Sugarloaf Mountain Records
"Rising Tide"
by Rhododendron Road

11. Still (The Soldier’s Song) (4:44)

There's a picture on the mantle
When the soldier was a boy,
In the days before Bin Laden,
Before innocence was destroyed,
Of happy days in high school
Playing football with his friends.
His bride-to-be cheered for him.
His mom and dad were in the stands.

Justin volunteered for duty.
He was a patriotic son.
The President had called on him
To fight until we won.
And he believed in the mission.
He believed he served a cause
Of God and faith and country
And a world of peace and laws.

Still … the flag is flying.
Still … his mama is crying.
Still … his body is lying.

Justin was a willing soldier.
He was a boy become a man.
He trained at Benning, Georgia,
And shipped to Afghanistan.
And from there he went to Kuwait
And on to Basra and into Baghdad,
Where he fought a brutal enemy
In an ancient world gone bad.

Well, he never saw it coming.
The shells ripped through his back
In a graveyard called Fallujah,
Where the daylight turned to black.
When they brought him home to Main Street,
The town held a grand parade
To honor his great courage,
The supreme sacrifice he had made.

Still … the flag is flying.
Still … his mama is crying.
Still … his body is lying.

Well, they lined the streets in tribute
While his coffin made its way.
Sobs were heard. Somebody sang “God Bless the USA.”
But no one asked the question,
Though it turned in every mind:
Did Justin truly die for something
Worth leaving his loved ones behind?

Still … the flag is flying.
Still … his mama is crying.
Still … his body is lying.

Words and music by Jim Choukas-Bradley.
Jim Choukas-Bradley: vocals, piano;
Amanda Olsavsky: vocals;
Jesse Daumit: vocals, lead guitar;
Jesse Choukas-Bradley: vocals, rhythm guitar;
Jeff Reed: bass;
Mike Kuhl: drums.

Recorded at Bias Studios, Springfield, VA.
Engineered and mixed by Jim Robeson.

This is the song that started this album on its way. I had written it at the piano – it was another one that, when it came, came together very quickly – and its message of respectful sorrow overpowered my voice when I sang it. When I sang it for other people, it had a profound effect on them, too. I felt that I had to get it out there for people to hear.

So I set out to learn how to book time in a recording studio and make a demo. Jesse Daumit, a professional guitarist, agreed to work on it, and so did Jesse C-B, and Jesse D got a group of other professional musician friends together to record it. I figured that while we were in the studio for a session, we might as well make a full day of it and record some of my other tunes as well. So in addition to Still, we laid down tracks of Loves A Truck, Black Hills Ranger, and The Wind So Still in that first session. Little did I know that you really couldn’t start, finish, and mix four tunes in a day – not if you wanted to make a really good record. But we had so much fun playing together, and were so pleased with our sound and with the recordings, that we kept on going, and went back into the studio several times.

I kept writing new songs and polishing up old ones, and the next thing we knew we were Rhododendron Road and had finished more than enough tunes for our first CD.

Sugarloaf Mountain Records, Inc. wishes to thank Susan A. Roth for the use of her photographs,
and Tina Thieme Brown for the use of her paintings on this website.

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