Song A Week, Volume 2

by James Tristan Redding

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1.
My friend I wonder so many things What brings a smile to your face And when it’s raining what do you think of Or do you hide out someplace Do you remember what the first joke you heard was How many bones have you broken Which sock and shoe do you start with in the morning And have you been to the ocean So in a moment I’ll ask a question To you and you alone, never fear No one can hear us this conversation Is safe and sound, secret and sincere QUESTION 1: Are you happy where you are? (now let me give you a couple moments to respond) QUESTION 2: Do you realize you are loved? (there’s no wrong answer, go ahead, carry on) You’re doing great, and we’re still just warming up, So settle in for a few more queries yet The next one’s important so you’ll get a little extra Silence to reset your epithets QUESTION 3: What are you wearing? OMG - I’m kidding - that would be a case of song abuse For real the question is, and take your time here, What would you do next if you knew you couldn’t lose? I like your answer, and I like your courage To say it all out loud here and now After all it’s only you and me Sharing what we’re working for and how Here comes the final I hope you studied Your answers will determine where you land So QUESTION 4 is: All things considered, Did you know you’re holding heaven in your hands?
2.
Some men’s souls are shallow pools Tepid and translucent Others onyx overrules And mine cannot diffuse it Iron oars in circles tore The surface and belabored A capillary tension of Our antihero savior Rusted razor busted brain Collapse perhaps beholden Spinning out without a doubt Exactly like we told ‘em All the horses know the road Toward the city center Lucky break the bills were fake Unspent illegal tender Consequently now I call For immediate recall Of interference Disrespect And fallacy So my hat is in the ring No campaign just songs to sing Dump the trouble Overthrow And vote for me Left then right then left again One thousand miles ‘til morning Guns and God and grand pianos Blazing blessing burning Ticking tocking talking to A second hand revolving Underdressed and overwhelmed Defenses all dissolving A war on peace is underway Democracy has spoken Forget the flood we’re out for blood The armory is open By sword a man may live and die And yet the pen is stronger What then of words which open fire On wounds which linger longer
3.
A couple slabs of concrete Outside the kitchen window Four cinder blocks and cardboard Just below A beat up old domestic With a rusted rear view mirror Couple white walls and a spare She’s good to go So next door they stop and stare Unspoken words saturate the air They say there goes the neighborhood Lucky me the only part that’s any good Is underneath the hood Got a whole new set of bearings From a chop shop outside Austin And a salvage yard exhaust Up in the Bronx But the body need not figure In the measure of a motor Only proper care that keeps it Going strong So next door they stop and stare Unspoken words saturate the air They say there goes the neighborhood Lucky me the only part that’s any good Is underneath the hood If the wheels I put in motion Were shiny fast and new You bet I’d get the notion Of racing up and down the avenue So it’s fortunate and fitting My wallet won’t allow A car in which I’m sitting To stand out too much from the crowd
4.
Like the moon on the ocean Like the shimmer of the waves Unexplained and still unbroken Unaware of who she saves Everyone wants to marry Maria She is the one but she has no idea When she calls your name And your heart exclaims You will never be the same Everyone wants to marry Maria She would wait at the station Miss every train just for you No demands or expectations Ready for the rendezvous Everyone wants to marry Maria She is the one but she has no idea When she calls your name And your heart exclaims You will never be the same Everyone wants to marry Maria To be present and to notice how She treasures every moment now And the pleasure somehow never slips away So before you know what happened you Adore her and imagine too How it feels to see her first thing every day
5.
Borrow your umbrella and think of you when we’re apart Borrow your umbrella so I can think of you when we’re apart Now there’s a quarter inch of rain at the bottom of my heart Used to have a habit twenty dollars every night Used to have a habit cost me twenty every night Fixed it with a ticket but that don’t change my appetite Cinnamon and whiskey took me halfway down the line Cinnamon and whiskey knocked me out halfway down the line Once upon a time you were ripe now you’re rotten on the vine
6.
Thorns in our sides we’re open wide Out there in the prairie Born without eyes our lives rely Just like missionaries Among the tall grass and the tumbleweed We dodge the rattlesnakes and wolverines Temperature rising uncompromising And lift our voice up the the skies Calling on the one who will always shine Waiting for the moment when the stars align Searching for the sound as the lights go down Bursting like a fault line and falling all around Calling on the one Can i pretend my only friend Has not led me safely Through every storm i am transformed Reanimate me If trial by fire is what’s in front of me My master does not fear my enemies The gallows beckon but for a second Before our voices testify Calling on the one who will always shine Waiting for the moment when the stars align Searching for the sound as the lights go down Bursting like a fault line and falling all around Calling on the one This isn’t easy baby Where will this highway take me Under the influence of love What if the only reason Is that our only freedom Now and forever lies above
7.
Check the caps lock better check it twice It’s case sensitive please be advised Wipe out the history delete the cache Fill that recycle bin then empty the trash Well I’m password protected everywhere that I go Gotta’ dial a dozen digits just to answer my phone So extreme is the protection to keep all my data safe If I ever lose the password my whole life might be erased How can a person keep up today With our security against foul play It’s so confusing that it’s a crime So many passwords so little time So I’m password protected every morning noon and night Can’t get in my apartment if the combo isn’t right Need my fingerprint & blood type my mothers maiden name Are the secret codes to help me or to make me go insane Did you know that I have more codes and combinations to remember Than there are brightly colored leaves in Central Park each November It’s an uphill battle between e-mails, g-mails, she-males, and such And it’s only getting worse, I don’t wanna’ know how much But I came up with a plan and let me tell you it just might Let me ditch the alphanumeric can of worms I have to cite First thing tomorrow I’ll go broke and hit the road with my guitar Cuz they can’t steal what I ain’t got! Damn I should teach a seminar Now I’m password protected in a hundred different ways There’s a hundred magic numbers just to make it through the day It’s a wonder I don’t crumble underneath the iron gates Of the cyber cypher circus we can barely operate
8.
Take a ride find a station unoccupied Open wide and continue to slide Never mind how it feels to fall apart Every time you reveal your heavy heart How do you know if you’re the lucky one If your dreams came true or your eyes are closed And the truth will shine To illuminate the lines Underneath bittersweet Somewhere better now Neither side offers us to simplify Only time will the dust reorganize To defy expectations and clarify Edify the occasion and emphasize
9.
Join me on the edge Staring out above the clouds How can anyone find in a single lifetime Anything before the clock runs out Holding all the cards Watching all the shooting stars Drop below the surface causing a disturbance After all the tricks You might think about the long game It can’t hurt to work the odds Gotta’ focus on the time frame And remove the whole facade On the better half of fortune Lies a trophy in disguise Just enough of what’s important For the patient mastermind Put away the pull tabs Basket full of eggs reflects People on the sidelines watching for the high sign Bet you don’t forget that aftertaste Careful as a bullfrog Watching all the flies meet their demise Here’s a new assignment find a new alignment Leap into the deep Start thinking of the long game It can’t hurt to work the odds Gotta’ focus on the time frame And remove the whole facade On the better half of fortune Lies a trophy in disguise Just enough of what’s important For the patient mastermind Liquid in the sunlight rapids on the rocks Ripping up the shoreline wrecking all the shocks In your dirty socks Landing on the launch pad banking on a comeback Reach below the seat and read between the lines You’ll be just fine
10.
I got a crazy tale to tell you that’ll blow you away About a woman from the ’30s who’s destroying cliches She’s got a streak of what the lawyer called a curious case Just ask the people lining up for her perplexing parade Even the Mormons ringing doorbells and the nuns are afraid They never saw a sweet old lady be such a renegade Grandma’s gone rogue in her power chair She cranked the music to eleven and she cut off her hair You better call up all the neighbors say they gotta’ beware This hasn’t happened since the ’80s and nobody’s prepared Oh all the doctors and the nurses they remember her name Cuz’ she’s a rebel with the pedal to the metal in flames And she’ll be burning up the rubber ‘til we all go insane Good gravy grandma’s gone rogue and she’ll never be the same I used to know her as the woman at the end of the road Who read the paper in the morning sipped her tea nice and slow And every afternoon her TV aired a new episode Her favorite dramas the soap operas and the comedy shows It was the same for several decades at her humble abode But not today ‘cuz something snapped and she’s about to explode
11.
Reattach the lid to the vessel Trace the shape of a glass with your hand White and brittle the flowers are waiting For the kitchen to refill with air So if you’re asking that was the moment If it will move you beyond where you are Pull the trigger make space for magic Count to thirty and open your eyes From day zero something was broken Skin and bone sicker than sweet All aboard the linoleum boxcar Eager knees buckle beneath If you’re asking that was the reason Nothing is working and nobody cares Cut the cord and make space for magic Drop the rock and pick up the reins On a window ledge there is a ball point pen Lift it toward the light Chelsea is waiting Scribble like children do Hollywood fantasy Be where you are now fleeting and strange If you’re asking that was the answer Medication for the suffering soul Ditch the deadweight make space for magic Or remain here forever in stone
12.
Once when I was young these eyes believed no single sight More stunning than a sail swaying in the blue Bless my younger heart which knew not what it didn’t know And clear to all the world I never met you Let nobody claim a flower is not beautiful May none debate the worth of petals catching dew Yet should somebody say its merit is unparalleled At once it would be plain they never met you Never saw the sunlight shining in your hair Heard the sound of laughter from your lips Tasted all the ways you flavor every day Surrendered to your touch upon their skin Sweet the falling rain refreshing on a summer night August and July on this rely it’s true But any who proclaim the lightning is the brightest part Can’t be held to blame they just never met you Never saw the sunlight shining in your hair Heard the sound of laughter from your lips Tasted all the ways you flavor every day Surrendered to your touch upon their skin Yes I surrender there is nothing else I know Will bring such revelation out of me And I remember now everywhere I go That anyone who meets you can agree Until they saw the sunlight shining in your hair Heard the sound of laughter from your lips They never knew the ways you flavor every day Or dared to want your touch upon their skin
13.
Charlie used to work the thresher seven days a week Work boots ripped denim and a flannel shirt No one ever did it better in the summer heat Gettin’ pure gold from the soil ‘til his fingers hurt He may have been a little bit simple But damn that ain’t no crime The heart, well it sure is fickle sometimes Out in all kinds of weather seven bucks a day Saving every greenback dollar a coffee can By now he would have been retired real far away Didn’t even see it coming just like quicksand Take it from a man who knows you’re never too far from danger Remember these words and you need not be afraid Never cross a friend for money and don’t fall for a stranger With deep dark eyes, a voice like an angel and no middle name Well she was eighteen and reckless had a heart of stone Aftertaste like his moonshine sour mash Called out the very devil buried in his bones Played him like a puppet and burned up all his cash Just how much she took The numbers ain’t the point It ain’t right she’s the crook and he’s in the joint
14.
After school me and Maria Would always meet by the monkey bars Trade tall tales and watch the sun set Forget our stress beneath the stars If either of us saw the other Between the halls that afternoon One smile would say it all and then some Same time same place I’ll see you soon It wasn’t long ‘til graduation Was just a distant memory Taxes day jobs and apartments Stood where the swing set used to be One day I surprised us both and Popped the question like balloons Never will forget that feeling Bound for the church I’ll see you soon From the moment that we met until this strange hospital bed If we tried we couldn’t plan a better life So as she lifted up our baby I said I love you both like crazy To this child and to her everything my wife I know I won’t live forever Nor will Maria I suppose Maybe future generations Will find a way you never know But when it’s time to meet my maker You know I’ll sing a little tune To sweet Maria as I’m fading Goodnight my dear I’ll see you soon
15.
They got this woman at the county fair With a beard that hangs down below her thighs She rides the unicorn around and around And the audience can’t believe their eyes I caught a matinee and far be it from me To complain but she looked a little bored What she was chasing that few will ever find Does not elude me anymore Fire all the movie stars they don’t move me like you do Silence all the singers put away the dancing shoes They can’t hit the target of this heart it’s only you Sometimes all you need is 3 chords a cup of coffee and the truth Tomorrow morning with a briefcase and a plan And my hair smooth as asphalt in the sun Up to the castle of the king of everything I could march right in and meet him one on one Our minds would meld and make more money than there is Then I would IPO my fears His crown is shiny but it’s heavy and it’s cold And I got something more sincere Fire all the movie stars they don’t move me like you do Silence all the singers put away the dancing shoes They can’t hit the target of this heart it’s only you Sometimes all you need is 3 chords a slice of pizza and the truth Are you thinking what I’m thinking Maybe what’s her name with such a furry face Can share some brightness a little more excitement That his Highness might appreciate She’ll dance the cha cha with her tigers bears and lions And he’ll keep her circus dreams alive Me I’ll go and see them the next time I’m in town Just one more kaiser in disguise
16.
On an otherwise wonderful day I was paralyzed to hear myself say Let’s both take a seat my dear let us play And make memories the old fashioned way So the little piece that one’s a pawn Can we both agree upon en passant Take it easy now it’s only for fun But without a sound the race had begun Tell me how I bruised that heart of yours How the words I used made you close the door Whoever won the war I miss the days before Our passion parted ways and started keeping score Like a hurricane she took the queen And I soon became caught in between Where we started out with laughter and here In uncharted doubt the game disappeared Tell me how I bruised that heart of yours How the words I used made you close the door Whoever won the war I miss the days before Our passion parted ways and started keeping score Everyone needs a partner someone on their side Us against the whole wide world like Bonnie and Clyde I never want to break this it took so long to make this Let me in again and we’ll begin again gimme’ a kiss
17.
Liberate me Inundate me Venerate me Won’t you please Automate me Detonate me Until such time as the morning comes for me Liquidate me Isolate me Validate me Take the lead Cultivate me Punctuate me Until such time as the morning comes for me Hold me hostage without ransom So exhausted that I won’t run It might surprise you or may decline to That in my eyes you’re the only one Operate me Motivate me Dominate me Nice and sweet Formulate me Permeate me Until such time as the morning comes for me
18.
Other me is concerned that he won’t have time to learn The way to turn a frown into a smile Among his other thoughts he knows love cannot be bought But perhaps it can be borrowed for awhile Other me is out the door even when he’s not too sure That his goals will ever turn into his gains He will pedal oh so fast ‘til his dreams outrun his past And his longing finds a way to break the chains But other me ain’t real So I better take the wheel Other me will love you like the open sky above you Until the stars all flicker and go dark And just when you’re afraid that the night will never fade Suddenly he’ll catch you with a spark Other me is crazy about you in every way With a rapture almost too good to be true You can be your deepest self leave your burden on the shelf He will carry all your dreams to timbuktu But other me ain’t true It’s only me and you Other me has been known to use the telephone To talk about the many things he feels A couple pretty words anybody would prefer So pay no mind to what he may conceal Other me is a face that I keep in my suitcase Just in case the moment should arise In looking for the truth when we got no more excuse And it’s tough to tease the beauty from the lies But other me ain’t here He ain’t nowhere near
19.
Spill your coffee before you even leave the house Guess it’s gonna’ be that kind of day One lane traffic and your A/C unit’s toast And the Sunday drivers are in your way Packed yourself lunch and then you left it in the fridge So it’s peanut butter jelly for dinner tonight Perfect time to notice you wore a mismatched pair of socks Sing it loud and clear don’t be polite Welcome to the mixed up world it’s a trip to be alive Some days ain’t easy in this place Never mind the speed bumps just hit the gas and drive Buckle up in case there ain’t no brakes Welcome to the human race So it’s nine more hours of endless conference calls And the office bathroom’s locked again Boss is on vacation and the intern broke the phone Now or never belt out the refrain Welcome to the mixed up world it’s a trip to be alive Some days ain’t easy in this place Never mind the speed bumps just hit the gas and drive Buckle up in case there ain’t no brakes Welcome to the human race Days are long sometimes and the nights go by too fast If we’re not careful life can kick us in the ass But a sense of humor and the guts to push on through Are the best directions when we don’t know what else to do
20.
There’s a million singers with a billion catchy tunes From Sunset and Vine to the China Wall In a trillion years spent on 16th Avenue Not one pair of ears could hear ‘em all I got a busted compass it only points to what I want Couldn’t find true north to save its hyde Not the best as a GPS but that’s never been the point Turn around now let me clarify This is not a refusal to give credit where it’s due Jimi, Joni, and Johnny are tried and true Four generations of humans have a right to feel their feelings Bless the ones who care, I could give two shits about Bob Dylan Lennon’s overrated may he always rest in peace Plant is grand but Page is Sloppy Joe Even Elvis Presley feels a little incomplete As I tune my shortwave radio Give me facts and figures, give me faces names and dates Disengage my heart and bring it on The challenge becomes bigger to celebrate the greats Could the very best be yet unknown Let me hear the singer with a brand new song to sing Open up my ears and clear the air Time to shine the spotlight on a younger set of strings May the message catch me unaware
21.
Didn’t you listen didn’t you hear Didn’t you notice wasn’t it clear Didn’t you wonder didn’t you try Didn’t you question neither deny Didn’t you open didn’t you speak Didn’t you comfort don’t you agree Didn’t you brighten didn’t you rise Didn’t you find it such a surprise Didn’t you buckle didn’t you bend Didn’t you offer just to pretend Didn’t you flicker didn’t you glow Didn’t you never ever say no Didn’t you pleasure didn’t you please Didn’t you soften weak in the knees Didn’t you glimmer didn’t you gleam Didn’t you wake up out of a dream
22.
Let me ask you a question Give you some food for thought About the state of the nation What’s in the melting pot The so-called leader of freedom Is offering no excuse So while we’re watching in horror Let’s all look for the truth Does he disrespect women Does he lie when it counts Does he insult other cultures Does he push us around Does he make fun of the handicapped Does he treat humans like shit Does he deserve to be removed from office Does he define hypocrite It’s not an attack, this is not my president No it’s just a fact this is not my president A little soundtrack this is not my president To sending him back this is not my president
23.
I see pieces of your heart all over the floor You been gone for days but there’s always one more Got half a mind to pick up my life and follow you out that door But something tells me to say what I never said before I’m sorry baby forever you don’t deserve to be blue But if you ever forgive me don’t be surprised if I do Exactly what I have always done I don’t know no other way I’m sorry baby forever what do you want me to say The day you left I shed a single tear of bittersweet regret And said a prayer you would someday find a way to forget How our bodies fit so perfectly like a skeleton duet Maybe time will erase all but my silhouette I’m sorry baby forever you don’t deserve to be blue But if you ever forgive me don’t be surprised if I do Exactly what I have always done I don’t know no other way I’m sorry baby forever what do you want me to say Now don’t you worry I’m getting everything I’m due The tasty payback I deserve for the things I can’t undo What goes around well it comes right back to you Sooner or later you know it’s true
24.
Oh God I must confess Against the driving rain My eyes are seeing red I need your help again I’m falling on my knees To beg to be reborn Reach out and take my hand And save me from the storm There are no easy answers The image is unclear The dash has no directions To where we go from here No matter what I’ve done I cannot stray too far This human heart is stunned By just how weak we are And still we find our way By grace toward the light With eyes as wide as day To reach the other side There are no easy answers No places left to hide It’s us against the question Of how we feel inside So I’m raising up my voice Yeah I’m ready to be saved May the truth cut through the noise And the people be amazed There are no easy answers No magic crystal ball It’s trial and tribulation Until the curtain call
25.
Beauty lies in the eyes of another Open wide and let it in Every day there’s a way to uncover The deeper drive down within Love is easy love is hard Well I never knew Not a clue So I count my lucky stars And I guess there’s 2 God and you Holding on to the one thing you wanted Many more passing by Could you see how to be only honest Did the light hit your eyes Half way across the hemisphere Is a midnight pirate station Sending out the short wave signal For a brand new constellation
26.
I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter Make a circle in the sand Use the shadows that surround me To help me understand I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter Like a human satellite Find the key to all my questions If I make it out alive I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter 360° Lift the curtain to uncover What I have never seen I’m gonna walk the perimeter Counter clockwise I suppose Maybe bring a roll of film And see what I expose Walk the perimeter I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter Use my ego as a guide Approach the edge and dare the darkness To look me in the eye I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter With a bible and a gun Finish everything I started Embrace what I’ve become I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter Split the riddles at the seams Take my secrets to the garden Plant them in a dream I’m gonna’ walk the perimeter Tie my trouble to the tracks Hook my heart up to the engine Get this monkey off my back Walk the perimeter Way out beyond the border On the other side There is a lighthouse with a beacon Saving sailors every night But I am nowhere near those waters And long ago I sank the sails Ever after will I wander Riding on the rails
27.
Poco a poco despertamos Y escuchamos al sonida En la calle resonante Llamando dulce a la gente Nunca puedo olvidar No lo quiero renunciar Cada vista cada gusto Como sentimos el domingo en Xalapa Todos juntos a la Iglesia Dos cientos corazones Caminando por el cerro Donde encontramos la cruz Nunca puedo olvidar No lo quiero renunciar Cada vista cada gusto Como sentimos el domingo en Xalapa Agua fresca cafe crema Chilaquiles en el sol Ahorita digo con finura Cuantas días al proximo
28.
They say that all roads lead to Rome, I wonder if they do And is the road the hell made of intentions pure and true Like borrowing your parents car, or neighbor’s for that matter May seem like fun until they lock the driver in the slammer Saying “I love you” when you don’t, not sayin’ it when you do Tellin’ him that shirt looks great when you know that isn’t true So many ways to go astray but as I said before One stands alone by far the worst, of that you can be sure Beyond the other burning flames the devil surely keeps A special place in hell reserved for those who pee on toilet seats Lying under oath is bad, I do not recommend it Driving drunk is awful too, or with your plates suspended Guys that cheat on lovely girls, women cheating men Bribery with currency that isn’t yours to spend Neglecting spouses, kids, or pets, ignoring traffic signs Robbing banks, hot-wiring cars, rich white collar crime Nonetheless, within the range of all the dirty deeds There’s one that puts the rest to shame, I’m sure you will agree Beyond the other burning flames the devil surely keeps A special place in hell reserved for those who pee on toilet seats Gossip, arson, drugs and guns, forgery and theft False pretenses, felonies, extortion of the press Kidnapping for ransom, selling shares that don’t exist Battery and perjury, assault and politics Stealing, lying, cheating, killing, blackmail, prostitution Tax fraud, money laundering, mafia collusion We humans do so many things immoral or illegal Yet one offense is worse by far than all the other evils Beyond the other burning flames the devil surely keeps A special place in hell reserved for those who pee on toilet seats
29.
Every summer she was rising Just beyond the garden gate Standing taller every morning At least it seemed that way Building something like a village To support her as she climbed Making sure what grew around her Was not brighter than her shine When the sunlight hits the surface It can change a man for sure Paint a picture close to perfect So it’s easy to ignore That the heart is born to wander And the eyes known to deceive Yellow petals on the outside Black as midnight underneath Long before there was a chapel High and holy to the west She was spreading out her roots Along the Tiber riverbed Cross the ocean like a dreadnought Pure temptation all the way To the distant shore of Havilah Only water in her veins
30.
Love is a hurricane, it’s a rose And a snowflake on your nose It’s a parachute jump from a plane Coming back to earth again Love is singing along even though It’s a song that you don’t know And the second you begin To let something lovely in But now explain to me if you can ‘Cause I sure don’t understand Why for years we sit and wait And when it comes we walk away From everything love is Love is laughing when you fall We are human after all And it’s the will to get back up On your feet with a little luck Love is a French press cup of ‘jo With a cranberry orange scone And the crossword puzzle clue That a beautiful stranger gives to you So why on earth do we refuse What do we think we stand to lose No in the end we can’t ignore That love is everything and more Yeah that’s what love is Nobody knows what it takes A simple spark starts to resonate I made a promise today The next time I won’t hesitate Love is a waterslide at the fair And your favorite rocking chair It’s a picnic at the beach With the perfect summer breeze Love is a brand new pair of shoes A dare to go swimming in the nude Or it’s the feeling in your toes When you crank the stereo Now tell me why do we forget To let it happen and instead We fill our hearts with question marks And harm the hope that’s in our heads Of everything love is
31.
Oh the price of admission is that now you know the score Gotta’ honor the difference from the way it was before And the price of admission is the choice to make a change One by one move the pieces ‘til it don’t all look so strange Now the price of admission is finally letting go Of the what made you so angry and you didn’t even know That the price of admission is the time to face the facts Solve the simple equation that always held you back Well the price of admission is forgiveness in even when You’re in pain and don’t wanna’ take the time to be a friend So the price of admission it ain’t based on how you feel More like if you can focus on accepting what is real No the price of admission doesn’t increase or decline There is no way around it over under or behind Yes the price of admission will be waiting for the day There’s a break in the weather and the fears all fall away We always cross our wires You’re preaching to the choir So wait ‘til you’re inspired And jump into the fire Hey the price of admission might be less than you expect Just imagine the freedom from that cross around your neck Pay the price of admission and you’ll be grateful that you did Or forever your heart will wonder how much peace it could have had
32.
On a Tuesday night on an empty train There was a distant look on a young man’s face I took a real deep breath let the moment last When I reached his side I just had to ask, “Can you tell me, son - have you seen a ghost?” He took a long hard pause with both eyes closed 
For a moment there I could almost feel his pain 
Then he raised his voice and began to say There’s so many ways to break a heart 
Make your knees both hit the ground 
Get the tears all falling down But every stranger on a train is a second start For a love that doesn’t bust To finally find its way to us Well I made my way to the window seat 
And my newfound friend opened up to me 
He said, “my daddy died a couple years ago, Moved my mama in to a nursing home; “Then a pink slip came, that was real bad news 
But the worst by far if you want the truth Is when we both gave up and she returned the ring” 
And then he cleared his throat and began to sing There’s so many ways to break a heart 
Make your knees both hit the ground 
Get the tears all falling down But every stranger on a train is a second start For a love that doesn’t bust To finally find its way to us My days are filled with sadness And my nights are lonelier 
Than the studio apartment
 Where I used to live with her Yeah my mama’s fading slowly And I sure miss my old man 
But I’m grateful for the stranger
 Who asked me how I am, because
33.
When the day is long and the night is deep And it gets so hot that you just can’t sleep I know it’s the darkest just before the dawn Don’t you know what keeps me hanging on Pick my blues to the beat Put these shoes on my feet To my surprise with a new sunrise What was bitter seems almost sweet When I see Fiona walking down the street If the going’s tough and the road is rough And if lady luck leaves me in the dust When the wheels fall off halfway down the hill Don’t you worry I’ll hurry on until Pick my blues to the beat Put these shoes on my feet To my surprise with a new sunrise What was bitter seems almost sweet When I see Fiona walking down the street So it’s not too late to let the sunshine in No we got today no matter where we’ve been Meet me at the top we’ll share a soda pop And we don’t have to stop never ever again
34.
He walks with a broken step To a silent song Lonesome and as full of doubt As the day is long He turns to the fifth again Slowly slips away Reaches out with an empty hand Open and afraid He looks like death but feels like faith The disco dance floor shattered glass Sparks the concrete and his eyes light up Maybe God is in the change He writes on a paper bag Which he gives to me A word I have heard before But will not repeat He raises his eyes toward What I cannot see And then on his face appears Something suddenly
35.
Todo lo que quiero son los sonidos del mar Y todo lo que quiero es un dia sin dolor Si, todo lo que quiero son zapatos en mis pies Bueno todo lo que quiero es que todo cambie Pero lo que necesito, lo que siempre siente bien Es el momento en que empiezo me encanta alguien Hoy todo lo que quiero es la gracia del perdon Pues todo lo que quiero es sanar mi corazon Mira todo lo que quiero es el camino vacio Oh todo lo que quiero es orar en serio Pero lo que necesito, lo que siempre siente bien Es el momento en que empiezo me encanta alguien Estoy buscando un lugar que quizas viste una vez Hay voy con dios y mucha suerte a donde yo no se Espero verte en un momento, así que por favor Por tu ventana oscilando con esperanza, mi amor
36.
It seemed too good to be true after the 9 o’clock news This TV lawyer in a leisure suit He said that he could get me paid and I should hire him today And he would figure out the folks that I should sue You bet I scrambled for the phone and when I heard the dial tone Called that number man I didn’t miss a beat Now I guess I should have known he might take everything I own Some lessons are a bit too bittersweet So tell my troubles goodbye there ain’t a cloud in the sky I don’t need nothing but the sun and the sand Got the radio tuned and I got all afternoon To feel the ocean washing over my hands Life ain’t exactly what I thought and I’m sure I never got Most of what I asked for to be frank But it don’t cost a dime just to have a good time Can’t buy that with all the money in the bank Now maybe it’s true that for everything we do Someone’s watching from above and there’s a plan On the day I went broke when it went up in smoke I’d be lying if I’d said I understand With my tail between my legs I was ready to beg And I asked for what I needed every day I didn’t get rich but I learned something which Means more to me than how much I get paid So tell my troubles goodbye there ain’t a cloud in the sky I don’t need nothing but the sun and the sand Got the radio tuned and I got all afternoon To feel the ocean washing over my hands Life ain’t exactly what I thought and I’m sure I never got Most of what I asked for to be frank But it don’t cost a dime just to have a good time Can’t buy that with all the money in the bank Since the day I lost it all and I relearned how to crawl Fortune found its way to me at last On a single scratch of game all four pictures were the same I’ve never made so many friends so fast And we talk about the days when we couldn’t get away From fear of financial failure in a flash The biggest difference now is that I see clearly how It’s completely unrelated to the cash
37.
No one in this big dumb world knows anything Half as much as I know I want you Mathematical or grammatical never mind the books All I need to know is where you wanna’ go Nothing in this big dumb world means anything Anything like to everything you do So unusual weird and beautiful anytime at all Put me in your pocket I’ll take a walk with you Honestly it’s too much for me A parade with no chauffeur But somehow you make me light up too So in love with this big dumb world Nowhere in this big dumb world could anything Ever make a moment look so new I’m astounded by how you magnify everything that shines This is just to say you always make my day Honestly it’s too much for me A parade with no chauffeur But somehow you make me light up too So in love with this big dumb world When the day is long and the night is loud Try to play along blend into the crowd Sooner than you think everything will change Faster than you blink wonderful and strange
38.
Who would have guessed just a half a mile Stuck in traffic like molasses for awhile On a city bus taking both of us Down a road we never saw before A leather jacket on my back Your cotton dress baby blue to be exact Some first impressions seem like a lesson Like how it felt when I was yours What I wouldn’t do just to be with you Just to walk beside you every day But we both got burned so it’s time to learn Maybe someone needs to walk away There’s a lengthy list that I’m sure I’ll miss Of what I wouldn’t do to be with you I wouldn’t drive all night because I miss you I wouldn’t bring a single rose with me I wouldn’t write a love song at a truck stop in Virginia I wouldn’t sing the whole thing on my knees I wouldn’t need someone to wipe away the teardrops I wouldn’t keep drowning all the pain I wouldn’t wish any one heart to feel this heavy I wouldn’t ever hurt this deep again What I wouldn’t do just to be with you Just to walk beside you every day But we both got burned so it’s time to learn Maybe someone needs to walk away There’s a lengthy list that I’m sure I’ll miss Of what I wouldn’t do to be with you All the endless nights two kids against the odds Made the winter feel like spring For a moment there I could almost swear We could take on anything
39.
Someday when my breath has left my bones And in my eyes a light no longer shines Make a movie write a book carve my face in stone Or simply plant me deep below the pines Abe was almost six foot four an expert with an axe Legend says he could not tell a lie The memories of victory sustain us that’s a fact Until of course we reach the other side Someday when my breath has left my bones And in my eyes a light no longer shines Make a movie write a book carve my face in stone Or simply plant me deep below the pines Tom who came before him in earnest did announce A legacy of liberty restored Now few are those who’ll ever know a fortune so profound But none can take a penny through the door Do what you can with what you have anywhere you are Surely George would echo Teddy’s creed Keep both feet planted on the ground but focus on the stars That’s fair advice as far as I can see
40.
It started out the way you might expect How any two young lovers have begun A single night of laughter on the second story stairs The aches and pains of adolescent fun And everything was spinning at all once When morning came around it was a blur She didn’t miss a beat as she was walking out the door Looked back to say let’s stay the way we were If you’re innocent take heart because the names have all been changed We’re safe and sound anonymous and free But none of us escape without a lesson here or there Oh nobody was more surprised than me The letters we were writing every week From south of San Diego to Spokane Between our distant doorsteps all the envelopes and stamps We kept the postal service in demand Her shopping list from Sunday afternoon My uncle’s favorite book on watching birds A turkey drawn in Sharpie on a xerox of her hand Nothing we could share was too absurd If you’re innocent take heart because the names have all been changed We’re safe and sound anonymous and free But none of us escape without a lesson here or there Oh nobody was more surprised than me I can’t remember which of us or when Eventually one letter was the last My memory is hazy of those days so long ago And she feels like a postcard from my past But every year as autumn falls around I open up my shoebox from Spokane Thanksgiving Day is best when the dinner table’s dressed With a turkey and a xerox of her hand
41.
But not when I’m looking in From all the way out in the stratosphere Everything seems fine Yes just like they said it would Before all the steam started rising up Ashes in the air Of course you can stay right here Perfect is not what I thought it was Brittle and filled with hope
42.
Let’s say that you believe me That I know how to stop the world Unless my eyes deceive me It stopped the day I met you girl Forever I’ll be in this moment As sure as night will follow day Maybe time is just a canvas For painting what we need to say There’s a certain smile that only you can see A clear reflection of the light you shine on me Like a rainbow overhead it’s a sight I can’t forget Without your love well there’s no telling where I’d be Come and find me in a daydream On the late October wind Bring a notebook and a blanket Let the levity begin There’s something in the sunset When we’re laying cheek to cheek You seem to know just what I’m thinking Long before I even speak There’s a certain smile that only you can see A clear reflection of the light you shine on me Like a rainbow overhead it’s a sight I can’t forget Without your love well there’s no telling where I’d be Give me one more chance to show you How it feels to sit beside Your eyes as they sparkle in the moonlight The color changing with the tide Later when the world is sleeping And all I need is your embrace Even when the words escape me You can see it on my face
43.
There I was 8 years old Scared to death to find my stocking full of coal I turned the lights off got on my knees And said if anyone can hear me won’t you please Tell the big man all dressed in red While I’m fast asleep and dreaming in my bed Find our chimney and come on down We got the finest milk and cookies in this town Give him step by step directions And when you get his full attention Let him know how good I’ve been This year, then mention My X-Ray Vision! It’s the only thing I need Tomorrow morning when I look beneath the tree Yes forget the GI Joes, the BB Guns and big TVs X-Ray Vision, that’s the only gift for me An alarm clock ain’t been designed That’ll get me out the door to school on time But when December is in the air Good luck waking up before I run downstairs Like a hero without a cape I did battle with the ribbon and the tape Beating boxes one by one Until the last one hit the floor and I was stunned When I was out of ammunition And mom and dad were kissing I couldn’t help but notice One thing missing My X-Ray Vision! Nothing else was on my list I can’t believe it, how did Christmas end like this You can keep the GI Joes, the BB Guns and big TVs X-Ray Vision, that’s the only gift for me Later on around the table when my daddy smiled at me I could tell that he missed grandpa and he thought I couldn’t see So I left my chair and wrapped my little arms around him tight And I told him “Daddy, don’t be sad tonight” He wiped a tear from his cheek Took his glasses off and cleared his throat to speak “Can’t believe it you saw right through, When I tried to hide my heart you saw the truth” “But grandpa watches our every move And if we hide our feelings he can see right through Which reminds me son, you were wrong Because you’ve had the gift you asked for all along” Your X-Ray Vision! You can see right through your dad And make this Christmas be the best he ever had We don’t need the GI Joes, the BB Guns and big TVs X-Ray Vision, that’s the only gift you need
44.
It might been the combo for a classic Master lock Could have been the number of marbles in a jar Or the winning ticket for a million dollar jackpot Maybe just the address of a bar I don’t have to tell you those numbers in your hand Scribbled on a faded old receipt Didn’t get you into heaven no if anything at all They only brought you bittersweet defeat So you can’t stop crying cursing at the moon But you just keep trying to keep pushing through Well it’s a long road back again from the other side And you can’t remember when you last slept through the night Tell me how did all this happen because I swear I can’t imagine How did seven digits get the best of you First of all you noticed her machine was always full That was just the first of many signs Second when your eyes met like a magnet you were pulled And suddenly your heart had crossed a line When you tried to make her happy tried to buy a bigger smile It was working every day until the end So she left you for another just like you he’ll last awhile Oh but soon enough you’ll be his only friend And he won’t stop crying cursing at the moon No he’ll just keep trying to keep pushing through Well it’s a long road back again from the other side And he can’t remember when he last slept through the night Tell me how did all this happen because I swear I can’t imagine How did seven digits get the best of you It’s enough to make you wonder will there ever be a man Who can stop himself from falling at her feet But for those who learned the hard way at least someone understands How we loved that faded old receipt
45.
It’s been a hard day out on the road Hubcaps and asphalt and talk radio But life on the freeway is all that I know And hard work is good for the soul I suppose We grow where we’re planted well that’s what they say Good times and bad times day after day The years just keep passing and my hair’s turning gray So what keeps me going well it sure ain’t the pay It’s the traces of you like the ring that I wear A sign on the dash with the Saint Francis prayer The paperback book on the passenger seat I borrowed last year and keep meaning to read A blue flannel shirt that I meant to give back But it sure keeps me warm when the night fades to black Well it’s cold and it’s lonely if you want the truth So it must be worth knowing that what keeps me going Are these traces of you Do you still remember first night we met? A soft rain was falling I’ll never forget My shirt smelled like diesel we were both soaking wet Then a song started playin’ on a worn out cassette My heart started racing when you asked me to dance After I gave up chasing any sign of romance Then you gave me a look that said just take a chance On someone who listens and might understand It’s the traces of you like the ring that I wear A sign on the dash with the Saint Francis prayer The paperback book on the passenger seat I borrowed last year and keep meaning to read A blue flannel shirt that I meant to give back But it sure keeps me warm when the night fades to black Well it’s cold and it’s lonely if you want the truth So it must be worth knowing that what keeps me going Are these traces of you Now I may not have many more years at the wheel Every journey must come to an end When the tires stop spinning I know just how I’ll feel As I’m tracing my tracks home again
46.
Query theory thus the quantity opaque Climbing closer ever clever never quit Kinesthetic kleptomania kaleidoscopic kites Quintessential quarter century acquit Call it colder clamor clearly counterfeit Kinder blinder kick the killer hypocrite Quicksand quiet quite a diet quantum quadraphonic quake Catch a comedown clock a countdown concentrate Keep it kosher kryptonite and kerosene Queue the questions acquiescence quash the queen Co-creating culminating custom criminal command Kamikaze karaoke kilogram
47.
No No you No you did No you did not No you did not leave No you did not leave me No you did not leave me with No you did not leave me with out No you did not leave me with out hope No you did not leave me with out hope here Yes Yes sir Yes sir ask Yes sir ask her Yes sir ask her how Yes sir ask her how to Yes sir ask her how to let Yes sir ask her how to let it Yes sir ask her how to let it all Yes sir ask her how to let it all go Say Say it Say it soft Say it softly Say it softly will Say it softly will you Say it softly will you please Say it softly will you please be Say it softly will you please be sweet Say it softly will you please be sweet now
48.
Ring out the bells up in the tower Let the cathedral light up the sky Kneel in the garden listen for laughter Dusk is approaching so is the rain Faint is the fog fresh are the flowers Wondering waiting watching the tide All we are asking is for an answer City of water open your gates Pleasure lies in the moonlight Holy hands silently Overwhelm us in Venice After dark you and me Smoother than silk swift as a swallow Gravel and foxglove green on the vine Open our egos lift out the echoes Render us ready for what we’ll receive Thirty five years now I tried to follow Slow moving shadows cast on the blinds Follow the footsteps learn how to let go Best not to bluff now I barely believe
49.
My oh my life is good But that wasn’t always true Take a beat have a seat Maybe this one’s meant for you To the boys who lost hope And the girls who wonder why When it goes up in smoke Douse the flames and dry your eyes I want to live Live before I die Cause I got a lot to give But I’ve wasted so much time I want to know Know my soul is free Through all the highs and lows Every part of me I want to live Is your luck almost gone Did my fortune fade to black Flip this script just hold on Watch it all come flooding back Do we find something more Can I trust I’ll find my way Just before I slammed the door Heard a voice inside me say No guarantees No promises tonight Get ready baby Won’t leave without a fight Both of us made a mess And thought the game was through Thank God we made such Great mistakes before we knew
50.
We had a deal Did you forget Or did you think that I would blink I haven’t yet Be silent now Where is your pride Call out my name there ain’t no shame In taking sides So grab the cash And try to run Without a doubt there’s no way out From what you’ve done Be like a stone Ten stories high Five hundred pounds straight to the ground Let me see you try If you fix the motor Before the wheels break loose The road may lead to freedom So be careful what you do Don’t ever doubt the power Of a dollar or a knife Remember how you got here To the last night of your life We knew the score Beyond a doubt You know from here it’s pretty clear There’s no way out Be where you are And wait for me Stand or kneel knees or heels It’s all the same to me So stop the clock And start to run Go anywhere I’ll find you there Before I’m done Beware the words You never heard We’ll see it all written on the wall Only afterward If you get to Reno Before I gun you down You might just have a fighting change To make it in that town You need to learn to gamble If you’re planning to survive Watch your back you might just Make it out alive
51.
Dear Jerry it’s December once again Fifth Avenue is lit up like a tree This city shines just like precious gems But I can’t pretend it’s everything I need Each morning to what’s his name above I hit me knees and say a prayer Hail Mary protect the ones I love And how I wish that I was there I tried to write a love song With a plain old ball point pen But the words that hit the paper Said I’m missing you my friend Like a favorite pair of sneakers Or the road that leads you home Never mind the miles between us I just had to say hello Dear Jerry I been looking at the time Aren’t you’re almost overdue From midnight to eleven fifty nine It’s a whole new year for you Hope someone gives you something good Full of chocolate booze or cash Take comfort knowing if I could I would Be beside you in a flash I tried to write a love song With a plain old ball point pen But the words that hit the paper Said I’m missing you my friend Like a favorite pair of sneakers Or the road that leads you home Never mind the miles between us I just had to say hello Now in case you miss my voice or you wonder where I am Well I’m always just a quick phone call away And no matter where you go if it’s sunny or it snows You can bet that you’ll be in my thoughts today
52.
Pretend it’s morning for a moment And all the birds are swapping songs Bring back the beauty you remember When you were certain you belong So should the sky be dark above you And home is nowhere to be found Trust where the road ahead is leading Keep both feet planted on the ground Here in the spaces the hiding places Between your dreams and where you are A look of wonder two strangers under The magic neon of the bar In all the searches our banks and churches Fall somewhere short of tried and true But here’s to hoping your ears are open To something sweet from me to you So hesitation in our hearts And no idea what’s up ahead What may seem foolish when we start The days may demonstrate instead Beyond the pictures on the wall Above the ghosts of yesterday Forget the many desperate calls Let all the questions fade away

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Entire collection of original songs written and recorded week by week for Song A Week 2017, an international songwriting group.

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released February 12, 2018

Written, performed, engineered and mixed by James Tristan Redding. Words and music copyright 2017 by James Tristan Redding. Registered with BMI. All rights reserved.

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James Tristan Redding Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Godin Guitars Official Artist and Founder of www.songaweek.org.

His catalog of 400+ titles includes collaborations with hit writers Mark Narmore, Steve Dean, Elliott Park and Pete and Pat Luboff, among others both stateside and worldwide.

Redding has landed cuts by recording artists Eli Alger, Dan Whitehouse, Emma Gale, and David Easterling.
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