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Today & Tomorrow

by Ryan Harvey

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credits

released November 20, 2015

Recorded and produced by Michael Redding in Baltimore, MD.

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Ryan Harvey Baltimore, Maryland

After more than a dozen self-released albums, folk-punk trailblazer Ryan Harvey has teamed up with Kareem Samara (London) & Shireen Lilith (Amsterdam) with Thin Blue Border, the trio’s debut album. Blending the flowing sounds of the Arabic oud with Harvey’s rhythmic folk-punk guitar strumming and Lilith’s haunting melodies the trio is forging a new sound. ... more

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Track Name: The Strongest Woman I Know
She's the strongest woman I know
But tragedy just cut right through her
And it all just hit her that much harder

But she's clean and sober now
She made it through somehow
And she's looking forever forward

And hard lines get drawn
And hard lessons get learned
And sometimes we get stuck behind

She's clean and sober now
She's got it figured out
And she's looking forever forward

It's tough to just move on
But the process that makes us stronger
And sometimes we get stuck behind

She's the strongest woman I know
Just watch her go
She's looking forever forward
Track Name: Emboldened
Watching wars begin on the TV screen
Ninety, ninety-nine, o-one and three
From the suburban bunkers of the Reagan nation
Waiting for the next pre-planned invasion
Read the desperate theories of desperate times
From desperate people living desperate lives
They thought a simple spark would ignite the blaze
But this prairie's been wet for ages
If ignorance is bliss take my smile from me
Run the truth through my heart so it changes me
Put it all on the table, let me soak it in
Let hear the sad stories of what could have have been
There's lineage of struggle where my pain is felt
A long line of people who gave themselves
To a world of work and waiting
Who either learned to find peace or let the hardness break em'

These are lessons

So I chose early on to play my part in it
To be a part rather than apart from it
To be among the first ones starting it
To never back down if I was targeted
I'm a hard-working dude with a list of dreams
A willingness to speak and the capacity
To always roll up my sleeves and put the work in
Down to see it through to the end
But it's a long road that we're walking down
You gotta keep your feet on solid ground
I found that out the hard way that that's a fact
Accumulated weight piled my tired back
And I lied to myself about my limitations
The emotional strains and the weak foundations
That can leave you feeling alone
Reflect, recognize, analyze and grow

These are lessons

You can't stop the tide, you can't stop time
But you can top who you we're last time
Sometimes you don't float when the waters rise
You get pulled inside it or left behind
New ways come slow cuz it's head to toe
It's gotta hit a hundred percent of you
From the things you say and think to the things you do
It should test your power to change and push through
You can't advance if you lose you lose sight your goals
Or motivation to act and push back and grab hold
Burning out young yeah the stories old
I wanna face and overcome so I'm emboldened
Now the best I can do is to do my best
I can't build from my past if I don't reflect
Or smile or rest, or take a breath
How will I change others if I can't change myself?
Track Name: Old Story
We tried to block the cities, we tried to block the ports
Strategic desperation, we did what we could
And it was my generation that lined up to get on board
The train of false promise, to be part of the war

Ah, but it's an old, old story

Then they were soldiers, focused and confused
Over-worked and under-slept, honored and accused
Propped up and pinned down by a shared mythology
Of country, and family, and gender identity

Ah but it's an old, old story, oh it's all been done before

In search of something larger, in search of something just
Abused and abandoned by the men who won their trust
Now struggling to reason with a purpose undefined
A generation amputated in body and mind

Ah but it's an old, old story, oh it's all been done before
It's an old, old story, that far too many know

Your people, how they struggled to keep the numbers up
Strategic desperation, that's how the war was fought
With your bodies and your bombs, you counted the days
As your daily and deadly surprises marked the way

Ah but it's an old, old story

And they tried to break you with a thousand tricks
Tried to pit you against one another in violence
And I wouldn't say you lost, but I wouldn't say you won
You just struggled through the hard days and tried to enjoy some

Ah but it's an old, old story
Oh it's all been done before

Now the best that we can work for in times like these
Is a just and peaceful future for your families
To find space for healing, to find space to mourn
To find space for dreaming, so you can move on

Ah but it's an old, old story, oh it's all been done before
It's an old, old story, that far too many know
Track Name: Today & Tomorrow
It's best to know the worth of what you've got before its gone
But you cant let yourself get stuck because you're afraid you might be wrong
Your nostalgic for 68, I'm nostalgic for the 99
But sometimes thinking back too much can make you close your eyes

What we do today Matters both today and tomorrow

The point of learning history is to build something new
I don't care what you've read about unless it impacts what you do
You wanna recreate 68? You wanna recreate 99?
Try learning their hard lessons to reflect and then and refine
Because the good old days just sucked sometimes, if you ask those were there
And the answers weren't just blown' in the wind, they were put there

chorus

Ah, but history gets simplified with the passing on of time
And causes and effects sometimes take decades to define
I seen the long shadow of 68 by the ruins of the Berlin Wall
I seen the long shadow of 68 in Seattle
And looking back from here now all the pieces seem to fit
Sometimes its hard to notice the changing world when you're right inside of it
Ah, but without us the future is a boat without a sail
Without our best attempts we set the next ones up to fail
Track Name: The Man I Look For
I feel I'm getting stronger as I travel through my time
Making sense of the emptiness from things I've left behind
And finding out it's better to be present in my life
Than frozen in the moments when I thought I had it right

You know the breeze don't always blow in one direction
It twists and it turns from what's in its path's reaction
And the best thing that you can do is accept it, or deflect it

I'm growing up fast in a world that's growing too
Sometimes keeping my eyes open is the best thing I can do
And that's teaching me again how to find comfort in a smile
As I overcome walls that I erected as a child

Now I can read the intentions of the things that I have done
And I can see their reflections in the man that I've become
And I will become the type of man that I look for

And these things I carry, these words my body wrote
Are buoyed in a sea of thoughts that keeps my heart afloat
And I know now I can summon them from deep inside of me
To tell me who I've been so I can get to who I can be

Concepts lead to action when you wrap your hands around
The things that you can tackle, that's how the world goes round
And I'm one step further down that road now
Track Name: Steady Imperfection
Your strength has grown immensely over the course of these hard years
As you stepped up to challenges and faced up to fears
And with steady imperfection you navigated it all
Some say giving yourself to larger things can set you up to fall

Looking back now, we can't help but laugh
At times we walked alone cuz we we're too proud to ask
And brushed off recognition for the work that we put in
And wrote off accumulated stress as a thing of privileged pain

We'll always be right there helping build the roads
That will take us towards the places that we want to go
Cuz we're not done yet, we're just setting pace

These long years have been hard on you, they been hard on me too
Hard times'll catch up to you, we know too well that that's true
And so we hold high these stories that help keep us up
And tap the comfort and support of the many friends around us

There's glory in the proud times, but the proud times are few
In this world of unbalanced scales we put weight where we are able to
But it's not just for these moments that we build ourselves to fight
It's also for the pain we feel when we don't do what is right
Track Name: And We'll Fight Fascists Too
Soon he’ll be a prisoner like his comrades have become
But he’s proud when he tells their story cuz he’s proud of what they’ve done
He’s an anti-fascists from the ranks of the working-class
And when the Nazis come to town he doesn’t let em pass

He’s says “my grandfather fought fascists cuz it’s what he had to do
You can threaten me with prison time but I’ll fight fascists too
Maybe my body be a barricade that won’t let fascist through
In the name of my grandfather, and for me and you,
And for the future we’ll fight fascists too

He says “two years is injustice, but it’s twice as good as four,
A much higher price was paid by those who suffered through the war
And I’ll be damned if my action lets that power rise again
We can bury the hatchet once we bury fascism

Cuz my grandfather fought fascists cuz it’s what he had to do
You can threaten me with prison time but I’ll fight fascists too
Maybe my body be a barricade that won’t let fascist through
In the name of my grandfather, and for me and you,
And for the future we’ll fight fascists too

It takes more than fists to stop oppression for hate’s born in the heart
But alongside the slow shifts, the fist must play its part
For the violent deeds of a fascist few can silence everyone
We can bury the hatchet once we bury fascism

Cuz my grandfather fought fascists cuz it’s what he had to do
You can threaten me with prison time but I’ll fight fascists too
Maybe my body be a barricade that won’t let fascist through
In the name of my grandfather, and for me and you,
And for the future we’ll fight fascists too
Track Name: Toss & Turn
He must have looked a hero in the eyes of many men
The forgotten souls of broken generations
Sharing nods and smiles, that spoke of other times
They held a grim silence that was recognized

The invisibly wounded, they too walk these halls
They're trapped in these appointments, in the memories and pills
Long after the war is over and the country stops paying attention
It stays with those for whom it never ended

There is nothing profound about it at all

I've seen the haunting distance, the coldness and the fear
Alongside the tenderness, the love and hope and care
I've wrestled with events that are more than mere events
That dig deep holes of despair that you can lose yourself in

There is nothing profound about it at all

It is a pain and a wreckage, it's things that can't be undone
It is symptoms on a checklist of trauma
It is loss that is mourned, it's a loss with no one left to mourn
It is another night that he can't sleep and he just tosses and turns

There is nothing profound about it at all

My generation disappeared down these long halls of war
As their stories were normalized and their suffering ignored
Long after the war is over and the country stops paying attention
It stays with those for whom it never ended

There is nothing profound about it at all

He must have looked a hero in the eyes of many men
The forgotten souls of broken generations
And once their war was over, a new one'd just begun
Modern day is just the same, no war is ever won

There is nothing profound about it at all
Track Name: Inspiration
And I gave it everything I had
To try to change for the better
And in those days I felt all the highs and lows
I had to push myself to feel it
I know you too seek wisdom
From the hard truths of life
And mold your heavy heart
To hold a lot inside

We get lost in attempts to find ourselves
Along these open roads
Searching for perspectives on our lives
To bring back home
Cuz there's something about the way we move
Through this world when we're alone
That we seek after,
That we follow

I found in you a comrade
A lover and a friend
A critic, a supporter
And an inspiration
For inside of you is that side of me
That can't be turned away
From the constant pressures of a world
In which we share responsibility

As we point ourselves like cameras
Towards all the things we see
To try to capture the desperation
And the hopes of society
But its not so much to justify
As to grasp the complexities
That we seek after
That we follow

And I made
A poetic piece of you
A concrete fleeting moment
To come back to
Cuz sometimes that's all we've got
Sometimes it's all we need
To face the world with open hearts
And accept the things we've seen

And they ask us what we're looking for
They ask us what it means
Are we running from our demons,
Or are we running towards our dreams?
But it's something more fluid
And ever-changing in between
That we seek after
That we follow

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