Don't Tell Me What To Sing About

by Jess Silk

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1.
It seems like everywhere I turn there’s another who won’t learn From past mistakes they’ve made It seems like everywhere I go there’s another one who knows Which path I should now take And they say, “It’s best for everyone if you stop writing protest songs ‘Cause there is not one thing you’ll ever change” And they say, “Learn from your history; this is how life is for you and me I promise you it’s always been that way” Oh but I can’t believe that this is all there is for you and me They say life’s not fair, but it’s easier for those who just don’t care Please stop the world ‘cause I want to get off And coping with it’s taking all the words that I have got Please stop the world ‘cause you’re dragging me down And listen when I ask politely Don’t tell me what to sing about It seems like every other day there’s a promise that they break And we can’t do a thing They seem to think that we’ve been beat and when we’re marching down the street Pretend we don’t exist And they say, “I don’t like politics to interfere with my music” Well me, I don’t like sugar in my tea So now I play and write and sing and yeah, I hope that I might change something But in the end I write these songs for me Because I can;t escape all the lies and empty promises they make When I can’t see the light the only thing that helps me is to write about it Please stop the world ‘cause I want to get off And coping with it’s taking all the words that I have got Please stop the world ‘cause you’re dragging me down And listen when I ask politely Don’t tell me what to sing about Well, I’ve been doing this since I was a kid When I found the only thing that helps me is to sing Much better than breaking down oh To get it written down upon the page All the happiness, the fear and the rage Makes one less thing to think about Please stop the world ‘cause I want to get off And coping with it’s taking all the words that I have got Please stop the world ‘cause you’re dragging me down And listen when I ask politely Don’t tell me what to sing Please stop the world ‘cause I want to get off And coping with it’s taking all the words that I have got Please stop the world ‘cause you’re dragging me down And listen when I ask politely Don’t tell me what to sing about
2.
If home is where the heart is then my home moves ‘round a lot From the cities to the campfires to the little town where I grew up No matter where I travel you’re open arms will be enough If home is where the heart is it’s with the people that I love Another day another train Still got the urge to run away To all the places on my list and all the people that I miss Soon it’ll be time to go again Another night another town I’m still not ready to slow down All these stations look the same though the names and the faces change But there are still friends there in the crowd If home is where the heart is then my home moves ‘round a lot From the cities to the campfires to the little town where I grew up No matter where I travel you’re open arms will be enough If home is where the heart is it’s with the people that I love Another bar another drink A shipwrecked boat on which to sink But down together we will go and we’ll always have a hand to hold Even standing at the brink Another field another fire Raise a glass around the pyre To absent friends that couldn’t stay but never leave us all the same And sing the chorus with the choir If home is where the heart is then my home moves ‘round a lot From the cities to the campfires to the little town where I grew up No matter where I travel you’re open arms will be enough If home is where the heart is it’s with the people that I love And I rarely stop to notice Just how lucky I am I get to travel to each corner of this country Singing songs guitar in hand And I’ve got miles and miles behind me And I’ve got many more to go And I’m so grateful every time I get to meet up With the friends that I’ve come to know Well, If home is where the heart is then my home moves ‘round a lot From the cities to the campfires to the little town where I grew up No matter where I travel you’re open arms will always be enough If home is where the heart is then my home moves ‘round a lot From the cities to the campfires to the little town where I grew up No matter where I travel you’re open arms will be enough If home is where the heart is it’s with the people that I love If home is where the heart is it’s with the people that I love Yeah, If home is where the heart is it’s with the people that I love
3.
When I was younger I would always ask the questions: “Is this okay?” or, “Does this sound right to you?” But now I’ve realised that it doesn’t really matter After all, it’s me who’s playing this, it’s what I always do But now I’ve hit a question in everything that I’ve found What would this all become if I wrote it all down? I ask you Is this poetry? These words I sing have come to me through what I’ve done and what I’ve seen and who I want to be Yeah, is this poetry? Because I don’t know what that means It seems I can’t write anything except for what I see Well, is this poetry? Nowadays it seems the lyrics just don’t matter to them It’s all just record deals and who judges like the best But I need something that articulates a message to me something that makes me feel the beating in my chest Well I’ve found that there’s still something that really hits me in my heart It’s when someone sings their own words to the sound of their battered old guitar I ask you Is this poetry? These words I sing have come to me through what I’ve done and what I’ve seen and who I want to be Yeah, is this poetry? Because I don’t know what that means It seems I can’t write anything except for what I see Well, is this poetry? Poets of old well they put their words to music It brought us all together and we danced Now all that’s left is computer effects They just don't give the words a chance Well is this what’s become or poetry? If it is I want no part And there may not be crowds in front of me but I still sing this from my heart Well I ask you Is this poetry? These words I sing have come to me through what I’ve done and what I’ve seen and who I want to be Yeah, is this poetry? Because they don’t know what that means To some this won’t mean anything But it means something to me Well, is this poetry?
4.
Well, he's lingered here too long heard another song start without a moment’s delay The picture on the screen’s hardly what it seems Just another game for him to play And the coffee that’s running through his veins well, it keeps him awake Back when he was young his dad owned a gun that was always hanging on the wall He’d get into fights, nowhere left to hide Bloody face but still standing tall Now for thirty-odd years he's been neatly avoiding the call to his father’s old shop with the Winchester gun on the wall Now his basement smells like bourbon and a half finished boat and his friends can’t get to seeing how it’ll ever float ‘cause they can’t break the bottle No they can’t break the bottle There’s a photograph he keeps sitting in a drawer He’d give anything to be there now; anything at all ‘Cause it can’t be forgotten No they can’t be forgotten When he turned eighteen he joined the marines Caught a train and left it all behind He got married to a girl, she became his world; stayed at home when he went off to fight And for a while he was content with his life Now he’s up before the sun carrying a gun he once almost turned on himself He can’t leave it in the past; happened much too fast Never got to say his farewells Now when he drinks he drinks from jars that held nails on the shelf As he works on his own and he builds an escape for himself Now his basement smells like bourbon and a half finished boat and his friends can’t get to seeing how it’ll ever float ‘cause they can’t break the bottle No they can’t break the bottle There’s a photo of his family sitting in a drawer He’d give anything to be there now; anything at all ‘Cause they can’t be forgotten No they can’t be forgotten On the day his daughter was born he was half the world away And when someone took a shot, crashed their car well he wished that he had stayed And on the day of their funeral his dad brought a date Never stopped to ask him if he was okay Well, he wasn't that day He got married three more times and none of his wives stayed long enough to call his house a home Now he takes the sofa when he sleeps, just can’t face the dreams When he’s forced to wake in bed alone
5.
I met a stranger on the tube today Saw all the people as they turned their heads away Kept my mouth shut; didn't know what I should say But I doubt it would've mattered anyway She was dressed up in red, white and blue A bag on her back that she kept fumbling through It was full of badges, flags and the posters that she drew And I honestly could not think what to do The silence in the dark there Stalled the beating of my heart She'd come to brag If they wave that flag They shall not pass She wore proudly a cap on her head That she kept removing to admire what it said A bloody red colour and stitched in silver thread The words she lives by: Let's Make Britain Great Again She had a UKIP badge in her lapel A "Free Tommy!" placard and a flag to match as well A racist rhetoric in merchandise to sell Yeah, she'll fight to spring her prophet from his cell A stranger on a train Is spreading hatred once again Please mind the gap If they wave that flag They shall not pass I asked her quietly what she believed She said, "We march today to set our country free They're coming over hear to steal from you and me Yeah, we need to get this filth off of our streets" I looked around the people on the train The different colours, creeds and classes, all afraid Just to speak out against one stranger spreading hate On the doorstep of the home that they have made Stuck there underground And all too frightened to speak out To voice the facts If they wave that flag They shall not pass She got off at Westminster to join the crowds The ranks assembled made their way through London town Marched to Trafalgar Square with Nelson looking down On the mass of Union flags upon the ground Well, they wear my flag but they don't speak for me I will not buy into their ideology 'Cause when the fascists come to set my country free Well, that is not a sight that I am proud to see So stand and raise your fist Just like in nineteen thirty six We will fight back If they wave that flag We'll voice the facts If they wave that flag Please mind the gap If they wave that flag They shall not pass
6.
Stumbling three miles home from Stourbridge again I've spent the whole night getting drunk, singing songs with my friends The sun's a few minutes from waking My mind and my body are aching I am weak, I need sleep but even so I don't want it to end Now I can't count the times that I've walked home along this path By the light of the stars, my guitar safe upon my back And these boots they have treated me well They'd walk through the fires of Hell March me straight through the gates but I'll wait a bit longer for that And it's taken me too long to see That this is all I need My guitar, some dear friends And a good pair of boots on my feet Now I always take with me much more than I actually need And until I let go, well I know I can never be free I'm just always so scared of the going Of the wandering around and not knowing Where I am, without a plan and then what's out there waiting for me And it's taken me too long to see That this is all I need My guitar, some dear friends And a good pair of boots on my feet And those nights are the best when we sit and pass round the guitar We've been in here since doors but we've got one more song in our hearts And though most of the words we've forgot We'll still try and give it a shot Then we'll gather our money and buy one last drink form the bar And it's taken me too long to see That this is all I need My guitar, some dear friends And a good pair of boots on my feet I'm so glad that I finally see That this is all I need My guitar, some dear friends And a good pair of boots on my feet

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released November 24, 2019

Recorded live at HMV Merry Hill. Produced by Adam Husk.
All tracks written by Jess Silk.

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Jess Silk Dudley, UK

Jess Silk is a guitarist, singer and songwriter from the Black Country. Her shouty but melodic brand of folk/punk music often has her being likened to a female Frank Turner or Billy Bragg, and it gets people sitting up and listening. Armed only with an increasingly sticker-covered acoustic guitar and a distinctive, gravely voice that many don’t expect, Jess plays to audiences up and down the UK. ... more

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