SW​:​S Retreat - February 2015

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    All purchases are tax-deductible donations to SongwritingWith:Soldiers.
    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.

     

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released May 9, 2015

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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: Drop The "D"
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
Track Name: I Drive
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
Track Name: Preachers' Son
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
Track Name: Superman
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
Track Name: I Can Do This
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
Track Name: 24 Faces, 24 Lives
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
Track Name: Beer And Bacon
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
Track Name: You Can't Break Me Down
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
Track Name: I Regret
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
Track Name: Midnight Sun
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
Track Name: I Look Up To You
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
Track Name: Questions
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
Track Name: Scarred Soul
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
Track Name: Think About Me
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