Summer, Slowly

by Benchmarks

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1.
I’m always holding onto Summer like a child to mother’s hand afraid to take the steps all on my own I’ve been dead, alone, and dreaming and detached from the detail that I might someday reap what I have sown but there’s a world beyond the comfort and a cool wind in the air and time, it does not discriminate and I am curious to conjure something else beyond the breeze to see just what the Autumn orchestrates
2.
we awoke with the sun upon our faces our shadows, never taller than our souls we spent the long days just staring at the sunlight never conscious of the ever-coming cold we believed that we were crickets in a cicada year singling like the Summer never ends with a dream that we were meant to live forever breathing in the life as we began now we’re running from the twilight and tomorrow November always nipping at our heels the light, now fading on a grim horizon trampled under time’s revolving wheels so bury me with solace in my song that we will sing the day the sun comes out again but this revelry cannot be eternal the light will fade as fast as it began everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die and I don’t want to live forever but I could use a little more time
3.
I’m committed, but conflicted contradicted, but confirmed in knowing that I know that I have so much left to learn a purveyor of the problem, out here trying to solve myself feeling discrepancy between what I have seen and what I’ve felt we’re all searching for our own versions of Heaven over Hell but nothing really changes until we decide to change ourselves and I won’t settle to watch the world burn from up here in the cheap seats but right now I know that I still need to listen before I speak I was born a microphone, and all I want to do is sing but does this world even need another song from one like me if all the world’s indeed a stage, then we are merely overplayed I want to sing the song that helps the unsung singers have their say peel the Summer off my shoulders, let the cold cover my skin and cast away my comfort, let the change begin and in our finest hour, let me stand up by your side I want to do what’s right while I still have the time
4.
02:43
we never knew about the ghosts along the roadside that we stumbled right passed years ago not looking up as we walked by and they followed us home in our steps, they fell behind and all the things that we try to ignore haunt us in our later lives always searching for an answer but finding bad news always looking for the rhythm but settling for the blues tell me something are you happy in your skin? do you believe the things you sing about when the light begins to dim? because I’ve been stumbling in this darkness I can barely get to sleep and when I can, the things I dream about ain’t what they used to be we always knew about the wolves outside the door watching through the windows and waiting quietly in the snow and the walls aren’t closing in but this room is getting full perhaps the noble thing to do is to fight the beast all on my own I’m not giving up on the things that I wanted to be back when I was 18 I’ve just changed
5.
tonight, I can see you in the moon above the dashboard and I can hear your voice in hotel lobby Beach Boys records and I may be in Ohio, or I may be in Vancouver and it feels just like forever, and I wish I was home sooner the price of postcards change from state to state but black coffee tastes the same everywhere and we feel the weight of phone calls that can’t be face to face sitting outside the hotel by the stairs I haven’t seen the sun in days, but tonight we have the moon don’t worry about me, baby, I love you and I’m coming home real soon it’s cold in November and you’re a thousand miles from me and it’s cold in California, like it’s cold in Tennessee and I could say, “I miss you” but it doesn’t do the trick like those Carolina Winters, where it snows but doesn’t stick when I get home we can go back to Sylvan Park and make out in your car or drive out to Dickson County and look out at the stars and maybe feel a little smaller, while our burdens feel so big and I will hold you close forever, or as long as this world exists and I don’t know where I’m going, but I know where I want to be and that’s back home beside you, and our new family I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, and I’ve never been more afraid but fear can’t hold a candle to the beauty that we’ve made
6.
we never knew about the ghosts along the roadside that we stumbled right passed years ago not looking up as we walked by and they followed us home in our steps, they fell behind and all the things that we try to ignore haunt us in our later lives always searching for an answer but finding bad news always looking for the rhythm but settling for the blues tell me something are you happy in your skin? do you believe the things you sing about when the light begins to dim? because I’ve been stumbling in this darkness I can barely get to sleep and when I can, the things I dream about ain’t what they used to be we always knew about the wolves outside the door watching through the windows and waiting quietly in the snow and the walls aren’t closing in but this room is getting full perhaps the noble thing to do is to fight the beast all on my own I’m not giving up on the things that I wanted to be back when I was 18 I’ve just changed
7.
04:15
I was writing a novel, I was painting a portrait I was singing a song about another great big forfeit watching the progress slip through the cracks the culmination of a year long panic attack already got me a heart, already got me a brain just trying to keep the first from breaking, trying to keep the other sane I’ve got all the courage I need to keep on the road but for the first time in my life I’ve found someplace that feels like home it used to be so much easier when the world was black and white and I could fall into my sadness, click my heels three times and hide but now the world’s in technicolor, and I’m walking through the door tell my friends that I’m just fine, and I won’t go back to Kansas anymore I want to shut down the system, I want to hold my calls I want to see the world through my own eyes, without a faux social withdrawl because all these clouds on my canvas, like the choke in my song like I’m staying out all night without seeing a single star because there’s a storm a-brewing, there’s a witch on the wind telling lies and treason, and watching us give in still we look over the rainbow, but there’s no end in sight always dreaming in color, but living life in black and white
8.
I pledge allegiance to the screen the conduit of my innermost beliefs seeking solidarity to validate these things I’ve never seen look at me, so contentious I’m the poet of my time writing my convenient sermons to the choir and is it all for the greater good or do we just toe the party line fighting the so-called good fight just so I can get what’s mine? I pledge allegiance to the stage the means of all my self-appointed guts bleeding out my policies fully knowing I’ll survive the cut look at me, so controversial I’m the martyr of my time preaching my convenient sermons to the choir and just who are we helping? and what are we fighting for? fighting the so-called good fight I’m living in an echo chamber, and I can’t get out
9.
load in’s at 7, doors at 9 downbeat at 5 after 10 try to find some food around 8, then try to call home leave a message when I try, and try again I’m running out of reasons to keep getting back in the van it’s funny how seasons change in spite of all our plans so leave the light on for me I’ve been thinking a lot about the darkness lately because I don’t really know how to feel are the curtains drawn on a dim, dark stage where I bow my head and turn heel and I’m not saying that I’m looking for treason I feel guilty enough as it is I just got to get out there on my own but I don’t want to leave my friends I’m running away before I run myself to death please forgive me, and let me keep what I have left
10.
02:54
and so, the going of the year I’m tending fires prepared from Autumn leaves and wistful souvenirs and so the last September moon smoldering to ashes the Summer’s gone, the winds are coming soon and so, the coming of the reap I’m counting fires that maybe should have been left out of the reckoning how has it already been a year plans and dreams we’ve made, just embers now the smoke, it disappears they say the song remains the same everything else around has changed only shades and empty shells shadows of their former selves yet, lest we turn the sun away gather ye rosebuds while ye may another dream decays, so long another month and I’ll be gone
11.
03:59
now I drag this racing river towards a sea that’s never full baptized by a belief that I might be satisfied at once, a vision comes to me outside the forest and the trees a magnolia set apart from the pines what if this race towards the horizon where I’m trying to catch the sun is really just a hope to outrun it behind me and this perception in my mind that I have anything to prove is as fleeting as the falling of the leaves and the leaves they fall and I keep running what if I choose to hitch the horses? pull my name and cash my chips? would you still regard me in your favor? because I’ve been living in the lie that I could be so satisfied by singing not for love, but for labor I haven’t slept on a Sunday night since I was 16 years old and now I crave the silence of a willing surrender and let go this narcissistic notion “to live fast and die young” when life has become a much more thrilling adventure
12.
let the cicadas sing their song until there’s nothing left to sing let the magnolias bloom, and let them fall let me learn how to let go of the solace in the sun and learn to face the wolves when they should call because time is relentless, and the winds have surely changed and slowly, Summer into Autumn slips let me embrace this transformation, and embrace the life I own and cherish all these songs upon my lips

credits

released August 21, 2020

Benchmarks:
Todd Farrell Jr.
Jack Whitis
Matt “Goose” Rewinski
Josh Tousignant
Chris Jackson

Music by Todd Farrell Jr. and Jack Whitis.

Lyrics by Todd Farrell Jr.

Performed by Benchmarks.

Additional performances by Camille Faulkner, Lydia Loveless, Jonny Clousson, and Brian Beer.

Produced and engineered by Jack Whitis at BedBug Studios in Kingston Springs, TN.

Additional production by Todd Farrell Jr. and Josh Tousignant in Nashville, TN and Scotty Sandwich at The Sandwich Shoppe in Durham, NC.

Mixed by Matt Arcaini in Nashville, TN.

Mastered by Hans DeKline in Los Angeles, CA.

Artwork and layout by Joe Maiocco.

Band photos by Chad Cochran. Cover photo by Matt Brooks.

Various portions of this record contain allusions to works by the following authors and poets:
Emily Dickinson, Robert Herrick, Neil Peart paraphrasing William Shakespeare, Robert Plant, L. Frank Baum, Stephen King, and whoever wrote Ecclesiastes.

Special thanks to:
Vicki Farrell, Jessica Whitis, Jason Kyle Saetveit, Allan Hall, Joe and Tim Andrl and Sweet Cheetah Publicity, Chris Mueller and Sofaburn Records, Ryan Heller and Motorcycle Potluck Records, Chuck Coffey and Snappy Little Numbers, Andy George and everyone at Hot Leathers, and all our friends who have seen us play, bought our t-shirts, listened to our songs, or just patiently waited for us to finish doing bands things so we could finally go eat tacos and hang.

Benchmarks exclusively uses Ernie Ball strings.

This album is dedicated to our kids. May they come to know the thrilling adventures of life and understand (forgive) the aimless dreaming of their fathers.

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