SW​:​S Retreat - October 2015

by SongwritingWith:Soldiers

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    Our retreats pair professional songwriters with veterans and active-duty service members to write songs about their military experiences and returning home. Rudyard Edick, Josh Geartz, Andrés Jimenez-Uribe, Cathy Jimenez-Uribe, Justin LePage, A.J. Merrifield, James Monk, Suzanne Rancourt, Kevin Reeder, Rob Spohr, Roger Strade, and Karen Wright participated in the September 2015 retreat. These songs are their stories.

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released December 17, 2015

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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: Still On The Ride
STILL ON THE RIDE
Josh Geartz / Mary Gauthier

Looking back now who the hell knows
Where the soul of a dead soldier goes
Guardian angels, maybe they’re true
My guardian angel, maybe it’s you

I shouldn’t be here you shouldn’t be gone
But it’s not up to me who dies and who carries on
I sit in my room I close my eyes
Me and my guardian angel we’re still on the ride

Got holes in my eardrums bruises and clots
Double vision, my stomach is always in knots
Pain in my fingers I hurt from my head to my toes
I wake up feeling like I’m 90 years old

I shouldn’t be here you shouldn’t be gone
But it’s not up to me who dies and who carries on
I sit in my room I close my eyes
Me and my guardian angel, we’re still on the ride

You were my brother you were more than a friend
You were family to me right up to the end
And you’re still with me now, I feel you, I know
You’re pushing me forward and you’ll never let go

I shouldn’t be here you shouldn’t be gone
But it’s not up to me who dies and who carries on
I sit in my room I close my eyes
Me and my guardian angel, we’re still on the ride
Track Name: The Best Worst Time
THE BEST WORST TIME
Justin Lepage / A.J. Merrifield / Rob Spohr / James House / Jay Clementi

Overcooked chicken sun-baked tents
Waiting for fuel cuz of TCNs
Everything you eat tastes like CLP
Eating dinner on the hood of a Humvee

Convoys, waiting, and nonstop cussing
Bitching and the whining and the lack of any loving
SINCGARS, satcoms, Dukes and Warlocks
Dirty little kids running up throwing rocks

Zero fucks given
That’s when you know you’re living
Firefights into the night
They were the best, the best, the best
Worst times of my life

Talking shit to my 50 Cal Gunner
Bongo truckers bouncing off our bumper
Close call sounding like a bullwhip snap
Fox hole faith praying that I make it back

Zero fucks given
That’s when you know you’re living
Firefights into the night
They were the best, the best, the best
Worst times of my life

Well I had to go, Ghosts followed me home
I couldn’t stay, that’s the price you pay

Zero fucks given
That’s when you know you’re living
Firefights into the night
They were the best, the best, the best
Worst times of my life
Track Name: In My Hands
IN MY HANDS

Andrés Jimenez-Uribe / Darden Smith
I took those kids from the street
And in just 9 and 1/2 weeks
Turned them into warriors so strong
They were scared and it got rough
But in the end they were tough
And they were singing a different song
I told them...
You can put your life in my hands
When we're in that foreign land
It's all about the two of us
More than faith, more than trust
Until you've been there it's hard to understand
You can put your life in my hands

Murray from West-by-God, VA
My battle buddy man, those were the days
With him I always knew that I'd make it home
He said no matter what kind of trouble we find
I will never leave you behind
I felt his words, they were written in stone
He said...
You can put your life in my hands
When we're in that foreign land
It's all about the two of us
More than faith, more than trust
Until you've been there it's hard to understand
You can put your life in my hands

Baby I know it's been a crazy run
But in the end you're my only one
And it's you and me forever against the world
When the bullets were flying and the chips were down
I never doubted that you would be around
When I came home, that's why you'll always be my girl
And you can put your life in my hands
We don't need words we just understand
It's all about the two of us
More than faith, more than trust
I will always be your man
You can put your life in my hands
In my hands
Put your life
In my hands
Track Name: Running Out Of Flags
RUNNING OUT OF FLAGS
Suzanne Rancourt / Karen Wright / James House

She sees the black sedan coming up the drive
Falls to her knees begins to cry
Grief weighting down she takes the gold star
And hangs it in the window staring at the tail lights of the car

Oh oh they’re running out of flags
How many more are they gonna have to make
Another one flies in the cold at half-mast
Take a thousand years to call out all the names

How do you carry on forgive and forget
There’s no time to let yourself have regrets
You live alone cause you’ve lost too many friends
The mission may change but it don’t ever end

Oh oh they’re running out of flags
How many more are they gonna have to make
Another one flies in the cold at half-mast
Take a thousand years to call out all the names

Where is the honor of an empty chair
Where is the honor in a mother’s lonely prayer
After the grave side and everybody leaves
The memory stays alive in a family’s silent grief

Oh oh they’re running out of flags
How many more are they gonna have to make
Another one flies in the cold at half-mast
Take a thousand years to call out all the names
Track Name: My Life Is His Song
MY LIFE IS HIS SONG
Justin Lepage / Jay Clementi

I was trained to fix stuff that got torn up
How do you repair a heart
After all I’ve seen and done, the triggers pulled, the fire the gun
Sins I made in the dark
The light in me died
Just darkness inside

Faith is my foundation now
The rock that keeps me strong
In a world I don’t belong
It’s not just my story I finally understand
I’m a guitar in God’s hands
My life is his song, his song

Thought I had seen and done and heard it all
Thought I couldn’t take no more
Call from my best friend, I slept with her, I’m sorry man
Felt rage began to roar
Started chasing extremes
Sabotaging all my dreams

Faith is my foundation now
The rock that keeps me strong
In a world I don’t belong
It’s not just my story I finally understand
I’m a guitar in God’s hands
My life is his song, his song

Yeah my soul gets lonely still
But I don’t lean on whiskey smoke and pills

Faith is my foundation now
The rock that keeps me strong
In a world I don’t belong
It’s not just my story I finally understand
I’m a guitar in God’s hands
My life is his song, his song
Track Name: Good Guys (Shouldn't Be The Ones To Go)
GOOD GUYS (SHOULDN’T BE THE ONES TO GO)
Andres Jimenez / Darden Smith

I lost a good friend that day when the towers came down
And I still hear his voice when I'm out walking around
Saying money comes back but friends never do
Once they're gone they're gone and his words still ring true

I tell you this story so you know
The good guys like that shouldn't be the ones to go

It didn't matter your race your color your creed
He was always there in your time of need
He was smart as a whip and could really put a bat on the ball
In that final moment he gave his wife a call

I tell you this story so you know
A good guy like that shouldn't be the one to go
Shout it from mountaintops so everybody will know
The good guys like that shouldn't be the ones to go
The good guys like that shouldn't be the ones to go

So thank you brother for being my friend
And showing me what it means
To keep believing and never quit
And always have a dream
That dreams just might come true
Brother I still dream about you
I still dream about you

I tell you this story so you know
The good guys like that shouldn't be the ones to go
Shout it from mountaintops so everybody will know
The good guys like that shouldn't be the ones to go
The good guys like that shouldn't be the ones to go
Track Name: I Loved My Dad
I LOVED MY DAD
Rudyard Edik / Mary Gauthier

I wanted to be a minister when I was a younger man
But my parents lost their jobs so I had a change of plans
Air force paid for college, then active duty in Japan
But I don’t believe in violence, I am a peaceful man

My father taught me honesty he was an honest soul
Family was everything it was honor over gold
God’s on the side of love, love is good war is bad
I dunno much about much, I just know I loved my dad

My father was a soldier, now I’m a soldier too
Service made my father proud and that’s what I wanted to do
Even when a war is wrong, service is always right
But violence begets violence, and fighting begets fight

My father taught me honesty he was an honest soul
Family was everything it was honor over gold
God’s on the side of love, love is good and war is bad
I dunno much about much, I just know I loved my dad

I stayed in to be of service it was a job with dignity
It wasn’t about justice or keeping our country free
Unholy wars have holiness, in the sacrifices shown
I wanted to be a minister, back when I left home

My father taught me honesty he was an honest soul
Family was everything it was honor over gold
God’s on the side of love, love is good and war is bad
I dunno much about much, I just know I loved my dad
Track Name: Confusion
CONFUSION
Darden Smith & Group

Confusion, confusion
I don’t know where I belong
I’m so misunderstood
And every thing I do is wrong

Too many choices, too many voices
I don’t know which way to go
And what they’re saying to me
Brother, you don’t want to know

Confusion, confusion
I don’t know where I belong
I’m so misunderstood
Everything I do is wrong

I used to feel so confident
Like I owned the world
I had a picture in my mind
Of what I’m supposed to be
Now I don’t know
How to make it through
Or what I am supposed to do
With this…

Confusion, confusion
I don’t know where I belong
I’m so misunderstood
Everything I do is wrong

I need direction, a course correction
So I can find my way back home
I feel so empty inside
I’m so tired of feeling alone

Confusion, confusion
I don’t know where I belong
I’m so misunderstood
Everything I do is wrong
Track Name: The Good War
THE GOOD WAR
Rudyard Edick / Darden Smith

My father was a military man
The second World War was easy to understand
Easy to tell wrong from right
His war was black and white
But when I joined in 1983
The reasons for fighting were harder to see
But I wanted to be like my dad
Military man for good not bad

I wanted to fight the good war
Make sure that what I was fighting for
Was real and bold
And let the truth be told
When I reached that other shore
I wanted to look back and know
I fought the good war

When I served I saw things I could not figure out
My mind filled with questions, I started to doubt
I started to see
It wasn't all about democracy

I want to fight the good war
Make sure that what I am fighting for
Is real and bold
And let the truth be told
When I reach that other shore
I want to look back and know
I fought the good war

32 years is a long, long time
I'm a military man but now I find
I got a conflict with conflict
I want to be a man of peace
Stop all suffering
In war no one wins

So I fight the good war
I believe there's something more
A purpose so bold
It puts wings upon my soul
It takes me to that other shore
Right now I know
I fight the good war
I’m gonna fight the good war
Fight the good war
Track Name: The Man You Deserve
THE MAN YOU DESERVE
Josh Geartz / Andrés Jimenez-Uribe / Rob Spohr / Jay Clementi

I know it ain’t easy loving a man like me
You got the kinda heart that takes love seriously
I got so much pride when you’re walking by my side
Yeah that’s my girl, she’s the best thing in my life

When I said I never want to spend another day without you I meant it
We said forever and I never want you to regret it
You took the weight off my shoulders baby
Maybe I haven’t shown you lately
My love for you is beyond words
I wanna be the man, the man you deserve

I know I know you never get a break
And I see the sacrifices that you make
Honey you’ve gone so long, doing without
I’m gonna make it my mission, to make it all up to you somehow

When I said I never want to spend a minute without you I meant it
We said forever and I never want you to regret it
You took the weight off my shoulders baby
Maybe I haven’t told you lately
My love for you is beyond words
I wanna be the man, the man you deserve

You took the weight off my shoulders baby
Maybe I haven’t told you lately
My love for you is beyond words
I wanna be the man, gonna be the man, the man you deserve
Track Name: Just This Side Of Freedom
JUST THIS SIDE OF FREEDOM
Suzanne Rancourt / Darden Smith

I'm just this side of freedom
I'm just this side of freedom
Someone ought to hold my hand
So I don't stray too far
Keep breathing in my ear
To hold off my fear
Cause I'm just this side of freedom

I'm just this side of freedom
Where I can lay my burden down
I need someone to pray for me
To keep me on the ground
To calm my heart so I don't fall apart
I'm just this side of freedom

There's an eagle in the sky
And when it's my time to fly
He'll be waiting and he will know my song
He'll be waiting and he will know my song

I'm just this side of freedom
I'm just this side of freedom
I'm just this side
Track Name: Somehow I Found An Angel
SOMEHOW I FOUND AN ANGEL
James Monk / Roger Strade / James House

I came home a stranger
And a danger to myself
Surrounded by death and destruction
Made it home while others fell

Through the madness and confusion
Buried what I saw down a deep dark well
Somehow I found an angel
To love me through my hell

I lose my mind then I’m sorry
Lord I hate to see her cry
That switch gets flipped out of nowhere
The sounds of violence in the night

Through the madness and confusion
Buried what I saw down a deep dark well
Somehow I found an angel
To love me through my hell

She's the one thing that’s certain
She's my shelter in the storm
And I will love her forever
She makes life worth living for

Through the madness and confusion
Buried what I saw down a deep dark will
Somehow I found an angel
To love me through my hell
Track Name: The Better Of Me
THE BETTER OF ME
Kevin Reeder / Mary Gauthier

There’s a stranger inside me
He don’t have a name
He does things that scare me
And I’m the one I blame
He’s backed into a corner, that’s where he’ll always be
Sometimes the worst gets the better of me

I believe in constant motion
Like a bullet from a gun
It don’t matter where I’m going
Leaving gets it done
I just end up where I started, every night in my dreams
Sometimes the worst gets the better of me

When I got back from the war
I paid a hundred fifty bucks
I wanted the documents, yes, I tried to look you up
They sent me a letter, the one I knew I would receive
Sometimes the worst gets the better of me
It’s only sometimes the worst gets the better of me