SW​:​S Retreat May 2017

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    Our retreats pair professional songwriters with veterans, military families and couples, and active-duty service members to write songs about their military experiences and returning home. Crissie Fitzgerald, Ramona Goodrum , Angel Munoz, AnnMarie O’Malley, Angie Parkerson, Sandi Primous, Arpinee Sarkisian, Abeni C. Scott, Lauri Ann Sisney, Holly Slaughter, Janet Williams participated in the May 2017 retreat. These songs are their stories.

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released June 4, 2017

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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: CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW
Mary Gauthier / Group

Pushing through the silence
Reaching for the words
Out here on the front line
Ready to be heard

Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?
Do I need to say it louder?
Can you hear me now?

You can call me nasty
You can call me bitch
You can call me anything
But I ain’t gonna quit

Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?
Do I need to say it louder?
Can you hear me now?

Don’t underestimate me
I ain’t some pretty face
You might wake up one morning
And this pretty face has taken your place

Can you hear me now?
Can you hear me now?
Do I need to say it louder?
Can you hear me now?
Track Name: DADDY’S HOME
Lauri Ann Sisney / Georgia Middleman

He was a good one…6’3”
from Sweetwater, TX…he was good to me
when I would fight with my sister and my mom would get mad
she’d always threaten the same thing with all the venom she had

“Wait ‘til your daddy gets home”
he’s gonna set you straight”
but if she knew my daddy like I knew my daddy
she’d know I couldn’t wait

He would take us to our room and shut door
So mom couldn’t see us, then his belt hit the floor
We would scream just like banshees while we’d quietly laugh
And walk out of that bedroom looking sullen and sad

She’d say “Wait ‘til your daddy gets home”
he’s gonna set you straight”
and he always did all through my life
and never a minute too late

When I heard that we were losing him
I took the next flight home
I held his hand and stroked his hair
And helped my dad let go

the church was overflowing
from all the lives he touched
I wonder if he ever knew
That he was loved so much

Wait ‘til your daddy gets home
You are and now you’re free
I miss you more than words can say
And Dad, please wait for me
Track Name: FREE, FINALLY
Amy Speace / Angie Parkerson / AnnMarie O’Malley / Crissie Fitzgerald / Ramona Goodrum / Angel Munoz / Sandi Primous / Arpinee Sarkisian / Holly Slaughter

I’ve always done what was expected
What others wanted me to do
There's been something I've neglected
While I've been following the rules
I wasn't living just existing always giving to everyone but me

I wanted to be
Free finally
I wanted to be
Free finally

I was trained to be a fighter
This is a different kind of war
It's not out there no it's inside me
Now I know what I'm fighting for
For acceptance, independence, confidence it’s not only me

So I can be
Free finally
I can be
Free finally

Don't forget don't regret
Take off the mask don't go back there
Spread the word until I’m heard
Raise my fist watch me do this

I am
Free finally
Yes I am
Free finally
I am
Free finally
I am
Free finally

There is power in my story
And it's reflected in your eyes
It's a choir of connection
Sister warriors by my side
Track Name: JEREMY
Angel Munoz / Mary Gauthier / Bonnie Bishop

Mamma called you headache
You were a pain in the ass
You’d hug me so tight you’d crack a bone
When something bad happened
You were the first one by my side
When you were here I was not alone

Jeremy, Jeremy I wish you would have talked to me
Oorah, headache, the marine
Jeremy, Jeremy
You pushed through, and now you’re free
I see you in colors in my dreams

It was there behind your silence
It was there behind your wall
It was waiting for you there behind your eyes
The little boy who loved to laugh
Was warring all along
And we never really knew it til you died

Jeremy, Jeremy I wish you would have talked to me
Oorah, headache, the marine
Jeremy, Jeremy
You pushed through, and now you’re free
I see you in colors in my dreams

The day I got the phone call I fell to my knees
That night heaven came to view
Bright lights down a tunnel, rainbow colors, flowing peace
I saw orange I knew it was you

Jeremy, Jeremy I wish you would have talked to me
Oorah, headache, the marine
Jeremy, Jeremy
You broke through, and now your free
I see you in colors in my dreams

You come to me in colors in my dreams
Track Name: MASCARA
Holly Slaughter / Georgia Middleman


Everyday I’m cleaning something
Or cooking for somebody else
I keep up the house
I taxi my kids
And I don’t make time for myself

I used run 10k races
Pilot airplanes all over the place
But lately I wonder
Where that woman has gone
Been awhile since I’ve seen her face

And oh where did that confidence go
It’s gotta be somewhere I know
Would you look at me
Trying to be perfect and strong
What a joke
Sometimes I think
I don’t matter at all
I guess what I’m trying to say
Is I was stupid to think
I could wear mascara today

I was an air force lieutenant colonel
Dedicated, always in demand
But what people don’t see
Is I’m really a mess
Not the person you think that I am

And oh where did that confidence go
It’s gotta be somewhere I know
Would you look at me
Trying to be perfect and strong
What a joke
Sometimes I think
I don’t matter at all
I guess what I’m trying to say
Is I was stupid to think
I could wear mascara today
Track Name: MOVE OUT
Bonnie Bishop / Janet Williams

I was born to move
But I’ve been standing still
It’s time to get up and go
Just gotta find the will
I got a point to prove
Ain’t for no one else
I know what I can do
Just need to prove it to myself

I’m gonna move
Move out
Get going
On something
I’m gonna push
Break free
Can’t sit around for nothing
I’m gonna change
My ways
Gonna find some direction
Gonna step out from these shadows
Feel the light upon my face
It’s time to move, move out

It’s time to move, move out

Well I paid my dues
And I marched the line
Did what I was told
In double time
And I got off that highway
Some years ago
Now I’m just wasting time
Hanging round the corner store

I’m gonna move
Move out
Get going
On something
I’m gonna push
Break free
Can’t sit around for nothing
I’m gonna change
Track Name: ONE PIECE AT A TIME
Crissie Fitzgerald / Amy Speace / Mary Gauthier / Bonnie Bishop

Mama was a Mormon Daddy was a cowboy
Grew up in a small town, we knew everyone
There for generations, you can see it on the headstones
The middle of Utah that's where we're from

Every life is a puzzle, this one's mine
Putting it together one piece at a time

Went to Colorado, I wanted to fly
Air Force Academy back in 95
I was better at numbers, I stayed on the ground
Didn't get what I wanted but I wanted what I found

Every life is a puzzle this one's mine
Putting it together one piece at a time

Love came out of nowhere was a beautiful surprise
We couldn't talk about it twenty years of lies
It was too much to carry, too much to hold
There was no way to know that twenty years ago

Every life is a puzzle, this one's mine
Still putting it together one piece at a time

If there's anything I've learned, if there's anything I know
The lesson is the journey, you get there as you go

Every life is a puzzle and this one's mine
Still putting it together one piece at a time
If life is a puzzle I'm happy with mine
I'm putting it together one piece at a time

Yeah I'm putting it together one piece at a time
Track Name: SQUARE WHEELS
AnnMarie O’Malley / Georgia Middleman

Sometimes I feel like a broken bicycle
I keep trying to petal but I can’t make it roll
I wanna ride to my future, can I get there or not
how do you do that when all that you’ve got (are)

Square wheels, square wheels
To move forward
Everyone thinks that they need to be round
But sometimes you’ve got to be broken
Before you can finally be found
With square wheels
You just gotta find the right ground

A pathful of pebbles may be all what I need
‘cause the surface don’t matter; it’s what’s underneath
and it weaves like a staircase but it gives me support
this road may not look safe but it’s perfect for

Square wheels, square wheels
To move forward
Everyone thinks that they need to be round
But sometimes you’ve got to be broken
Before you can finally be found
With square wheels
You just gotta find the right ground

Where I’m going I’m not so sure
But one thing I know to be true
Is this road didn’t appear out of nowhere
And I’m betting...others are riding it too

Square wheels, square wheels
To move forward
Everyone thinks that they need to be round
But sometimes you’ve got to be broken
Before you can finally be found
With square wheels
You just gotta find the right ground

Square wheels, square wheels
You just gotta find the right ground
Track Name: THAT BLAST
Mary Gauthier / Mona Goodrum

They said, “You won’t get to heaven if you take your own life.”
They said, “There won’t be peace for you on the other side.”
That’s what they taught me, ever since I was child
They said, “You won’t get to heaven if you take your own life.”

But sometimes all I think about is wanting to die
All I can do is hold on, pray for strength, hit my knees and cry
She was right there in front of me, then gone, in the blink of an eye
Now I’m scared I won’t get to heaven if I take my own life

I pray that God has mercy on her soul
I pray that God will help me let her go
I pray to let the past be in the past
Don’t let two good soldiers die in that blast

I’m thankful for my grandbabies now there’s a different kind of love
When they wrap their arms around me, I thank heaven above
A lifetime in that moment, and the whole world suddenly feels right
And I don’t think bout death or taking my own life

I pray that God has mercy on her soul
I pray that God will help me let her go
I pray to let the past be in the past
Don’t let two good soldiers die in that blast
Please don’t let two good soldiers die in that blast
Track Name: THE PHOENIX
Bonnie Bishop / Arpini Sarkisian

You see these stories written on my body?
They’re not just some tattoos
I used to kill people for a living
I ain’t scared of you
I bet you thought you got the best of me
When you burned me to the ground

But the phoenix always rises
Stronger than the fire
Fearless as a warrior baptized by desire
Yeah the phoenix always rises

There was a time when I was bruised and shattered
But I’m coming back around
It took a while for me to find my courage
I’m flying higher now
You’re getting smaller as I spread my wings
I see my life ahead of me

Cause the phoenix always rises
Stronger than the fire
Fearless as a warrior baptized by desire
The phoenix always rises

I feel the heat of the rage on my skin
Into the flame I will fly once again

Cause the phoenix always rises
Stronger than the fire
Fearless as a warrior baptized by desire
The phoenix always rises

The phoenix always rises
Fearless as a warrior baptized by desire
The phoenix always rises
The phoenix always rises
Track Name: TWENTY YEARS
Mary Gauthier / Abeni C. Scott

I gave you my heart when I was just a girl
I left home for you, to go and see the world
Twenty years together, now I’m moving on
Not sure where I’m going, not sure where I belong

Oh I grew up with you, and you held my hand
I went from girl to woman cause you believed in who I am
Then I raised your sons and daughters just like you raised me
Not sure where I’m headed now, but it’s time for me to leave

I fought for you I loved and I believed
Twenty years in service to your needs
I always knew that I could be replaced
But nothing could prepare me for that day

I’m happy that I met you, I leave with no regret
Thank you for the memories, stories I will not forget
I’ll carry you inside my heart, family friends and home
I’ll remember what you taught me, as I head out on my own

I fought for you I loved and I believed
Twenty years in service to your needs
I always knew I could be replaced
Oh but nothing could prepare me for that day
Oh nothing could prepare me for that day
Track Name: UNCONDITIONAL
Amy Speace / Angie Parkerson

I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like

I needed a mother who could protect me
I needed a father who wouldn’t leave
I wanted a husband who was kind and sober
So my story would not repeat

I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like
Unconditional

I wanted a god who didn't abandon
I wanted a faith that wouldn't stray
I needed to know I wasn't alone
Or that everybody goes away

I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like
Unconditional

And I want this for my daughter
To give her all, all that she deserves
So she can feel all that she feels without judgment
So she can knows everything I never learned

I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like
I wanna know what real love feels like
Unconditional

Unconditional
That’s what real love feels like
Unconditional