To Set Things Right

by The Bell and the Hammer

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about

The debut album from the Bell & the Hammer is honest. Husband-and-wife duo Dan and Serenity Johnson make use of simple words and melodies to express complex emotions and ideas throughout the twelve tracks that make up "To Set Things Right."

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released February 23, 2010

Produced & engineered by Eric Tuffendsam @ Moonlight Studios

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Track Name: The After
I don't believe in God if he can't stand up for himself
if he needs anybody's help
if he didn't only come to save

I won't go to heaven only out of fear for hell
Isn't that an easy sell?
I've got better things to do than be afraid

Like trying to forget the Fundamental things I learned:
like how to sleep with fear
to know the devil's always near
that he'd jump into me when I least expected
that he'd steal my soul just to be respected

And I could go on about the antichrist,
but I figure it'll be addressed in the afterlife
Track Name: Quiet (A Quiet Life in the Order of Saint Benedict)
I have set to live a quiet life
Packed up all my things and sold them for an even price
Put pressure on the poor to take what I had earned
Then made my way up mountains far above the earth

The elements strike harder here, I do not heed their sting
I host the highest heavens, fight the lowest beasts
Time does not exist
I've got all of it to spare,
but I've got none to give to you,
I've got no way to share

The pious come to see me
They remark about my beard
I almost hear them singing, I almost see them stare
I think they think I see them
I think they think I'm glad they came
But I did not ask for their leisure
I have a higher goal than fame

I have come here to complete in me
what was lacking still there in my suffering
I have come here to escape,
and, in escaping, understand
I have come here for the quiet solitude affords

I think they think I see them
I think they think I'm glad they came
But I did not ask for their leisure
I have a higher goal than fame
I have come here for the quiet that solitude affords
And any other of concerns, I have chosen to ignore
Track Name: Here It Is
Isn't it just like the thing to change you?
To make things matter more when they can loose
I will hold him tighter like you told me to,
and make sure we still come and visit, too

I won't pretend that I saw it coming,
but foresight doesn't ease the pronouncement
I can only guess how you are feeling
If nothing less, less confident

So, here it is, your separation, and I've got nothing but to cry
Here it is, your separation, I better learn to say goodbye

Isn't it just like the thing to change you?
To make you send a pitiless attack
These 30 years, no match to anger
You didn't even try to have me back

Well, I won't pretend that I don't blame you,
but blaming doesn't ease the aftermath
I can't even guess what you are thinking
or why it fell so easy and so fast

So, here it is, our separation, and I've got nothing but to cry
Here it is, our separation, I better learn to say goodbye
Track Name: Coming Soon
COMING SOON
I'm not a man
You're not a wife
I can't provide so you can sleep at night
What we were was swept away when only tumbleweeds would grow
We tilled all the tricks we'd ever know

But still moved west,
with a baby in the belly of our youngest
West, with a fire in the belly of our oldest
West, a better life is coming soon
We moved west

So, brother, I'll see you at fireside,
where we'll pretend a better life:
Eleanor will have us over for a White House meal
No, I can't spare a dime
I'm just as poor as you,
poorer if you count all I lost you never had to lose

It's not a village
We don't live here
There are no children anymore who ain't been raised
They're ancient beggars with no fear,
lining streets like pockets lined with cash
Praying hard to God that that bread will last

Here in the west, with a hunger in the belly of every liar
West, with cotton picking gone like paper fliers
West, a better life is coming soon
We love the west

Painters paint murals to happier times
Young men ride the rails to happier lives,
digging ditches in the desert,
laying line that leads to never

Living paycheck to the next meal,
as they work out Franklin's New Deal,
but you can't trick the spirit
Being useless--we all fear it
And you can't convince that useless tasks
don't make the worker worth his work. Oh no.
Track Name: Oh, Forgotten
Are you a deep pit, are you a narrow well?
Do you increase the faithless, send their souls to hell?
Do you collect your wool, your oil, your drink, your bread
from men with foreign tongue who climb into your bed?

And when the morning comes, nightwatchmen climb from towers,
they watch your husbands sneak home in the early hours,
back to the wives they left when you called them in the square
They turn their backs and run only to leave you there

Oh, forgotten harlot, does it make you want to sin no more?
Oh, forgotten harlot, does it make you feel like a whore?
But when your harlot's wages keep rolling in,
does it make you want to begin again?
Just a harlot, still a harlot, till she becomes somebody's bride

Do you profane your father on every threshing ground?
Are you a constant hunter, your feet knowing no house?
Does your face stay veiled, your forehead show no shame?
Are you an act of folly for many men to blame?

And when before a king, a sword is drawn for justice
to dispense whores' sons, one lost, one stole for fairness
Do you claim an even share that then betrays your lie?
Shout, "Neither mine nor hers! But let monarchs divide!"

Oh, forgotten harlot, does it make you want to sin no more?
Oh, forgotten harlot, does it make you feel like a whore?
But when your harlot's wages keep rolling in,
does it make you want to begin again?
Just a harlot, still a harlot, till she becomes somebody's bride

So take up, take up and play with skill
Take up and roam that city still
Take up, take up and sing your song to be remembered after long
Track Name: Reading You To Sleep
So, where were we again?
There was a second war
There was a wardrobe
There was a thunderstorm
and a hiding game
The youngest of the children went for tea

And here you are
with all your life supports
I hope you hear me reading you to sleep
No first steps, but there were first breaths
And we were just as proud of them
That's why the best thing we'll ever do
was our decision to keep you

So, where were we again?
He was on the move
He'd just returned
He had come to scare the winter with his wail

There was a proper place
and an ancient way
And when the winter breaks, we'll have you back again

Now here you are
Freed from your life supports
I hope you hear me reading you to sleep
No first steps, but there were first breaths
And we were just as proud of them
That's why the best thing we'll ever do
was our decision to keep you

Still no first steps, but there were first breaths
And we held you till goodbye
That's why the best thing we'll ever do
was our decision to keep you
Track Name: When You Die (A Love Song)
The longer that you get, I know the harder it will be
With every corner of the world bathed in memory
But the shorter that you get, I know the harder it will be,
if you don't get a fighting chance at being you,
And being you and me.

When you die, if I am still alive, I will be sad beyond compare

If you die out in the cold, all frozen in the sleet,
I will have to travel to a land of summer heat
I'll sell all of your things, but I will keep a few for me
Just enough and not enough to forget,
And to remember you

When you die, if I am still alive, I will be sad beyond compare
Track Name: Chapter 5, Fallen Warrior
I'm a reluctant soldier,
satisfied to pacify with tales of others' wars
The only weight I shoulder
for characters with weapons fighting off in fairy moors
I'm only bold in my assertions
I'm never bold in my behavior

I'm paralyzed by loiter,
when all we ever hear, it seems, are rumors of our war
We're sitting safe in service,
reciting tidings of who's felled by whatever evil sword

I'm only bold in my assertions
I'm never bold in my behavior,
and clever as I want to be,
I could do with being braver
Yeah, I could do with being braver

There's a longing to reconcile to rightness
There's a brazen sort of truth about this war
But there's hope in the Victor and an end,
simple and final that everyone is fighting for
Everyone but me, I'm a reluctant soldier
Everyone but me, I'm a reluctant soldier who could do with being braver
Track Name: How Can I Give You Up
As the father of my children, you never fathered anyone
Only led them through the city to the homes of loose women
When our princes take their kingdoms,
they'll be more wicked than you were
You've taken and
You've stolen them for evil

But how can I give you up, oh Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, oh Israel?
Though you've taken hired lovers,
traded your altars for thorns,
How can I give you up?
How can I give you up?
How can I give you up, oh Ephraim?

As a mother, I have reason
As a bride, I have a case
You have joined yourself with others to the reaches of my shame
The affection you have for me is the dew's affection for the ground
A fall at night
And then you leave me early

But how can I give you up, oh Ephraim?
How can I surrender you, oh Israel?
Though you've taken hired lovers,
traded your altars for thorns,
How can I give you up?
How can I give you up?
How can I give you up, oh Ephraim?
Track Name: How It Ends
Is it losing her if you watched her go,
If you know where she is buried?
Is she lost if you know the way by rote?
If you know right where she's gone to,
how come she's so hard to get to?

So you keep sleeping from sorrow
If you can sleep at all
Does it help to borrow
all the memories we hold?
Learning to smile again,
Things you never knew were learned
It's never for the better anyway

I should start thinking more about how we live
But whenever I think about life
How it's metered out and ruled by exception
Strange for everyone and fleeting
I can't help thinking how it ends

How you keep sleeping from sorrow
If you can sleep at all
Does it help to borrow
all the memories we hold?
Learning to smile again,
Things you never knew were learned
It's never for the better anyway
Track Name: Recovery
Some years ago you tried to give your name
What went instead wasn't his to take
And you've been recovering ever since
Hoping that no one would notice

That you've got recovery on your mind
You've been recovering all this time
You've got recover on your mind
You've been recovering all this time

I know how you did everything all wrong
I could recite it like a song
So I've been recovering ever since
Hoping that you would not notice

But when I recover I want it gone
Don't want a reason to hang on
When I recover I want it gone
Don't need a reason to hang on

I'll have a daughter of my own
I never want her to have to know
How to recover and never to heal
But to be free and free for real.
Track Name: Song About Pain
There is pain enough for us,
pain enough for us

What if I have only come to set things right--
to love the whore
to settle every score without a fight
to straighten limbs
uncover eyes
to fix your mind
to fill your belly full for every night

Cause there is pain enough for us,
pain enough for us

There will be peace enough in a valley for us

There will be peace in the valley for me one day
There will be peace in the valley for me, I pray
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow
no trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me