A Good Way to Say Goodbye

by Cameron Smith

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about

This is not a good way to say goodbye.


March 1, 2019---This Monday I had some time scheduled at Cloudland-Recording Studio with Britt Robisheaux and instead of continuing work on the record I've been chipping away at for months, I decided to make a different album in a morning and an afternoon out of some newer songs I've been playing around with in my solo sets. Today--four days later-- I'm releasing it on bandcamp because I want to share it with you.

Some of these will appear on the next Sur Duda record but others feel full grown with their minimal arrangements, including the title track and "Forsaken"; which came on all at once like a migraine, 8 hours prior to the 9am session call time. There are two covers, which I never intended to put on an album, but I only had so much time and in the moment I just wasn't feeling the other two songs I had planned to track. So, I subbed those two out with this old Doom Ghost song, "There is a Room Filled With Blood" and Leonard Cohen's "The Traitor".

The album is very raw, minimal and imperfect. I performed the guitar, vocals and harmonica live and then double tracked my voice and organ. The tracking was digital but Britt filtered everything through one of the tape machines and the Fairchild reverb.

These songs are mostly conversations between characters struggling with complicated feelings on common conditions, like abandonment, death, loss, heartbreak, love, ambition, joy, aging, obsession, addiction, recovery and so forth.

It's not very smart to make and distribute a record this way but for this album and I, I believe it makes the most sense. If you'll listen to it, I think maybe the album will do a better job than I can do at explaining why that is.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading and listening.

credits

released March 1, 2019

Cameron Smith - guitar, vocals, organ, harmonica

Recorded, mixed and mastered by J. Britt Robisheaux on Februrary 25, 2019.

All songs written by Cameron Smith, except for "There Is A Room Filled With Blood" (written by Doom Ghost) and "The Traitor" (written by Leonard Cohen).

Cover photo by John Erwin

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Track Name: A Good Way to Say Goodbye
I had my first drink when I was fourteen
We stole a flask from Austin's dad
And sipped til it was empty
I felt fine at the party til I got up from my seat
Yeah, I threw up on the couch while I was still asleep

Cause where I come from there's something everybody needs
It's like a hunger for some comfort, never known and never seen
I've lost all kinds of friends to their fight to be free
Now I honestly can't say why it was them instead of me

But if it's really going down this time
They say your life will flash before your eyes
We've been rehearsing this one all our lives
Never found a good way to say goodbye
Never learned no good way to say goodbye

"I sing this song because I love the man
I know that most of you won't understand"
I couldn't tell you if he was good or bad
But we had each other
And that was most of what we had

Cause where I come from there's something everybody needs
It's like they're hurting from some burden, never known and never seen
I've lost all kinds of friends out hunting down a dream
Now I honestly can't say why it was them instead of me

If it's really going down this time
Try your best to follow the light
We could rehearse this one all our lives
Never learn a good way to say goodbye
Never learned a good way to say goodbye

It was an accident, no one was supposed to get hurt
Not even the devil should have to die at work
We hit that drug store and his fate was sealed
I guess now Tommy knows if heaven is really real

I know some people pray and if you folks are like them
Could you say a humble prayer for my people in my town?
Feels like we're an empty glove pulled off G-d's own hand
All born to be forgotten; no one expects you to understand
That we're just beggars at the gates of a promised land
With nobody to answer "What is the soul of a man?"

I've lost all kinds of friends to their fight to be free
I honestly can't say why it was them instead of me
No, I honestly can't say why it was them instead of me
Track Name: Wish Me Well
San Francisco, if we wanted
We could get there by the morning
And we could be almost anything
If we didn't have to work to eat

We could admire a performance
Or sin rehearsing our slow dance steps
Repeat, repeat, repeating until we're certain we won't fail

Cause if nothing to lose means nothing at all
We might find we wasted a lot of each other's time
But that's what most of the time is for

If you were a fire I'd be moving to Hell
You could wish me well

Some day I'll build us a big house
Somewhere pretty or just somewhere else
Some place with seasons
Some where we can breathe in
But if some day never comes
You can hold on to me
And I will hold on to you
And we will fight

I hope we're not fighting our whole lives
But mostly for the sake of the other side
Cause if you were the ocean
I'm those ice caps that are melting
If you were a fire
I'd just be fire as well, kid
If anyone doesn't like it and needs someone to tell it to

They can meet me in hell
They can meet me in hell
And I wish them well
Track Name: How I Got Old
You and I are good friends, you know?
Follow me into this empty room that isn't even mine
It's not the first time you've fallen into love
It's not the last time but it feels like it could be enough

And it's true I've been trapped in my room
I'm going to move but I don't want to

I wanna know when I first started feeling alone
Crying into these empty rooms that aren't even mine
It's not the first time you've fallen out of love
And it's not the last time but it feels like it should be enough

And it's true, I get attached to my wounds
I know you don't want me to
What can I do?

Push this couch out
Sell my shit
It's not our house
It's where we laid our heads
I'll leave my car on that road
Trash this junk
If I can't get it sold
Take care of myself
I'll set new goals
Get my story straight
On how I got old
I'll twist my neck
Til I can see true
And just look at you
Silhouetted by the moon

Silhouetted by the moon
Silhouetted by the moon
Track Name: For Amy
Tonight you took the long way home
Wired tighter than your cellular phone
Searching G-d's green earth
For some original sin
Another weekend
Drowning in the dust bin

And all the things you do alone
How do they help you now?
You take the money or your life
All that's left is a countdown
To the final clock out

Like poor Amy, dead and gone
And 27 years ins't long
And it's a hard pill to swallow
But an easy rabbit hole for a junkie turned cultural icon

Oh Amy, no, no no
Folks these days don't have souls
And on a Saturday, you should have known
That all these clones are playing shows of their own
Yeah, all these clones are playing shows of their own
Well, I won't go

Here's to you, Amy
Another singing ghost
It's a shame to know
Your generation hung you for your illness
On their bullshit wall posts
But that's the way that it is
And I think it's most sad for those kids
Growing up with nothing real to hear
Except the ringing in their ears
After a violent parade of advertisements
There are no more heroes
Nor am I sure there ever should have been
But here's to the fuck ups
With any degree of sincere passion

Oh Amy, no, no, no
Folks these days don't have soul
And on a Saturday
You know, you should have known
That all these clones are playing shows of their own
Yeah, all these clones are playing shows of their own
Oh yeah, all these clones are playing shows of their own

Well, I won't go.
Track Name: What I Want
Ribbons of blue
Floating just like corpses
Shining and smooth
Fuming and still toxic

Kiss me on the mouth
Breathe in, smoke out
We'd wake up early for the hunt
If we could only decide what we want
Cause I want
What I want
Is I want

A memory I can taste
And a trick like magic
Something new to replace
A hero most tragic
Here to assuage my doubts
To breathe in while I smoke out
Cause we live a while but then we're done
I guess it's time to decide what I want
I guess it's time to decide what I want
Cause I want
What I want
Is I want. . .

Cause we live a while but then we're done
I guess it's time to decide what I want
I guess it's time to decide what I want
I guess it's time to decide what I want
Cause I want
What I want
Is I want

Nearly everything that I crave
And the girl that I'll marry
What better excuse to behave?
Ain't my life worth sparing
Some certainty in doubt
Within and without?
It feels like the air in my lungs
I guess it's time to decide what I want
I guess it's time to decide what I want
I guess it's time to decide what I want
I guess it's time to decide what I want
Cause I want
What I want
Is I want
What I want
Yes, I want
Track Name: Forsaken
In and out
Flowing through my lungs
A breath can become
A path to carry one
Soul to a sum

Twisted and turned
Unlucky and cursed
Left here to get lost
Nothing to learn

Can your G-d save us from certain debt?
I might just say something I don't regret
If you're leaving, I hope you stay gone
I'm lying but I mean it
Like when you told me I was strong

You said that you felt
Like a lead role in a film
The day you met him
The day you met him

I find it all impossibly sad
That anyone feels like that
Like the cheese in the rat

But I suppose it's what we deserve
Yeah, we'll pay for this
Like we know we earned it
Yeah, it's our burden, We wear it like a cross
The house that we live in and will never pay off

Caught the flavor of
Manhattan morning air
You can still taste it here
I guess it happens everywhere

There's little difference between
A debt and a dying dream
You're still paying installments
on imaginary things

No, our love won't take back the holocaust
Turns out all you really need
Is almost everything you've lost
And I say "lost" like I don't know it was taken
Like you keep on praying when you know you're forsaken

You know you're forsaken

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