SW​:​S Retreat - November 2015

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.
    James Bacinski and Ashleigh Smith, Tom and Christina Coyle, Juan Carlos Kaplan and Ximena Rozo, Andy and Robin Kaufmann, Ray and Alice Palumbo, Luis Rivera, Benny and April Rodriguez, and Kevin and Rebecca Sakaki participated in the November 2015 retreat. These songs are their stories.

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released January 27, 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: White Knuckle Love
WHITE KNUCKLE LOVE
James Bacinski and Ashleigh Smith / Mary Gauthier

I married a man and he went off to war
When he came back it really got hard
The man who came home looked strong and true
His face was like yours but he wasn’t you

Since you came back since you came home
I thought it’d be different but I’m still alone
Don’t know what to do don’t know what to say
White knuckle love, a high price to pay

I miss your love I miss your care
You’re right next to me but you’re not there
When I look in your eyes you look away
You need to leave when I need you to stay

Since you came back since you came home
I thought it’d be different but I’m still alone
I don’t know what to do I don’t know what to say
White knuckle love, a high price to pay

Anger is easy anger is deep
But baby I hurt way down underneath
For better or worse we took a vow
I need you to hold me, I need you now

Since you came back since you came home
I thought it’d be different but I’m still alone
I don’t know what to do I don’t know what to say
White knuckle love, a high price to pay

© 2015 Mary Gauthier Songs / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Out Of The Woods
OUT OF THE WOODS
Tom and Christina Coyle / James House

Ghosts in your closets
Gotta run from your thoughts
Haunted by your memories
Time to take another walk
Gotta go gotta get away
But there’s nowhere to run
Can’t see the future when you’re under the gun

Baby you got me out of the woods
Seems like forever since I felt this good
Try to explain myself but I was misunderstood
Took me by the hand and led me
Out of the woods

I can’t watch the news
Don’t wanna know
Seen enough hurt for ten lifetimes
Kind that crush your soul
Over my head
In too deep
Keeps me up all night
I never sleep

Baby you brought me out of the woods
Seems like forever since I felt this good
Try to explain myself but I was misunderstood
Took me by hand and led me
Out of the woods

Time to change
Time to come back
Time to realize where I’ve been at
Can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong
When you need it right now…it can take so long

Baby you brought me out of the woods
Seems like forever since I felt this good
Try to explain myself but I was misunderstood
Took me by hand and led me
Out of the woods
Track Name: Above Ground
ABOVE GROUND
James House / Darden Smith / & Group

Without you
I’d be two-fisted drinker going to hell
Without you
There’d be no story to tell
I look at you and I see strong
Without you I’d be gone
Walking down a different trail
Singing a different song

Cause of your love
I’m above ground
Cause of your love
I’m above ground

Cause of you
I’m a better version of me
Cause of you
I’m little bit closer to free
Finally found a place where I belong
It’s right here in your arms
After everything I put you through
Now I wanna make it all up to you

Cause of your love
I’m above ground
Cause of your love
I’m above ground

Other than my brothers
Only you can see
The pain that I carry inside of me
So thank you for still loving me
And keeping me above ground

Cause of your love
I’m above ground
Cause of your love
I’m above ground

Together now we’re free to run
Together now we are one
Track Name: The Common Thread (Was Love)
THE COMMON THREAD (WAS LOVE)
Juan Carlos Kaplan and Ximena Rozo / Beth Nielsen Chapman

There’s this moment as we danced
When we both took a chance
And embraced this romance
It changed our lives

There’s this moment that broke our heart
When the whole world fell apart
And the bright blue sky went dark
It changed our lives

How does love survive
How does hope stay alive
As we pass through…every door
And we dance to the songs
Taking turns holding on
El hilo conductor
Fue el amor

There’s a pause before the knock
Where the silence meets the shock
And the hands freeze on the clock
Changes lives

How does love survive
How does hope stay alive
As we pass through…every door
And we dance to the songs
Taking turns holding on
El hilo conductor
Fue el amor

Life changing love changing life changing love
Love changing life changing love
And we dance to the songs
Taking turns holding on
El hilo conductor
Fue el amor

And the common thread is love
Track Name: All About Me
ALL ABOUT ME
James House / Darden Smith / & Group

Here we are sitting writing these songs
Bout nothing is right and everything's wrong
About how we gonna fight overseas
Trying to keep everybody else free

When all I want to do is talk about me
What do you think about me

I got wants I got needs
Nothing but aces up my sleeve
I know it's hard for you to relate
But we both know I'm pretty damned great

It’s all about me
It’s all about me
What do you think about me

I taught Chuck Norris how to fight
Shakira thinks I dance alright
Hung like Einstein smart as a horse
I put the special in special force

It’s all about me
It’s all about me
What do you think about me

When god made me, he broke the mold
Just thinking about it never gets old

That look in your eye says it's time to go
I invented that line, don't you know
I got people to do and places to see
Did I mention that it's all about me

It’s all about me
It’s all about me
What do you think about me
Track Name: Ten Acres And A Tractor
TEN ACRES AND A TRACTOR
Ray Palumbo / Alice Palumbo / James House

I’m a city slicker by day
Fighting that traffic jam
I see where I wanna be in my rear view mirror
And I wanna be heading back
Take off this suit put on my cowboy boots
Hear my sweet girl’s laughter
Get back to a life of me and you
Ten acres and a tractor

It’s been a long hard day
Baby I’m heading home
Man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do
Sure don’t want to do it alone
At the end of the day on my way
Back to what really matters
Don’t need much just a little love
Ten acres and a tractor

Start this journey on one road
End up on the next
Go as far as you can go
Take a right then take a left
Thought I wanted this, but I really wanted that
For all that happens in between
You end up where you’re at

It’s been a long hard day
Baby I’m headed home
Man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do
But he sure don’t wanna do it alone
At the end of the day on my way
Back to what really matters
Don’t need much just a little love
Ten acres and a tractor
Track Name: Keeping Me Here
KEEPING ME HERE
Benny and April Rodriguez / Darden Smith / James House

Mentally, physically, emotionally
I'm as broke as you can get
I’ve been close but I ain’t hit bottom yet
Lately it feels like I’m just treading water
Everyday seems the same
Round and round and around circling that drain

It’s your love
That’s keeping me here
And it breaks my heart to think
I might cause you tears
If I push you away
It’s just to keep you safe
While I’m trying to get my head clear
It’s your love that’s keeping me here

I know inside I used to be different
After all that I’ve been through
If you’d seen what I’ve seen you’d be different too
I've been living my second life
The first one ended, can’t tell you why
I'm just lucky I’ve got something worth living for

It’s your love
That’s keeping me here
And it breaks my heart to think
I might cause you tears
If I push you away
It’s just to keep you safe
While I’m trying to get my head clear
It’s your love that’s keeping me here

It’s not tomorrow
It’s not yesterday
It’s not about trying to make right
All of my mistakes
I just want peace
And a little truth
If it’s the last thing
That I do

It’s your love
That’s keeping me here
And it breaks my heart to think
I might cause you tears
If I push you away
It’s just to keep you safe
While I’m trying to get my head clear
It’s your love that’s keeping me here
Track Name: The War After The War
THE WAR AFTER THE WAR
Christina Coyle / Robin Kaufmann / April Rodriguez / Ximena Rozo / Rebecca Sakaki / Ashleigh Smith / Beth Nielsen Chapman / Mary Gauthier

Who’s gonna care for the ones who care for the ones who went to war
Landmines in the living room eggshells on the floor
I lost myself in the shadow of your honor and your pain
You stare out the window as our dreams go down the drain
Invisible the war after the war

I get no basic training I get no purple heart
I’m supposed to carry on I can’t fall apart
People look at you and thank you for the sacrifice you made
They look at me and smile and say I’m lucky you’re ok
Invisible the war after the war

I’m a soldier too just like you
Serving something bigger than myself
I serve unseen caught in between my pain and the pain of someone else

I’m stronger than you think I am I’m right here by your side
I am not your enemy I don’t want to fight
There’s no going back in time I know you’re not the same
But you are not the only one for whom the world has changed
Invisible the war after the war
Track Name: Cry For Help
CRY FOR HELP
Luis Riviera / Kevin Sakaki / Darden Smith

I been all the way down to the bottom
To the place where the light can't shine
When I was all the way down someone
Listened to this story of mine
I was dying on the inside
I cried for help
Someone was listening for my cry for help

When I start to judge the broken people
I can't recognize myself
The devil that we carry inside our soul
Keeps us from seeing everybody else
When you're dying on the inside
Cry for help
I'll be listening for your cry for help

If you're dying on the inside
Cry for help
I'll be listening for your cry for help

Anger comes from sadness
Freedom comes from loss
We don't have to hold on
Anymore

Everybody needs mercy
Love is what we all desire
Fear is the only thing that keeps us
Keeps us from the fire
If you're dying on the inside
Cry for help
I'll be listening for your cry for help
Track Name: God Never Gives Us More Than We Can Handle
GOD NEVER GIVES US MORE THAN WE CAN HANDLE
Andy and Robin Kaufmann / Darden Smith

Two kids on the Army train
We'd settle down then we're gone again
Just get home, you're going back
Loaded up with different packs
One goes away, one stays home
Trying to connect on the telephone

We never knew that we were that strong
But it's only when life goes wrong
You see how much you can take
And still stay standing
God never gives us more than we can handle

Twelve houses in twenty-one years
Three kids and a million tears
Not knowing the words to say
Missed birthdays and holidays
Being afraid to watch the news
Trying not to get numb to what we live through

We never knew that we were that strong
But it's only when life goes wrong
You see how much you can take
And still stay standing
God never gives us more than we can handle
God never gives us more than we can handle

One foot in front of the other
Everyday we get a little bit closer
We don't know what tomorrow brings
After all we've been through
Baby we can handle anything

We never knew that we were that strong
Cause it's only when life goes wrong
See how much we can take
And we're still standing
God never gives us more than we can handle
God never gives us more than we can handle
Track Name: Surrender
SURRENDER
Kevin and Rebecca Sakaki / Mary Gauthier

Alone and stranded on the dark side
There were no stars at night
My hatred and my anger
Blocked every ray of light
I couldn’t find my compass
I was lost in the abyss
There were no rights or wrongs down there
Only emptiness and
No surrender, no surrender

I don’t know how you found me there
I don’t know what you saw
I thought I was invisible
Another prisoner of the war
It was death before dishonor
It was fight and die in place
It was head high in the battle
No expression on my face and
No surrender, no surrender

Your love is stronger than the hate and the horror inside me
I look at you and know the kind of man I long to be
You came to me a sunrise
Through the black through the cold
You took my hand and walked with me
Through hell and brought me home and
I surrender, I surrender
Track Name: Intriguing
INTRIGUING
Darden Smith & Group

It’s intriguing
It’s a mystery
I’m intrigued by you
And you’re intrigued by me

It’s the great unknown
It’s the danger zone
It’s like, how does Keith do it
Being such a Rolling Stone
It’s unexplainable
Uncontainable
It’s that irresistible
Love

All I know
Is it’s where I want to go
Times like right now
When I’m feeling low
It’s unpredictable
Unapproachable
It’s that unquenchable
Love

We don’t know
Where it’s gonna go
So let’s take it slow
And see if it’s time for a change