SW​:​S Retreat - November 2014

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    Our retreats pair professional songwriters with veterans and active-duty service members to write songs about their experiences of combat and returning home. Jake Ashby, Anni Barrett, Laura Cannon, Joseph Costello, AnGel D. Danzy, Rhonda Liddell, Ed McCormick, James L. Monk, Adan Jonathan Olid, Rob Spohr, Charles L. Tryon, and Ana Rouse Charman participated in the November 2014 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.
A SOLDIER IN THE INFANTRY Anni Barrett / Mary Gauthier I was 17 when I first went in I was called to serve my fellow men It’s my destiny I was born to be A soldier in the infantry I went thru basic then I went to school To be a chaplain’s assistant they taught me the tools I was just a girl, with sergeants over me A soldier in the infantry I didn’t see it coming I didn’t say a word For 30 years I just did my work I closed my eyes I tried not to see A soldier in the infantry I loved a man but he lied to me He hid a wife and a family I left him crying back in ‘83 I am a soldier in the infantry When my mind goes quiet Ghosts float in I can’t stop it from happening again I try to keep moving but I can’t break free I am still a soldier in the infantry That’s what I am, it’s what I’ll always be I’m a soldier in the infantry
2.
HOLDING GOD'S HAND James Monk / Darden Smith Blind scared Over there Under attack First combat I was praying real hard Like Daniel prayed Back in those Old Testament days When the bullets started flying, it was crazy, it was loud I was doing all I could not to get knocked down Holding God’s hand Holding God’s hand Holding God’s hand Gets me through There was this kid from Texas Jose Velez He was maybe 19 It was a terrible thing Seemed like he was just getting started in life He had a dream, he had a wife He lost it all in that place But sitting right here I can see his face Holding God’s hand Holding God’s hand Holding God’s hand Gets me through I’m back home now And I’m not sure how I made it through But I know what’s true Is that everybody’s lost and everybody’s scared Everybody’s wondering if anybody cares I know the reason that I made it through the fight Love my neighbor and do what’s right Holding God’s hand Holding God’s hand Holding God’s hand Gets me through
3.
I COULDN'T SEE THE SUN SHINE Adan Olid / Marshall Crenshaw / Darden Smith I couldn’t see the sun shine On a sunny day Couldn’t feel the cool breeze blowing Coming off the bay Just a ghost walking Holding hands with fate Couldn’t see the sun shine On the Golden Gate I was up on the bridge, thinking it was strange The nation was at Starbucks while we were downrange Sometimes I feel like the walking dead Can’t get these thoughts out of my head I couldn’t see the sun shine On a sunny day Couldn’t feel the cool breeze blowing Coming off the bay Just a ghost walking Holding hands with fate Couldn’t see the sun shine On the Golden Gate I never got letters from my family I wondered if they ever even thought about me Come back home, didn’t get no parade Wondering what’s the point of all that I gave Now I’m in Arlington, finally feel alive Surrounded by my brothers, they’re all by my side I can feel their breathing deep inside my soul I’ll be there for my brothers when they lose control We’ll all see the sun shine On a sunny day We will feel the cool breeze blowing Coming off the bay If you are lost out in the darkness Thinking it’s too late Come on see the sun shine On the Golden Gate
4.
MONKEY MOUNTAIN Chuck Tryon / Mary Gauthier There’s a crack in my armor I don’t know what to do After all these years something’s pushing through My mind spins, my thoughts implode I don’t believe what I was told I feel guilty just to be alive I’m still here, but I don’t know why Monkey Mountain massacre, I see it with my eyes closed I don’t believe what I was told I don’t believe what I was told I don’t believe what I was told I see the young ones with a thousand yard stare And I see myself I see me in there I feel their heart I know their soul And I don’t believe what I was told I don’t believe what I was told I don’t believe what I was told I gotta stay busy I gotta give it away Gotta put a smile on another vet’s face It slows the demons it soothes my soul I don’t believe what I was told I don’t believe what I was told I don’t believe what I was told
5.
My Journey 03:46
MY JOURNEY Ana Rouse-Chatman / AnGel Danzy / Margo Ingram / Gary Nicholson I been on a journey Through my pain I know my journey Is not in vain I learned to lean on my higher power To take me through the fight I have his hand to lead me On my journey to the light It’s been a battle All my life It’s been a struggle Day and night In my time of weakness He was there for me I know he’s gonna give me All the strength I need On my journey I am not alone And I know one day He’ll lead me home The loved ones I leave Will have a journey of their own They’ll always have the beauty Of this journey I have known On my journey I’ve got a friend He’s gonna walk beside me Till the end On my journey I’ve got a friend Jesus gonna walk beside me Till the end On my journey Through my pain I know my journey is not in vain On my journey I’ve got a friend Jesus gonna walk beside me Till the end
6.
NO MEDAL FOR ME Rhonda Liddell / Marshall Crenshaw / Darden Smith I served in the desert in the smog and the soot But my enemy was not on foot There were oil wells burning and the sky was black In every breath I took I was attacked It’s a goddamn fact If there were a medal for the war I fight And they placed it on my chest Where among the others would it rest Between combat action and a purple heart Dignity and respect I’ve got wounds you cannot see So there will be no medal for me The things I saw no one should see But they still live inside of me Nightmares cold sweats obsessions and the same flashback PTSD knocked my head off track It’s a hurting fact But there’s no medal for the war I fight Can’t place it on my chest There among the others it won’t rest Between feeling I’m alone and I can’t come home With dignity and respect I’ve got wounds you cannot see So there will be no medal for me The truth is that nothing can make right The wrong I feel It’s too damned real Cause there’s no medal for the war I fight Can’t place it on my chest I’m trying to find the part of me that was my best Cause I’ve got kids to raise and bills to pay And a whole lot of life to live With these wounds you cannot see I guess there’ll be no medal for me There will be no medal for me
7.
OPEN THE DOOR Laura Cannon / Darden Smith / Gary Nicholson You don’t know me Cause I don’t show you Who I really am And who I really am Is a human I’m a woman And this woman needs She needs a friend Open the door come on in We’re all looking for one good friend I got a feeling you might have the key To take a better look inside of me So open the door and come on in Open the door and come on in I got a good job I got a nice car People wonder How I got this far But they don’t see What’s way down deep And they don’t know I’m so alone Open the door come on in We’re all looking for one good friend I got a feeling you might have the key To take a better look inside of me Open the door and come on in Open the door and come on in I don’t know what I’m gonna do Or how much I can share All I really need to know Is that you will be there Open the door come on in We’re all looking for one good friend I got a feeling you might have the key To take a better look inside of me Open the door and come on in Open the door and come on in
8.
REACHING OUT REACHING IN Jake Ashby / Kristy Ashby / Gary Nicholson I’m still here with you in the world we knew Trying to make some sense of what we went through While the world moves on I’m standing still Still missing you I know I always will Reaching out reaching in Breathing out breathing in Trying my best to start again Reaching out reaching in Life goes on after life is lost While I wonder at the cost I feel so strange with this pain Still I know it will come again Reaching out reaching in Breathing out breathing in Trying my best to start again Reaching out reaching in Am I diggin' out or being buried under Can’t find my place and I still wonder Kicking in a wall we can’t see Still we give all endlessly Reaching out reaching in Breathing out breathing in Trying our best to start again Reaching out reaching in Reaching out reaching in Breathing our breathing in
9.
RIFLES AND ROSARY BEADS Joe Costello / Mary Gauthier Rifles and Rosary Beads We hold on to what we need Vicodin morphine dreams Rifles and Rosary Beads Howling sunset bombs In a stranger’s memory Yellow smoke orange haze It’s all coming back to me Rifles and Rosary Beads We hold on to what we need Vicodin morphine dreams Rifles and Rosary Beads White knuckles wrapped around Blackness that has no sound Bombed out schools and homes Kids crying in streets alone Rifles and Rosary Beads We hold on to what we need Vicodin morphine dreams Rifles and Rosary Beads The mirror frightens me I walk past try not to see The stranger with blood on his hands Brother I’m not that man Rifles and Rosary Beads We hold on to what we need Vicodin morphine dreams Rifles and Rosary Beads
10.
SOMETIMES THE PAIN KEEPS ME ALIVE Ed McCormick / Marshall Crenshaw / Darden Smith I’ve got this feeling under my skin I dream the same dreams again and again I keep on talking, talking, talking to the wall For no good reason, no reason at all I want to tell you, I wish that you could Just try to hear me, I wish that you would I don’t want to scare you away So for now, let me put it this way Sometimes the pain keeps you alive Sometimes the pain is what gives you drive My heart's racing, my mind's in a rage I'm in a battle, I can't disengage I've seen too much I know too much I've got a darkness you just can't touch I lived the dream but the dream is gone These things push me on Sometimes the pain keeps you alive Nobody’s chasing me but still I run I miss my buddies I miss my gun I miss the target got nowhere to aim I feel lost in the everyday game I want to tell you, want to tell the truth I stand before you the living proof What happens when men get used I walk around like a lit fuse Sometimes the pain keeps you alive Sometimes the pain is what gives you drive My heart's racing, my mind's in a rage I'm in a battle, I can't disengage I've seen too much I know too much I've got a darkness you just can't touch I lived the dream but the dream is gone These things push me on Sometimes the pain keeps you alive Sometimes the pain keeps you alive
11.
WHERE WOULD I BE AnGel Danzy / Margo Ingram / Gary Nicholson Without his grace His grace and mercy Where would I be Where would I be Without his care His care and empathy Where would I be Where would I be I can make it through anything If I just believe Without his love Where would I be I been through the storm Time and again Through it all I had my friend He was my shelter He gave me peace Without his love Where would I be Without my faith in all his glory Where would I be Where would I be Without my trust in all his soldiers Where would I be Where would I be I just want to thank him He rescued me Without his love Where would I be
12.
ZERO TO A HUNDRED Rob Spohr / Mary Gauthier I wanted to help that’s where it began I joined the guard with my 2 best friends Delta company – we go in first Bullet catchers we expect the worst We do route clearance, man we clear the streets RPGs and IEDs Door kickers we make some noise Bullet catchers and bang-bang boys You’re either asleep or the shit house blows 0 to a 100 that’s how it goes 0 to a 100 that’s how it goes Hours of nothing but driving around 5 miles an hour in a burned out town Soft skin Humvees flirting with death Hillbilly armor tags on our chest You’re either asleep or the shit house blows 0 to a 100 that’s how it goes 0 to a 100 that’s how it goes I found a dog in a pile of shit Shit puppy I taught her how to sit But my sergeant killed her with a single shot Order came from up on top I told myself I was already dead It was something I agreed to in my own head Man I just let go, I don’t ask why When you’re already dead it's easier to die You’re either asleep or the shit house blows 0 to a 100 that’s how it goes 0 to a 100 that’s how it goes

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released December 31, 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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