Song Stories - SMOKE

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SMOKE

 

 

I wake up, and it’s still dark. Oh, I find that it’s easier on my heart.

 

When the world is asleep and I can just be anything I need to be

 

But you do what you have to do

 

When the fire starts to burn

And you can’t see in front of you

And it all goes up in smoke

Yeah everything goes up in smoke

 

We used to look at the same stars. It was a way to keep you close

 

When we were so very far apart, Oh I’ll never forget those stars

 

But you do what you have to do

 

When the fire starts to burn

And you can’t see in front of you

And it all goes up in smoke

Yeah everything goes up in smoke  

 

This song was inspired by a vocal pedal I got. I turned the delay all the way up, and just started “oohing” into it while I played some jazzy chords. The oohs started making these cool chords, because none of the notes were ever stopping. I mumbled something that kinda had the same melody as the chorus, and when I listened back to the recording, I knew it was special. Not only did my wife’s father pass away this year, but my good friend’s son died super early into his life. I just saw a lot of sadness this year, but I also watched both of them work hard through their pain, and they both brought joy to a lot of people. I was thinking about how I would react to the passing of a loved one that was that close to me, and the only thing I could think is that “You do what you have to do.” There isn't a way to grieve that works for everybody. I took out the vocal delay thing that originally inspired the song, but I still wanted it to have a unique feel to it. There are tons of other vocal effects and weird things going on. One interesting thing is that there is a vocoder on the drums, my friend (who I mentioned above) suggested I try adding Vocoder to drums sometime, and it just so happened that I did it on the song inspired by him.

 

 

Song Stories - GET AWAY

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GET AWAY

 

 

I don’t want to walk away, but I sure could use the time

To find myself in a different place, with a different kind of life

I may be dreaming, I may not fully understand

I love this ocean honey, but I sure could use some land

 

Ooh, I need to get away for awhile

Ooh, I need to get away for awhile

I won’t be gone too long, but I need some time alone

Oh I just need to get away, get away for awhile

 

Part of me is proud and it wants to stick around

The other part is empty and it’s scared of settling down

I may be dreaming, I may not fully understand

Maybe I should grab a guitar and join a rock-n-roll band

 

Ooh, I need to get away for awhile

Ooh, I need to get away for awhile

I won’t be gone too long, but I need some time alone

Oh I just need to get away, get away for awhile

 

Oh I know I may get lost, I may get tired of running

Nevermind that easy road man, I know my day is coming

With every single breath I have, I know I should do something

 

This was the last song I wrote for the record. I think it’s the only song (on this album) with a joke in it. I wrote the line about joining a Rock & Roll band to be funny, kind of as a placeholder, but the more I worked on it, the more it felt right. I imagine somebody singing along and getting pumped up about maybe joining a band one day, so I kept it in there. It’s about a lot of things I guess, but mainly just needing a break. Maybe that break is just listening to a song, or going and hanging with some friends at a local haunt, or maybe it’s moving to Nebraska and changing my name and starting over. All I know is, sometimes I just need to take a break from it all.

 

Song Stories - SOMEWHERE BETWEEN

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SOMEWHERE BETWEEN

 

 

What if I’m not who I thought I was /  What if my future is more indifference that love

 

What if all roads don’t point towards Rome /What if I never find my way home

 

What if i don’t know where I’m going / What if I don’t remember where I’ve been

 

What if I can’t see the light that you said would always be my guide

 

I’m just somewhere between all of the questions and the answers I need

 

Like a runaway dream I don’t remember, but I’m trying to

 

What if I don’t ever see you again / What if I can not understand

 

What if I try my best to survive / What if I don’t make it out alive

 

What if I quit fighting for it / What if I lose all my faith in this

 

What if I long for the days of my youth when things were more beautiful  than they were true

 

I’m just somewhere between all of the questions and the answers I need

 

Like a runaway dream I don’t remember, but I’m trying to

I’m just somewhere between all of the questions and the answers I need

Like a runaway dream i don’t remember but I’m trying to

 

I need you to meet me in that somewhere, somewhere between

 

I need you to meet me in that somewhere, somewhere between

I need you, oh I need you to meet me   

 

I originally wrote this tune on a guitar, but once it got going it seemed like piano was where it was headed. Like most of the songs I write, the first line was the first line I wrote, and once the song had some sort of direction, I started looking back through old lyrics and title ideas (I have several pages of title ideas in a google doc), and this super random title popped out “Somewhere Between the Questions and the Answers” it seemed like the perfect fit for this song. Once I had that title in place all of the rest of the words just came to me.

 

 

Song Stories - SILENCE

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SILENCE

 

 

I want to wake up to find some kindness, I want to wake up to find myself

 

A little bit braver than I was when I fell asleep last night . . . in silence

 

I want to tell all my friends that I love them, I want to speak out for those who can’t

 

I want to ask you for some forgiveness because I’ve been living in silence

 

If silence is golden, then I’ll take second place

 

Because I don’t want to meet my maker with a smile upon my face

And say “Hey, do you remember when I lived so silently”

And you’ll say “Nah man, I don’t remember”

 

I want to be a part of your story, I want to be on the right side

 

I don’t want to ask myself “Did I do enough, or was I just living in silence?”

 

If silence is golden, then I’ll take second place

 

Because I don’t want to meet my maker with a smile upon my face

And say “Hey, do you remember when I lived so silently”

And you’ll say “Nah man, I don’t remember”

 

I just want to find what’s true in a world that’s gone quiet

 

And I want to find more love, doesn’t that sound alright?

Yeah, I know I may be asking for a little much this time

But on my last days I want to see more love  

 

I tend to be quiet. I don’t really speak my mind much. I just kinda hold it all in, and think about things, but those thoughts usually never see the light of day. I’m mostly fine with that, but recently I was thinking about the Civil Rights movement, and I would like to be able to say that If I was around back then, I would have joined in and fought for what is right. But, I’m living now, and that stuff is still going on, so what am I doing? Is it enough for me to just sit idly by and smile at the people who are doing right, or should I speak out against those doing wrong? I think I know the answer, but I struggle to know how to do that. There are too many quotes about “good men doing nothing.”

 

 

Song Stories - UNDERNEATH THE RUBBLE

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UNDERNEATH THE RUBBLE

 

 

Don’t wait until the morning, we’re never going to get it right, but don’t give up tonight

 

I said don’t wait on the sun, because even if it don’t shine, we’ll find another light

 

Underneath the rubble there is hope. Underneath your skin you’re more than bones

 

Ooh, I hope you find me soon, because I want to find you too

 

Darling where are we going?

 

I never found the road that you’ve been on so long

I said darling what are we doing?

The waves don’t pull the moon, and I never could pull you

 

Underneath the rubble there is hope. Underneath your skin you’re more than bones

 

Ooh, I hope you find me soon, because I want to find you too

 

Oh, we’re in an ocean. Oh, and the waves don’t lie

 

Oh, we’re in an ocean. Oh, and the waves don’t lie

 

Underneath the rubble there is hope. Underneath your skin you’re more than bones

 

Ooh, I hope you find me soon

 

Every once in a while, I’ll get involved in a songwriting club. I’ve been in several different ones over the years, the most notable was Bob Schneider’s (NPR did a story on it a few years ago). The rules are always the same though. You get a word/phrase each week and then you have to write a song using that word or phrase. At the end of the week you turn in your song, you maybe get a little feedback, and then the thing starts over. If you miss a week, that’s ok. If you miss two weeks, you’re out. This song was born out of a club like that. Is this the only song on the album with a happy ending?

 

 

Song Stories - HELP

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HELP

 

 

Love is a gift that leaves a bitter taste on my lips

 

And I know, because I’ve been here before

Watching and waiting for some kind of civil war

Oh, I’m ready to give up

 

Life is a game, and we’re all losers one and the same

 

And I know, because I’ve been here before

Watching and waiting for someone to keep the score

Oh, I’m ready to give up

 

I need some help . . . Because I’m ready, ready, ready I’m ready to give up

 

 

Some words are meant to be sung, and some just a slip of the tongue

 

And I know, because I’ve been singing ‘em

Over and over and over . . . again

 

I need some help . . . Because I’m ready, ready, ready I’m ready to give up

 

 

I don’t think you have to have a happy ending in a song. It was kind of tough for me to leave this song as it is though. I always tend to want all my songs to be wrapped up all nice and pretty, and inspire great things in the listener. But I had a super shitty year, and I needed some help. There wasn’t a silver lining in sight, and the tunnel seemed to never end. So I wrote the song from there, in the middle of despair, when love looked like hate, life looked like death, and up looked like some direction none of us have even considered before. (I’m doing a little better now FYI)

 

TRIVIA: my friend Deanda Frost did all the extra BGVS on this song and Get Away

 

Song Stories - WILD EYES

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WILD EYES

 

 

If I had a dollar to me name I would be king. And if I had a lover, I wouldn’t need anything

 

If I had a friend, we would have these conversations. And your wild eyes, they would open

 

Wild eyes, Ooh, wild eyes, you’re golden

 

 

And if I had a home, I would invite you in. And if I had a table, yeah, you know we’d break some bread

 

If I had a dream to go out on my own, I’d take you with me to see those wild eyes

 

Wild eyes, Ooh, wild eyes, you’re golden . . .

 

 

I know I said I’d meet you down the road but I never found the right way to go

 

And if by chance we ever get to meet again I would say, yeah I would say

 

Wild eyes, you never should have gone

 

Wild eyes, I miss you the most

 

Wild eyes, Ooh, wild eyes, you’re golden . . .

 

 

Wild eyes, you never should have gone

 

Wild eyes, I miss you the most

 

I wrote this long paragraph about losing my friend Sunday, but I think I want to keep it vague. This song is about losing a friend, an important friend, a best friend. There’s a song on Brian Eno’s “Apollo” that sounds like what I think Heaven is going to sound like. At the end of this song, I wanted to add some sort of heavenly, musical refrain. I don’t know if I accomplished that, but that’s kinda the idea.

 

 

Song Stories - ODD RELIGION

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ODD RELIGION

 

 

I see a blank page, never mind the hurt, never mind the hate

 

And you see a terrible disgrace, never mind the beauty in that crying face

 

It’s an odd religion, it’s an odd religion. No it’s not my religion

 

 

I don’t want to fight, but neither do those kids who are giving their life

 

For this darkness to come to light

Man, I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime

 

It’s an odd religion, it’s an odd religion. No it’s not my religion

 

 

So swallow that hallelujah until you prove to me that I mean something to ya

 

Yeah, I’m starting to think that your garden is overgrown

 

I won’t be afraid, even though I may want to I can’t escape

 

This feeling that we got it wrong

I know I’m not the only one singing this song

 

It’s an odd religion, it’s an odd religion. No it’s not my religion

 

 

So swallow that hallelujah until you prove to me that I mean something to ya

 

Yeah swallow that hallelu, don’t tell me that you love me, you gotta show me too

Yeah, I’m starting to think that your garden is overgrown

 

It’s been tough over the last year or so seeing people acting so hateful. Growing up in “the church” I learned a lot about grace and compassion and love, and it’s been odd seeing the same people that taught me those sentiments not showing any of them. It’s a really interesting time right now, because I feel like I’m starting to see a lot of darkness creeping around, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we need the darkness to come out so we can shine a light on it. It’s starting to feel like I have more questions than answers, but maybe that’s a good thing too.

 

TRIVIA: Brian Douglas Phillips played the pedal steel on this track

 

Song Stories - I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN

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I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN

 

 

The ending is the hardest part so, goodbye for now

 

You can’t see my bleeding heart so, goodbye for now

We always did the best we could and we always came around

Oh, I’ll see you again someday so, goodbye for now

 

I never thought this day would come but goodbye for now

 

It’s not farewell, it’s not so long, just goodbye for now

And everyone I love the most is right here with me now

I’ll see you all again someday so, goodbye for now

 

I wish that I could stay all night but, goodbye for now

 

You’d better know I’ll be alright so, goodbye for now

Of all the times that I had, some were good and some were bad

But all the ones that meant the most had you

 

Will you ever think of me after I’m gone

 

Will you remember my name, and all my songs

I didn’t get it all right, but I didn’t get it all wrong

And I hope I see you on a road that we’re both traveling on

 

I’ll see you all again someday so, goodbye for now

 

 

I originally wrote this song to be in some sort of montage for “The Deadliest Catch.” That original recording didn’t have the outro and it was super swampy and dirty sounding. This is probably the 3rd manifestation of the song since then. I always thought it was a cool song, but just needed a different arrangement.

 

My father-in-law passed away last year, and this song kinda took on a new meaning after that. The outro came to me afterwards, and I remember just thinking a lot about my own life and legacy, and how I want to be remembered.

Originally the song was just about some guy retiring from his job, but it’s become a whole lot more. I always say it, but that’s one of the things I love the most about songwriting. This song has already meant two very specific things to me, but who knows what it’ll mean to someone else?

TRIVIA: the rhythmic clicking throughout the song is actually a “master lock” being hit by a soft drum mallet.

 

Song Stories - THIS MUCH IS TRUE

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THIS MUCH IS TRUE

 

 

I’ve been waiting on the perfect time, to write you a song

 

Well, I started it tonight

I’ve been searching high, and I’ve been searching low

To find the words that you ought to know

 

Pray for me my sister, because I’m praying for you

 

Oh life is never easy, this much is true

 

I’ve known you know a couple of years, and I know your smile

 

And I know your tears

Anything you want, well I’d do for you

Because I love you honey Oh yes I do

 

Pray for me my sister, because I’m praying for you

 

Oh life is never easy, this much is true

 

I actually wrote this song about 5 or 6 years ago, maybe even more, and there have been almost as many different versions/recordings of it. I always liked this song a lot, but it never felt right on anything I’ve released. This record was kind of headed in a dark/sad direction, and finally this song felt like it had a place to go.

 

One thing that is kind of weird to me, and doesn’t make sense “theoretically” is the piano line that is playing straight on top of the swung acoustic picking. I love when a song’s music matches the theme of the lyrics somehow; and I feel like the just slightly off/juxtaposed rhythm tells the same story, I don’t know, maybe I’m just looking for something that isn’t there, it’s a cute song though.

 

Song Stories - WASTING TIME

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WASTING TIME

 

 

I’m losing my ambition, like a worn out salesman Trying to strike up a deal with the devil.

 

Oh I never wondered where it all came from, but maybe now I should leave it on the table.

   

I feel like I’m wasting my time. Oh, I feel like I’m wasting my time.

I could use some sort of signal, I could use a sign.

But I feel like I’m wasting my time

 

I used to have a mission I could pull from. Trying to make you feel good, but now I’m feeling numb

 

I don’t understand why I can’t believe it’s gone And Tennessee didn’t really help at all.

Where is the darkness, Where is the light? I’ll take either one just to feel alive  

It’s about time that I could use a cure. Maybe I misunderstood what I was put here for.

 

I feel like I’m wasting my time. Oh, I feel like I’m wasting my time.

 

I could use some sort of signal, I could use a sign.

But I feel like I’m wasting my time

 

I feel like I’m wasting, I feel like I’m wasting my time

 

I feel like I’m wasting, I feel like I’m wasting your time

 

I moved to Memphis last year, and wrote this song about 9-10 months after I got here. I think I assumed that moving to a new location would fill me up with great amounts of inspiration, but after months and months, and only a couple unfinished songs (I mean, like, hardly even started songs, like half of a verse or something) I had nothing to show for it.

 

I don’t even know why I wrote this one. I was just messing around on a piano, and that first line “I’m losing my ambition like a worn out salesman” just came to me. That line seemed to really match what I had been feeling for so long. It’s tough to try and get by slinging t-shirts from town to town. Rarely do I want to give up, but I often question why I’m doing this.

I find it impossibly hard to be honest about my emotions and feelings in real life, but for some reasons I can say more in songs; I can be more honest in lyrics. I think it’s because in a song, even though it’s my words and my melodies, there’s still a “character” involved. I don’t know, maybe I feel like that person is a bit separate from me, even in my most personal songs.

 

The Right Regrets

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“Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” - Arthur Miller

 

I didn’t set out to write a depressing record. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever set out to write any particular sort of record. I didn’t intend for this album to be such "a downer"; but I’m glad I it is. I think I needed it to be.

When I was 16, I would sit in my 1987, sky blue Dodge Diplomat, lean the seat all the way back, find the perfect balance between my stereo, cassette tape adapter, and Sony Discman, and cry my teenage eyes out listening to Miller’s Angels by Counting Crows. I’m listening to it right now, and I still have no idea what it's about, but man, it takes me back to that old car.

There’s something about music that opens me up. Old Hymns are where I'm safest, Sigur Ros is where I feel the closest to God, and Counting Crows is where I feel the saddest, but in a good way. I am realizing that ever since I was a kid, music has been the only place I allow myself to truly feel things. To this day, whether I’m listening to it or making it myself, music really is the best therapy. I can say things in a song that I would be too embarrassed or afraid to say otherwise. Music is sacred and safe to me, because it is art.

Art doesn’t have to be strong. Art doesn’t have to put up a front. Art doesn’t have to pretend it’s got it all together. Art can do whatever it wants to, and that’s why people love it. That’s why I love it, at least. And through art, I don’t have to act strong when I’m not. I don’t have to have it all together, or put on pretense.

The Right Regrets is my attempt at vulnerability. It’s me admitting that I’m weak, and I need help. It’s my confession that I don’t have it all together. It’s whatever the opposite of “putting up a front” is.  I hope you like it.

 

LOVEY DOVEY EP

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Today is the day! Grab somebody you love and listen to this new EP that Garrison Starr and I released!

The journey to this record is a long one. When I was in high school, growing up in Memphis, I would always hear about this amazing girl playing music named Garrison. I never had the chance to meet her though. I finally had that chance in 2011, when I was out in LA opening for Kevin Devine on a couple of his residency dates at Hotel Cafe. I introduced myself, and tried to sound cooler than I was I'm sure. Then last year, I was out in LA and we'd been put together to a co-write. 

We instantly hit it off this time, and we ended up writing the first song on the EP (Baby, You Got Me). I think we both knew we had something special going on, so a couple months later, I called her up and asked if she wanted to work on some more cheesy love songs, and maybe do a record? She was in, and over the next couple months we worked on LOVEY DOVEY together, though most of it was remote. the other four songs we wrote over Skype, and we each worked on the record at our own studios in Memphis, and LA.

Anyway, I'm super excited about this new project and I hope you guys give it a listen! Let me know what you think!

Sanctuary

I'M DONATING ALL PROCEEDS from sales and streams of this song to the wonderful organization INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE. They've been helping refugees (and other marginalized people) for 80 years. It's never a bad time to offer help to those who need it, but now it's more important than ever. 

You can donate as much as you want through BANDCAMP, but feel free to purchase it wherever you are used to buying music. Also, add it to your Spotify/Apple Music playlists, and get everyone you know to do the same. Let's DO SOMETHING GOOD, TOGETHER.


Special thanks to everyone that made this possible. It was just an idea in my head a week ago, and now it exists for everyone to hear. It means so much that people were willing to donate their time and energy to make this happen, and so quickly.

All these fine people deserve a lot of hugs:

Engineered by Lang Freeman

Mixed by Charlie Kramsky

Mastered by Kevin Butler

Piano/Organ by Justin Wiseman

Pedal Steel by Brian Douglas Phillips

Artwork by Ryan Feerer

Photography by Chad Zellner

HAPPY ALBUM RELEASE DAY!!!

LONG PLAY is here!

After months and months of writing, recording, planning, and more planning; my new album Long Play has finally arrived! Thank you so much for all the recent support, and for making me feel like you believe in this project. I'm so excited that this record is finally available for everyone! 

You may have heard some of the music on TV (Thanks to Bridget, and John, and Antony for all your hard work), and I've already got some more stuff in the pipeline in that area; but now you can finally get the whole thing!


TODAY ONLY, Purchase a hard copy of LONG PLAY from my merch store and get a hard copy of VOL. 1 FREE, by using the code "wwlp"

Head over to my MERCH STORE and pick up a copy of LONG PLAY (actual cd), and get VOLUME 1 for free! Use the code "wwlp" when checking out, and I'll send you a link to grab my 2011 EP for free!


2/12 - CD RELEASE PARTY & MUSICAL FREE FOR ALL

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For anyone that is in the ATX area, I'm hosting a CD RELEASE PARTY at Tellers, this Friday night (2/12)! Doors are at 8pm, and music starts promptly at 9pm! The show is FREE and it features some of my favorite songwriters around! Joining me on stage that night will be Taylor Muse, Jaimee Harris, Paul Banks, and Dean Stafford! And if that isn't enough for you, we'll also have James Summers, Lang Freeman, Richard Kentopp, Paul Price, and Paul Mitchell! It would mean the world to me if you could make it out and celebrate this new album with me!

-WW

 

Long Play is Here . . . Well, it's at my house.

Today, my album, Long Play arrived on my doorstep. I've been working on this album for several years now, and I'm so pumped to share it with everyone. A small part of me is a little nervous too (to be honest). 
So many people have helped me get this thing made! Josh RodgersBenjamin Sanders, and Brian Douglas Phillips all contributed their amazing musical talents and made this thing sound way better than it would have with just me! Valentina Mitzkat and Matthew Puckett both cowrote a song with me! Antony Bland and John Mathiason helped me make this album a reality and have been with me since the beginning! Bridget O'Gara BloomNate Larson, and SONGS Music Publishing have already gotten some of the songs featured on TV! And my beautiful wife, Claire, has put up with all my dumb ideas, and supported and encouraged me through all of them! I love all of you differently and in different amounts! THANK YOU! 
Long Play come out everywhere on 2/9/16. 
You can preorder it on iTunes starting on 1/26/16 (which would be your cheapest option, and the best situation for me).

NEW SONG - MTV's FINDING CARTER

I'm proud to announce that tomorrow night (Tuesday 10/9c) my song "That Silver Line" is debuting on MTV's hit show Finding Carter! I'm so flattered that two songs from my upcoming album "Long Play" have already been picked up by TV shows, and the album hasn't even come out yet! "The Highest Tide" debuted on The CW's Reign back in October, and now this! Many thanks to all the people that are helping me spread the word about this music! 

-WW

Merry Christmas - NEW SONG!!

 

CLICK ME TO HEAR THE ALBUM!

Fa la la la la la la la la! That random, festive gibberish can only mean one thing! CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE! So, throw away your leftover stuffing, and let’s get merry and bright! I had the honor of recording a christmas song for a long running Charitable Christmas Compilation Collective called Winter Is On My Head! They’ve been putting out Christmas albums for several years now, all the while raising money for different charities. This year they’re teamed up with ABAN: A Ban Against Neglect, who “Empowers young mothers in Ghana by selling unique, handmade products from recycled materials!” The entire album is only $5.00 and it includes 15 tracks! But even if you somehow don’t love Christmas music, surely you can get behind helping people in need; and if that’s the case, go straight to the source and browse their web-store HERE! They have a ton of cool bags, totes, wallets, and other miscellany!

There are a bunch of great songs on a here, so check it out, and help support a great cause! Also, don’t forget about my new record, Long Play, which comes out on February 9th! Can’t wait for you guys to hear it!

-WW

Lyrics - Goodbye

I don’t want to stop chasing after stars
But it’s my only way out
I’m looking to the sky to help me to decide
Where I need to go now

And where I need to go, I may never know
But I’ll always be kind enough to say
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

It’s never taken long to know when I was wrong
But this time I just don’t know
I can’t make up my mind, I’m tired all the time
It never should be like this

And where I need to go, I may never know
But I’ll always be kind enough to say
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

I don’t know what I’ve been running from
I just know I want to make it home
I don’t know what I’ve been running from
I just know I want to make it home

And where I need to go, I may never know
But I’ll always be kind enough to say
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

-WW