SW​:​S Retreat September 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.
    John Cameron, Howie Campbell, Pete Cleaveland , Ilana Cohen, Terrance Davidson , Barry Fetterolf, Thomas Griswold, Perry Jenkins, Gloria Manthos, Christine Rem and George Watson participated in the September 2017 retreat. These songs are their stories.
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released October 18, 2017

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SongwritingWith:Soldiers Austin, Texas

Founded by Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Darden Smith and Mary Judd, 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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Track Name: The Place Where I Belong
Gloria Manthos / Darden Smith

It might not seem like much to you
But I’ve got a bed and a roof over my head
I’ve got my books and I’ve got this window
Where I see the sky all blue and grey and red
When I’m tired I sleep
When I’m hungry I eat
And I smoke another cigarette
I’ll make a plan one day
But I’m not there yet

The place where I belong
Might be here, but again it might be wrong
I’ll stay until I’m gone
To find the place where I belong

The ties I thought would bring me peace
Were more like daggers so I just turned away
I’m so tired of all this running
But now that I’m here I see that I need to stay
Far from the whiskey
And men and the junkies
And sin and the war machine
Just go somewhere
I can dream

The place where I belong
It might be here, but again I might be wrong
I’ll stay until I’m gone
To find the place where I belong

I want mountains and trees and the air that I breathe
And to be clean and pure and cold
I want to be safe and I want to be loved
For the beauty in my soul

In the place where I belong
I’m free, I’m whole and I’m strong
I stay until I’m gone
In the place where I belong
In the place where I belong

© 2017 Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Strumming Hand
John Cameron / Maia Sharp

1 o’clock in the morning
Darker than the dark side of the moon
I didn’t know where we were going
We couldn’t get there too soon
On the tip of the spear, the guardians of the night
Oh but we couldn’t see it coming, a ghost round in flight

Had no idea that bones exploded
Or skin could act that way
That a boat could take on blood like water
And wash my soul away
Oh hanging off my shoulder
Was something I did not recognize
The corpsmen stormin the ship were shielding their eyes

It’s okay, it’s just my strumming hand
The other one does all the work
If I couldn’t play No Alibis or Ramblin Man
Now that, yeah that would hurt
It was a bad day but it’s okay

They sewed me back together
But it’ll never be the same
Still, I don’t waste a moment
On thinking who should take the blame
I had Panama and Paris
And Carolina on my side
At least a dozen doctors tried, I know they tried

It’s okay, it’s just my strumming hand
The other one does all the work
If I couldn’t play Cashmere or Preacher Man
Now that, yeah that would hurt
It was a bad day but it’s okay
It’s just my strumming hand

it’s just my strumming hand

It’s okay, it’s just my strumming hand
The other one does all the work
If I couldn’t play Stand By Your Man
Now that, yeah that would hurt
It was a bad day, but it’s okay
It’s just my strumming hand

Yeah it’s just my strumming hand

Crooked Crown Music (BMI) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Something Ain't Right
Thomas Griswold / Gary Burr

Something ain’t right when a kid’s 19
And he can’t sleep at night ‘cause of things
He’s seen that day
Something ain’t right when you wanna leave your bed
And a blast of cocaine and some Walker Red’s
The only way

When chaos is your comfort zone
When you’re in a crowd but you’re all alone
And you always need an exit sign in sight
Something ain’t right
Something ain’t right

Something ain’t right when to feel alive
You need to strap on your gear and take a long fast ride
Down the highway
Something ain’t right when what you’ve been through
Makes simple words like “I love you”
So hard to say

When “I’m Ok” is just a lie
You’re telling friends that are stopping by
And you’re slow to talk but so damn
Quick to fight
Well, something ain’t right
Something ain’t right

Please be patient with me
Kindness is all I need

When a boy comes home
A different man
It’s okay if you don’t understand
Just remember when he’s pacing
The floor at night
Something ain’t right
Something ain’t right

No something ain’t right

Connboy Music/SESAC / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Trust
Terrance Davidson / Darden Smith

Jeremiah 29:11
Tells me that I’ll be alright
Tells me that I shouldn’t worry
Even in the darkest night
But I’m a man who likes a plan
It’s hard to just let go
And put my faith in this world
I can’t control
And just trust you walk with me, trust

Ya see I grew up in a world of trouble
Where love is black and blue
Somebody was always leaving
I couldn’t tell what was real and true
But Luke 1:37
Always gives me hope
That nothing is impossible
I carry those words everywhere I go
And trust you walk with me
I trust what I can’t see
I trust when things go wrong
I trust your love is strong
Trust, I just trust, trust, trust

I’m learning how to tear apart
All the walls around my heart
I’m learning how to tear apart these walls
All these walls, all these walls

And just trust you walk with me
I trust in when I can’t see
I trust when things go wrong
I just trust your love is strong
I trust my heart is true
I trust everyday is new
I trust that the sky is blue
I trust in me and I trust in you
I just trust, just trust
That you’ll walk

I just trust, trust, trust

© 2017 Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Eyes of the Deer
Christine Rem / Maia Sharp

He pursued her as a hunter
Predator to prey
Then he finally caught up to her
At a sure fire range away

She was lined up, just a target
Nothing he’d recognize
But when she looked up directly at him
He saw a child’s eyes

Innocent reflection
Silent sacrifice
We bury our confession inside
Cause no one wants to hear
About the eyes of the deer

When we meet nobody’s talking
Till I say I’ve seen it too
Then the borders, they start dissolving
We can get to the getting through

We can stop the isolation
Of thinking anyone is the only one
What we pushed down into the darkness
Can finally see the sun

Innocent reflection
Silent sacrifice
We bury our confession inside
Cause no one wants to hear
About the eyes of the deer

About the eyes of the deer

Crooked Crown Music (BMI) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Cast a Fly
George Watson / Barry Fetterolf / Gary Burr

I always loved to fish
Yeah, fishing soothed my soul
My summers filled with rocky streams
And fishing holes
When my country called
I left those streams behind
To play in a sandbox with some friends of mine
I bought a brand new rod and then
I was 8 years old again
At my favorite place in a whole new different time

We were all proud to serve
But don’t we all deserve
To find our lives and set our wounds aside
Me I wade in the water
And cast a fly

I’ve lost a lot of lines
The current swept away
But that keeps me in the moment
And sweeps away my yesterdays
I catch them and release them
And thank them for their fight
It helps me count my blessings
When I turn out the lights
So when it’s cloudy I’ll be here
Where there’s no guilt and there’s no fear
And I’ll think about the ones we left behind

We were all proud to serve
But don’t we all deserve
To find our lives and set our wounds aside
Me I wade in the water
Yes I wade in the water
Me I wade in the water
And cast a fly

Connboy Music/SESAC / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Dotted Line
Howie Campbell / David Forman

What's a boy to do
Down in Wappingers Falls
What am I gonna do
Who am I gonna be
What's a boy to do
When his Uncle Sam calls
Sayin’ “I want you”
Are you talking to me?

So I sign on the dotted line
I was out on the street
Just wastin’ my time
I sold my soul now my life's not mine
Cuz I signed on the dotted line

So I shuffle off to Buffalo
I'm gonna enlist
But I never realized it would come to this
They stuck a needle in my arm
And I turned ice cold
I thought this army stuff is
Getting pretty old

But I signed on the dotted line
I was out on the street
Just wastin my time
I sold my soul now my life's not mine
I signed on the dotted line

Yeah they got me lock stock and barrel
Dress me up in green apparel
I say what's this
They say O.D.
I say O.D. that means something else to me

I thought this was gonna be fun
But oh my God what have I done
This is not what I signed up for
What kind of soldier never been to war

But I signed on the dotted line
I’m back on the street and I’m feeling fine
And bless my soul my life is mine
Even though I signed on the dotted line
I signed on the dotted line
I signed on the dotted line

David Forman Music (ASCAP) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Under the Pomegranate Tree
Ilana Amrani-Cohen / Darden Smith

Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree

I am far from my home
My city of stones
When I dream I’m there
A little girl with flowers in her hair
Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree
Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree

I see my grandmother’s eyes
Taste cilantro, tumeric and rice
Smell the citrus trees, feel intoxicating breeze
It’s all there in my memory
Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree
Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree

In my dream
I am under the Pomegranate Tree
Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree
Sit with me under the Pomegranate Tree
Pomegranate Tree
Under the Pomegranate Tree

© 2017 Darden Smith Music / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: That Letter
Perry Holmes Jenkins / Maia Sharp

My buddy wrote a good bye letter home
From the FOB McHenry danger zone
It said If you’re reading this
I’m not gonna make it back to you
I hope you know you gave me a good life

I am always grateful you’re my wife
Oh I hate to make you cry
That I have to say goodbye so soon
I’m not saying that writing that letter was wrong
Getting home is what I’m betting on

I’m no stranger to putting pen to paper
I can string a mile of words together
I’m gonna hold on long enough to tell you later
And I’m never gonna write that letter
Never, ever, I’m never gonna write that letter

We were born just shy of a month apart
Me and this quiet guy with a humble heart
Always high speed always tracking
In the black of the Iraqi countryside

Now I’m standing in formation in a pine box salute
And sunshine never felt so cold
They drape it with a flag and it’s a futile consolation
That he’ll never get old, he’ll never get old

I’m no stranger to putting pen to paper
I can string a mile of words together
I’m gonna hold on long enough to tell you later
No, I’m never gonna write that letter
Never, ever never gonna write that letter

Call it stubborn, call it superstition
Call it selfish, call it tunnel vision
But I’m not gonna write that letter
Never ever
I’m not gonna write that letter
Never

I’m no stranger to putting pen to paper
I can string a mile of words together
But I’m gonna hold on long enough to tell you later
Yeah, I’m never gonna write that letter
Never, ever never gonna write that letter,
Never, ever
Never gonna write that letter

Crooked Crown Music (BMI) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)
Track Name: Bottle Rockets in the Night
John Cameron / Howie Campbell / Pete Cleaveland / Ilana Cohen, Terrance Davidson / Thomas Griswold / Perry Jenkins / Gloria Manthos / Christine Rem / George Watson / Darden Smith

Bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night
We’re like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night

The heat and fire burning desire
Pressure like no one knows
I scream and I explode

Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night
Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night

Lot of pain a little love
Little push a little shove
Cold night my soul was bare
On the road to nowhere

Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night
Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night

Darkness in my heart
Tracers in the night
Light up the spark like bottle rockets in flight

Bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night
Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night

Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night
Just like bottle rockets in the night
Bottle rockets in the night
Just like bottle rockets in the night
Yeah like bottle rockets in the night

© 2017 Darden Smith Music (ASCAP) / SongwritingWith:Soldiers Music (ASCAP)

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