They Were Longing for a Better Country

by Zach Winters

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credits

released September 26, 2011

All songs written, recorded, mixed & performed by Zach Winters.

Produced by Zach & Lane Winters.

Mastered by West West Side Music.

Photography by Tyler Metcalfe (cover), Breezy Azevedo Winters (back & disc) Lane Winters (liner notes)
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Musicians

Alex Winters - upright & electric bass
Blake Studdard - drums
Brady Smith - electric guitar
Brian Payne - acoustic guitar
Evan French - drums
Lane Winters - singing
Philip Rice - electric guitar
Wilhelm Koenig - percussion
Zach Winters - accordion, acoustic guitar, banjo, bass drum, cajón, cajón cubano, caxixi, claps, cymbal swells, electric bass, electric guitar, harmonica, jingle bells, mandolin, nylon-string guitar, piano, piano beats, singing, slide guitar, smacks, snare drum, stomps, tambourine, uñas and whistling

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Zach Winters Norman, Oklahoma

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Track Name: The Grass after Winter
I want to sit down and hear your mind;
I don’t want to leave anyone behind.
And when I talk about it
I don’t mean this is the way it’s got to be.
Let’s think of all the world and its possibilities;
I want to climb a mountain that’s more than my strength.
I am just a man and I am waiting on
a god who is a god to come and undo my mind.
You are my wife, you’re my lover and my friend,
and you will stay with me until one of us comes to an end.
God’ll make it right when everything gets going wrong,
and we’ll wait on him in the morning, wait on the lawn.
We’ll dance on the lawn when it’s green and growing back
from a winter of tears and of breaking my back.
And you healed me one night when I laid and cried;
I reached out for your arm, caught your eye.
(lyrics improvised)
Track Name: Give Me Peace and Rest
Give me peace and rest, I ask,
and deliver me from suffering.
But it comes in waves and birth pangs;
My head reels and I cannot deal with this alone.
If you take it all away from me will you give it all back too?
Or will you sit me down like Job and give me a talking to?
Would you kneel down and resuscitate if I was turning blue?
Or do you smile at me because you’ve already been through
what I’m going through?
So break into my bag of waters,
and lift me out by my heels.
Draw my up from my bed screaming -
I’m wanting to be born again.
Running back my memories (All I have is you),
and I am struggling with disappointment (All I have is you).
You scared me in delivery - what else could I do?
Will you remind me you remember me?
All I have is you.
Do I remind you of Nicodemus with confusion on my face?
Was I in your mind when you originally thought of grace?
Will you stand aloof from me while I am hounding at your gate?
Or do you hold me in contempt while I am grieving?
Jesus took a boat out on the lake of Galilee.
He was mourning for his cousin John and he’d rowed out to be
alone, but when he reached the other shore
a crowd had followed him,
but instead of being frustrated
you had compassion and healed them there.
Give me peace and rest, I ask.
Track Name: Most of the Air
Most of the air I pump out of these lungs is
toxic but you breathe it,
and you love me, and you want me.
And I want you from your essence to your skin.
I’m wanting to present the best of me; all I have is this.
Most of the air I pump out of these lungs is
toxic but you breathe it,
and you love me, and you want me.
What am I to have that you’re so sure?
You sought me without flag so I know.
I know.
Track Name: Storehouse
I had a dream that we packed away
all of our things into a boat for a long time,
and we watched uneasily as the waters took
all our houses underneath as it climbed the mountainside.
Plenty will there be from this year’s harvest,
even though the man said there wouldn’t be much
rain in the ground for this year’s harvest.
Adding to the storehouse, hallelujah!
And can you remember last year’s harvest?
Living in a dry land - how did we eat that year?
was like a dead cloud hung above us
with an empty wind, but we had enough.
Didn’t we? Didn’t we have enough?
Imagine this land being drenched with water till we can’t see...
hearing it fall and resound and scatter
till we can’t hear ourselves sing....
And plenty will there be from next year’s harvest -
scattering the seeds with an open hand and
remembering more than sparrows his thoughts are of us;
even if the rain stops, hallelujah!
Track Name: And the Little Child
(Isaiah 11)

And the wolf will lay down with the lamb
And the leopard shall lie down with young goats
And the calf and the lion, fatted calf
And the cow and the bear shall graze together
And the little child shall lead them
And the lion and ox shall eat the hay
And the nursing baby will play
Over the holes of the cobras, adder’s dens
And they’ll never do harm on my mountain
And the little child shall lead them
There shall come forth a shoot from Jesse’s stump
And the branch from the roots will bear fruit
And the spirit of God shall rest on him
In might and fear of the Lord and wisdom
And his delight will be in the fear of the Lord and right judgment
And he will bring peace
And under his reign the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the water covers the sea
Track Name: Small Boat
Well, they’re leaving now, and it’s hard to stay abreast
when I’m floating on the verge.
It’s dark and deep beneath my feet,
and the water just goes down.
I am small boat taking on water
with no man to row across her;
I’m waiting out the waves.
I wish that an island would come to save me,
rock me gently like a baby -
I need something firm to rest against.
Well, a blind heart can’t see the end of the ocean,
and a sick doesn’t care if she can see.
My own heart doesn’t have the strength to get there
unless you revive me.
(endlessness, passionlessness
fear of never getting somewhere
dispossess the spirit of sadness
love makes nothing of the distance)
I am small boat taking on water
with no man to row across her;
I’m waiting out the waves.
I wish that an island would come to save me,
rock me gently like a baby -
I need something firm to rest against.
Track Name: When Evening is Overwhelming
If you miss me then you know it -
it’s not hard to understand.
You don’t have to be a poet;
I’d love the words of your hand.
And don’t you know I weep with you gone?
that in my memory you’re beside me driving home?
I know it’s on your mind when you’re alone.
I was angry, but now I long.
If you miss me you can show it -
you don’t have to pretend.
And you don’t have to be heroic,
but I won’t let you be my friend.
The morning brings a knock on your door,
and in your heart you feel uneasy as you cross the floor.
What do you hear the voice of Jesus asking for?
I am waiting.

(to God)
I belong to you.
Track Name: I Want to Be
I want to be somewhere
mining my own town with my children.
I want to see the names on their faces,
watch them take their places in the war of our day.
I want to work where money doesn’t inspire
with hands that don’t get tired; I want to work -
go on a walk in woods without brambles,
without a preamble between the two of our hearts.
I want to be somewhere with a family
that names you and names me as some of their own.
I want to see, in the eyes of my Father,
that I’m not a bother but a delight in his eyes.
Track Name: Balcony
Out between the balconies a dress
still drying off the wet;
the flowers have not yet
raised their lowered heads back toward the sun,
and the floral patterns run
down hems carefully spun.
And when she lays back down, you won’t be in the room.
A passerby won’t look beneath his feet
at the way the windows weep
from the clothesline to the street.
She says, Who’ll notice me unpin it
or the song that my heart had kept so long
for the right man and I was wrong?
It was a shame - do you remember?
It was a shame - do you remember her?
Did your hands get raw from trying to scrub the stain
with only suds going down the drain?
A streak of scarlet tucked away.
And in the mirror do you even recognize
the double-circles of your eyes?
Pull up the covers, blankets white.
(Zephaniah 3:14 - end)
Track Name: I'm Never Going Back to That Place (I'm Traveling Now)
I’ve been down that road,
and I’m traveling now.
It turned out then that I could walk away, but I couldn’t run away.
Oh mama, my heart tried to stay.
And now you’ll find me here by the cool water -
I lay with Lane by the side of a rock
and we wait for the cool of the day.
I hear the footsteps of my Father
drawing close now;
I hear his breath, I know the sound
when he comes to meet with me.
I used to be frightened when he called my name,
or try to impress him,
but now I know for me your heart is full of love!
Oh Father! let all of your waves and breakers sweep on over me!
Oh Father! do you know the heart you wake when you say, Come with me?
Oh Father! let these ears hear again you invite me to sing and play!
Oh Father, Father, Father! my heart is home.
I’ve been down that road,
and I’m traveling now.