From the recording More Die of Hearbreak


How To Know When feat. Willie Breeding

Truncated Chorus, Willie Breeding:
I owe it to you

Verse 1, Chuckie Campbell:

All the feelings come back at the same time
and I never quite know what it all means
I've never been much for the big signs
to believe what's seen in a big dream
to believe in-between the besieged
or beneath, the benign or bereaved
to be-seek and bequeath, I would
bleed on the beat just to be there, now
wrapped in the rain and the pain that I found
I'm always fighting fear that I'm letting you down
(be)cause all I ever wanted was to make you proud

I'm peeling back labels on a beer bottle
thinking of my goddaughter, Josee
I'm always on the road and she barely even knows me
I do it for the fam, but what about my choices
a bar full of people and I feel lonely
songs come out like one big story
and everyone thinks they know me
and maybe they do much better than who
should have that attention devoted: devotion
my brother who saw me through struggles
impoverished, stood by me regardless
when times were the hardest, remained
in my corner -- I owe it to you -- to disclose it: JQ

Chorus 1, Willie Breeding:

Yes, I know I should stand
it's been hard knowing when
Yes, it's true
I owe it to you
I owe it to you

Verse 2, Chuckie Campbell:

At eleven years old
on my way home
voices behind a building
there was laughter, talking
a circle of people
but also sounds of screaming
a Zippo lighter, heated up wire
twisted up hangers in letters
I was young, naive
and entered the circle
thinking a better position
would allow me to see
and know what I'm seeing
I regret that fateful decision
two black children held by adults
facing the concrete pavement
white men burning letters in skin
the first one started with N

Growing up, I reflect on the blessings
we never were rich but invested
not in money but the kind of investments
that gave us truth in perspective
never rich but we were wealthy
in friendship you were family
coming up in the south that was
special, no doubt, many more still
think we're kin, with same last name
and different color skin
there's so much more than pigment --
transcendent, I see it in your wife and kid
I admire that from my distance
and wonder if I'm just too distant

Chorus 2, Willie Breeding (x1):

Verse 3, Chuckie Campbell:

You're my brother for life
If not by blood
I'd spill mine, saving yours
and I'll forget how to know when
Some moments are etched in stone
At eleven years old
I walked away with guilt and privilege
lost my innocence
witnessing hate no man should know
I kept it a secret, afraid to reveal it
The silence has ate my soul
As close as we are
embarrassed and torn
I have never retold this story before
The shame is too much to afford
I hope it gives license to others
with stories, for we owe it to tell them more

I awoke to rain hitting my window
in the eve of the afternoon
My mind burning through time and space
writing this song for you
Life’s too short to censor our words
We become what we consume
so we must speak or forfeit our power
to the voices of others who do
At the expense of youth, we pass on our legacy
humanity lost, reduced
Right or wrong, the views are heard
and work to construct the truth
but whose truth

Chorus 3, Willie Breeding (x1):

End Song