Make An Honest Stand

by Kevin Heider

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1.
Freedom is a blessing, too much is a curse The ones who drink the most are the ones who die of thirst So take what you need, leave the rest on the shelf Maybe think about somebody else There's a new wave of anger coming down the line It's a sideways sort of justice, and it's stealing all our time Before you go off fighting, try to collect yourself Maybe think about somebody else My cynicism tells me that people never change That the new world is the old world slightly rearranged I could take the love I've got and spend it on myself Or I could think about somebody else
2.
Get Together 04:50
If I was a question, what kind of question would I be? The kind, perhaps, impossible to answer honestly? Maybe I'd be hypothetical, or do you think I would be A question for the listener, one full of irony? Would I be a setup for some candidate's demise A question that's quite tricky, but straightforward in disguise? I ask 'cause when we're talking, it's like the world is going to end Well, when it does, will there be anybody left to start again? I don't think such questions are healthy for our brains I think they exponentiate our drama and our pain Yes, the apocalypse is never far away But you'll fare better if you aren't always afraid So I think we should Get together And listen to some records like they did Way back when people sold records Honey, I don't pretend that I've got all the answers Ooh, why don't we Get together And have a conversation like they did Way back when people had conversations And I won't pretend that I've got all the answers If I was an animal, oh, what would I be? I think I'd like to be a monkey, honey Swinging through the trees I could run for public office I could swing from town to town Make far too many promises while hanging upside down I could have an honest slogan Like "He'll Slap You In The Face" Go corporate with my platform as I move into first place But don't worry, honey, I don't really want to rule I'd never run, I'm a monkey, not a fool And I would rather Get together And listen to some records like they did Way back when people sold records Honey, I won't pretend that I've got all the answers Ooh, why don't we Get together And have a conversation like they did Way back when people had conversations And I won't pretend that I've got all the answers Because I don't If I was a third verse when the first one was too long And the second had a metaphor absurd and overdrawn Would I dare to be different? If so, how would I begin If it seemed my author long ago deemed brevity a sin? Perhaps, if the third verse gets the coveted last word I'd be obliged to unite the incoherence that you've heard I think the discourse has been tragically misled But why beat a horse when it's already dead Oh, when we could Get together Oh, we need to get together Oh, come on, let's get together
3.
Slow Down 03:49
I'd like to take a moment I won't tell you my name But I have eyes and I have seen And felt Gehenna's flame Yes, I am a sinner A lost fish and a fool It's hard to navigate the waters In this muddy pool To me it is so obvious But it might be news to you It don't matter what color the man If he's red or if he's blue If you believe in what he says Then don't trust your own ears You're the master of your purse And he's just selling fear So slow down Slow down You're the master of your purse And he's just selling fear We are all just pilgrims Wandering this earth So it is and always will be Until our rebirth We're all bent and broken Birds that ain't got wings To those at the top, well Those below don't mean a thing Yes, up the chain of this command The blind lead the blind You can change the voice that's leading 'em on But you cannot change their minds Oh, and when the blind start swingin' And they cut you and you bleed Don't give in to your hatred Or you ain't never gonna be free Just slow down Slow down Don't give in to your hatred Or you ain't never gonna be free Way back in the garden God was on our side We ate the fruit and ever since We've been trying to hide We didn't want the burden Of the blame upon our back So we put it on our rib instead But the weight caused it to crack And if there's one thing that I've learned One thing that I know Just like all their lowly peasants Kings, they come and go So if you see them two roads split Take the one less trodden on Forgiveness is a heavy thing But you'll need it when you're gone I said, slow down Slow down Forgiveness is a heavy thing But you'll need it when you're gone I said, forgiveness is a heavy thing But you'll need it when you're gone I said, forgiveness is a heavy thing But you'll need it when you're gone
4.
Back when the pulse of our people was young We took the land by the light of the gun We broke their bread, then burned their villages down But we never let the flag touch the ground We whitewashed their cultures and made them convert Knelt on their necks while they were down in the dirt On to Reservations we sent them all down But not once did we let the flag touch the ground We beat 'em until they were all bloody red Worked 'em until they all wished they were dead Sold their wives and their kids to a field out of town But we never let the flag touch the ground We called 'em to service when we needed 'em to fight Put 'em in trenches to freeze through the night Told 'em "We need your sacrifice now" Told 'em not to let the flag touch the ground We gave 'em more rights while we screamed "Segregate!" We beat 'em and hosed 'em to show 'em their place Made the front for the white and the back for the brown But we never let the flag touch the ground Now the old Crow still flies, though he's much more discreet And those who can see him are out in the street Does every life really matter? Should the statues come down? How long can we keep the flag off the ground? 'Cause when the children cross over that southern divide We take their mothers and fathers and feel justified We scar them for life just for coming around But we never dare let the flag touch the ground I once heard a song, sounded more like a poem Or a prophecy warning the people of Rome They ignored justice and so freedom fell That's why there's a crack in the Liberty Bell And now that I'm older, it weighs on my soul All the unlived ideals, all the freedom we stole Our history's song is soaked in the sound Of our brothers' blood crying out from the ground In all of this violence, is God on our side? Or is He nailed to the wood of the beams in our eyes? Is our cause always just and our strategy sound As long as we don't let the flag touch the ground?
5.
Independence 04:32
When I left Independence, I was just a kid Mostly unaware of the world and all it hid I left for California to pan the streams for gold When I left Independence, I was 17 years old When I left my family to go out on my own I condemned my father to work the fields alone I was bound for glory and my own claim to stake But when I got to California, I'd gotten here too late If you've ever known true hunger, you know what it can do The things I did for money, they changed me through and through Treasure is a tricky thing, if you seek it you might find That you've left Missouri dirt for the California kind The young men who rode with me on the village raids There were so many orphans and widows that we made The violence sanctioned by the State was calculated, it was cold Here in California I got 30 pieces for my soul It's hard to tell my story when I've so much left to live When I think of my father, I hope he can forgive me It's hard for me to reconcile who I was, who I became A slave to my ambition, the devil's favorite game Come sunrise tomorrow, by God's grace I'll depart I'm leaving California with an aching in my heart Please grant me absolution, Father, for all these things I've done And I'll work out my penance on the trail to Oregon
6.
How can I Know what I think all of the time When I haven't had time to think And sort my scattered mind? How can I Do what is right all of the time When what is right shifts and disrupts my paradigm? 'Cause in a world where fools and cynics Love to cast their stones While the burden of the proof Remains willfully unknown Where facts or formed from fiction And the truth is bent with ease How can I raise the flag and love my enemies? I'm trying hard to be a better man All I can do is make an honest stand How can I Love like I should, when my heart Is dry as wood, petrified in 30 feet of ash? How can I Run the good race when what I need is Someone to break both my legs and throw me on their back? 'Cause in a world where fools and cynics Try to bar the golden door To keep out the huddled masses The tired and the poor Where the homeless long for shelter From the chaos of the squalls How can I raise the flag and love beyond its walls? I'm trying hard to be a better man All I can do is make an honest stand 'Cause in a world where fools and cynics Put men below the bottom line As towns fall to addiction And their spirits slowly die While families fall to pieces And their homes to disrepair How can I raise the flag when even I don't seem to care enough To make an honest stand? I could try harder to be a better man

about

This 6-song collection of acoustic-driven tunes plays as an examination of our collective conscience. American history, the state of the discourse, the constant struggle for liberty and justice for all — they’re all thoughtfully considered with a proper "penitential memory."

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released October 23, 2020

All songs written, recorded, produced, and mixed by Kevin Heider; mastered by Mike Ofca at Innovation Studios. Album photography, artwork, and design by Kevin Heider.

© Copyright 2020 by Kevin Heider

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Kevin Heider Dayton, Ohio

Creator + host of the popular Song & Story podcast, Kevin Heider is a singer-songwriter from Dayton, Ohio.

Whether he's writing hymns or drinking songs, his music is imbued with an earnest social consciousness.

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