Soldier Songs

by Rustin Smith

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about

Midwest songwriter Rustin Smith creates intelligent rock songs from sonic headwaters discovered in a childhood spent spinning 45's from 1960's pop and country to 1980's synth rock.

Having achieved critical accolades with Ardent Records band Satellite Soul and solo indie record Steering Wheel, Smith spent years writing, producing and performing for other artists during his own series of fizzled label deals and unreleased projects. Now Smith has resurfaced with Soldier Songs, eight anthems about war and peace, confession and absolution, desire and lament. The result is a haunting convergence of the intimate and the epic, what we fight for and what we fight about, dramatized in civil war love letters and space fantasies at the mall arcade.

Soldier Songs has found a way to comprehensively give voice to Smith's meandering biography that stretches from the hayfields of Kansas to rock-festival shows to ordination as a local minister.

Songs evokes the self-doubt of the hero (Lovers in a Time of War, Soldier Song) as easily as the illusions of love (Evangeline) and rock-n-roll (I Believe in Tonight). Angels cautions taking matters into one's own hands, while Still Hallelujah is a poignant surrender ("this is what is / so for what is, hallelujah..."). Chains is a first-person tale of the aftershock of liberation, and Last reveals the bitter longing for permanence ("Now that I'm older / it just hurts to dream").

The particularity of it all invites reflection on the past and future, on those near and far-off, on the living and the dead.

For Soldier Songs, Smith rekindled collaboration with producer/engineer James Felver and former Satellite Soul bandmate, drummer Ryan Green (John McKenna Band). Everything else, from guitars and harmonica, piano and synths, bass and vocals are performed by Rustin. The record began as an exercise for creative renewal during a sabbatical season and was completed over a few weeks in the Summer of 2013 as a gift to his church congregation.

Soldier Songs is a noteworthy collection of songs and sounds that will connect the soul of a journeyed artist to an audience listening for deft depth and enduring hooks. Whether traveling by steamboat or rocket-ship, Soldier Songs will prove a faithful soundtrack.

credits

released 24 September 2013

Produced and Recorded by Rustin Smith and James Felver
Mixed and Mastered by James Felver
Drums by Ryan Green
Songs written and performed by Rustin Smith
Artwork: Donna Rimbo
© 2013 Songs for Rocksmyth (ASCAP)
www.rustinsmith.com

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about

Rustin Smith Kansas City, Missouri

Midwest songwriter Rustin Smith creates intelligent rock songs from sonic headwaters discovered in a childhood spent spinning .45's from 1960's pop and country to 1980's synth rock.

Having achieved critical accolades with Ardent Records band Satellite Soul and solo indie record Steering Wheel, Smith released Soldier Songs in late 2013.
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Track Name: Lovers In A Time Of War
I dropped my weapon in a creek bed
Ran clear to write this secret
I was the devil in the moonlight
Waving banners and charging the fight
I was losing my remembrance of the home we made
I got afraid

We’re lovers in a time of war
Who don’t know what they’re fighting for
Who can’t recall what common sense is
While scaling all their barbed-wire fences
Lovers in a time of war, lovers in a time of war

I can dream you waiting on the front steps
The wind blows gently your dress
But I’m gonna have hell to pay dear
For the things I’ve done and seen here
Before this blood was shed we were naive
Now I believe, (in…)

We’re lovers in a time of war
Who don’t know what they’re fighting for
Who can’t recall what common sense is
While scaling all their barbed-wire fences
Lovers in a time of war, lovers in a time of war

Though war may break our bodies
My heart, my thoughts fly to you, dear
If they lay me low in fields of violence
My restless spirit won’t be silenced
Till I’m with you

Before this blood was shed we were naïve… Now I believe

We’re lovers in a time of war
Who don’t know what they’re fighting for
Who can’t recall what common sense is
While scaling all their barbed-wire fences
Lovers in a time of war, lovers in a time of war
We’re not thinking ‘bout tomorrow
Today is just some time we borrow
Lovers in a time of war, lovers in a time of war
Track Name: Angels
Write it down in a letter to home
You can sell it in a storybook
All of the time this battle’s taken from us
Cost more than any ground we took

I used to pray to see my home again
Used to dream about family
I used to pray for a miracle
But now it seems like it’s all up to me

If God won’t send his angels, Tonight we’ll take up wings
We’ll suffer in our glory, While we dream of simple things
If God won’t send his angels, Tonight a choir will sing
And they will tell our story of a freedom that won’t ring
If God won’t send his angels

Earned a chest full of ribbons and brass
And a heavy mind full of doubt
Seems I’ve been bringing this hell so long
I can’t remember what we’re fighting about

Ain’t that the way the old world stays the old world

If God won’t send his angels, Tonight we’ll take up wings
We’ll suffer in our glory, While we dream of simple things
If God won’t send his angels, Tonight a choir will sing
And they will tell our story of a freedom that won’t ring
If God won’t send his angels

Ain’t that the way the old world stays the old world
Ain’t that the way the old world stays the old world

If God won’t send his angels, Tonight we’ll take up wings
We’ll suffer in our glory, While we dream of simple things
If God won’t send his angels, Tonight a choir will sing
And they will tell our story of a freedom that won’t ring

If God won’t send his angels, Tonight we’ll take up wings
Tonight we’ll take up wings
Track Name: Soldier Song
Once upon a time I had a throne
Till I burned it down
Flame and fire in the air
Dust and ashes on the ground

Everybody looked but no one saw
The night we lost it all

Another soldier song
Sing me one about it all gone wrong
How the good guys turned to run
‘Cause we were scared and sick and young
We’re not so strong
But we pretend and so it all goes on
And our secrets in the dark
We don’t sing in soldier songs

In every fairy tale you’re climbing up
On the way you still believe
Darkness isn’t gonna hold you back
Till dark is all that you can see

Then everybody gets to tell your tale
But none are left who know it well

Another soldier song
Sing me one about it all gone wrong
How the good guys turned to run
‘Cause we were scared and sick and young
We’re not so strong
But we pretend and so it all goes on
And our secrets in the dark
We don’t sing in soldier songs

The kingdom comes when kingdoms go
Don’t cry for Camelot
Although we lost a lot
The boys will keep ‘em singing on, and on till kingdom come

And I can’t take…
Another soldier song - Sing me one about it all gone wrong
How the good guys turned to run
‘Cause we were scared and sick and young
We’re not so strong
But we pretend and so it all goes on
And our secrets in the dark
We don’t sing ‘cause we’re not so strong
But we pretend and so it all goes on
And our secrets in the dark
We don’t sing in soldier songs
Track Name: Still Hallelujah
Something is wrong here
Functions are not right
Feelings are missing
Connections are off time

Sparks are flying
Wings are beating
Resistance is futile
The moment is fleeting

Still hallelujah, hallelujah, holy this
This is really happening, this is what is
So for what is, hallelujah, still hallelujah

The girl at the grocery
The girl at the coffee shop
The girl at the cinema
The girl in my mind tonight

Maybe she loves me
Maybe resents me
Maybe I’m handsome
Maybe I hate me

Still hallelujah, hallelujah, holy this
This is really happening, this is what is
So for what is, hallelujah, still hallelujah

Gone down the subway, the moment is new
Lost down the stair flights, lost down the tube
I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m still hearing here. Ah….

I’m still hallelujah, hallelujah, holy this
This is really happening, this is what is
So for what is, hallelujah, still hallelujah
I’m still hallelujah, hallelujah, holy this
This is really happening, this is what is
So for what is, hallelujah, still hallelujah
Still hallelujah
Track Name: Evangeline
I wander in to a dark empty hall
A shuddering light projects on the wall
I’m transfixed by the sight of it all…Evangeline

Her close-up shot is a gathering storm
Bright eyes strike from her thunderous form
But rain won’t come and so we are torn…Evangeline

Remember I tried to believe

Evangeline – I thought you could save me
Up there from you’re silver screen
Don’t I know you’re just a dream
Bright light – Flickering through black night
Star shine wasn’t what it seemed
Don’t I know you’re just a dream, Evangeline?

Easy to please and not very wise
An unknown love is my sacrifice
Burning desires is just paying the price…(for) Evangeline

Falling for her is just falling apart
The end can’t be like it felt at the start
Tonight I wish I could win the heart…(of) Evangeline

Remember when I still believed?

Evangeline – I thought you could save me
Up there from you’re silver screen
Don’t I know you’re just a dream
Bright light – Flickering through black night
Star shine wasn’t what it seemed
Don’t I know you’re just a dream, Evangeline?

When you are asleep tonight and dreaming
Will you dream a dream to set me free? Evangeline

Evangeline – I thought you could save me
Up there from you’re silver screen
Don’t I know you’re just a dream
Bright light – Flickering through black night
Star shine wasn’t what it seemed
Don’t I know you’re just a dream, Evangeline?

Evangeline – I thought you could save me
Up there from you’re silver screen
Don’t I know you’re just a dream
Bright light – Flickering through black night
Star shine wasn’t what it seemed
Don’t I know you’re just a dream, Evangeline?
Track Name: Chains
I’ve been riding these rails in the search of a brand new start
I’ve been dreamin’ ‘bout a raven-haired girl who could break my heart
I hear out west a man’s free anywhere he goes
But right now I just wanna get clear of this Nebraska snow

I was born in chains, And my heart remains
In those cotton plains
But my mind is free, So they can’t bury me
In my chains, in my chains

When I left Lou’siana I was stowin’ on a river barge
Afraid of every single rhythm reminiscent of a soldiers’ march
Left the territory on a borrowed donkey must’ve been three weeks
Now I’m looking for a living with nobody ever looking for me

I was born in chains, and my heart remains
In those cotton plains
But my mind is free, so they can’t bury me
In chains, in my chains

Hallelujah, amazing grace!
God grant that no Southern land will ever see my face
Again, Again

I was born in chains, and my heart remains
In those cotton plains
But my mind is free, so they can’t bury me
In chains, in my chains

I was born in chains, and my heart remains
In those cotton plains
But my mind is free, so they can’t bury me
In chains, in my chains
Track Name: I Believe In Tonight
She said to me, “Do you come in here frequently?”
I paused to think about what my reply should be
No one around this place would ever say I act secretly
I guess I’ve had my hat in hand since I was seventeen

I live without a net out on a wire
Always a candle looking for another fire
I guess I’m still payin’ dues
Still dreaming ‘bout blue suede shoes
Tomorrow’s always gonna be a fight
But I still believe in tonight

When I left home I thought I could make something good
God knows I tried to not run down the neighborhood
But I’ve been shaking down anyone who’d give a half a listen to a song I sung
I end up working so much harder than most anybody else just to have a lot less fun

I live without a net out on a wire
Always a candle looking for another fire
I guess I’m still payin’ dues
Still dreaming ‘bout blue suede shoes
Tomorrow’s always gonna be a fight
But I still believe in tonight

Tonight – I can’t live in tomorrows that never come
Tonight – I can’t carry the sorrows from what’s been done
All you are is you – and all I am is me
So I sing, So I sing

I live without a net out on a wire
I’m always the candle singing, ‘baby, light my fire’
I guess I’m still payin’ dues
Still dreaming ‘bout blue suede shoes
Tomorrow’s always gonna be a fight
But I still believe, ‘cause I live without a net out on a wire
Always a candle looking for another fire
I guess I’m still payin’ dues
Still dreaming ‘bout blue suede shoes
Tomorrow’s always gonna be a fight
But I still believe in tonight
I still believe in tonight
Track Name: Last
When I was young I was wild and aching
If only mostly on the inside
I was afraid and that was not mistaken
For life’s a perilous and lonesome ride

So I went hiding out in caves and shadows
Waiting for my enemies to come
I sharpened blades and imagined battles
Where I would prove I was the righteous one.

Now I just want to lay her down
In fields of my long past
In meadows of a summer gone
Maybe that’s where love can last

And if I wait behind
I won’t make a sound
When she lays her robes aside
I won’t take her crown

When I was young I was wild and aching
Now that I’m older it just hurts to dream
Of friends and family now time’s forsaken
And I’m not even who I once believed
Nobody’s ever who they seem

Now I just want to lay her down
In fields of my long past
In meadows of a summer gone
Maybe that’s where love can last
Now I just want to lay her down
In fields of my long past
In meadows of a summer gone
Maybe that’s where love can last

When I was young I was wild and aching
Now that I’m older it just hurts to dream