Before the War

by The Wallings Jr.

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about

Before the War is the debut full-length album from the Wallings Jr. Comprised of husband and wife Taylor and Courtney Walling, the duo has previously released homespun recordings in friends' apartments and afternoon one-offs in studios. Partnering for the first time with producer Vince Emmett, and recorded at Melody Hill Studios south of Nashville, TN, Taylor and Courtney have created their first concept album.

Before the War is a collection of songs inspired in part by letters written to and from civil war soldiers and their families and loved ones. As a whole, the album grapples with peace, war, violence, faith, and love.

Throughout the album, the lyrics paint a vivid picture of young men headed off to war, of river baptisms, of lovers torn apart, of apocalyptic visions, of lives warped by violence, and ultimately of the joy of going home and reclaiming your identity. Fittingly, the final track Last and All finishes with, "If you call, don't call me a soldier. Just call my name when I come home."

Hear more about the album's writing and production at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSOfPYBiLMY&feature=youtu.be

credits

released November 19, 2013

All songs written by The Wallings Jr.
Produced by Vince Emmett
Engineered by Steve Winiarski
Recorded at Melody Hill Studios
Album art and Design by Tim Krause Creative
Photo Credit: Red White and Green Photography

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The Wallings Jr. Fort Worth, Texas

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Track Name: On the Edge of Morning
On the Edge of Morning

On the edge of morning you can hear the sun
Calling to the farmer, "Arise, your work ain't done.
The fields are in waiting, and the cattle they are patient,
But the day waits for no one, waits for no one."

Before the city sleeps, the moon he cracks a joke,
"All you ear budded listeners can't hear past your holy smoke.
You're blinded by the neon, instead of living you just dream on.
But the day waits for no one, waits for no one."

When dusk is at its darkest, the moon and sun they sing
A ballad to the masses, a duet of extremes.
They say, "Listen, all you peoples, you farmers and city crowds,
Live life like it's a gift, and don't sleep in just to wait things out.
For the fields are in waiting, and the cattle they are patient,
Don't lose yourself in all the neon, or all the things you disagree on,
For the day waits for no one, waits for no one."
Track Name: Take Me Down
Take Me Down

Sunday the preacher said,
"What you've gotta do is come and lay your head under the watery blue.
With white robes, all who come will be made brand new."
So with high hopes and hymn songs
The congregation's voices filled the room.

Singing
Take me down to the river
Where all Christians go
Running water gonna make me shake and shiver
Cause most days I'm feeling worn
And I want to be reborn
Take me down
Lord, take me down

Preacher looked around and he said, "Follow me."
They went to the edge of town and there came upon a creek.
Every child, every man, every mother, every wife,
First they'd smile, then they'd stand in line waiting to change their lives.

Singing
Take me down to the river
Where all Christians go
Running water gonna make me shake and shiver
Cause most days I'm feeling old
Give me a water grave where I can lay my soul
Take me down
Lord, take me down

Preacher wiped his brow, and he said, "I'll see you next week."
His suit was ruined anyhow, all for the sake of the kingdom of the meak.
But each Sunday just off the road the congregation sings their song.
They await all of those who do not know it but might choose to sing along.

Singing
Take me down to the river
Where all Christians go
Running water gonna make me shake and shiver
Cause most days I'm feeling old
You know I'd trade away my silver and my gold

If you take me down to the river
Where all Christians go
Running water gonna make me shake and shiver
Cause most days I'm feeling worn
And I want to be reborn
Take me down
Lord, take me down
Track Name: I Knew
I Knew

This crazy world we live in keeps on changing
Put something in its place next thing you know it's rearranging
It sure seems like nothing stays the same
Nothing on this earth I trust
Cause nothing remains

But I knew long before we ever made a home
Before our lives were set in stone
I knew, baby, I knew
And I knew long before I ever touched your face
Before you moved into my place
I knew, baby, I knew that I was meant for you

Looking in the future there's so little to be sure of
I see wars and violence, atrocities and diseases there ain't no cure of
It sure seems like something's gotta give
I know I'm no expert, after all it's my first life to live

But I knew long before I told you how I feel
Before you cooked us our first meal
I knew, baby, I knew
And I knew, long before I kissed you on the mouth
Before you ever had to chew me out
I knew, baby, I knew I was meant for you

It sure seems like you are all I got
But when I'm with you, babe, this world it ain't as awful as I thought

But I knew long before you ever made me cry
Before you baked me a rhubarb pie
I knew, baby, I knew
I knew before I got down on one knee
Before your mother made fun of me
I knew, baby, I knew that I was meant for you
Track Name: Hard Fall
Hard Fall

Someone's at your door
Throwing their weight around
Always wanting more
Than they can carry out

Everything they see is for the taking now
When you come upon the scene
Oh I bet you are shaking now
shaking now

And it's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
From Eden's tree down to your knees

They come in through the back
And force the window wide
Leave a handprint on your back
Shadows never lie

They take what they need
They take what they want to
But after they leave
Oh their presence it'll haunt you
haunt you

And it's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
From Eden's tree down to your knees

Well you're always wanting more
Yeah you're always wanting more
You're always wanting more
Yeah you're always wanting more

And it's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
From Eden's tree
Yeah it's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
It's a hard hard fall
From Eden's tree down to your knees
Track Name: Remember Me Kind
Remember Me Kind

Remember me kind in the days to come
I go to fight to defend my home
The battle don't care for no kin
The front lines don't care for no wife
If we should ne'er meet again
I pray you'll remember me kind

Remember me kind when the sun is at mast
Golden days gone by will the next be our last
The road I march with these men
I fear brings a cold finish line
If you should hear news of my end
I pray you'll remember me kind

Remember me kind when your eyes won't close
All will be made right when God's trumpet blows
When the blood in your veins runs thin
And moonlight brings no peace of mind
My lord will return but till then
I pray you'll remember me kind
Track Name: Revelation 23
Revelation 23

Hallelujah to the end of the age
What's it to ya if we're missing a page
Somebody must've ripped it out
Revelation chapter twenty three
And then in some sacred collision
the vision was passed back down to me

I saw some listened to the mystics and the post-apocalyptic musings of the preachers and their flocks.
They’d mark the day in red, visions of crowns upon their heads and claim you cannot fight the ticking of the clock.

But even the good book says he’s coming like a thief in the night.
Place your belief upon a thief and I’m thinking you’re off one cross to the right.
But they say if war is at your door and the moon is high, you might as well leave on the light.

They were singing
Hallelujah to the end of the age.
What’s it to ya if we’re setting the stage?
They say he’s coming either way,
whether it will be this day or not.
And I do not disagree,
but his coming will be different than they thought.

I saw some whispered silent prayers like sonic siren flares
to light up heaven’s telephone lines.
With a million callers waiting and the angels all debating,
almost everyone was left standing by.

And for an endless age, all of them were left on hold.
Seven telephones rang along the seven streets of gold,
but no one answered they were busy making merry with the prodigal.

They were singing
Hallelujah to the end of the age
I never knew you worked for minimum wage.
That was only after he lost everything and learned a hard lesson first
That he’d rather be a slave to a man than to a pig’s hunger and thirst.

I saw some heard the ringing bells and though instead to raise some hell
Most of them were well behaved kin.
So church-bred goody-two-shoes who thought they had nothing to lose
reveled in some last minute sin.
They drank and they cursed, they smoked whatever they could steal.
They broke into the church, they feasted on the holy meal.
And they laid without discretion ‘neath the pews just to see how it would feel.

They were singing Hallelujah to the end of the world.
It’s quite a party we threw ya look at all these girls.
But with the burden of the law upon their shoulders, their heads hung low.
And I watched them breathe in all the seething sorrow they could not let go.

When I woke up from my dream, people asked me what I’d seen.
I said that it was hard to describe.
I said I cannot tell you how, but one day we all will bow.
Every nation every tribe.

And we’ll sing holy holy holy is the Lord
for he paid a debt I could not afford.
But his pockets never empty so I know he’s got plenty more.
With cattle on a thousand hills just imagine all the barbecue in store.

We’ll be singing
Hallelujah to the end of the age.
Praise the holy father, his holy grace
Hallelujah to the end of the earth
Praise the second coming, the second birth
Yeah we’ll sing that song forever and ever and ever more
Oh we’ll sing because angelic vocal chords never get sore

We’ll be singing
Hallelujah to the end of the age
Track Name: Run Back Home
Run Back Home

Mama never needed to know
She doesn't need to know now
Why should I care
It seems everywhere that go
I end up kicked around

Well I wish you were dead
And I wish I was too
I know that I am sick of the lies
But I ain't well enough for the truth

So I'll run I'll run back home
to the place where I belong
Where the wild wind howls at night
A sacred song for the cold moonlight

Every now and again
When it slows down to rain
I tell myself that you overcame hell
And can hardly remember the pain

But I guess you were right
Right about everything
If I am the kid who regrets what he did
Then I guess you're the son of a king

So I'll run I'll run back home
to the place where I belong
Where the wild wind howls at night
A sacred song for the cold moonlight

Where the wild wind howls at night
A sacred song for the cold moonlight
Track Name: Atlas
Atlas

Atlas
I toiled four score and seven long years
with the hymns of my family plugging my ears
To keep out the beating of their bodies like drums
I finally escaped on a submarine train
My legs were the wheels, my lungs were the flames
that burned with all I ran from

When at last I felt safe and let down my guard
That’s when they came and chased me down hard
and shipped me off to the war
They gave me a gun and another man’s boots
and they said to me, “Son, welcome to the troops.”
All the tools to fight. Sent me swimming for the shore.

This world on my shoulders is getting heavy.
I’m getting older.

I heard the mortar shell screams, and when they finally fell
I carried the wounded through heaven and hell
and laid them in white cotton graves.
And in the morning that followed,
the blood and the dust was so thick on my hands,
a second earth’s crust that cracked but refused to wash away.

So across the great deep I sailed like a song
floating over the airways, starboard and strong
until I reached the east coast.
And in that ripe rotten city, that brown apple core
they gave me a bite as my hero’s reward,
but an honest wage was all I hungered for.

This world on my shoulders is getting heavy.
I’m getting older.

So I worked with my hands the tools of the earth,
and I knew my wife well, and soon she gave birth
to a child we both would raise.
Now I hide from my boy all the things that I’ve done
and he carries the void like a cross-bearing son.
I can only hope he finds a better way.

This world on my shoulders is getting heavy, it's getting colder.
This world on my shoulders is getting heavy, and I’m getting older.
Track Name: Before the War
Before the War

I want to sing you something that you never heard before
Something you can’t buy in a record store
I want to sing a song that will make you proud
The kind of tune you can’t live without
I want a song that will carry you home
a song that will carry you home

Before the war brought you all them rebel songs
you had only ballads and hymns
Before men were fighting you had nothing worth fighting for
Now at least you have something to fight against

The day that you were leaving I asked if you were sure
You told me that you heard it all before
You turned away and walked toward the gate
I called your name but it was too late
And I prayed one day you’d come home
I prayed someday you’d make it home

Before the war brought you all them rebel songs
you had only ballads and hymns
Before men were fighting you had nothing worth fighting for
Now at least you have something to fight against

Then one day the doorbell rang
It was a postman with a box of your things
And I cried for all you never heard
Telegram with your dying words said,
“You cannot let yourself be defined by the wars other men choose to fight.”

Let this song carry you home.
Let this song carry you home.

Before the war brought you all them rebel songs you had only ballads and hymns
Before men were fighting you had nothing worth fighting for
Now at least you have something to fight against
Track Name: Can't Chase Me Away
Can't Chase Me Away

It's been a quiet week
You been keeping to yourself
And all the words you don't speak
I repeat them to myself

You can call me what you like
Spit in my face, leave our bed and drive all night
But you can't chase me away
No no no you can't chase me away

After all these years
I know how you work
Who said joy was free of tears
Or getting what you want won't get you hurt?

You can call me what you like
Spit in my face, leave our bed and drive all night
But you can't chase me away
No no no you can't chase me away

A ring is just a band of gold
That you wear on your hand
But to have and to hold
Those are words that I understand

You can call me what you like
Spit in my face, leave our bed and drive all night
You can call me what you want
Say it to my face
I will be the house you haunt
But you can't chase me away
No no no you can't chase me away
Track Name: Taste for the Blood
Taste for the Blood

Davey was about thirteen first time he killed himself a living thing
He crossed paths with a black bear in the woods
Davey was pretty scared but his aim was good
As he heard the creature cry it fell with a thud
Rain began to fall and he watched the dirt turn to mud

And he got a taste for the blood

Davey always heard his brothers tell
Bout the bully down the street who gave ‘em hell
They said he was a tall as a full grown evergreen
But Davey wasn’t scared of no Christmas tree
Momma always warned about stick and stones and words
And this bully hollered words and he swung a sharpened stick
But Davey brought some rocks and a striped sling shot sock
He slung it like a stone but it landed like a brick

And he got a taste for the blood

If there’s a trigger let him pull it
Load the chamber with six silver bullets
Cause he’s got a taste for the blood
He’s got a taste for the blood
He’s got a taste for the blood

Davey saw the girl up on the roof, looking soft and slender in her youth
She looked just like an angel, the kind that don’t need wings
No blemish on her body except the ring
Momma always warmed about girls that you might meet
Especially those girls who belong to other men
But her man was in the war, so Davey he made sure
That there upon the front lines he’d meet his end

And he got a taste for the blood

If there’s a trigger let him pull it
Load the chamber with six silver bullets
If there’s a sword let him swing it
If there’s a naked neck, let him ring it.
Cause he’s got a taste for the blood
He’s got a taste for the blood
He’s got a taste for the blood
Track Name: Last and All
Last and All

Better for the fights I lost
Healthy for the meals I missed
Richer for paying the cost
Speechless for the letters writ

Last and all war is over
Last and all I’m headed home
Let the rifle fall from my weary shoulder
War is over I’m headed home

Younger for the years I fought
Wiser for the questions asked
Bolder for the wrath they wrought
Freer for slaving through the task

Last and all war is over
Last and all I’m headed home
So if you call, don’t call me a soldier
War is over I’m headed home

The boys are in the basement
And they’re striking out a song
Home is so close I can taste it
Come on, boys, now sing along

Last and all war is over
Last and all I’m headed home
Let the rifle fall from my weary shoulder
War is over I’m headed home
So if you call, don’t call me a soldier
War is over I’m headed home