Drinking Water

by Kevin Mason

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about

The title track, Drinking Water, was the first song I ever played publicly. For me it became symbolic of reaching out toward things that I want but that are unknown and intimidate me. I wanted it to be the first track on the album for that reason. All of these songs are my own stories about navigating life, getting over personal hangups, and trying to create the best existence I can in an odd and complex world.

Recorded at home in 2016-17, songs written by Kevin Mason between 2014 and 2017.

credits

released June 7, 2017

Vocals and electric piano by Jennifer Levenhagen
Drums by Justis Clayton
Technical assistance by Ian Moore
Mastered by Aaron Duesterhoeft, SecondHand Studios, Appleton, WI
Everything else by Kevin Mason

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about

Kevin Mason Appleton, Wisconsin

I've lived in Illinois, Oregon, and currently Wisconsin. I have been writing songs most of my adult life and playing them publicly since 2015.

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Track Name: 01 - Drinking Water
The drinking water’s clean and
most people aren’t too mean and
it is asparagus season
I make it covered in cheese and
there’s several days a week when
I get to do my pleasing

and this is a river and there’s a thousand miles of it
I’ll only see a couple before I die
hey!
I see a mountain standing off in the distance and I
never see it again or know it’s name

he sings hallelujah to the lord Jesus Christ his savior
she chant om mani padme hum to save her soul
hey!
she’s never seen a bible he’s never heard a sutra
but the same old sun will shine in both their eyes

it’s a little bit like this dream I had when I was little and the walls are closing in and baby
only got so much time before we get to live forever and more
give a thought to the man on the side of the road to the dogs and the rich folks
we’ll all rot in the ground and become the trees
get chopped down become something to read
words’ll change a life maybe three or four
maybe that’s what we’re here for
yeah baby that’s what we’re here for
Track Name: 03 - Over My Walls
Here we are all gathered in piles
and we’re afraid so we take and we take
yeah we take and we make what we can
as we perfect our plastic smiles

and there’s a road I crossed over once
with the deep old ruts of a million trucks
and I stopped for a while and I filled my lungs
with hillside breezes until my tongue was stilled
and my judgment fell to pieces

whoa—
there’s a time to go
and hey hey hey hey
there’s a time to stay
and there’s a time to not know what the future holds
and a time to celebrate your most miserable days so let’s celebrate!

so tell me is anyone here a fortune teller
cause I’ve looked everywhere trying to make things better
and I’m suspecting that no one can teach me anything
I can’t teach myself

like under the surface this life is full and brimming
the dullest of days are when god just sits back grinning
and god is a name we’ve made to explain all the blanks
in the stories we tell

about how we’re all shooting stars tumbling down to earth
that is to say we’ll all burn out before we’d prefer
so go ahead make a mess do something foolish for once
if you’re like me you’ve probably blown a good few years waiting on a stroke of luck
but now I’m starting to see that no one ever leaves this place unscathed
and I’m much more afraid of wasting away than of making mistakes
after all the time is now and there’s nowhere else
and we create our own heaven and hell
and there’s nothing real to buy and nothing worthwhile to sell

what once felt like marching now feels like a crawl
and I’ve come so far to learn nothing at all
and I’ve got problems in piles with none of them solved
no none of them solved
but I crawl not in shame but in humility and lord I try to be grateful for what’s given me
but on my cynical days when I get in my way

may these words float me over my walls
may these words float me over my walls

the truth of the matter is that nothing matters
except happiness and peace and honesty and laughter

but when clouds in my mind gather thick over time

may these words float me over my walls
may these words float me over my walls

the truth of the matter is that nothing matters
except happiness and peace and honesty and laughter

and when everything falls at the end of it all

may these words float me over my walls
may these words float me over my walls
Track Name: 04 - Bet On The Weather
I know better than to bet on the weather
but it’s early December I don’t even need a sweater
I guess it’s kind of pleasant but I’m definitely stressing
cause this globe is the only home I know

I hear you doubters out there pouting at the news report
from Maui up to New York City shouting you distorted
a thousand different studies this drought is just a fluke
and California’s just another name for how you get your food

you can call it whatever you want
global warming, climate change, or just a liberal stunt
but you don’t have to look very far to assess
that we humans are pretty bad guests

there’s another way to treat our sweet mother
but it takes a little thing called change and that’s uncomfortable
but we’ve been up in space and looked down at this place
thinking maybe it’s not too late

we all get angry sometimes it’s worse than others
but now kindness is a weapon have you heard it’s working wonders
if violence could be done and we were nice to one another
now oh wouldn’t that be the day?

now I’m not the bearer of truth I’m just a regular dude
with a guitar singing made up tunes
but I care about you because I care about humans
it’s unbearable to hear of all the terrible news

so keep your guns way out in the country hunting quail
can we walk around our city streets safe and unassailed
put your ammunition aside and just go fishing
and I’d bring a couple good friends if I were you

there’s another way to treat one another
but it takes a little thing called change and that’s uncomfortable
but we’ve been up in space and looked down at this place
thinking maybe it’s not too late

I know it’s scary when someone has different hair than you
a piercing through their tongue or two or skin that’s of a different hue
I’m kidding - that’s not scary - can we get it in our heads
that we can’t live as if we’re better or worse, no this is everyone’s world

yeah this is everyone’s world so let’s make everyone heard
the thief, the chief, and the centipedes deserve to have their sentiments heard
but especially people who for century after century have been senselessly hurt
we can get better step by step if we all keep trying
but damn, isn’t it about time?

there’s another way to treat our sweet mother
and it takes a little thing called love and it’s quite wonderful
but we’ve been up in space and looked down at this place
thinking maybe it’s not too late
Track Name: 05 - I Am
I can’t bring you to eternal peace
but I’ll sing but I’ll sing you this verse I pieced together
with words I learned in school
and feelings I felt along the way
I hope that’s cool

and these days I seem to always wish
that my soul was free that I had more to give
but it’s hard when I keep forgetting I’m much more than this

oh how we talk about the past and future
and oh how our words just crash like a bad computer
oh can’t we do things differently next time
oh can’t we do things differently next time

so many selfish words we hurl against the walls
and lose track of the fact that we’ll be gone
in no time at all
in no time at all

life rolls by these bodies die
but I am I am I
most days it seems to slip my mind
that I am I am I am

I can’t show you every thought I’ve thunk
but I don’t mind if we get a little drunk
sipping beauty with our eyes
just you me and the sky feels right
and who’s to say what’s right or wrong
I’ll use this day to write a song
feels nice

whoa- there were strange things that lived within me now they’re
loose in this city they’re
loose in this city watch out
so let’s lose ourselves like a tooth from a ten year old’s mouth

both of us know that I hope to be open
but oh I feel so damn broken some days
it’s the most I can do to be held by you yeah
but those days are just waves so let’s sail on through yeah!

life rolls by these bodies die
but I am I am I
most days it seems to slip my mind
that I am I am I am
Track Name: 06 - On And On
if we all just create a little more and consume a little less
maybe that'd be best maybe we could finally settle into
something that'll last as the generations pass
looking everywhere for something we already possess
maybe staring out your window and huffing and puffing
at your neighbor is actually quite unproductive
I say this as someone who has shared a thin wall
with a stranger for a year and not known what to call them
I don't think we're trying to be so isolated
but the way the world is set up it's half automated
we don't even have to go to the store anymore
we can order all our junk while we're taking our dumps
another way to see it is there's something sweet and pure
that we seem to systematically ignore
so we're chronically bored and we want to see more
but we kind of just want to sit inside on the floor
and read some shit on the internet
written by some kids that we never met
about some people that we'll never ever ever meet
our good friends the celebrities or articles like
"seven ways to make a good impression on your resume"
"twelve ways to get rich fast"
"fifty videos of kittens wearing hats that'll make you laugh"
"twenty-one ways to find love after twenty-one"
and on and on....

welcome to a world where the rules are made up
and schools are paid less than entertainers
and who's to blame when I sit here day after day
complaining complacently
about the way the world is, the way it should be
it could be a place where good is mainstream
we'd all feel safe we could all have a place to stay
and a place to play
but I sit and mock the very screen I'm using
and keep going through my stupid newsfeed
I'm losing touch feeling ever more useless
and who's the sucker in his room with the blinds drawn?
me! gotta be free, gotta open all my eyes and see
gotta put away my bong my pipe my weed
gotta open up my ears and hear the songs the trees sing
cause I don't got that long a life to lead
but when my body's gone I believe
that the essence of me from before I was born
will be present and free and be in everything forever
and go on and on...

there's a lot a lot of kids who don't fit into the system
but within them is a whole lot of vision
just got to give them a voice give them a choice
stand them up and make some noise
there's a million ways to fill your days
be creative take a chance you might fall on your face
but when it's all over hey you got to know that you lived your way
you didn't follow what the cynical say cause it's toxic
I got a lot of optimism rocking in the bottom of my pocket
and it took a long time to acknowledge that I find
a whole awful lot of power in it
hour after hour but when all's said and done
I've still got to weather my storms
we've all got to weather our storms
but it's better if we weather them together
so let's make a little effort to be friendlier
and end the separation be a little more sensitive
try to be a little more pleasant
a little less pressed for time and a little more present
in the best of times and the worst of times
and the world will find a way to keep spinning spinning
on and on...
Track Name: 07 - The Canopy
home
I guess I’m home you see
that’s what this buddhist sutra told me
so I guess I’m home
and free
I suppose I’m also free
I just read that I’m living in a dream
now I know so now I’m free
and pure
of this I can be sure
no more disenchanted war within myself
no from now on I’m pure
and my ego
loves that it don’t need no steeple
just rather sit and watch the trees grow
find that peace in my soul
where the blinding starlight cracks through the canopy
and I think I’ve been here before but can’t quite understand
all the forks in the road
the different lives that they might hold
and I lie eyes wide open at night
and I hope there’s enough time to make up for lost time
and yet as broken as this record is it’s such a nice ride
just give me a couple more years
before I finally kinda know what I’m doing
by then I’ll know what I’m doing
but then again haven’t I spent my whole life postponing goals to pursue
as if through some holy fluke I were immune to the future
“how arrogant how stupid” I whisper inside
as I lie eyes wide open at night
until the blinding starlight cracks through the canopy
and I’ve been here but this time got the world in my hands
and I’m just a stone’s throw from heaven this time it’s for real
so why is this such a familiar feeling?

I feel put in my place as time goes on
I’m only twenty eight, just a child to some
but I more closely relate to the thread
that begins before my birth and extends after my death
it’s the same thread that runs through all my friends
and through all the nameless heads lifting themselves from their beds
toward their aimless ends just to keep their hearts beating
maybe make amends with the things they’ll be leaving behind
the borrowed minds and bodies loaned
we’ve all emerged and will return to stone
so please hold somebody close and breathe them in
so long as these souls remain wrapped in this skin
and while my bones still hold my weight
I will stand in front of you, cold and naked
and share these poems that I pull from this place
that’s so old yet so ageless
a place where the blinding starlight cracks through the canopy
and I can hardly stand it some days I’d just rather blow away
on this ancient, now mangled breeze
as we wait for some savior to make us clean
but I don’t believe in such fabled things
so just know that I love you and your secrets are safe with me
Track Name: 08 - The Fresh Start Song
I became sad and flat leading up to the avalanche
gradual, yes, then it happened so fast
and I had to just laugh as my story collapsed
and for a brief moment I was free of my past

but it all crept back like grass through the cracks in the street
once my new story set like concrete
and whatever I was free of was slowly replaced
by familiar old burdens all resembling me
Track Name: 09 - Our Best Days
I don’t believe that our best days are all behind us
I know it seems a little bit grim
when the world’s getting warmer and the governments spy on us
the last thing we need
is another world war with a lot more firepower than before
and the coral reef bleached
and a president I want to impeach

and there’s a bully corporation holding closed door meetings
over what chemicals they’re gonna feed us
and here on the street there are people killing people
over different ideas about how to treat a fetus
in the name of Jesus
the name of freedom
the name of Shiva, the Buddha, Allah
in the name of the Dollar
now I don’t got a problem with
any other god you want to honor but you’ve got to be tolerant

for goodness sake, there’s seven billion of us
going on eight, you really think this place is gonna stay in any way the same?
I’m sorry everything is gonna change
yeah everything is gonna change
the systems that we have in place
they weren’t made for this
they weren’t made for this
they’re gonna break

but what breaks first?
This is what I think about in the early morning
and you can call me crazy
you can call me anything
‘cause really deeply truly
yeah really truly deeply

I don’t believe that our best days are all behind us
I may not see them, but I can certainly help to find them
and I’ve been trying to think of something else quite so worthwhile
but I’ve been coming up against wall after wall
I love this world
I love this world

and I don’t believe that our best days are all behind us
these story lines, I think are longer than we really understand
it’s not wonder we don’t really have a plan
but in the aftermath of the havoc that is happening
cracks through the blacktop the green of a brand new spring!
can you see it?
does it make you sing?
well I’ll tell you what it does for me,
is it makes me want to fight
for our kids kids kids kids kids kids kids kids kids kids kids kids kids
‘cause I don’t believe
that our best days are all behind us