Twisted Highway

Notes

This song sort of sums up the whole album in a lot of ways.  Twisted Highway is the process of learning more self awareness, and self acceptance. Writing songs over the years has forced me to do a lot of self reflection, and I haven’t always liked what I see. I really needed to change my way of thinking though. I chose to focus on the negatives within myself. I really needed to stop and take a look at what’s good in my life. I have a lot of love in my life and I have had some truly beautiful experiences and opportunities. I was so focused on where I was going and looking into my past instead of appreciating where my life was at. Going forward never stops. I don’t really have to propel myself. I need to smell the flowers, taste the food, and see the beauty around me.

Drums: Patrick Hallahan
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: Sam Kearney
Guitar: David Pulkingham
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

Lyrics

It's been a long and twisted highway
Through so many setting suns
I couldn't settle down and plant my feet upon the ground
There was always so much to be done
Oh my fingers how they bled
From gripping on so tight for so long
My calloused hands had cracked so deep
Cracks when right on down to the bone
Then I gazed and I was so amazed

Oh I've been so blind I could not see what was right in front of me
Can you hear my heartbeat it pounds on just like a drum
I've been frozen in my tracks but my spirits fire in the sun

And where do I go off to now
I'm trying so hard to grow
With each new situation
I'm challenging my hesitation
Trying to fulfill this life I'm living
And accept that things are changing
Let go of what drags me down and useless information
And oh my fingers how they bled
From gripping on so tight for so long
And then I let my spirit fly away to see from a different point of view
And then I gazed and I was so amazed

Oh I've been so blind I could not see what was right in front of me
Can you hear my heartbeat it pounds on just like a drum
I've been frozen in my tracks but my spirits fire in the sun

 

Extraordinary Love

Notes

This song is really a continued theme. It’s a mantra of self love. The words could seem like analogies but it's pretty biographical. I went down to the Amazon jungle on a trip in 2015 right before the last Heartless Bastards record Restless Ones was released. I was at a point where I was deeply unhappy, and on a whim, I decided to do an Ayahuasca retreat. Despite the idea frightening me, I felt I needed something to change within me so bad that I had nothing to lose. It really opened the door and started me on a path to many self realizations. The band decided to take a hiatus the following year and I spent quite a bit of time hiking and reflecting in the mountains of West Texas in Big Bend National Park. That’s where a lot of the ideas for the album came to me, and I spent the next year working on it. The song is the realization I do everything in my life for love. We all want to be liked and to give and receive love. If I can’t be kind and loving to myself how can I expect anybody else to. It starts with me. I find the most extraordinary thing is to be truly compassionate to yourself.

Drums: Patrick Hallahan
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: Sam Kearney
Guitar: David Pulkingham
Guitar: Lucas Oswald
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

 

Lyrics

Been so long out on the open road
I barely touched the ground
Blinded I was slowly floundering toward the sun
Maybe it was curiosity, a search for love, or identity
I didn't know just what I was looking for
And oh I climbed a mountain,
And I went down into the Jungle
To fill in the colors of my mind
And I drank a potion and there I saw my life in motion
And it was so clear for me to see

I want to feel extraordinary love
A love that always echoes through my mind
I want to feel extraordinary love
A love that only comes from with inside

When you’re living your life in constant motion remember to breathe
Feel the earth between your heels and toes and just breathe
I was always in such a hurry that my head would spin and the signs were blurry
Oh it was so hard for me to see
Oh and I was searching for a place to feel at home
A place where I could breathe
And oh I found that I needed to slow down
Then it was so clear for me to see

I want to feel extraordinary love
A love that always echoes through my mind I want to feel extraordinary love
A love that only comes from within side

 

 

Letting Go

Notes

Once again a similar theme. Learning to be present. Letting go of what doesn’t serve me anymore. I came to the realization that we all as human beings have an inner struggle. Sometimes even people that have so much are hard on themselves with a sense of guilt. We’re all just doing the best we can in each moment.  Some maybe more consciously than others. Perhaps it’s my limited perspective, but I feel it’s the human condition. An ancient feeling.

Drums: Matt Strmiska
Percussion: Danny Reisch
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: Kelly Doyle
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

 

Lyrics

Come along with me my friend
It doesn't matter where you've been
We've all got shadows in the sun
A simple thought to ease your mind
The load is what you let it be
A simple thought to ease your mind
Oh I have awoken here and now from an ancient dream
Where the truth it lies in the spaces that you find in between
Oh the signs are there for you clearly
Let your heart guide you to be free

Oh I'm letting go as the days go by
Letting go of what doesn't matter
And I’m searching for all the good things in my life
Letting go of what doesn't matter

I've been spending a lot of time alone
And I don't mind because this time has shown me
The world can take me as I am
So deeply flawed and loving kind
I'm just like everybody else
So deeply flawed and loving kind
Oh I have awoken here and now from an ancient dream
Where the truth it lies in the spaces that you find in between
Oh the signs are there for you clearly
Let your heart guide you to be free

I'm letting go as the days go by
Oh I'm letting go of what doesn't matter
And I’m searching for all the good things in my life
Letting go of what doesn't matter

I turned around and I found myself in the here and now
And I whispered softly you're gonna be alright

 

 

Time

Lyrics

I've been wandering round Mother Nature
On the back of Father Time
I've got no more destinations
Now I'm ready to truly begin
Oh love is all around you
You just got to open up your eyes
I’ve been learning to trust myself with no hesitation
Oh I've been my own worst enemy all this time
Time
Sunshine is calling my name
It's time for the seasons of change
With love comes pain and joy
I needed to fill this void in my life
And I don't know where I'm going but I know I'm moving on
I had this empty room
It seemed there was nothing that could fill it
No material things or people
It was made of brick and stone
But a light came through the window
I took another look around
I had everything here I've ever needed
It was all right here inside
Sunshine is calling my name
It's time for the seasons of change
With love comes pain and joy
I needed to fill this void in my life
And I don't know where I'm going but I'm moving on

Notes

Sometimes I feel a sense of anxiety with time. “What direction do I take?" “What turn will make me live the best?" At times this feeling paralyzes me. “What if I make a wrong choice?” I realized I have to learn to trust my gut and be ok with making mistakes too. It’s like the thought it’s better to try and fail than to sit in fear and inaction. This relates anywhere from following my dreams to taking chances on a romantic interest. Just following my heart in general. And once again this goes along with being more present in my life. Seeing moments for what they are and not what I want them to be or become. I also have self medicated a bit in my life and the more I tried to live a healthy sober existence I found myself over exercising or taking my healthy habits to an extreme which I found to be very bad for me also. Letting go of control of my life in a way has given me a lot more of a sense of peace and in some ways actually more control.

Drums: Patrick Hallahan
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: David Pulkingham
Violin and Viola: Kyleen King
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

 

Be Good To Yourself

Lyrics

When you're hanging on the line
And the weight is pulling you under
Hold tight like always the winds change
Oh you can always rearrange

There is no doubt in my mind
Oh I know you can get through this time
Just remember be good to yourself

When you’re standing in the doorway
If you listen closely you'll hear
There's a voice inside you
Telling you not to fear
Cause oh like always the winds change
Oh you can always rearrange

There is no doubt in my mind
Oh I know you can get through this time
Just remember be good to yourself

All I can offer you my friend
Are the stories I've lived
and the places I've been
Cause I haven't been very good to myself
I haven't been very good to myself

Notes

This is just another comforting mantra that is similar to songs above. This song I wrote as a comforting message directly to others, and it bounced back to me and I find myself consistently comforted by it.

Drums: Patrick Hallahan
Percussion: Patrick Hallahan and Danny Reisch
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: David Pulkingham
Organ: Lucas Oswald
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

 

Staring Out The Window

Notes

Is about a pattern established when I was young that when I’m around someone in a dark mood or full of anger or just unkind to me I’ve tended to look inward and wonder what I’ve done to cause the situation, like “surely it must be my fault”,  but a lot of times it really has nothing to do with me. It was a deep insecurity within me. Staring out the window is a reference to me looking at the world through my eyes with my limited view and perspective. Not understanding what healthy behavior is. Then the process of growth with the realization that accepting negative behavior towards me in my longing to feel love and acceptance condones it. Sometimes we feel comfortable around people that aren’t good for us because they feel familiar, but that can be the unhealthy pattern. As far as how I developed that pattern I don’t feel a need to explain or lay blame as we all are products of our environment. The important step for me was to understand the connection of why I had the unhealthy patterns in my life. Learning how to love myself more had me asking the question of what kind of person do I want to share my time with, I have a choice. And in those situations where a negative person is or has been unavoidable at least I have now come the understanding not to take it personally and I have developed a lot of compassion for how they must feel inside. And I asked myself the question what do I really want to do with this time I have here in this life. How can I make my life more meaningful.

Drums: Keith Lough
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: Kelly Doyle
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

Lyrics

As I grew under starry eyes of the sky
Living and learning longing for contact
I had one foot glued down and a shake in the knee it's an odd little dance
Constricted condition
For so long I took to silence
I didn't understand what it was that I did
Now I'm looking at the world in a different way
And I realized there's been so much that I’ve really wanted to say
I began to understand where I've come from
It's not me it's not me it is you it is you
It's not me it's not me it is you it is you
And oh my heart flows on like a river into the ocean tides ebbing and flowing
I remain open tossing and turning staring out the window
Ahh staring out the window
For so long I took to silence
I didn't understand what it was that I did
Oh I was a natural disaster
Didn't even know what I was running from or after,
And does any of it even really matter now
My head was so high up in the rafters
What the hell do I really want in my life
And who the hell do I really want in my life
Want to be among good people that make you feel good
That don't make you feel so misunderstood
And sometimes it's so much easier said than done
It's not me it's not me it is you it is you
It's not me it's not me it is you it is you
Ahh staring out the window
Ahh staring out the window

 

Good To Be Alone

Notes

I wrote this one right after a long tour, and with it being one of the last ones the band did before our hiatus, I had quite a lot to think about. I did a big hike that day in Big Bend and the seeds for the idea were planted. I was so thankful  for that time alone to recharge and ponder. This song expresses how deeply introverted I can be at times and how sometimes I just need to step away and take sometime for myself.

Drums: Patrick Hallahan
Percussion: Danny Reisch
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: Lauren Gurgiolo
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

Lyrics

It feels so good to be alone
It feels so good to be alone
Feels so good to be alone
It feels so good to be on my own
Gonna take a little time
Gonna take it easy
Gonna take a little time
Gonna take it easy

I don't want to spend the rest of my life this way I needed a change
You know I couldn't remain the same
I don't want to spend the rest of my life this way I needed a change
You know I couldn't remain the same
I walk around this crowded town I had to re find my way
You know I couldn't remain the same
What it is, what it is, what it is
Don't fight the change with in

It feels so good to be alone
It feels so good to be on my own
And oh I'm going to rest my bones sitting here at home
It feels good
And oh I'm going to rest my bones sitting here at home
It feels nice yeah
Gonna take a little time
Gonna take it easy
Gonna take a little time
Gonna take it easy

I don't want to spend the rest of my life this way I needed a change
You know I couldn't remain the same
I don't want to spend the rest of my life this way I needed a change
You know I couldn't remain the same
I walk around this crowded town and I had to refine my way
You know I couldn't remain the same
What it is, what it is, what it is
Don't fight the change with in
Oh I'm going to rest my bones sitting here at home
It feels good
Oh I'm going to rest my bones sitting here at home
It feels nice yeah

 

Like A Bird

Notes

Is about how I have put up barriers in my life. I’ve had a lot of trust issues and in trying to protect myself I have kept myself from real joy. This isn’t specifically in a romantic sense. It’s broader than that. It’s letting go of the ego and trying my best to put all me out there without questioning myself. And people can take it or leave it.

Drums: Patrick Hallahan
Percussion: Danny Reisch
Bass: Jesse Ebaugh
Guitar: Jason Cardenas
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

Lyrics

I don't want to be lonely anymore
So I opened up my heart to the world
I walked through the rain
It washed all the dark away
Lights danced upon my face
And there to remain
All this self-protection built a wall inside of me
I'm gonna open up and let the good things come I was like a bird without a song
It was so hard to move on
I’m gonna open up and let the good things come

I will find my strength in the storm
I will find my strength through the storm

I walked through the rain
It washed all the dark away
Lights danced upon my face
And there to remain
All this self-protection built a wall inside of me
I'm gonna open up and let the good things come I was like a bird without a song
It was so hard to move on
I’m gonna open up and let the good things come

All these waves of emotion have taken over me
A new sense of elation for a time that's past and gone
All this self protection built a wall inside of me
I'm gonna open up and let the good things come
I was like a bird without a songIt was so hard to move on
I’m gonna open up and let the good things come

 

Gravity

Notes

I’ve been going through physical therapy for quite a while from issues from playing guitar and some other accumulative issues from so much touring over the years. While I was writing the song I thought a lot about how someone carries themselves posture wise has a lot to do with how they feel inside. As I worked on mending myself physically I began working on my inner self. It’s about this process of learning more self awareness on the inside and out. My journey through recovery. I’m still a work in progress but that’s ok.

Drums and Percussion: Danny Reisch
Guitar: Lauren Gurgiolo
Violin and Viola: Kyleen King
Guitar and Vocals: Erika Wennerstrom

Lyrics

I want to grow old gracefully
I want to live my days tastefully
Feels like I've only just begun
On this long trip I've been on so long
See my bones were weak and the fibers that hold them together
Twisted through time like the branches of a tree
Beginning to know myself in a way I've never known
Getting to be myself in a way I've never shown

I want to feel as light as the summer breeze
I'm starting to feel like my good days are ahead of me
I'm ready for whatever life brings to me
I'm learning to relax under gravity
Feels like I've only just begun
On this long trip I've been on so long
I was so afraid of change I had fear in my heart
I was so afraid of change where do I start
Getting to know myself in a way I've never known
Getting to be myself in a way I've never shown
I want to feel as light as the summer breeze
I'm starting to relax under gravity