Here I Am

by Ben Travis

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about

We all have a story, a journey all our own. This album is my attempt to document my own journey through music. My hope is that, as you listen, you will find that our paths are in many ways the same.

This album is the culmination of over 10 years of songwriting inspired by changes in the way I see the world. My hope is that this album challenges listeners to examine their preconceptions about the world and think for themselves. Musically, I explored rock, jazz, Latin, and the introspective singer/piano-player style of the artists that have inspired me: Elton John, Sting and Billy Joel. Each song expresses a unique part of the process I went through as I found out what made sense to me when I looked at life in a fresh way. I brought in some amazing Nashville musicians such as Roy Vogt, Andrew Henderson, Chris Gregg, and Sam Kallaos to help make this an album I could truly be proud of. And I am. I hope you enjoy it..

I grew up in a small town in Kentucky called Dawson Springs, and learned to play the piano by watching my dad play. I then attended Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and graduated with a degree in vocal composition in 1996. I continue to record and perform my own music while balancing that with a career as a teacher. My influences include Elton John, Billy Joel, and Sting.

Thank you for listening. I truly appreciate it.

credits

released September 10, 2013

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about

Ben Travis Nashville, Tennessee

I’m a Nashville-based independent artist and songwriter. My style has been described as gentle, yet thoughtful, inviting listeners to think and ask meaningful questions about the world around them.

I learned to play the piano by watching my dad play. I then attended Belmont University in Nashville, TN, and graduated with a music degree in 1996.
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Track Name: Here I Am
Here I Am
Ben Travis © 2000

I had life in a box
I kept it in the palm of my hand
Nobody could tell me anything
I didn’t already understand

But now my little box has grown
Can’t even fit it in my room
To tell the truth, it’s not a box anymore
It’s more like a big, expanding balloon

(chorus)
Here I am… don’t even know what I used to know
Staring at the stars and scratching my head
Can’t even sleep when I’m in my bed
Here I am… throwing off the mask of certainty
Smiling at the kid I used to be
And wondering what the future holds for a man like me

Milk and cookies by the stairs
Waiting for the man in red to appear
Down the chimney any minute now
Sure hope I’ve been a good boy this year

But now my Santa Claus has gone
So tell me what am I to do?
If all those presents weren’t from him
Maybe what they told me just isn’t true
(to chorus)

“Just close your eyes and believe
That feeling of wonder goes away”
But if it’s okay with you
I think I’m gonna just let it stay
(to chorus)
Track Name: The Story of Our Lives
The Story of Our Lives
©May 7, 2012 Ben Travis

(verse 1)
Every night I lie in bed
and I wonder what’s the point of it all
We work so hard to learn and grow
but everything we do just seems so small

(chorus)
And so we work and slave to get the bills paid
then we fall into bed at night
And then as fast as we can we do it again
and that’s the story of our lives

(verse 2)
Every day we drive far away
where we’re needed desperately
We go through the motions and fit in our place
but inside we’re longing to be free

(final chorus)
And so we work and slave till our hair turns grey
but it ain’t so black and white
We run and we run to get it all done
and that’s the story of our lives
Track Name: Crying to Be Free
Crying to Be Free
© 2000 Ben Travis

(verse 1)
Sometimes life is funny
Sometimes life is sad
Sometimes life can break your heart
or make you mad

Sometimes life is lonely
No one understands
Sometimes you look up to the sky
and wring your hands

Sometimes you are helpless
Sometimes you are strong
Sometimes you don't know right from left
or right from wrong

Sometimes you look in the mirror
You like what you see
But sometimes the person looking back at you
is crying to be free...
Crying to be free...
Crying to be free

(verse 2)
You used to like roller coasters
When you were a kid
But sometimes life makes you more queasy
than they ever did

Spinning 'round in circles
All day long today
You hear some preacher preachin'
about a better way

When did you arrive here?
It's not the life you planned
You always thought you'd end up
in the Promised Land

Yesterday you locked your heart up
Now you can't find the key
All the while something inside you
is crying to be free...
crying to be free...
crying to be free

Sometimes life is funny
Sometimes life is sad
Sometimes life can break your heart
or make you mad
Track Name: Rainbow Serpent
The Rainbow Serpent
© 2000 Ben Travis

When I look across the plains
I see a thousand stars
Every time I close my eyes
I know I'm where I belong

'Cause I hear my friend the kookabura call
And I hear the wind tonight
It's singing me a song

(chorus)
And the Rainbow Serpent comes
To call my name
And the earth my mother
Brings a smile
And the way I feel tonight
With this bamboo on my lips
Must be the reason I am here at all

When I look into the trees
I see a thousand eyes
Every one I call my friend
They share the same land as I

Sometimes I call my tribe
To join me in a song
But sometimes I climb the hills
And play my songs alone
[to chorus]

I can't remember ever needing
More than what I carry with me
Now inside my pack
Placed here upon my back
[to chorus]
Track Name: Funny Feelin'
Funny Feelin’
© 2000 Ben Travis, Amanda Davis

Can't hardly sleep at night
I think my bed is made of stone
And in the daytime, I hold a cardboard sign
And stand beneath the bridge I call my home
I watch the passing cars
I've learned to count the hours
'till darkness brings the bitter cold

(bridge)
I can see them waiting for the light to turn green
Trying not to let me catch their eye
I know that as they drive away
They will do their level best
To forget that I'm alive

(chorus)
It's a funny feelin' Knowing no one in the world
Would trade places with you if they could
It's a funny feelin' Being awake is just like dreamin'
'Cause the nightmare never ends,
It just goes on...
And you're always alone

When I left for the war
I thought I'd be a hero
But when I got back, they gave me no awards
In fact, they gave me no respect at all
Truth be known
This city is much worse
Than any jungle I ever saw

(bridge 2)
I can hear them saying I should just get a job
Telling me what they think I should do
I wonder as they drive away What they think that I should say
When I'm in my interview
With tattered clothes and homemade shoes
[to chorus]

People come along and hand me Bibles
They tell me Jesus loves me
And forgives me of my sin
But for me there's something more important than my soul's revival
I'm wondering when this cold front's gonna end
[to chorus]
Track Name: Preconceptions
Preconceptions
© 2000 Ben Travis

(verse 1)
We are all fed our beliefs from the womb
like mashed carrots on a spoon
Though we defend them valiantly
sometimes they fall like scales
around us and lie useless at our feet

Still we find our preconceptions
grinning at us from dark corners
Clawing at our hearts
Envying our freedom

(chorus)
And we learn to dance
to the rhythm we hear
as the wind shakes the trees
and our shadows grow longer
We tip our hats
to the past that has shaped us
and poke our canes into
the blackness ahead

(verse 2)
Though we are satisfied with questions
the voices around us cry for certainty
Strangely enough, they often find it
yet we remain unconvinced
and this is unacceptable

There are times when we'd trade
our souls for some black and white
But we trudge on silently
Through the endless sea of grays
[to chorus]

Like pieces of a puzzle
that has no solution
the fragments of truth that we see
wink at us knowingly
[to chorus]
Track Name: You Get the Worst of Me
You Get the Worst of Me
©May 1, 2012 Ben Travis

(verse 1)
All day long I gotta be
who they expect me to be
I gotta play the role… maintain control
and do it gracefully

but when I come home
and we’re all alone
and there is no one else that I’m supposed to be
baby, I apologize
but I fear so many times
you get the worst of me

(verse 2)
Every time… I start it fine
as I go out the door
but later on… when the day is long
I just can’t give any more

but when I walk in
and my day’s at an end
and even though it’s the first time I can be free
baby, I apologize
but it seems so many times
you get the worst of me

(coda)
There are times
when I am so sure that I’m only
running on a treadmill through my life
but then I look into your eyes

but when I come home
and we’re all alone
and there is no one else that I’m supposed to be
baby, I apologize
but I know so many times
you get the worst of me
baby, I apologize
but I know it’s no surprise
you get the worst of me
Track Name: I Stand Alone
I Stand Alone
(c)2005 Ben Travis/Mohammed Ifrine

I know the sound of each rock and stone
Only the lights of me are welcome here
Everything breathes, and I know each breath

I keep myself protected from pain
I don't entertain a moment's fear
I feel the rain, and ignore the rest

Don't come any closer, don't even rise
I've felt all the pain, and heard all the lies
In my world, there's no compromise

I watch the Sun dance in the sky
I hear the wind whisper my name
Emptiness calls, but I turn away
Moving along without a sound
playing a cruel, but honest game
Searching the sky, I see only gray

Don't come any closer, don't even rise
I've felt all the pain, and heard all the lies
In my world, there's no compromise
Like every tree stands on its own
reaching for the sky, I stand alone
I share my world with no one else
All by myself, I stand alone
Track Name: Thirty-nine
Thirty-nine
© March 11, 2010 Ben Travis
for Granny

I’m sick, I’m tired
I’m uninspired
I never pictured life this way
I’m far from home
and all alone
and all my friends have gone away

My mind is weak
and cloudy now
it hasn’t always been this way
I once was known
for wit and style
and not the bitter way I feel today

and if you’d asked me when I was twenty-five
I might have told you that I felt so alive
but now it’s hard to find a reason
to wear this fool’s disguise

There was a time
when life was kind
and every breath was fresh and new
My heart was full
of dreams and obligations
the fantasies of youth

and if you’d asked me when I was thirty-nine
I might have told you that life was so divine
but now it’s hard to see a reason
to wear this fool’s disguise

And all those times
I told myself
that I would never end this way
but there’s no exit sign,
or finish line
no final words to say

and if you ask me now that I am ninety-three
if I can tell you the way things used to be
you’ll forgive me if I ask you
to go and let me be
Track Name: The Rain Falls
The Rain Falls
© 2000 Ben Travis

I think the world
is a lonely place
We all look for ways
to make it more like home

We put pictures on the wall
But it doesn't help at all
Still the rain falls

So much hunger, so much war
Yet so little I can do
So I sit on my couch at home
Grab the remote control
See what's on
While the rain falls...

A little girl hears her father say,
"I wish you'd never been born at all"
And as she walks back to her room
Well, she wishes it too
Still the rain falls...

A woman comes to work
with bruises on her face
She says, "I fell down again."
And as the pieces fall apart
I know the bruises on her face
match the ones on her heart
while the rain falls...

The rain falls...
The rain falls...

Can you hear the rain fall?
Can you hear the rain fall?
It’s falling on the ones who have no one to love
It’s falling on the starving children
It’s falling on the ones, the ones who have no hope
The ones who suffer at the hands of others
The ones who feel afraid at night
And it’s falling on the ones
The ones who think they’ve got it all right
Track Name: When I Come to the End of My Rope
When I come to the end of my rope
© 2000 Ben Travis

When I come to the end of my rope
Will there be anything to hold onto?
When I come to the end of my rope
Will there be anyone to hold onto?

When I come to the end of my travels
Will there be anyone to come home to?
When I come to the end of my travels
Will there be anyone to belong to?

When I find myself,
you'll be the first to know
When I know myself,
you'll be the first one I find

When I come to the end of my rope
Will there be anyone to protect me?
When I come to the end of my rope
Will there be anyone who can save me?

When I find myself
on the edge of the horizon
When I find myself
in the footsteps of mankind

When I come to the end of my rope
Will there be anyone to hold onto?
When I come to the end of my rope
Will there be anyone to belong to?
Track Name: Song for Maia
Song for Maia
© 2010 Ben Travis

I can’t believe my eyes
you were just a dream, and now you’re real
I know you won’t remember this day
but I will

your tiny hands and tiny feet
your eyes looking up at me
this old piano I play
now for you

(chorus)
it’s a song for Maia
and I hope you like it
‘cause this is the first song I’ve played for you
it’s a song for Maia
to tell you that I love you
to let you know I’ll be there
this song is just for you

and now to my surprise
you have helped me see a brighter day
a world so often cold has now been warmed
by your smile

and I am humbled here
that you could find some comfort in my arms
that you could find delight in my eyes
mystifies me