Home and other Virtues

by Sam Rodewald

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released May 29, 2014




Sam Rodewald Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Sam Rodewald's music is rooted in the woods and cities of his upper midwestern home. His particular brand of Folk-Fueled Americana is built on stories, real or otherwise, weaved into kitschy yarns and catchy tunes.

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Track Name: Summer
quiet the summer breeze
subtly weaves through branch and leaves
the crow and the sparrow cry
calling the cold moon down from the pale blue sky
and the sun to rise

teenage boys watch teenage girls
who giggle as they pass
there beneath the trees kissing nervously

Quiet the crickets creak
the fluttering june bug at the window screen
the neighborhood children play
tugging there mother’s sleeves
heading home for the day
as the sunlight fades

teenage girls write teenage boys
who leave when summer’s passed
sentiments and pleas written earnestly
Track Name: the Automat
she takes her coffee early every morning
she’s given up on sugar long ago
she’s bored but she is happy
as long as she keeps doing what she knows

she leaves the TV on while she’s in bed
she sleeps a little better with the noise
a little lonely but she’s happy
as long as she keeps doing what she knows

when she rides her bicycle to town
to watch the people walking up and down
but any eyes her eyes should meet
she quickly turns hers down toward her feet

she always takes a corner single table
she doesn’t seem to mind eating alone
so she’s shy but she is happy
as long as she keeps doing what she knows

she has trouble waking up as it gets colder
she’s tired of the wind and falling snow
well she’s happy but she’s weary
but she knows that is just the way things go

isn’t it a funny little thing
the comfort that these small routines should bring
but anywhere that she may go
she’s happy if she’s doing what she knows
Track Name: the Winter Optimist
cold early morning eastward driving
sun in the south the buildings shining
heading to work, but everything feels alright

watching my goosebumps creep and quiver
rethink this t-shirt as I shiver
turn up the heat and wait for the traffic light

left lane is moving slow
turn up the radio
I don’t like the song
but hey, it’s one I know

out on the sidewalk west wind blowing
coat collar up it’s lightly snowing
wish I had boots but really It’s not so bad

watching my shadow stretch and shrivel
in passing head lights I cough and sniffle
licking my chapped lips hoping this cold wont last

faster the flurries fall
they cover my foot prints all
it’s just as if I was never
even there at all

the night is getting long
so make the coffee strong
we’ll bundle up so tight
because we’re going out
the moon is extra bright

out on the road the frost is gleaming
northbound again my windows steaming
sun in my eyes but I’m glad to be on my way

shift in my seat my legs are tingling
wonder if that car could hear me singing
blush as they pass but all I could do is

stay in my lane and groan
or act like I’m not alone,
but then I remember
hey I’m going home
I’m going home
Track Name: and a green balloon
loudly stomping on the sidewalk
brand new dress and knee socks
and a green balloon
fingers wrapped around the strand
that bound balloon to hand
said mother, do the best you can
to hold on tight

anxious, waylaid by the streetlight
fidget, frown, but sit tight
holding mother’s hand
stranger, eyes on her balloon,
says things they pass too soon
so don’t let go the things we love
we tend to lose

hold on tight,
don’t let go

grandma sipping on her tea cup
graying hair and make-up
covers crows feet’s lines
winking, whispers in her ear,
grand daughter don’t you fear.
Yes things will fade
but make the most while you’re still here

she took her green balloon
and loosed it on the sky
watching it dip and sway
among the powerlines
Track Name: Moving on or Moving in
a ladder leans precariously
the molding’s taped the tarping breathes
and whispers in a gentle breeze
that echoes in the vacancy

the cautious sound of feet to floor
they tip toe through the corridor
reverent as they explore
the empty walls and creaking board
so raise the roof beams high
taller still than tall am I

that static form of energy
that builds in possibility
and such a tiny spark we see
feel the tingle in your skin
it’s in the fabric as it clings

then you will pour a drink and sigh
bight your cheek and cry
and I will pull you close my dear
I’m here
and I will sing a song I know
that you know so well
and you will sing along
as long as your voice will hold

what’s the equation for a home
four walls, plus mortar brick and stone

the angular geometry
as light and shadows interweave
the seep into the cracks and eaves
ours is that slightly lived-in kind
that grows with use and over time
Track Name: Making Friends
sitting at the window
numbly watching cities pass me by
clutching tightly a ticket that’s taking me home
then tapping on my shoulder
this seat taken stranger? someone asks
even though all I want is to be left alone
I turn my head clear my throat,
smile and say no

as he settles in
face perspiring
I can’t help but cringe
as he lets our knees keep touching
I look at my watch and sigh
‘cause it’s sure to be a long long ride

and he said ask me where I’m going
go ahead and ask me where I’ve been
and I couldn’t care less
but I ask where and when?
oh what have I gotten into?
I wonder if he knows his breath is bad
and as we come to a stop he says,
well this is the end
pulls on his jacket and says
thanks for being a friend

the platform fades away
but awkward memories stay
and now I can’t help feeling alone
but crumpled in my fingers
this ticket says soon I’ll be home

at ten minutes to ten
as the train is rolling in
I can’t help but grin
thinking of my friend
I’m trying to stay awake,
‘cause it sure has been a long
it sure has been a long
it sure has been a long long day
Track Name: the Letter J
I’m not one for sitting still today
before they’re sour let’s pick these ripening hours
so grab a pair of shoes and lace away
this garden’s tilled a harvest overfilled

would you protest
if I suggest pistachios
and macaroons instead

and as the wind blown tallgrass bends and sways
we’ll walk palms down with contemplative frowns
in partly cloudy skies
we can watch the varying designs
as cumulous and stratus clouds combine
and chase them through the atmosphere
with fingers laced I kiss your face and smile

I don’t want the sun to set tonight
with tape and twine let’s bind its warming shine
so grab a jacket pull those laces tight
we’ll climb the tiers of heaven’s celestial spheres

may I digress, are you impressed
with silly songs a beard and hairy chest?

and as the ether slowly fades to gray
we failed to still the day from twilight’s chill
please don’t close your eyes
we will watch the constellations rise
and chase them through the north Atlantic skies
then we will crack the firmament
and poke our heads into the other side

and now it’s best
at least I guess
to lay your head down
on my lap and rest
Track Name: Like Kings
we’ll make our table on the floor
we have no wine but there is water poured
and we have appetites to spare
I know the cupboards bare
so dream of crusty breads and camembert
and all the richest fare
and we will have our fill
we’ll eat like kings tonight

I’ll catch you later on the phone
if there’s a signal you won’t be alone
dear, I’m sorry I’ve been working late
I know your belly aches
so dream of pheasants glazed in marmalade
the scent so delicate
and we will have our fill
we’ll eat like kings tonight

so darling darling close your eyelids tight
and imagine places are set
our guests soon to arrive
pop the cork I hope I hope they like it dry
from entrées to petit fours
raise your glasses high
and I’ll say we can have our fill
lets eat like kings tonight

I found some money in the lane
I know it’s not much, dear but all the same
so put the produce on the scale
I know the bread is stale
a little butter and a penny ale
we’ll get the meat on sale
and we will have our fill
we’ll eat like kings tonight
Track Name: to my friends
flank the fire with vinyl folding chairs tonight
timber cut to kindling the quickly fading daylight
gather round my friends the flames are flickering
we’ll see what we can burn
of our worries, troubles, sorrows and concern
and wait, wait, wait for them to pass

needle to the record, have a tune to scratch
crackling a melody through tightly woven thatch
together now my friends ‘cause someday we will die
but maybe not today
raise your voices now, the chorus has to play
don’t wait, don’t wait for life to pass

when the night is over and the sky is dark
and I’m poking at the embers with that stick
I found in my back yard
and now my friends the fire died away
let’s go our separate ways
our mosquito bites will evidence our day
how I love, love, love, love, love, you
Track Name: an Awkward Moment by the Door
the orchestra swells as he leans in to tell her goodnight
then in for the kiss as he awkwardly misses her lips
if you don’t mind can we do this again
she smiles shy I sure hope that we can

fiddling with the buttons on his sleave
eager to stay but he knows it’s time to leave

how he holds her face up the taste of her make-up
a vague inventory to detail the story
he played it cool can we do this again
she smiles wry, I sure hope that we can

and as he walks away
her smile doesn’t fade
her smile never fades away

say what you will
I don’t care if it’s cliché
it’s been too long
since I’ve had such a good day
Track Name: Home
when the scent of the breeze on the evergreen trees
and the pines drifts serenely from the wood
and my memory cast on my friends from the past
and the places their houses still stood
the streetlights and specters that tell me that I am home

when I wake to the bellows of the jays and the sparrows
as they fight o’er the seed spilled in the grass
and I walk through the dew let it soak through my shoes
and I’ll watch as the clouds slowly pass
theses gentle reminders that tell me that I am home

and though these buildings may fall
and all the memories therewithal
can’t take away the rest that these walls once gave

when the moon rises high in the winter night sky
and the lights shining brightly on the snow
we’ll huddle in tight as the fire burns bright
in the warmth of the ember’s red glow
familiar comforts that tell me that I am home

and then I fall asleep to the slow metered creep
of the crickets and weather worn walls
and when I awake to the sparrows and jays
and the shadows of mid day grow small
the rest of the weary that tells me that I am home

and though these buildings may fall
and all the memories therewithal
can’t take away the rest that these walls once gave