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 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.
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
2.
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
3.
In My Hands 04:06
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
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
7.
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
8.
Confusion 02:59
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
9.
The Good War 04:03
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
10.
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
11.
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
12.
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
13.
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

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released December 17, 2015

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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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