SW​:​S Retreat - May 2​-​5, 2014

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 Sheila Sherman Blake, Marsha Cook, Meghan Counihan, Brandy Davidson, Maria Medina, Stacy Pearsall, Shynice Pedro, Britney Pfad, Brian Shepard, Rhonda Sutton and Natasha Willford.
    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.
Where'd I Go 02:31
WHERE’D I GO Shynice Pedro / Natasha Willford / Stacy Pearsall / Georgia Middleman I’m wearing body armor made for men I carry a 240 and I’m 110 I’ve been called a Desert Queen Don’t know why they have to be so mean They wrote my name on a Porta-John I’m kind of done with all that mess I’d like to try some happiness So I’m just trying to find, just trying to find myself again I’m just trying to find, just trying to find myself again I know I’m in there, where have I been With the boys, you gotta stay one step ahead They’ll test you every single chance they get The women they start talking smack With you then behind your back It’s hard to know just where you stand If the Air Force is about respect I haven’t met that Air Force yet So I’m just trying to find, just trying to find myself again I’m just trying to find, just trying to find myself again I know I’m in there, where have I been I’ve made some friends I’m gonna have for years I’m not quite happy yet but I’m almost there The Air Force went and grew me up I saw the world and other stuff That made me who I am today I wouldn’t have it any other way
2.
FOR THE SAKE OF MY VOICE Rhonda Sutton / Ashley Cleveland I said I ain’t gonna go outside today Not for the army, not for my country Not for nobody I said I’m gonna shut my door and leave it that way And you won’t see me Or steal my words from me I was looking for justice and I wound up sick I was looking for honor and got politics I was looking for a reason and I found my truth In the face of my boy, in the sound of my voice In a friend called Winni and a dog named Zeus And when the rug was pulled out from under me And putting on a show got to be too heavy Because my enemy wore the same uniform as me I had to open my eyes and find another way to see So I pulled back the curtain and the sun shone through On the face of my boy, on the sound of my voice On my friend called Winni and a dog named Zeus Now I am able to get up out of that bed Now I am able to claim my respect Now I am able to mean what I’ve said No matter who’s in charge I’m gonna take this shame and hand it right back to you For the sake of my boy, for the sound of my voice For my friend called Winni and my dog named Zeus For the sake of my voice and my dog named Zeus
3.
INSIDE OF THIS BOX Brandy Davidson / Darden Smith Inside of this box There’s a better girl I want to break out Into a better world Where the sun is shining Where the sun shines I want to break out Into a better into a better world I laugh about everything Cause it keeps me from crying I show the world I’m strong But there’s something I’m denying I breathe for others So that they can be relieved But I can’t find a soul Who wants to breathe for me I’m a giver But I give it all away I’m a lover I want a love that wants to stay I’m a protector I know how to build a wall I built that wall so high You can’t see me at all
4.
A WHISTLE OVER MY HEAD Natasha Willfred / Ashley Cleveland / Mary Gauthier / Georgia Middleman Incoming, incoming, incoming Only a voice in a box Echoing, echoing, echoing Off of the sand and the rocks I’d take cover in the beginning Now I’m just gonna stand here instead Waiting for impact or silence Just a whistle over my head Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice I gave them all that I had Fast-tracking, fast-tracking, fast-tracking Afghanistan & Iraq Earning my way to a Firewall Until I fell back to basic like lead The evidence was circumstantial Just a whistle over my head You turn on the lights You turn up the music Try to turn this tent into a home Anything, anything, anything To forget that I’m all alone Numb it out, numb it out, numb it out Nothing is that big a deal No relief, no relief, no relief, It’s easier just not to feel My momma got sick, my daddy got sick My grandma she died in her bed My baby miscarried on Friday Just a whistle over my head An Airman doing her duty Just a whistle over my head
5.
Turn Around 03:02
TURN AROUND Maria Medina / Ashley Cleveland / Georgia Middleman I got married at 18 when I was still a little girl We hitched our wagon to the army And took a trip around the world The army years were good The married years were not But I have two precious daughters And I say look at all I’ve got Whatever my struggle or situation There is new hope to be found The path itself is a destination And I can always turn around I found my passion among soldiers Who had wounds you couldn’t see I have a heart for helping others And to ease their suffering In the longest days they ask me Will it ever be okay? I help them work it out in pictures That lead to brighter days Whatever our struggle or situation There is new hope to be found The path itself is a destination And we can always turn around
6.
THE WOMAN IN ME Marsha Cook / Georgia Middleman / Darden Smith The me I used to be Has gone away for good The ties that used to bind are broken My children are gone My husband is gone Sometimes I think my mind is going too But I’m still hoping The woman in me Could be the woman you need Can you see The woman in me I’ve seen the darkest parts of life Oh the stories I could tell If you would only take time to listen What you’re going through Sister, I’ve been there too I know how it feels to be alone Wishing The woman in me Could be the woman you need Can you see The woman in me I was a military spouse I had to run the house I was a nurse, a teacher A mother, a father too And I still have more to do Please look and see The woman in me
7.
Brothers 02:29
BROTHERS Meghan Counihan / Britney Pfad / Mary Gauthier / Georgia Middleman War ripped my baby from my breast Now my name and rank cover my chest 23 hours and I never slept 23 hours I flew and wept 70 lb pack, plus you on my back Spilled my blood on the road, man I carried our load Kept you in my view, I’d die for you So hey, ain’t I a brother too? I wiped my face, changed my soaking bra Told my body not feel at all A woman’s body ain’t like a man’s It won’t go numb on our command Blood blistered feet, black and blue I slid inside my blood-filled boots If that ain’t duty what must I do To prove that I’m a brother too? It’s okay to cry, that’s what you say But if I do I’m damned anyway So I learn to cry without a sound Cause I’m afraid you’ll put me down You broke my heart on Veteran’s Day Don’t you understand those words you say You raised a flag for the men who served What about the women, what do we deserve I was just like you when the bullets flew I had your back and you had mine too Brothers in arms, your sisters covered you Don’t that make me a brother too? Say it for me, say it for you Hey brother, I’m a brother too
8.
I Got Your 6 02:08
I GOT YOUR 6 Meghan Counihan / Britney Pfad / Mary Gauthier 6 o’clock’s always behind you 6 o’clock on the battlefield 6 o’clock is black as gun smoke At 6 o’clock our deal is sealed No need to talk or testify Just keep your story tucked inside No savior on a crucifix Look in my eyes I got your 6 6 o’clock the world falls silent 6 o’clock the guilt remains 6 o’clock the breath goes sour At 6 o’clock I’ll hold your pain No need to talk or testify Just keep your story tucked inside No savior on a crucifix Look in my eyes I got your 6 At 6 o’clock I will defend you At 6 o’clock just call my name At 6 o’clock I’d die for you And I know you’ll do the same 6 o’clock on the battlefield 6 o’clock is black as gun smoke At 6 o’clock our deal is sealed
9.
AN OFFICER’S LOVE Sheila Sherman Blake / Georgia Middleman He was an officer I was an enlistee We stayed friends through the years He was kind of like a brother to me He was my go-to guy Only a call away He would pray for me and I would pray for him At the end of the day So what do you do When you get that kind of news Who’m I gonna laugh with Who’m I gonna cry with now Who’s gonna see inside me Who’s gonna be there to guide me now In 2001, I said I’d never fly again But he talked me into coming to see My long lost friend He still looked the same to me We both had a few gray hairs But looking in his eyes it was almost like He was always there Lord, if you can hear me Please don’t let him leave me Who’m I gonna laugh with Who’m I gonna cry with now Who’s gonna see inside me Who’s gonna be there to guide me now He was an officer I was an enlistee We stayed friends through the years He was kind of like a brother to me
10.
Maria 03:38
MARIA Brian Shepherd / Darden Smith Sometimes I don’t have that much to say Other times it would be better if I just walked away Or when I lose my temper, because we don’t connect She puts her pretty arms around my neck And that’s why I love Maria When I’m tossing and I’m turning in the middle of the night I feel her hand upon my back, she tells me it’s all right She’s got the magic, she’s got the healing touch A special kind of therapy that you don’t see that much And that’s why I love Maria Patient and caring She’s got the kind of love that never ends She’s the one I lean on She’s my one true friend Oh Maria Since I met Maria I’m a better man Sometimes I wonder if it’s all part of a plan She made the parts inside of me right where they were wrong For so long I wandered, now I know where I belong And that’s right beside Maria Some day when we’re older we’ll look back on these times Like the night we drove to Waco, she said that she’d be mine Or the day we drove to Beaumont for a burger and some fries I saw the future written in the sparkle of her eyes And that’s why I love Maria
11.
Iraq 03:14
IRAQ Brandy Davidson / Mary Gauthier An army mechanic I worked with the boys I worked on my back 5 tons and below Torque wrenches and ratchets, multi-meters and scales Grease on my hands grease in my hair grease on my clothes It was so hard to see until it attacked But my enemy wasn’t Iraq Soldiers bartered and traded that’s the way our world worked Trading favors for favors in the dark and the dirt To get what I needed I had to pay What I wouldn’t give they tried to take It was so hard to see until it attacked But my enemy wasn’t Iraq I stood my ground I didn’t give in I drew a line again and again When fences were falling When the wind kicked up dust I looked to the sky and asked the Lord why I had no one to trust It was so hard to see until it attacked But my enemy wasn’t Iraq A salute and a smile A pat on the back My enemy wasn’t Iraq
12.
PRODIGAL CHILD Winni Smith / Darden Smith I remember cornbread from scratch With fatback and collard greens I remember little rocks underneath the streetlight Summertime like a dream Prodigal Child They called me the Prodigal Child I remember 18, first child, life changed I went far away I saw other women living their dreams My grandma always used to scream You’re the Prodigal Child Prodigal Child Momma was a runner, I’ve always been a runner Running from who I am I had to go far, far, far away To finally understand That I’m the Prodigal Child I’m the Prodigal Child Now I’ve come home, I’ve filled my home With all the places I have been I know the only place that I am safe Is deep within The Prodigal Child The Prodigal Child I remember cornbread from scratch With fatback and collard greens I remember little rocks underneath the streetlight Summertime like a dream Prodigal Child They called me the Prodigal Child
13.
Nobody Knows 03:31
NOBODY KNOWS Sheila Sherman Blake / Ashley Cleveland / Darden Smith Nobody knows you like I do Nobody knows the real man Nobody knows how you really feel Nobody understands What makes you laugh What makes you cry What keeps you up In the middle of the night Nobody knows but I do Nobody knows you the way that I do And nobody knows Nobody knows the rhythm of my life Nobody knows my ups and my downs Nobody knows what goes on in my mind When I can’t make a sound What makes me worry What brings me peace What gives me comfort The sweetest relief Nobody knows but you Nobody knows me the way that you do And nobody knows More than a lover more than a friend From here to heaven and back again Where will our story end Nobody knows Nobody knows me the way that you do And nobody knows you like I do So nobody knows
14.
My Secret 02:26
MY SECRET Winni Smith Shhhhhh…... I have a secret Twenty-two years of military service Signed in 1974 “Too young,” my Granny cried “You know what they do to females? You’re a hard-headed child, you’ll learn” I had to escape…remembering my dreams I pushed forward Looking back at midnight sessions drinking and cussing While bright streetlights captured my suffering But, instead of singing the blues, I transfused Army into Air Force Shhhhh….. I have a secret My military frat Sista Blew her brains out with a .45 and bottle of Jack Daniels Posed between her legs My other military frat Sista Went to sleep with an exhaust hose, while clouds of smoke Eluded her mind I remember cornbread from scratch with fatback and collard greens Then as music drifted through speaker box Marvin Gaye in background singing, “Let’s Get It On” with love So why was I landing into a Hot Spot in Turkey With my three babies, they wasn’t supposed to be here That wasn’t on the paper I signed So what the Hell am I doing here? I asked my Commander, he said: “Need to know” I found my American dream with my invisible husband Uncle Sam He always finds me in my dreams Shhhhh….. That’s my secret I can’t visualize in this haze, that hollow part of my chest hung up and empty My secret
15.
I CHOOSE LOVE Darden Smith & Group Maybe love Maybe pain Maybe truth Maybe shame Through it all I choose love When I was lost Running kept me running Till I found That brick wall Commitment Loss kept me losing Till there was nothing left to lose at all When I was found It was like I was awakened I could see just what I needed I was relieved Secure in my heart Now I can fly and be free

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Songwriters include Ashley Cleveland, Mary Gauthier, Georgia Middleman, and Darden Smith.

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released May 15, 2014

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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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