One Crazy Summer – pt. 1

10325383_10152665584917518_2608737620932867792_nJust got back from the final leg of this marathon of a summer. I guess it wouldn’t be called that by everyone, but when it involves three Girls Rock Camps and driving several thousand miles in a noble vehicle whose pushing 300k, well it ends up feeling quite epic.

The most recent stint was Girls Rock Camp Houston. What a week! Probably my most talented and cooperative two bands I’ve coached in the 5 years I’ve been doing these things, although I feel like I short-changed my keyboard class this year. Amazing showcase, and we even had friends and fam travel an hour plus (shout out to the Lufkin contingency) to make it to the showcase. GRC is such a powerful movement and container for so much I believe in, and well worth another week of exhaustion.

While Liz and I were out in Houston, we did manage to squeeze in a couple of Shiz gigs with the fellas. Hidden Village at the Standpipe on Friday night (QUI QUI!!) and the ever so majestic Vinal Edge Saturday, attended by two of the three magnificent Mydolls (good lord I am moved by those women!) Trish said she would’ve made it but she can’t stand the “Whites in the Heights” people. LOL! Can’t say I’m hatin’ over here. But I did get in some quality time with Linda and Dianna, including some blues at the Boom Boom Room complete with a fantastic pesto turkey and avocado pannini!

So that was Houston. Think I’ll have to offer up another entry for what came before that……

to be continued….


The Shiz: Meet You in the Morning (2013)

Produced by The Shiz and TJ Barends
Recorded in Bogalusa, LA by Ben Mumphrey for Studio in the Country and Hammond, LA TJ Barends for Sir-Reel Studios.
Copyright: Elysium House Music 2013, ASCAP

“Meet You in the Morning” co-produced by The Shiz and TJ Barends (Bare Sounds Productions at Sir-Reel Studios, Hammond, LA) is an ambitious 70 minute 14 song opus with a wide ebb and flow reminiscent of Tom Petty (one of the band’s most obvious heroes) from his “Wildflower” days. Singles include “Juggernaut,” “Driftin’, ” and “For the People” from Hogan, and “New Jim Crow” and “Sleep Baby, Slumber” from Lewis. But as with any album conceived project, the songs, diverse as they are, belong to each other, and are held together by the quartet’s “electric chamber music” approach and Barends’ roots based sensibilities, yielding a youthful, transparent authenticity to the relatively mature and nuanced collection. Challenging industry and ideology from the BP Oil Spill to the prison industrial complex, the themes are both topical and existential in nature, and rely on their southern/bluesy roots to keep the much of the most weighted material in a context of light touch confrontation. A notable exception to this, however, is the 7 minute tone poem “Boxcar,” a song written by Lewis and Hogan after experiencing an exhibit of the same name at a Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, FL in 2012.

The deluxe edition of the recording, only available for download at theshiz.bandcamp.com, includes a studio outtake of “Broken Wings, ” the only original love song in the band’s repertoire to date. When asked about the glaring the absence love-based themes in their writing, Lewis mentions that so many of the love songs she knows “don’t seem to be about love of the requited variety.” She says sometimes their most political action is “just showing up as themselves” as they’re Uncle Sam had once put it, and since she and Hogan are currently lucky enough to enjoy a relationship that actually works, they are free to use their music to work on other ideas like personal sovereignty and redemption.

The album features a number of worthy collaborations, most notable are the contributions of violinist Andrew Robin and guitarist Owen Scott, III. Owen Scott, a friend and former band mate of the late B52′s founding member Ricky Wilson, is a fellow Athens, GA native who left the city the same year Lewis was born. Lewis recruited Scott after a coincidental meeting in Baton Rouge, LA, just as the band was going into pre-production on the new album. Owen is featured on “New Jim Crow” and “For the People,” along with the decidedly Athens / REM influenced “The Rapture.”


Anybody Anymore

jamie comes home with her face bashed in
her sister looks her over with a mischievous grin
“so you went to get screwed by him again,
you’re so f*ing crazy.”

jessie’s at the bar with her ears still wet
she talks real hard so the hustlers forget
she ain’t even got a driving license yet
she’s still just a baby

doesn’t anybody wanna know what the hell’s goin’ on?
doesn’t anybody ever notice when something’s gone wrong?
doesn’t anybody believe in love anymore?

jenny asked the preacher what the good lord said
his hand went up her skirt said he could show her instead
said if he could have her writhing in his bed
she’d be a believer

jimmy told his daddy that he thought he was gay
his daddy told him that he’d go to hell one day
jimmy said he’d rather choose that price to pay
than be a deceiver

he said doesn’t anybody wanna know what the hell’s goin’ on?
doesn’t anybody ever notice that something’s gone wrong?
doesn’t anybody believe in love anymore?


Backside (Not Your Baby Girl)

Please don’t think me civilized
Please don’t leave me patronized
Please don’t think I’ll compromise
I’m not your baby girl

Please don’t try to analyze me
You can’t help but fantasize
But I won’t buy your sack of lies
I’m not your baby girl

I’m a woman on the run
I have so much to be done
Purpose is my number one
I’m not your baby girl

Don’t tell me I’m out of line
I can’t mend your broken mind
But watch me break your paradigm
I’m not your baby girl

You can’t see me
You couldn’t if you tried
You’re luck if you catch a shadow of my backside.


Boxcar

bending back
over the burden
of crossings and crosses
burning my fortunate eyes
and if i could i surely would
breathe a little lighter
but i’m overcome

terror takes
too many hands to
make me believe what the
looking glass tells me i fear
and if i could i surely would
fight a little harder
but i’m overcome

empty eyes
once filled with crystals and reverie
and love for their fathers
broken backs
under the weight of it all
and if i could i surely would
stand dream a little wider
yeah, if i could i surely would
stand a little taller
but i’m overcome


Broken Wings

put your head in the mouth
of your failure
and let’s see if you survive

put your head in the mouth
of your fear and doubt
and let’s watch you try to stay alive

i’ll put my face in the mirror
i’ll reflect what I see
cause so much of what you are
is what i want to be

put your head in the mouth
of my witness, of my love
and let’s see if we can finally
watch our sunrise

i have walked on this journey
for a long time now
but i can still taste the burden
of this exile

so if i break, if i shatter,
if i leak out on the ground
you just drink from the waters
of the wild

if you make me a promise
and you walk at my pace sometimes
we won’t beg any pardon
for who we’re gonna be

i put my head in the mouth
of this kindness, of this rest
so we can see if we will finally
watch our sunrise

We can sing
With broken wings
We will sing
With our broken wings


Burn in the Fire

are you a catcher of the song
or do you hold your heroes far too long
are you a helpless little man
or is the a fire in your hand

well the flame don’t cast a shadow when it burns
and the shame don’t pass for shallow when it churns
and you make the heart hallowed when you learn

you wanna shine brighter
if you wanna shine brighter
you’re gonna have to burn in the fire
if you wanna climb higher
you’re gonna have to burn in the fire

how many secrets can you hold
before you know your story must be told
are you a tired little girl
or have you yet to light the world

well the earth don’t feel the tremble when it turns
but the ash might turn to ember when it yearns
you can carry what you kindle when you learn

so if you wanna shine brighter
you’re gonna have to burn in the fire
if you wanna climb higher
you’re gonna have to burn in the fire


Fill My Cup

It’s 6 am again and i’m trying to get all of it down
I’m waking up again to the frequence in this sequence of sound
And true to the waters below my river runs more quick when its hot
But I take it minute by minute just to handle what’s in it
Catch the angle to untangle the knot

All I ever get to say doesn’t matter anyway
Perfect little make believe took me to the heaven on the sea
All I ever want to say doesn’t matter anyway
Perfect little make believe made it so I took you into me

Chorus
You fill my cup (I could fill your garden)
And it wets the floor (I could fill your garden)
You fill my cup (I could fill your garden)
Doesn’t hurt anymore (I could fill your garden)

It’s 6 am again and the black dots buzz
In my head I’m waking up again to the
quaking and the breaking of bread
Cause true to the waters below
my river runs more quick when its hot

Still I take it minute by minute, got to handle what’s in it
Let the current show me what i got

All I ever had to say doesn’t matter anyway

Perfect little make believe, couldn’t see the forest for the trees
All I ever had to say doesn’t matter anyway
Perfect little make believe, all I ever wanted was to breathe
(inhale, exhale)

Chorus


Good as Gold

tear me up if you want to
i have nothing left to say
tear me down if you have to
i was breaking anyways

tell a lie, it can’t hurt me
so and so with such and such
to tell the truth, it’s all empty
and i can only take so much

what good is gold
to one who only wears silver
what good is silver
to one who only treasures brass
i ask my myself but
my heart it only beats bewildered
and what good’s a heart
if it’s only made of glass

it’s as good as gold

i’ve always been a great big fan of justice
it’s just its always had a price
sometimes we get lost in the lines between our sense of judgement
so judgement’s never as precise

i wish we all had a little curiosity
maybe just a little more
i wish we wouldn’t be so quick to pick what we believe in
and miss the good things knocking at the door cause

what good is gold
to one who only wears silver
what good is silver
to one who only treasures brass
i ask my myself but
my heart it only beats bewildered
and what good’s a heart
if it’s only made of glass

it’s as good as gold


Grey Girl

Grey girl
Somebody ate your soul
No bite, just swallowed whole
Somebody ate your soul

Grey girl
Hustler sold you a line
That bargain made you blind
Hustler sold you a line

Suck on that empty bottle please until it milks you
I don’t know what to think but time, it’s gonna get you

Grey girl
I think you think you’re hot
Or just something you’re not
Maybe you’re nothing

Grey girl
There’s something up your sleeve
You come and then you leave
There’s something up your sleeve

You take the hits in bits that break you til you’re tender
You get your fix for kicks but one day you’ll surrender
Grey girl