Hell, I get pissed off too
8.
YOU CAN’T BREAK ME DOWN Sandi Primous / Georgia Middleman I don’t wanna live like this I just wanna have somebody Who adores me Is that too much to ask I don’t wanna live with all this fear Always looking over my shoulder All this time on my hands Now that my kids are older I wanna say that I’m strong Though I’m not right now I wanna say I’ll get through this Though I really don’t know how But I’m a strong, strong woman And I know I’m gonna be alright You know why? I’m Sandi with an i I signed on at 17 Was a combat Veteran I was airborne air assault And master parachutist I retired from the army After serving 20 years As a signal first sergeant Not bad for a career I wanna say that I’m strong Though I’m not right now I wanna say I’ll get through this Though I really don’t know how But I’m a strong, strong woman And I know I’m gonna be alright You know why? I’m Sandi with an i I’m Sandi with an i I wanna tell that MST Just try to get in my space And I’ll slam the door of my past Right in your face ‘Cause the good news is You can’t break me down this time You know why? I’m Sandi with an i Sandi with an i Improving Independent Inspiring Sandi with an i
9.
I Regret 02:45
I REGRET Chuck Hawthorne / Darden Smith Hello ma’am Can we go inside Can we sit down I’ve got these lines I’ve got to say I’ve got to say I regret to inform you Your boy has lost his life I regret to inform you It’s gonna be a long, long dark night I regret But my mind’s gone back To that Fallujah night Another patrol Didn’t turn out right I got that knock on my door Like so many before And in the silence of the moment It all came clear Every soldier has a family And their greatest fear Is to hear the news That I’m telling you I regret to inform you Your boy has lost his life I regret to inform you It’s gonna be a long, long dark night I regret I regret to inform you Your boy has lost his life I regret to inform you It’s gonna be a long, long dark night I regret I regret
10.
Midnight Sun 02:05
MIDNIGHT SUN Chuck Hawthorne / Chris Chirco / Mark Kelsey It’s dark but I will see I will overcome I know you will miss me when I’m gone Death be like a lullaby Don’t be cryin’ over me Keep watch for the midnight sun I would die as I have lived Shining like the midnight sun Welcoming the great unknown In the absence of the sun…a star will do As my life on earth is done Remember that special time Midnight coming down You know that always made me smile Take Molly sailing Where the light hits the spray You will find me there out on the water wild I would die as I have lived Shining like the midnight sun Welcoming the great unknown In the absence of the sun…a star will do As my life on earth is done
11.
I LOOK UP TO YOU Kevin Clay / Darden Smith Daddy you were always the working type Roll up your sleeves and do what’s right You were in the hot spot in that cold war And you taught me some things are worth fighting for You were six years old when you left the fatherland But you were back in Berlin as an Air Force man I know you helped some people get over that wall And you showed me what means to answer a call I look up to you I look up to you To the untrained eye you’re just an average guy But I know what’s true You’re the rock where I stand I just want to be the man You can look up to The way that I look up to you I signed up when the towers came down Protect my country and my hometown Thirty-three years old but I heard you say When you’re doing what’s right son it’s never too late I look up to you I look up to you To the untrained eye you’re just an average guy But I know what’s true You’re the rock where I stand I just want to be the man You can look up to The way that I look up to you I struggled since I came home and I wonder about you When you came back home how’d you make it through I’m taking one step at a time I’m gonna make it somehow But Daddy I could really use your footsteps to follow in now I look up to you I look up to you To the untrained eye you’re just an average guy But I know what’s true You’re the rock where I stand I just want to be the man You can look up to The way that I look up to you
12.
Questions 02:52
QUESTIONS Sandi Primous / Gary Burr What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you? Why are you scared? Why do you cry? Why do you act the way you do? What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you? Why do you drink? Why do you startle at every sound out of the blue? That’s the wrong question to be asking me If you really want to look inside and see Just how hurt and dark a person’s soul can be So don’t ask what’s wrong with me Ask what happened to me Traumatized…forever scarred Makes giving up too easy and loving too hard So when you ask “What’s wrong with you? You’re saying it’s my fault And that’s simply not true That’s the wrong question to be asking me If you really want to look inside and see Just how hurt and dark a person’s soul can be So don’t ask what’s wrong with me Ask what happened to me Why aren’t you fixed? You ought to be Why aren’t you happy, better, calmer? You have everything you need That’s the wrong question to be asking me If you really want to look inside and see Just how hurt and dark a person’s soul can be So don’t ask what’s wrong with me… That’s the wrong question to be asking me If you really want to look inside and see Just how hurt and dark a person’s soul can be So don’t ask what’s wrong with me Ask what happened to me
13.
Scarred Soul 03:11
Scarred Soul Mario Cavazos / Monte Warden When I was a young man, my Grandpa told me that Crying was only for scarred souls As I looked in his sad eyes, I Could see all his pain and the Silence that comes from A scarred soul Just gotta make it tomorrow And never show too much sorrow Maybe someday you’ll understand The way the world seems to this humble man Grandpa served in the second World War but he never talked Much about it Both his sons followed His steps to Vietnam And joined in the ranks Of the scarred souls Just gotta make it tomorrow And never show too much sorrow Maybe someday you’ll understand The way the world seems to this humble man My journey took me to The sands of Iraq Did what I had to do Just to come back There’s three generations Of membership now In God, Country, and scarred souls Just gotta make it tomorrow And never show too much sorrow Maybe someday you’ll understand The way the world seems to this humble man There’s a scarred soul Inside of this humble man
14.
THINK ABOUT ME Darden & Group This is so wonderful but I’m so tired I spent all week helping other people stay inspired I just lay my head down So I can feel free I just want to think about me On Monday I feel like I could conquer the world Like the most powerful do anything girl I’m pushing pressing and praying all week To get things done so I can think about me Cause if I don’t help myself there is no way I can help someone else get through the day I use to lose myself but now I see I have to take time to think about me So tomorrow I can take a deep breath Let go of the struggle and the stress Take in the air of life and serenity And that is how I take care of me

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released May 9, 2015

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SongwritingWith:Soldiers Nashville, Tennessee

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

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