EVERYTHING

by Darden Smith

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about

Darden Smith on Everything...

Here’s the question: Why make a record?

After releasing Love Calling in 2013, my fourteenth album in thirty years, I went through a time when I wondered if I had anything new to say, if anyone was listening.

I got curious about creativity outside the traditional music business. Along with writing songs and playing shows, I helped build a nonprofit called SongwritingWith:Soldiers, wrote a book (as yet unpublished) on how artists look at work, and worked with individuals and companies to help them put their conflicts, their dreams, into songs. And I fell into a new love relationship. Through it all, the constant was the songs, the writing.

Which brings me to Everything, and the three things that came together in my life to make it possible.

The first is SongwritingWith:Soldiers, a program that brings professional songwriters together with wounded veterans to write songs about combat and the return home. This project has shown me the world from a different angle. To recognize all that I have to be grateful for and to know that others hurt in ways we can’t imagine. I’ve witnessed how songs can change a life, even save a life. Over the years, they’ve certainly saved mine.

Second, I’m done with cynicism. The collective yelling of politics, the news, social media – we’re stuck in a digital traffic jam where nothing changes and the volume just gets louder. Never has the need for human kindness, compassion for strangers, and speaking up for love been higher. The best tool I’ve got is music, it’s what I can do to reach out to others.

And the third? I crossed the mid-century mark several years ago. I don’t see things the way I did before. More than ever I believe in love, hope, faith and gratitude. It’s a view that only comes with time. The stakes are different now, more urgent.

Around February of 2016, these pieces began falling into place. I started digging through songs I’d written over the last five years, on my own and with people like Matraca Berg, Radney Foster, James House, Jay Clementi, and Bruce Robison. I kept writing. I reached out to Stewart Lerman, who co-produced six records with me, starting in 1996 with Deep Fantastic Blue. We started with thirty songs and narrowed it down to twelve. I put together a group of some of my favorite musicians and friends – Roscoe Beck (bass), Michael Ramos (keyboards), J.J. Johnson (drums), Charlie Sexton (guitar), and David Mansfield (mandolin, pedal steel and strings) – and we gathered in late August 2016 for three days of recording at Arlyn Studios in Austin, Texas. James House, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bonnie Bishop, Kelly Willis, and Bruce Robison sang harmony.

My criteria for the songs on Everything? – they had to come from a true place, to say what I feel right now, and do it without cynicism. They had to carry a message that brings people together, that shares love in all different ways.

I’m not so naïve as to think that just putting out a song, an album, will change the world. But I do believe music can change someone’s day for the better. That’s where it all begins and all that I hope for.

Why make another album?
Because I have something to say, and somebody out there might need to hear it.

I carried this question around for a few years.
It took awhile, but I found the answer – Everything.

Austin, TX - December 2016

credits

released April 7, 2017

Roscoe Beck (bass), Michael Ramos (keyboards), J.J. Johnson (drums), Charlie Sexton (guitar), and David Mansfield (mandolin, pedal steel and strings), Stewart Lerman (producer)

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about

Darden Smith Austin, Texas

Darden Smith is a singer-songwriter, musician and educator. His 28-year career as a musician has led to fourteen critically acclaimed albums that weave together rock, pop, country, folk and Americana influences with the musical roots of his home state of Texas.

Smith’s latest album is Love Calling, released July 30, 2013 on Compass Records.
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Track Name: Blessings
Blessings, blessings
Though life can get messy sometimes
Lucky, we are lucky
We can all see the sun shine

Love and hope and faith might feel long gone forever
When you think that you have lost your way
Sister, please remember
All the blessings in your day

Do you worry, do you struggle
Do you get knocked down and drown in your tears
Just remember that you make a difference
And the world is better off that you are here

Love and hope and faith might feel long gone forever
When you think that you have lost your way
Brother, please remember
All the blessings in your day

Blessings, blessings
Though love can get messy sometimes
Remember all your blessings
Cause I tell you true that you are one of mine
All your blessings
Cause I tell you true that you are one of mine
Track Name: Firefly
Well the morning came with the cloud and the rain
I’m lying here calling your name again
I always fall for the midnight call
I know better than to ask you where you’ve been
I just let you in

Baby you’re my firefly
How you light up the night sky
I want to have you, I want to catch you
And take you home
Well the moon lied and the stars tried
To tell me about your kind
Come the sunrise
You’ll be gone

Shirt and shoes and the same old blues
I play to win but I always lose to you
I’ll be hanging around when the sun goes down
Tell myself I got nothing better to do
And you know it’s true

Baby you’re my firefly
How you light up the night sky
I want to have you, I want to catch you
And take you home
Well the moon lied and the stars tried
To tell me about your kind
Come the sunrise
You’ll be gone

Well the moon lied and the stars tried
To tell me all about your kind
Come the sunrise
You’ll be gone

Baby you’re my firefly
Baby you’re my firefly
Track Name: Against the Grain
They mistake your individuality
For a flaw in your personality
And I think that they’ve lost their sanity
Hey, hey, hey, hey
You, you’re a beautiful reflection
Of a light that shines in your direction
There’s nothing about you that isn’t perfect in every way
Hey, hey, hey, hey

So just go, go just go against the grain
You don’t have to be the same
As everyone around you
I know what you’re going through
Follow the voice inside you
And be brave
And go, go, go against the grain

Just because you are young in years
Don’t mean that, mean that you can’t see clear
All of those glitter kids don’t turn out to be gold
No, no, no, no

So go, go, go against the grain
You don’t have to be the same
As everyone around you
I know what you’re going through
Follow the voice inside you
And be brave
And go, go, just go against the grain
Go, go against the grain

No matter what you do
Someone always thinks you ain’t cool
I know what is true

So go, go against the grain
You, you don’t have don’t have to change
Like everyone around you
Stay brave
And go against the grain
Go, just go against the grain
Track Name: I Love You, Goodbye
I lost an old friend yesterday
She just up and flew away
I never had a chance, a chance to say
I love you, goodbye
I love you, goodbye

I think about my lover, I think about old friends
I think about my mother, father, my children
I just want to tell them every time I’m leaving
I love you, goodbye
I love you, goodbye

I just want to be together
But if we have to be apart
Know that I carry you
Forever in my heart
And I can’t wait to see your face
Another time in another place
And remember as the days go by
I love you, goodbye
I love you, goodbye
I love you, goodbye
I love you, goodbye
Track Name: Everything
Well I have been to London, and I’ve been to New York
I had some damn fine wine, good food upon my fork
Still there is a hunger that won’t go away
I long to feel the beauty in everyday
Yeah I want it all, everything
All the joy that life can bring
When I’m gone here’s a song
I hope to hear you sing
He wanted it all
Everything

Hawk upon the wing, horses on the run
A wave upon the ocean, my daughter and my son
And when I’m still aching after all of this
I want my love to take me with a kiss
Yeah, I want it all, I want everything
All the joy that love can bring
When I’m gone here’s a song
I hope to hear her sing
He wanted it all
Everything

I don’t need to hold it
That’s not the way to live
I just want to have it all
So I can give it all away
Give it all away

Yeah, I want it all, I want everything
All the bounty this life can bring
And when I’m gone here’s a song
I hope the angels sing
He wanted it all
Everything
Yeah, cause I want it all
Everything
Track Name: Love Will Win the War
Hate might win a battle
Love will win the war
Spend your life in the shadows
Settling scores
All you’re gonna get for you’re trouble
Another mad man at the door
Hate might win a battle, boys
Love will win the war

Fill your mouth with poison
Bound to swallow some
Build a wall long and tall
You got no room to run
Walk with the heart of a lion
The jungle listens when you roar
Hate might win a battle, boys
Love will win the war

Yeah now when we all meet on that distant shore
All the reasons we fight
Who’s wrong and who’s right
Don’t matter anymore
Cause hate might win a battle, boys
Love will win the war
If your days seem desperate
Wolf is at the door
Show some human kindness
Forgive a little more
Hold the hand of mercy
Kneel down on the floor
Hate might win a battle, boys
Love will win the war

Yeah now when we all meet on that distant shore
All the reasons we fight
Who’s wrong and who’s right
Don’t matter anymore
Cause hate might win a battle, boys
Yeah hate might win a battle, boys
Love will win the war
Love will win the war
Love will win the war
Love will win the war
Track Name: Soul Searching
Lately I have been soul searching
Trying to find where I belong
Everything that I believe
I’m watching slip away from me
I’ve been out here drifting all night long
Soul searching with a song
Love is all there is
It pulls at us so strong
You’re not a fool to think it’s cool
Loving right will never steer you wrong
Soul searching with a song

Love is all there is
And it pulls at us so strong
You’re not a fool to think it’s cool
Loving right has never steered me wrong

My younger days were just rehearsing
For what I’m living through right now
Love and peace and joy no doubt
Is what we’re supposed to be about
It’s what I want to leave behind me when I’m gone
That’s why I’m soul searching from now on
Soul searching with a song
Track Name: Me Too
Three o’clock, coffee shop, called and said you
need to talk
Sounded like it might take some time
Said you had a secret, trusted me to keep it
Felt like you were losing your mind
Story starts coming, how long you been running
Afraid to let love get close
We’ve all got ghosts

And you’re not alone thinking that you’ll never win
You should know that you’ve got a friend
Yeah this thing that you’re thinking you’ll
never get over
Always be making you blue
If you’re having that dream in the middle of the night
That you’re never gonna get through
Me too

I’ve been the one hurting, on the floor cursing
Feeling like it’s all too much
Looking for a reason to just quit breathing
Hungry for somebody’s touch
Well it’s fear that we’re facing,
light that we’re chasing
It’s what we all want the most
Hell, we’ve all got ghosts
You’re not alone thinking that you’ll never win
You should know that you’ve got a friend
Now this thing that you’re thinking you’ll
never get over
Always be making you blue
If you’re having that dream in the middle of the night
That you’re never get through

You’re not alone thinking that you’ll never win
I want you to know that you’ve got a friend
Yeah this thing you’re thinking you’ll never get over
Always be making you blue
If you’re having that dream in the middle of the night
That you’re never get through
Me too
Me too
I’ve been there too
Me too
Track Name: Carousel
Riding on a carousel
Watch the world go by
Thinking about you and me
Talking to the night
How we’d just go round and round and round
Nothing ever changed

I think about the plans we made
When I can’t stop my mind
You know it hurts a little more
I know how hard we tried
Come a time the music stops, end of the ride
We step off of the carousel
Say good-bye

Maybe we were never meant to be a whole life long
Maybe just a star across the sky, here and gone

The leaves are gonna fall
I think I smell the rain
Lover’s dreams they come and go
Still we try again
And the world goes round and round and round
Such a crazy game
But people love a carousel
And no one is to blame
The way we love a carousel
No one is to blame
Track Name: Home
My god it’s good to see you
I’ve been out here for so long
Wandering around
From town to town
Trying to find my way back home
I followed crazy directions
I turned left, I turned right, I turned wrong
Here I stand
Another well traveled man
Trying to find where I belong

I know, I know there’s a place
I know there’s a face for me
But how far must I go
Down a crooked road to be
Home

I’m haunted by my choices
Voices telling me I was wrong
Where some might put down roots
Well I just put on my boots
And when out looking for home

I know, well I know there’s a place
And I know there’s a face for me
But how far must I go
Down a crooked road to be
Home

What’s that, I couldn’t hear you
Tell me once again, but say it slow
You’re just like me
You’ll always be
Looking for home
Well come on let’s walk together
It don’t make no sense to be out alone
I’ll look for you
You can search for me too
Together we’ll make it home

Singing la, la, la, la….
Track Name: Forever
She walks down to the river
Says Lord, help me out of this mess
I got 750 dollars
And it’s time for a new address
Someplace a little safer
Far from all his craziness
Cause you know sometimes forever’s
just a little too long
I say it’s a little too long

She says, eighteen when we married
I meant every single word I said
Forgive me Lord for leaving
And taking that gun out from underneath our bed
I’d throw it in the water
But that man’s got the devil all up inside of his head
And you know sometimes forever’s
just a little too long
I say it’s a little too long
Don’t you know that sometimes forever’s
just a little too long
I say it’s a little too long
Love ain’t supposed to hurt so much
And the days aren’t meant to drag on and on
And if I didn’t care about what tomorrow might bring
Then I wouldn’t be gone
I wouldn’t be gone

But you know that sometimes forever’s
just a little too long
I say it’s a little too long

She wades out in the water
To wash away her sins
She don’t care about tomorrow
She just gone, she never coming back again
Track Name: You Can See the Moon
Can you see the moon
Shining down across your room
Does that light
Keep you up at night
The way it used to do
If you’re awake right now
Can you see the moon

If you made a wish
On a moonlit night like this
Would it be
That you and me
Could be together soon
I’d love to know
And can you see the moon

I’ve been tossing, turning, thinking ‘bout you
All night I’ve been burning wondering if you
Feel like I do

Can you see the moon
Shining down to cover you
Imagine this
Is just a kiss
To last the whole night through
And dream baby dream
Yes dream baby dream
And tell me
Can you see the moon
Can you see the moon