Hammet
Hammet

Story

This is a track from "Stop.Watch," my not-yet-released recording. It's a set of seven songs that journey through time and connection. Legacy and loss. The hard face of hope.

This recording is a community of sound: so many great local musicians contributing to the central questions, using their remarkable talents--on fiddle, drums, bass, vocals, percussion--to lift the insistent legacy inquiry into a place of gentle demand.

Besides my lead vocal, you're hearing the voices of PRISCA, Cindy Diamond, and Ann Duckworth. That's Ben Holst on bass and several of the guitars--I think I've got two and he's got three. And three bass tracks. Moira Nelligan on fiddle. I got acquainted with her playing by way of a hurricane. True story. And Vic Stafford on all things percussive. Beautiful sounds.

 

Lyrics

What Will We Leave Behind
 c2017


give me a home. give me a home
give me a place to be in family and company
where I can be known. give me that home.

give me a sky. give me a sky.
give me the air to breathe and stars to see
moon that rises high. give me that sky.


and when the time rolls on and when we are gone
what will we leave behind?


Give me a world give me a world
Give me that shining ball a place we all can be
Give me that World


and when the time rolls on and when we are gone
what will we leave behind?

what will we leave behind?
what will we leave behind?
what will we leave behind?
what will we leave behind?
what will we leave behind?
what will we leave behind?

will we have been blind? will we have been kind?

and when the time rolls on and when we are gone

what will we leave behind? what will we leave behind?

will we have been blind? will we have been kind?

what will we leave behind? what will we leave behind?

 

 

Melanie Hammet
Hammet

Story

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz

Nobody's coming.

Lyrics

Coming For Us
Melanie Hammet c 2017


I started walking in the pouring rain
I started listening hearing suffering and pain
Nobody’s coming nobody's coming for us

People were running as the fire came down
People were raging as the truth came down
Nobody’s coming nobody’s coming for us


At the end of the day
At the end of the day
Nobody's coming nobody's coming for us

But somebody's coming
Somebody's coming for us (x2)


Is it the Bible is it here at last
Someone who’s liable did the buck get passed
Nobody’s coming nobody’s coming for us

The wind is blowing keeping the sparks alive
No way of knowing who will survive
Nobody’s coming nobody’s coming for us

At the end of the day, At the end of the day
At the end of the day, At the end of the day
Nobody's coming nobody's coming for us

At the end of the day, At the end of the day
Nobody's coming nobody's coming for us

But somebody's coming
Somebody's coming for us (x2)

Rich Turnbow
Hammet/Holst

Story

Clarence Harrison served eighteen years in prison for a crime he did not commit. During those years his daughters grew into adulthood, his mother passed away, and the freedom of daily living was stolen from him by our criminal justice system. 

"DNA (Do Not Assume)" is the first of twelve songs that were written from recorded conversations between Clarence, Ben Holst, and myself. The songs were then vetted again by Clarence for accuracy. 

This song begins his story.

Lyrics

DNA (do not assume)

Hammet, Holst,  c2012

 

Do Not Assume you know who’s guilty

Do Not Assume the truth was heard

Do Not Assume we are so different

Do Not Assume they have the final word

 

They gave me life plus twenty for a crime I did not do

And they added twenty more years just to break me through and through

They gave me life plus twenty but I was innocent

And they put on twenty more years just in case those years got spent

 

Do Not Assume you know who’s guilty

Do Not Assume the truth was heard

Do Not Assume we are so different

Do Not Assume they have the final word

 

I got represented by a lawyer in the hall 

he just happened to be standing there that’s how he got the call

the jury found me guilty though I know we heard the same

now the whole world’s feeling safer ‘cause they found someone to blame

 

Do Not Assume you know who’s guilty

Do Not Assume the truth was heard

Do Not Assume we are so different

Do Not Assume they have the final word

 

There’s a shadow in the hall of justice 

blood on Liberty’s cape

There’s a stain on the flag of freedom that no one can escape

 

Do Not Assume you know who’s guilty

Do Not Assume the truth was heard

Do Not Assume you are so different

Do Not Assume they have the final word

 

Do Not Anger or be bitter

A lesson every day I learn

Do Not Ask what would my life have been

If I could have those years returned

 

Hammet
Hammet

Story

This song is a nearly-true story, except that no animals were harmed in the composing of this music. The sing-song melody walks the lyric path into hell before you even realize you're there. 

 

At least that's what I'm hearing.

Lyrics

 

Little Pink Gun

c2010

 

Waitin’ there underneath the Christmas tree

For my darlin’ kindergarten Annie Oakley

Ain’t no dolly with the fakey golden curls

Time for separatin women from the girls

 

CHORUS:

 

Yeah Haley’s got a little pink gun

She’s got her brother Bubba on the run

Got a child-sized trigger so it’s easy to pull it

but the dadgum thing shoots a grownup bullet

Haley’s got a little pink gun

 

By the time she’s seven she’ll be shootin big game 

Makes a silly little video look real tame

She’s my baby vigilante she’s my itty-bitty shooter

Blond hair blue eyes nothing much cuter than

 

CHORUS:

 

Bang bang bang

Run Bubba run Bubba run

 

Now she’s shootin at the kitty-cat bang bang bang

Suburbans in the cross-hairs clang clang clang

Ring around the rosie farmer in the dell

Mama let me take it to show and tell

 

CHORUS:

Hammet
Hammet

Story

 

This song is part of a series called "Edifice Complex," written during an artist residency in Seaside Florida. The music on "Edifice . ." explores land-use and urban planning through several melodic lenses--"(anatomy of)The Street Where You Live" even brings a clarinet to the search. 

The lyrics in this song are embedded with all sorts of planning and zoning sociologicals and anthropologicals--NIMBY makes an appearance; I had a traffic engineer wax enthusiastic about the mention of street width  and traffic flow in verse one. All of this (and more--check out the full set on iTunes) comes from several years of working with a planning consultant while I was on city counsel, not to mention years of attending classes and conferences on any and everything related to living on urban land. 

All of which to say--this song is not about any particular place. It's about any place. Every place. Every imperfect little town that we work to make better.

Lyrics

(anatomy of)The Street Where You Live    

c2009

 

Just enough shade just enough light

Just enough room for the neighbors in the middle of a hot summer night

Just enough room for a car to pass But it has to slo-ow down

Perfect little street perfect little spot perfect little town

 

Just enough them just enough us

Just enough I got what I need you got what you need—so don’t fuss!

 Just enough Not In My Backyard So it has to slo-ow down

Perfect little street perfect little spot perfect little town

 

early morning in a bathrobe going for the paper

 kids are on the way to carpool-wave at the neighbor

 

Just enough shade (canopy)    just enough light (density)

Just enough room for the neighbors 

in the middle of a hot summer night (community)

 

Just enough room for a car to pass 

but it has to slo-ow down

Perfect little street perfect little spot perfect little town

 

Just enough them (diversity)  just enough us (security)

Just enough I got what I need 

you got what you need--don’t fuss! (economy)

 

Just enough Not In My Backyard 

so it has to slo-ow down

Perfect little street perfect little spot 

 

perfect little town

Lifted

04:11
Hammet
Hammet

Story

I have spent many, many days and nights along the Gulf Coast -- playing music. Sailing and swimming. Catching crabs,  walking the sand. Smelling the decay and renewal, the salt and the funk of that grand geospheric cathedral. I worked a shrimp boat out on that water and have often wondered how many nautical miles I was from the Deep Horizon spill that befouled the sacred sea. 

From that tangible holiness, that mystery and reverence, that swoon and sweat comes "Lifted."

Many thanks to Claire Campbell for her high priestess vocals on this. Also Dede Vogt on slinky bass and Brandon Bush on spooky piano.

Lyrics

Lifted

c2004 

 

 

The stick the stone the flesh and the bone

the mighty mighty power of the great unknown

the sky the mud the breath and the blood

I am lifted

 

 

I wore a cross of gold around my neck for years

thinkin' it would drive away my doubts and fears

and tho' I did not get relief or find redemption

I found some pleasure in sins I will not mention

 

 

(chorus)

 

Day after day I took a vow of silence

to cleanse my mouth from spoken acts of violence  

and tho' I did not purify a single word

I cannot believe all the things I overheard

 

(chorus)

 

Would I be saved or sanctified in the name of love

measured by all below or up above

would I account and explain for my every thought and my action

or is every moment perfect satisfaction

 

(chorus)

 

So who or what is the measure of all that's holy

who or what is bathed in the light of the glory glory

and when and where will it all be reconciled

so we walk it step by step and mile by mile

 

(chorus)

 

Hammet
Hammet

Story

I quit writing love songs a while ago. . . . the last record I did with that kind of music was "Under The Same Sky," produced with Rob Gal--really beautiful tunes and some of my favorites. But "Reason For Love" is probably my very favorite (is this true?) of the love songs I've written. I like the circularity of the chorus; I know that angst and those depths, the wrench and the uncertainty. Wow. 

So what is the question that the answer is love? 

Lyrics

Reason For Love  

 c2004

 

well, my words are pouring out of me like sweat

and  the actions I remember are the actions I regret

and I won’t take any chances ‘cause it’s all a losing bet

 

Is there a reason for love

There is a reason for love 

 if there’s a reason for love

 I’d give up reason for love

 

and I don’t know if I miss you or it’s just the empty space

or maybe it’s just me that I don’t wanna face

and with all the second-guessing, was it ever love in the first place?

 

Chorus

        and it feels like it’s one or the other; then it feels like it’s you or it’s me

       but it all comes down, it all comes down to this—it just is what it is

 

so what is the question that the answer is love?

and what is forgiveness when I do the same stuff?

and how will I ever know what feels like enough?

 

Chorus

 

 

Lori Grigsby
a million years ago
Melanie Hammet

Story

I can still remember the first time I heard a singer who opened my heart. 

 I was sitting in the auditorium of the Wesley Foundation in Blacksburg Virginia. I might have been eight. Or ten. It doesn't matter--anyway, this kid came out on stage in a chimney sweep costume, replete with soot. I say "kid" because she was a year younger than me. Her name was Lori Grigsby and she launched into Chim-Chimery from Mary Poppins and wrecked my world. I fell in love with her voice; I probably cried. I never forgot it.

Fast-forward ten-plus years: Ann Goette and I have written "Coming Of Age." It's a musical about being thirteen, performed by the only people who could, and it's time to make a record. As in LP. As in put it on your turntable and drop the needle; 33 1/13 RPMs. There's a song, sung by a character who's mourning the dissolution of her parents' marriage. It's called "That's Not The Way It's Supposed To Be," and although the lyrics are so simple, the song is deeply poignant and this recorded version will be its artifact.

Who else but Lori Grigsby could sing this song? The sad soulful voice from so many years ago, paired with other childhood friends: Michael Furey on piano, Wes Crawford on drums. She still tears me up, fifty years hence.