SW​:​S Retreat - February 2016

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    Our retreats pair professional songwriters with veterans, military families, and active-duty service members to write songs about their military experiences and returning home. Santonio Hoke, Tyler Magerkurth, Barbara Ann Malone-Verduin, Nisha Money, Courtney Pace, Rachel Ries, Rudy Rudolph, Jaime Santiago, Yajaira Villafane, John Wall, and Clay Webster participated in the February 2016 retreat. These songs are their stories.

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released March 16, 2016

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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: Through It
THROUGH IT
Rachel Ries / Radney Foster

I was running to combat to hide the truth
But there's hell to pay when it catches up with you
A Blackhawk Med-Evac flying into hot zones
I remember the first one dying from his own gunshot wound.

You can't pretty it up, can't church it up or smooth it out
It's way too hard for most of us to ever hear about
But I'm never gonna get better
Painting that Disneyland picture
The truth is the only thing that's ever gonna do it
So I'm working through it.

The only way through hell is to just keep walking
So before you cut sling on me, that's why I'm talking
You find your real friends when things get tough
They carried me to redemption when I didn't have enough

You can't pretty it up, can't church it up or smooth it out
It's way too hard for most of us to ever hear about
But I'm never gonna get better
Painting that Disneyland picture
The truth is the only thing that's ever gonna do it
So I keep walking through it.

Howie turned the wheel just before the truck hit
Too many nights I thought the guilt would never quit
But today I'm forgiving myself for just living
Yea, forgiving myself for just living

You can't pretty it up, can't church it up or smooth it out
It's way too hard for most of us to ever talk about
But I'm never gonna get better
Painting that Disneyland picture
The truth is the only thing that's ever gonna do it
So I'm talking through it

© 2016 Alamo Lounge Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: All Heart
ALL HEART
Courtney Pace / Ashley Cleveland

I was a combat journalist
Telling everybody’s story but mine
Now I’m an Intel officer
And everything I know is classified
I’m not Jack Bauer
I’m not Ethan Hunt
I’m a SERE C graduate
Yet I struggle with confidence
But if you ask me who I am and what I want

I’m all heart
I want to live out loud
I’m all heart
Stand up in a crowd
The army may not like unique
But that’s too bad, cause this is me
That’s too bad, yeah this is me

There may be cooler people
Like those guys that kick in doors
But comparison will steal my joy
And life is just a little too short
I may be super anal retentive
But I’m a soldier that gives a damn
I’ll give you everything and then some
Just to prove to myself I can
And I’m ready with an answer if you ask me who I am

I’m all heart
I want to live out loud
I’m all heart
Stand up in a crowd
The army may not like unique
But that’s too bad, cause this is me
Yeah that’s too bad, this is me

I don’t know where I’m going
But a change is in the air
Every day before me
Is another chance to declare

I’m all heart
I want to live out loud
I’m all heart
Stand up in a crowd
The army may not like unique
But that’s too bad, cause this is me
Yeah that’s too bad, this is me

© 2016 Sole Sister Music (BMI) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Esperanza
ESPERANZA
Yajaira Villafane / Radney Foster

Quiero esperanza para mis hijas
Que no vivan la vida que yo vivi
Quiero esperanza para mis hijas
Que no sufran lo que yo sufri

Afghanistan and Iraq
Nightmares of the roads I drove
I pray they never see something like that
And I'm sorry for the darkness I brought home

Quiero esperanza para mis hijas
Que no vivan la vida que yo vivi
Quiero esperanza para mis hijas
Que no vean las cosas que yo vi

Esperanza, Esperanza
Dame la fuerza para ayudarlas
Para que ellas sigan adelante

Quiero esperanza para mis hijas
Que no vivan la vida que yo vivi
Quiero esperanza para mis hijas
Que no vean las cosas que yo vi
Que no sufran lo que yo sufri
Esperanza

© 2016 Alamo Lounge Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: I Feel It Now
I FEEL IT NOW
Rudy Rudolph / Radney Foster / Darden Smith

Freedom ain’t a flag
Freedom lies deep inside
I got tired of catching myself
In the same old lies
Like I’m alright and I’m ok
I was putting off the truth till another day
And another sundown
I got tired of living that way

I feel it now
I can feel it now
After being afraid for so very long
Like my old friend come back around
A lucky penny laying on the ground
The part of my heart I thought had moved on
I can feel it now
I feel it now

Broke ain’t broken
It’s just another state in your mind
I kept my guard up
But the hurt snuck in every time
I had to get my head out of my hands
Learn to crawl before I could stand
Getting right with wrong
Sure gets real
You’d be surprised
What fear can steal

I can feel it now
I feel it now
After being afraid for so very long
Like my old friend come back around
A lucky penny laying on the ground
The part of my heart I thought had moved on

I feel it now
I can feel it now
After being afraid for so very long
I thought the worst that could happen was die
Now I see it’s wasting precious time
And the part of my heart I thought had moved on
I can feel it now
I feel it now
I can feel it now
I feel it now

Alamo Lounge Music / Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Get My Groove Back
GET MY GROOVE BACK
Barbara Malone-Verdune / Jay Clementi

I was a happy go lucky
Daughter, dancer and a poet
With pride in my soul and a song in my heart

I used to be trusting and loving
Looking at me now you wouldn’t know it
Where there was a fire there ain’t even a spark

I want to find the me again
The girl that had the world in her hands
That laughed and cared and believed in herself
With a spirit free and wild as hell
I want to get my groove back
How do I do that
I want to get my groove back

There’s a haunting rhythm in the desert
I can’t get out of my head
And the crazy pain of those days was endless

Maybe they’ll always be tethered
To a part of me that’s dead
Why are those memories so relentless

I want to find the me again
The girl that had the world in her hands
That laughed and cared and believed in herself
With a spirit free and wild as hell
I want to get my groove back
How do I do that
I want to get my groove back

My heart needs to dance again, dance again
How do I begin, tell me how do I begin

I want to find the me again
The girl that had the world in her hands
That laughed and cared and believed in herself
With a spirit free and wild as hell
I want to get my groove back
How do I do that
I want to get my groove back

© 2016 Sony ATV Cross Keys / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Every Minute
EVERY MINUTE
John Wall / Radney Foster / Darden Smith

Every minute is a precious thing
And I want to soak up all the blessings that love brings
In a minute it could slip away
That’s why I want you in it every minute

Life ain’t got no guarantees
So when my little girl says daddy would you read to me
I try to find the presence of mind to turn off that TV
And not say Sugar, I’ll be there in a minute

Every minute is a precious thing
And I want to soak up all the blessings that life brings
In a minute it could slip away
That’s why I want to be in it every minute

We’re both work hard all day long
Evening comes and we wonder where the time has gone
When I got the world up on my shoulder what I need the most
Is to hold you close just for a minute

Every minute is a precious thing
And I want to soak up all the blessings your love brings
In a minute it could slip away
That’s why I want love in it every minute
I need your love in it every minute
I’m putting my heart in it every minute

Time flies by
You and I
Should live inside
The ties that bind
As time flies by

Every minute every minute
I want love in it every minute

© 2016 Alamo Lounge Music / Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: In Every Moment
IN EVERY MOMENT
Santonio Hoke / Ashley Cleveland

In every moment I thought I had it figured out
In every moment I knew what life was all about
Handling myself like a man
Moving up the chain of command
Til trouble like a storm blew in

And it felt like dyin when I lost my way
I spent a lot of time cryin, had I made a mistake?
When I thought about living
All I could do was pray
And in every moment you never went away

In every moment I get to know myself again
In every moment I fall in love with my best friend
And I look into our baby’s eyes
I know I’m blessed and I realize
The purpose of my life began

When I felt like dyin and I lost my way
I spent a lot of time cryin, had I made a mistake?
When I thought about living
All I could do was pray
And in every moment you never went away

Now I feel like living and I know my way
I spend a lot of time thanking you for every mistake
When I worry bout dyin
All I gotta to do is pray
Cause in every moment you never went away

© 2016 Sole Sister Music (BMI) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Winner
WINNER
Tyler Magerkurth / Darden Smith

Everything looks great on paper
I should have no complaints
But when I look in the mirror
All I see is all that I ain’t
I used to be the life of the party
Now I’ve got nothing to say
Life comes towards me
I walk the other way

I just want to feel like a winner
I just want feel like a winner again

It’s all fun and games on paper
Till the day you understand
That life is pretty random
And it’s all out of your hands
I’m worn out from worrying bout what might go wrong
I used to be so laid back
I’d do anything to get the train
Upright on the track

I just want to feel like a winner
I just want to feel like a winner
I just want feel like a winner again
I just want to feel like a winner again

It’s the lack of understanding
It’s the lack of love
Makes a man get angry
And pick up a gun
We’re all humans
Brother can you see
Underneath our skin
You’re the same as me

We all want to feel like a winner
We all want to feel like a winner
I just want to feel like a winner again
I just want to feel like a winner again

© 2016 Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Always For Love
ALWAYS FOR LOVE
Jaime Santiago / Jay Clementi / Radney Foster

Memories sneak up on me
Take me down without warning
I see that permanent solution
To a temporary problem
I think of the ones I love so much
And all it would do is rob them

Por amor me recuerdo
Por amor I remember
Always for love

All that pain and suffering
Almost stole our forever
Love was just too strong
It pulled our hearts back together

Por amor me recuerdo
Por amor I remember
Always for love

I talk to God when it hits me
Pray He helps me conquer
Waves of sadness washing over me
So I can make peace with the monsters

Por amor me recuerdo
Por amor I remember

Por amor me recuerdo
Por amor I remember
Always for love

Always for love
Siempre amor
Always for love
Siempre amor

© 2016 Sony ATV Cross Keys / Alamo Lounge Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: The Watch
THE WATCH
Clay Webster / Ashley Cleveland / Darden Smith

I’m pulling the rev watch again
Section leader ain’t my friend
Busted my ass all day long
To stay up with a telephone
There’s a drunk watch down in medical
Timmy came back with shore patrol
Nothing else to be passed down
Relieve the watch and settle down
I’m a sailor in the Navy

I’ve got 90 reasons why
I can’t close my eyes
Looking out beyond the horizon line
In the dead of night
I can’t close my eyes

I’m a half a world away
From where I was on the day
That I saw the towers fall
That was when I heard the call
I never set out to save the world
But I remember that little girl
Tears on her face fear in her heart
I stood up to do my part
I’m a sailor in the Navy

I’ve got 90 reasons why
I can’t close my eyes
Looking out beyond the horizon line
In the dead of night
I can’t close my eyes

So I’m counting lines in the log book
Shoot the shit with the morning cook
Swept the quarter deck two times
A little bit bored but I don’t mind
Standing tall for all to see
I hold the line of liberty
In the darkest hour of the night
I keep freedom shining bright
I’m a sailor in the Navy

I’ve got 90 reasons why
I can’t close my eyes
Looking out beyond the horizon line
In the dead of night
I can’t close my eyes

© 2016 Sole Sister Music (BMI) / Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Healer
THE HEALER
Nisha Money / Jay Clementi

They come to me when they’re hurting
And when their pain meds ain’t working
They don’t know that I’m feeling
Like the healer needs some healing

I’m supposed to be the strong one
Yeah and never get lonesome
Who’s gonna do the dealing
When the healer need some healing

When the masks comes off
Mine stays on
There’s no time to fall apart
Always gotta play the part
From dusk to dawn, dawn to dusk
Mine are the hands they trust
I just don’t wanna drop the ball
Forever living life on call

I’m always giving all of me
Can’t let em see when I feel empty
Guess the truth that I’m concealing
Is the healer needs some healing

When the masks comes off
Mine stays on
There’s no time to fall apart
Always gotta play the part
From dusk to dawn, dawn to dusk
Mine are the hands they trust
I just don’t wanna drop the ball
Forever living life on call

Now the inspiration’s falling
I can hear my spirit’s calling
And the truth that it’s revealing
Is the healer needs some healing

Joy’s just always out of reach
I’m gonna practice what I preach
My soul needs some redeeming
This healer needs some healing

© 2016 Sony ATV Cross Keys / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Dreams
DREAMS
Darden Smith & Group

I’ve got these dreams that never happened
Hopes and wishes love and ambition
All that I didn’t do
Gotta tap into my faith
Take it to a different state
I’m gonna make my dreams come true

All the times I wish I could’ve slept away
And the memories keep me wide awake
While I was serving my country
Life got in the way

I’ve got these dreams that never happened
Hopes and wishes love and ambition
All that I didn’t do
Gotta tap into my faith
Take it to a different state
I’m gonna make my dreams come true

I want to make up all the lost time
Make a change in my state of mind
While I’m out here living, trying to make decisions
Looking for a brand new mission

I’ve got these dreams that never happened
Hopes and wishes love and ambition
All that I didn’t do
Gotta tap into my faith
Take it to a different state
I’m gonna make my dreams come true

We all need a purpose to know the sacrifice is worth it
One step one breath one thought one day at a time
I’m owning where I’m going
Make my life mine

I’ve got these dreams that never happened
Hopes and wishes love and ambition
All that I didn’t do
Gotta tap into my faith
Take it to a different state
I’m gonna make my dreams come true

© 2016 Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)