Sam Steffen (EP)

by Sam Steffen

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released November 21, 2013

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Sam Steffen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Track Name: Tom Joad's Promise
Tom Joad’s Promise copyright 2013 sam steffen

Hey ma, wake up it’s me, it’s your boy, Tom Joad
I’d love to but I can’t stay long, I’ve gotta hit the road
In the morning they’ll be lookin for me high up and down low
Cops from every county from Salinas to Frisco

But I only got a minute here so I won’t make this long
I ain’t always done the right thing, hell, sometimes I been wrong
But as long as I am gonna be an outlaw from now on
Wherever there’s a stone unturned, hereby, I swear—

I will be there, I will be there
Wherever you can go to think some lonesome thought
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

I’m ingredient to humankind, a partial to the whole
Tho I walk upon the stage of life I play a minor role
I am portion to the giant universal human soul
Which exists within everybody everywhere

So I’ll be there when you’re weary, when you’re lonesome and afraid
When the delivery of all that you’ve been promised aint been made
When there ain’t no superhero to come rushin to your aid
When you got everything to lose and no time to spare

I will be there, I will be there
When the road becomes too narrow and the wilderness too broad
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

I will be in every crevice of this bright world that’s gone dark
I will be in every desperate hallow achin broken heart
Long after its all over and well before it starts
Anyplace that folks can’t go or just don’t dare

Wherever there’s a stranger sayin I’m too young to die
Wherever there’s a prayer that’s bein prayed up to the sky
Wherever there’s an angry cop just beatin up some guy
And the fight just don’t seem justified nor fair

I will be there, I will be there
So the one’s that go unseen unheard won’t be forgot
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

Wherever fights’re brewin up so that hungry folks can eat
Wherever there’s a cry for revolution in the street
Wherever there’s a stranger who ain’t marchin to the beat
Who repels his last companion as he draws a stare

In the way that guys start yelling when they’re stark raving mad
In the sighin folks’re doing who’ve lost everything they’ve had
In the singin and the laughin of the children when they’re glad
In the cryin and the quiet of when they’re scared

I will be there, I will be there
In the worry of the guilty ones that ain’t yet been caught
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there so help me God

I guess I’d better go now, ma, cause soon it will be dawn
I’d just like to say I’m sorry for all the screwing up I done
But just cause I ain’t here no more it doesn’t mean I’m gone
I will be with you on every step of every stair

Tomorrow when they come for me, you tell em I was here
Tell em that you saw me but that you didn’t see me clear
Tell em I’m the echo that’s been whispering in your ear
Tell em if they’re looking for me anywhere

I will be there, I will be there
Wherever someone’s lonesome in a stranded spot
I will be there, I will be there
Wherever folks are thirsty and can’t find a drop
Wherever there’s a road that ain’t been tried or trod
Wherever I am wanted pursued or sought
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God
Track Name: The Ballad of Trayvon Martin
The Ballad of Trayvon Martin copyright 2013 sam steffen

Come mothers and fathers, come sisters and brothers
Lend an ear to the stories they’re telling
Of the neighborhood watchman in the Florida town
Who shot and killed Trayvon Martin

O, the time it was night and the evening was cold
And the month it was late February
Trayvon Martin at only seventeen years old
Too young for an obituary

On his way back home from a convenience store
Through the yards of his neighbors was walkin
George Zimmerman spied him while making his rounds
And made a call down to the station

“HQ, HQ,” ficer Zimmerman said,
“This is officer Zimmerman calling,
I have just spied a suspicious black male
In our gated community walking—

“How shall I proceed, shall I make an arrest
Shall I follow and see where he takes me?
Could this be the man whom we’ve been looking for
Who committed those robberies lately?”

“Well this is HQ,” the headquarters said,
“To officer Zimmerman calling,
Do not pursue—repeat—do not pursue,
For you haven’t the grounds to suspect him.”

“Ten four, ten four,” ficer Zimmerman said,
But he pulled up to roll slowly by him,
And when the young man saw the slow police car
He took off a fearfully runnin

“No grounds? No grounds?” ficer Zimmerman thought
“If there’s no grounds then why is he running?”
And quick as a flash he leapt out of his car
Bringing his handgun with him

Well over a fence and through the back yards
The armed officer chased Trayvon Martin
A distance in excess of one hundred yards
Til he finally cornered and caught him

O down, O down to the ground they did fall
The ground where they both had been standing
Trayvon to fight for his life gainst the cop
The cop for to somehow subdue him

“Submit, submit!” ficer Zimmerman cried
“Submit and throw down your weapon!”
“I will not submit!” Trayvon Martin replied,
“For I’m unarmed and I haven’t done nothing!”

And as the two fought on the ground in the dark
A gunshot rang out clear as crystal
Trayvon Martin had been shot through the chest
At close range by Zimmerman’s pistol

Come mothers and fathers, come sisters and brothers
Lend an ear to the stories they’re telling
Of the neighborhood watchman in the Florida town
Who shot and killed Trayvon Martin

For a day and a night the body went without name
As he was when his mother had birthed him
Until a call came from his father at home
Saying that his son had been missing

O down, o down to the morgue he was called
To see if this was his son who’d been missing
“O, God, it’s him!” his bereaved father cried,
“That’s the body of Trayvon Martin,”

“My son, my son, O Trayvon, my son—”
His poor mother cried, nearly wild,
“He wasn’t no symbol, didn’t die for no cause,
He was only my baby, my child,

“And what did he do, for what was he killed,
For wearing dark clothes and a hoodie?
Is it just me or does it still feel
Like it’s a crime to be black in this country?”

Well charges were pressed and a trial was set
And a jury was formed all at random
And of the twelve who were chosen to serve,
There wasn’t one black face among them

“The defendant, George Zimmerman,” the prosecution declared,
“He is getting away here with murder,
How can you defend a defender of peace
Who says shoot first and ask questions later?”

“Yes, that was my gun, I fired that round,”
George Zimmerman finally admitted
But despite all the facts in the end he was found
Not guilty and was fully acquitted

The defense lawyers claimed he had just stood his ground
And no evidence showed the contrary
Trayvon Martin by then for more than a year
Neath six feet of ground had lain buried

And for all you who say that here justice was done,
Here is something for you to consider
When an officer shoots and unarmed black man to death
They do not define it as murder

Come judges, come kings, come you counselors on down
Who maintain the law’s fair and equal
Come look what they done in a florida town
And say it would be the same for all people
Track Name: Two Geese
Two Geese copyright 2013 sam steffen

Two geese flew over the house lastnight, a gentle music played upon their wings
The sun had softened to an evening light, my mind was overfilled with things
They came from somewhere well behind the sun, made their way out over the pond
And tho I didn’t see from where they’d come, I watched them til they’d gone

Perhaps it was the way they flew so close
That silence seemed to sail between them both
Perhaps I’m only more bemused than most
And by the simplest things I see
But something bout the way those two geese flew
Reminded me of you

I turned from the window and I went downstairs, and I stepped out into the yard
December’s always been this wet and cold, but it’s never felt this hard
I pulled the clothes in down from off the line just as the stars began to cloud
And tho I hadn’t in the longest time, I said your name out loud

Perhaps it was the way they stayed in stride
Flying freely tho side by side
Perhaps I haven’t anything to hide
Or very much that’s left to lose
But something bout the way those two geese flew
Reminded me of you

I brought a log in down from off the pile and I tossed it on the coals
I fanned and coaxed it for a little while until that flame burned bright and full
And as the fire raged within the hearth and I grew more conscious and wide awake
A peace within my soul was perched, but those two birds I couldn’t shake

Perhaps it was the way they flew so fast
Out of the future right into the past
Perhaps there’s nothing that’s really meant to last
That wasn’t born to stay
But something bout the way those two geese flew
Reminded me of you

Now, the midnight sky in east Vermont is darker than you might suppose
And the stars you wait upon and want are seldom undisclosed
I read for a while, and then I went to bed, feeling distracted to say the least
And for a long time after I put down my head, I thought about those geese

Perhaps it was the way they seemed to fear
That they were too far north for this time of year
Or something about the way they disappeared
Right when they were close enough to hold
But something bout the way those two geese flew
Reminded me of you

I woke this morning to a shade of sun, pressing warmly up against my face
And tho I knew I’d be the only one, I did not disturb your place
I got to my legs and then I stood upright, before the window I threw wide the blinds
Two geese flew over the house last-night, this morning you were on my mind

Perhaps it was the way it seemed their fate
That after nearing they would separate
Perhaps it’s just that it was getting late
And they’d come right out of the blue
But something bout the way those two geese flew
Reminded me of you
Track Name: The Restless Wanderer's Lullaby
The Restless Wanderer’s Lullaby
copyright 2013 sam steffen

Might be raining, might be snowing
That old north wind, she might be blowing
Through the treetops, down the sidewalks,
Past the rest-stops of this restless world
But tonight, babe, I am not afraid
I will not be roused before the dawn
For I have travelled a thousand miles
And cept to sleep I don’t know where I’m goin

Come tomorrow but please come slowly
Shine your lights on but shine them lowly
For in the nighttime sweet sleep she takes me
Through my dreams until she forsakes me
Beyond the brink of what I can think of
With my weary waking mind
Let her lead me, let her deceive me,
But o please let me leave my cares behind

I may be unlovely, may not have money
Seldom a ceiling over and above me
May come a beggar and leave a debtor
Having only my dreams to offer
But in my dreams you are always with me
Lying beside me up within my bed
And dreaming’s easy, when you’re weary
I do it every place I rest my head
Track Name: A Twenty Something College Graduate's Talkin' Blues
A Twenty-Something College Graduate’s Talkin Blues copyright 2013 sam steffen

A while back I spose it hasn’t been too long
To a certain institution I used to belong
Where I spent four years and learned all the rules
And how to tell between the wise and the fools
I’m not talking about prison
It was a college, of the liberal arts variety

Well we all got told to save the date
As the time was comin for us to graduate
And I guess you could say we were pretty excited
Everyone we knew had been invited
Folks and friends, friends of friends,
Heck, even the neighbors were there

Well until at last the day was come
And our dean was standin up at the podium
And he made this speech it didn’t sound too subtle
He said, I’ll be honest, you’re all in trouble
And I’m not talking about academics
I’m talking about life now, now’s when the learning starts

I can say right now it didn’t feel too good
To have to hear all that I knew I would
But we all went up and we shook his hand
And he said someday we’d understand
And I took my diploma
No secrets, that thing was just a piece of paper

Well somehow I had made the grade,
Had a scholarship for my financial aide
And everyone was saying it would all be fine
You just take it easy, now, and take your time
You’ll have a job soon
Just gotta see what’s there—stay positive

Well before I cleared out they sent me a notice
Said they wanted to see me at the financial office
So they called me in, said Take a seat
Wrote me out this big receipt
I said, what is this?
They laughed at me, said, You’re kidding, right?

Well I told the woman to knock it off
It’ll take me ten years to pay this off
She said that’s right it’s called a ten year plan
That should be easy enough to understand
Aint it? for a smart-looking college graduate like you

She said not to worry though, I’m sure
Youll find a job somewhere with that degree of yours
She said maybe I can help you, say what’s it in
I said 19th century American Literature—she laughed again
A veritable cackle that woman had
I never knew I was so funny

Now in college you can learn to think
To read to write to speak to drink
And all of that can be put to use
As a post-graduate on the career caboose
Especially the drinkin—job huntin
And no luck on account of you’re overqualified

Well it wouldn’t be so bad I guess
Cept the conomy’s broke and the world’s a mess
And you can’t get hired for a minimum wage
And there’s nothing for you on the classifieds page
You just sit around, feeling sorry
Got lots of time to read though

Well, when I was finally through procrastinatin
I filled me out a labor application
Took a little math test, they gave me a cup
Showed me to the bathroom and said, filler up!
I passed that math test
The other one came back inconclusive

Few days later they got a hold of me
Said they had a job waiting for me at the factory
Said to show on up and to be on time
You’ll be standing all day on the ssembly line
And they weren’t kidding—I stood in one place for 8 hours
Didn’t have a productive thought the whole time

Well I did this I guess for about a week
Losing all kinds of time to work and sleep
And one day the foreman says I look like hell
And I says I know it man, he says well—
What can you do? Sometimes life just slips away
You gotta work though, or its hell to pay

He said you know I always meant to go to college
To fill my head up with all kinds of knowledge
I said if I were him, I’d be apprehensive
It’s grand and all, but man, it’s expensive
He looked at me, he said, you mean you been to school?
I said, yeah, of course!

Well I don’t think my comments were appreciated
Next day I found out I’d been terminated
I said what gives he says You wont miss it
You got a diploma—go do something with it

Well I’ve had a couple of jobs since then
Couple of gigs with a couple of friends
Bought a bus ticket, pulled an all-nighter
Moved to Nashville, became a songwriter
It’s a pretty shabby way to make a living
All tips, and not too many of em, either—