The State I'm In

by Ben Ballinger

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    The State I'm In - recorded straight to tape, in an all analog studio, mixed, mastered to lacquer in true analog, and pressed to vinyl. This record is straight from the horse mouth. The songs have never touched a computer. Includes full lyric liner notes, and a code for HD download of the album.

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about

from the liner notes by Chad Swiatecki -
You shouldn’t call Ben Ballinger a pessimist, even though there are enough social and personal wrongs on this record to make a social worker scream for a double. Of anything. On the rocks. And yet “hopeless” isn’t the right word either, because Ballinger and the characters he’s created here have too much intestinal fortitude to fold over and stay down when life pushes against them. They get up and march forward, stronger and aware of what they’re facing.
So let’s go with “weary and resilient,” which are the building blocks of pretty much every classic country singer-songwriter record ever. And “The State I’m In” certainly makes a charge at reaching those kind of heights. It’s all built on Ballinger’s golden baritone, which can go from yearning and joyous (“Radio” and “Flower Girl,” respectively) to accusatory and solemn (“Confessions In Flannel,” “Noah’s Forecast”) or find contentment while slow dancing with recurring guest vocalist Brennen Leigh on the title track.
Some extra attention needs to be devoted to a song – “Ashes To Ashes” – that Ballinger has said was unnerving and close to exhausting to create. It’s a song that starts at a smolder and grows into a sort of personal inferno that’d make Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen wince. It gets there with Ballinger channeling his best Sunday preacher fury, and with the help of restrained horns and pedal steel in just the right spots. Of course Ballinger’s vivid words take center stage throughout, telling us, “My blues beat me in a fair fight… I tried to drown them in liquor,” and that “I didn’t lose my innocence. I gave it away a piece at a time.”
In the end Ballinger emerges, from that song and the album as a whole, as an artist who has endured all life has thrown at him and those he loves, and has no fear about what’s ahead.
-Chad Swiatecki

credits

released October 14, 2014

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about

Ben Ballinger Austin, Texas

Ben Ballinger makes roots music with an uncommon emotional depth and songwriting mastery. A balladeer in the truest sense, Ballinger is a craftsman, building fine-tuned melodies out of roughhewn passions. After digging deep into the Austin, Texas scene for the past few years, Ballinger stands out among the pack of would-be Country soulmen with an undeniably genuine, and original delivery. ... more

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Track Name: Natatorium
NATATORIUM copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

I got my first kiss in the Fort Dalles Museum
I smoked stolen cigarettes under the bridge
And I peed in the natatorium.

I kicked that cold, smokin Camels
I won that race with a hangover
And I'll follow you with a broken heart.

You are the laughing bleeding smiling singing woman I want to marry
You with my t-shirt as your tourniquet, my automobile,
Your good Samaritan

I'm as naked as a jay bird in the middle of the middle of nowhere
And all I have is a black ski mask, hitchhiking at night,
On an unused overpass

And I will lose my life, If I lose you, I love you
Don't make me die in pursuit

You are my Greyhound bus, full of hot chocolate,
Compass glow in the darkness, You are my warmest quilted comforter,
My knitted mittens, my seamless red umbrella

Tell me not, Tell me not to waste my time
Tell me not, Tell me not to live a lie
Tell me not, Tell me not to love a lass....
Praying high and low, she loves you back

And I will lose my life, If I lose you, I love you
Don't make me die in pursuit
Track Name: The State I'm In
THE STATE I'M IN copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

Take me, Please take me with you
You can, Oh you know you can have me

I can't, I can't stay away
For long, 'For long I was in love with you

Cause I am not an astronaut
I dont fly Im afraid of heights
I give up, I'm just gonna give in
I love your country,
We are a union,
You are my home,
and this is the state I'm in.

Good morning, Good morning, Good Morning, I guess I slept late,
When I sleep with you, everyday is Saturday.

Cause I am not an astronaut
I dont fly Im afraid of the sky
I give up, I'm just gonna give in
I love your country,
We are a union,
You are my home,
and this is the state I'm in
Track Name: Ashes To Ashes
ASHES TO ASHES copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

I believe that when we are born we contain no original sin.
We are helplessly innocent and for a while I was no exception.
But as I grew, I saw the great divide, in between wrong and right
I didn't lose my innocence, I gave it away, one piece at a time

My disposition is not my decision, I was born beneath a black tree
And despite the advice, I've learned otherwise that the world has it out for me
Good Lord! That's some bad luck. Lightning twice has struck
Call it what you want to, I don't want to argue, I call it The Blues....

It's been a blue moon or two since I was down
And that means for me, any day now.
My life was going alright, I had almost overcome
But I made a deal when I did the deed and I can't run.

Well I got a heart so fond of sadness, oh you know that I have this
And a head so full of gloom, I have that too
I have a life long sentence and nothing to lose
Call it what you want to, I don't want to argue, I call it The Blues.

I tried to leave them on the freeway, in a storm of tears and headlights
I thought I was stronger than my sadness, my blues beat me in a fair fight
I tried to drown them in liquor, I tried to smother them in lust,
Call it what you want to.... ASHES TO ASHES DUST TO DUST
Track Name: Confessions In Flannel
CONFESSIONS IN FLANNEL copyright Ben Ballinger 2014
One day I woke up empty 'cept for a question in my mind
If I was ever going to find religion, I figured this would be the time
So I walked up to the minister as he was preaching to the crowd
And I asked him earnestly "How do you interpret what is allowed?"
He said "The word of God is infallible, there's no interpretation needed,
If you study the book you'll understand and then you will believe it."
And I said "If so, then they don’t need you or the threat of hell below."
And he said "actually they do, and I'm just making it up as i go"

I walked up to the capitol that exists for its own name
The guard there said “No guns allowed.” I said "If you do the same"
So I wrote a note to the president and I asked him to explain
The purpose for the wars that kill my classmates, the wars with patriotic names
So he invited me into his oval office, he tried to be convincing and plain
He said "They hate us for our freedom, and your friends don’t die in vain."
And I said "Don’t dodge the question, this ain’t the draft and we want to know."
And suddenly he spoke unscripted and said "I'm just making it up as I go."

I left him feeling hopeless, I needed to find someone who knew
I felt so empty I hired the fortune teller down on second avenue
She said "Give me fifty dollars and the future I will show to you."
I handed her a hundred and said "Tell me the truth about what you do"
She said "Folks come in here as lost as a tourist and full of fear
I just take their money and tell them exactly what they want to hear"
And I said "But how do you do it?" "That’s just fake snow in a crystal globe."
She said "People are all the same and I'm just making it up as I go."

I found temporary solace in music and singing what I've thought
And I distract myself with purpose and try to realize all my wants
One day I was just singing, you know just living and being and
Some wise ass kid pushed his way through the crowd and interrupted me
He said "Hey you in the flannel, are you singing for me?"
"You seem to think you have achieved some sort of nobility,
Through melody and memory, but I don’t buy it I think its just a show"
I said "That’s fine by me, you bought a ticket and I'm just making it up as I go"
Track Name: Radio
RADIO copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

I can be a loud mouth lunatic
Full of ads and static
On the low end of the AM dial

And I say baby oh
Let me be your radio
I can love you even though
I tell you this from a microphone

I'm the saving grace for some
You couldn't beat me for a cheap companion
I'm a melody, you can't help but sing

You are my one and only listener
My morning growl and my evening whisper
Baby receive me, Please believe me,
I can love you even though,
I tell you this from a microphone

And I say baby oh
Let me be your radio
I can love you even though
I tell you this from a microphone
Track Name: One More Sad Song
ONE MORE SAD SONG copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

I simplified, I made the drive,
I put my life on the line for the long run
You followed your dreams across the streams,
You were Lucid in Memphis 'til you woke up in Austin
And I should have known by the songs you wrote,
You'd become a part of me and then turn me into an amputee And that'd give me one more reason,
To write one more,
Sad song to sing

We are stranded in a future I've foreseen
With no tools or know how, trying to fix a time machine
And I hope you believe that the man you'll marry
He's out there but he's someone that I could never be
And that gives me one more reason,
To write one more,
Sad song to sing

I can feel the forgiveness getting thinner,
We see malice in the mistakes and only pain in the explanation
I see our lives, passing us by,
You wanted a garden, And I want the highway
But we live in a drought most of the time now
And the last time it rained, all the roads washed out

And that gives me one more reason, To write one more, Sad Song
One more reason, to write one more Sad Song,
One more reason, to write one more Sad Song to Sing,
A Sad Song to Sing.
Track Name: Flower Girl
FLOWER GIRL copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

Oh you work in a little flower shop
Arranging daises in bouquets
And I work in a roadside restaurant
Where I make coffee and hotcakes

And if you be my flower girl,
I will be your breakfast boy
With your purse full of petunias
And my wallet full of waffles

And when we go for walks in summertime
You pick the neighbors flower patch
While I'm collecting dimes to buy the mix
I've never made waffles from scratch

And if you be my flower girl,
I will be your breakfast boy
With your purse full of petunias
And my wallet full of waffles

And Someday, we'll sleep on waffles in a castle
We'll sprinkle roses from the tower
And I'll cook, a waffle, you'll make a corsage
And all we need is a little flour

And if you be my flower girl,
I will be your breakfast boy
With your purse full of petunias
And my wallet full of waffles
Track Name: Cell Phone
CELL PHONE copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

Oh Mama I wish I was a cell phone
To be held and caressed
Given so much attention
I'd be in heaven to be held in your hands

Look at me I'm jumping in my seat
Look at me I'm licking the T.V.
Look at me I'm turning 13
I stole your car and now I'm speeding
Look at me I'm on live T.V.
Answer the phone it's the police

I'd be the last thing that you see
When you finally go to sleep
I could even cause your heart to ring
Every time I made a peep to ring
And the days I die how they would stop your life
And if you ever lost me you just might break down and cry

Oh Mama, I wish I was a cell phone
To be held and caressed,
Given so much attention,
I'd be in heaven to be held in your hand
I'd be in heaven to be held in Your hand
You hold heaven in your hand
Heaven is in your hands.... And I could be there.
Track Name: Lucky You
LUCKY YOU copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

You fell in love with a hypocrite
Worst of all he won't admit it
Yesterday I couldn't stand him
But today, he's my best friend

You spend all day just trying to explain
How I made you mad, but it'll be ok
And I know I drive you crazy but I won't change
And I don't know how I feel 'til I'm too drunk to explain.

You are patient and wise,
You could be famous and free,
But lucky you, lucky you, You get to love me.

My pride is made of eggshells and tissue paper
I make you remove your shoes and always whisper
And if I make a mistake, well I must have meant to
And if one of those eggshells break I hold it against you.

You are patient and wise,
You could be famous and free,
But lucky you, lucky you, You get to love me.
Track Name: Noah's Forecast
NOAH'S FORECAST copyright Ben Ballinger 2014

We are waiting on and olive branch
And all we've found is a few feathers
In the end all we can do
Is talk about the weather

Just another oil spill,
add some gravel and call it asphalt
Just another massacre,
a senseless shooting, gotta be somebody's fault
Just one more foreign war before the fall

If we keep it up all of this is final
And it's cloudy with a chance of survival

Just another separation,
split up the kids and fight for the shit
Just another prison to build,
laws to push through, you got beds to fill
Just one more senator who's up for sale

If we keep it up all of this is final
And it's cloudy with a chance of survival

Our first breath is a sob our last is a sigh
We're a flag of flesh, waiving for a while
We are a bag of bones floating down the nile
And it's cloudy with a chance of survival