Stepping Stones

by Ian Doherty

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04:15
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05:25
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04:45
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04:03
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05:18
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credits

released November 15, 2016

Ian Doherty – vocals, keys, guitars, bass (2, 3, & 7)
Jon Kane – drums
Eric Graf – bass (1, 4-6, 9)
Dave Perra – guitar solo (2)
Max Puglisi – guitar solo (4)
Michael Burriesci – guitar solo (5)
Louie Land – guitar solo (7)
Kevin Metzger – guitar solo (9)
Kyla Merriman – vocals (3)
Michael Puma – vocals (5)
Shaun Kinney – vocals & melodica (10)
"Not On My Own" Chorus: Kenny Churchill, John Gronau, Matt Jones, Greg Mason, Michael Puma, Andrew Sudol, Jackie Sudol

(Opening of “All Good Things”: Greg Mason – drums; John Gronau – bass)

All words & music written by Ian Doherty, except "All Good Things" & "Trespasser" music by Doherty / Mason / Perra.

Produced & mixed by Ian Doherty & Andrew Sudol. Recorded & engineered by Andrew Sudol at Hobin Studio, Baldwinsville, NY, January-September 2016. Additional recording at Dave’s (Marina del Rey, CA), Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA), the Loft (Piercefield, NY), & Greg’s parents' house's basement (Liverpool, NY). Mastered by Jeremy Johnston at Subcat Studios (Syracuse, NY).

Photography by Ian, Andrew Doherty, & Shari Doherty. Album art design by Ian.

Thanks to all the performers who helped me realize this project, especially Jon & Eric, as well as Andrew (IT'S DONE! :) ), Todd & Brett Hobin, Jeremy, Jon Lessels, Amanda Rogers, the Liverpool Woodshed, my parents, my brother Mike & my sister-in-law Kelly, Mike Maurer, Mike Sloan, PJ Sweeney, Casaroja, Juan Junco, TJ & Audrey, Erin, Vic & Sarah, Fio, Vic Boris, the aMoT Podcast friends & listeners (thanks for sticking around! :) ), all my relatives both living & passed on (especially Grandpa Art), God, and anyone at all who's shown me their support over the years--it means the world to me.

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about

Ian Doherty Syracuse, New York

Singer/songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, composer, and all-around lover of storytelling in all its forms.

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Track Name: To Begin
Hook me up to an I.V.
There’s a sickness in my blood
Feel my heart beating slower
Like it’s only pumping mud
Sludge my way through the current
On a cold November day
To find the heart of the problem
Where my will gets washed away

But I won’t be broken
And I won’t give in
’Til I get a chance to begin

Throw me over your shoulder
’Cause I’ve fallen once again
Share the weight of a failure
With a long-awaited friend
And I can’t speak to the angels
But I hope they’re looking down
Lift me up in the struggle
Dig me right out of the ground

But I won’t be broken
And I can’t give in
’Til I get a chance to begin

Reach inside just to find
Solid ground can’t be found
Grasp at threads—sinew and muscle
There’s nothing left, no scrap to hold onto

Wait right there, heart so scared:
You’re still here. The canvas is waiting.
Pick up your brush—colors lush
Wait for you
Just paint the first stroke and begin

That’s all it takes to begin
Just open your heart and begin

And I won’t be broken
And I won’t give in
’Til I get a chance to begin

I’m ready to start again
I’m always beginning
And I won't give in
Just take the first step and begin
Track Name: All Good Things
It’s been a while
Since you and I have talked, my friend
I feel the lines are breaking down
There’s something you want to say,
But you can’t spit it out
Allow me to lend you a hand here:

Take back the conversations
Take back the promises you made
I’ve finally come to the realization
That all good things are guaranteed to fade

There’s something awfully familiar
About the face you wear
I’ve seen it a thousand times before
The look of someone
Who’s always known that life’s not fair
But still waits
For what they believe they’re due

Take back the condemnations
Take back the sarcastic, subtle clues
I’ve finally come to the realization
I’m done dealing with all the shit you do

It took a while, but now I think I finally know
What happened, and how, and when, and why
I never told you
All these things were on my mind
You never gave me a chance to say goodbye

So goodbye, goodbye
Track Name: The Curtain
Every time I leave, I miss you more
Drawing out goodbyes at the front door
Yes, every time I go, I have to say
It leaves me sore
I miss you more
Crying in the car on the drive home
The way you make me feel I’m not alone
And if I go too far, you bring me back
With all the kindness that you’ve shown
I’m not alone

Don’t hate the curtain that falls upon our past
One thing is certain:
Time will tell if this can last

Every time we meet, I love you more
It makes our parting dig into my core
Why can’t we find a place like we once had?
A quiet wood, a pleasant shore
And you next door

I’m dwelling on the things that drag me down
I slip into it when you’re not around
So tell me to relax,
And maybe I can finally get myself unwound
I’ll settle down

Don’t hate the curtain that falls upon our past
One thing is certain:
You and I can make this last
Don’t waste the present on living in the past
When life’s unpleasant
Here and now can hold you fast

The scenes may look different,
But there’s still a chance
We’ll have one together
We’ll hold each other’s hands
And remember a time and a place
Where we felt we belonged
But time moves on…

So maybe distance separates us now
And being close as we were ain’t allowed
We’ll write a drama all our own design
And it will keep us close somehow
This I vow

Don’t hate the curtain that falls upon our past
One thing is certain:
You and I can make this last
Don’t hate the curtain that closes on this play
We’ll set the stage and greet a new day
Track Name: The Things We See at Night
The things we see at night—
Are they even real?
A raindrop in the streetlamp’s light
The hint of rusted steel
The things we speak of in the dark
Can’t see the light of day
Escape can only get us so far
But it’s worth the price we pay

We spoke in quiet tones
Beneath the shroud of night
Of pain within our souls
And the battles we must fight
I listened to your words
With a fence around my heart
’Cause I’ve walked this path
So many times before
Found no answers in the dark

You looked into my eyes, and I saw
Understanding there
The feeling of my heart within your hands was
Too much for me to bear
But while this night’s still holding on
I’ll hold you close as well
A secret scene within the dark
One the night can never tell

The things we see at night
Don’t last beyond the dawn
They vanish with the morning light
Just a memory will live on
Track Name: Trespasser
Speaking ain’t easy
When there’s a gun against your throat
Choking on the indignation’s like
Swallowing sulfur
You reached out to stop me
I was out of my head
Second-guessing the choice to travel
The paths never to be tread

Oh...

Moonlight and starlight
As my only guide
Careful to take silent steps
Though there’s nothing left to hide
Painstaking, covering tracks
The sunrise on its way
When suddenly a voice calls out
And I can hear it say:

“You’ve no place to be here.
You don’t belong.
Send the hounds to catch him,” he says
And I can hear their song

“You’ve no place to be here.
You don’t belong.
Send the hounds to catch him.”
Oh, I can hear their song…
Track Name: Broke-Down Car
And so I’ve broken down
On a road that’s going nowhere
As far as I can see
And I need help
This happens all the time
So much I wonder if it’s worth it
Trying to fix this car
Over and over again

The sun is setting in the west,
So maybe I’ll just get some rest
In this broke-down car
The radio’s still working
And I can hear my favorite song
Coming in so clear
And that is all I need right now

I know this road too well
It’s etched in deep upon
The map inside my mind
Feels like it’s leading me to Hell
But it takes me back to all
The towns I thought I’d left behind
I saw a sign I recognized
A landmark I found too familiar
I knew that I should turn away
But I got scared, so I took off

And so I’ve broken down
In spite of all the time I’ve spent on
Trying to fix this car
And I need help
God, I need help

The sun is rising in the east,
So I’ll try waking up this beast
Of a broke-down car
There’s still some life within it
Maybe it’s enough to take me just beyond
What I can see
And that is all I need right now
Track Name: Not On My Own
I see the light, and then a shadow passes over
I know what’s coming next
I see the forecast,
And in spite of all my preparations
I still get soaking wet

My fear takes hold of me
I feel alone
I can’t break from its grip
Not on my own

My clothes get soggy, and my step gets slower
The weight of all this rain
Passing through the streets
I see so many others
Drenched in their own pain

My fear takes hold of me
I feel alone
I can’t break from its grip
Not on my own

And you can’t change the weather
All that you can do is wait it out
Thought you may not know
When the storm will end
But nothing lasts forever
I promise you that you can hold out
You’ll see the sun again
But until then…

I fall to the ground
And my vision gets so muddy
It’s clear I need a hand
But there are others in the mud
Who share my struggles
We’ll help each other stand

My fear takes hold of me
I feel alone
I can’t break from its grip
Not on my own

And I can feel, I can feel it coming back
Clenched around my soul
But knowing that you’ve got my back
Means everything
Here on my own
I’m not on my own
Track Name: Waiting
I’m waiting for the rain
To turn this brown grass green
Been muggy now for days
You’d think we would’ve seen
A single drop of water
To bring this fever down
Is there any drop around?

I’m waiting for the fear
To go and pass on by
Been stuck inside for days
Can’t find the strength to try
To walk across my doorstep
And make a new mistake
It’s a risk that I can’t take

’Cause I feel safe and comfortable
Within these fragile walls
While my thoughts wander far from here
Answering a higher call
But I tremble at the thought of failure

It’s easy to expose yourself
In the dark rooms of home
But out in the wilderness
There could be wondrous paths to roam
Rain or shine, I need a new direction

Been waiting for so long
I think it’s time I stopped
Track Name: Endurance
Tell me the last time you woke up
And didn’t feel so tired
When was the last time you kept a steady pace?
How many nights you’ve stayed up late
Burning both ends of the candle
Have you seen your face?

Remember the last time you walked out
And saw the stars above you?
Was it a pastime you would look forward to?
So many moment that you miss
When your thoughts are running faster
Than your feet can move

Just take a breath
It helps you think more clearly
You’ve been down this road
And you’ll be here again
In your reflection, do you see
The toll it’s taking on you,
Trying to outrun the past?
Thinking you could go that fast
But you’ve survived each time
So why’re you worried this could be
The last time?

Sing with me for one last time
Take a breath, and you’ll be fine
And breathing right is hard,
But your lungs are getting stronger
This doesn’t have to be the last time

Sing with me for one last time
Take a chance, and you’ll be fine
You know when life gets hard,
The journey will seem longer
But it doesn’t have to be the last time

Swim with me for one last time
Take a breath, and you’ll be fine
And if you’re drowning, take my hand
We’ll swim together
This doesn’t have to be the last time
Track Name: Stepping Stones
The weather’s breaking up now
The clouds begin to part
The garden just got drowned in all the rain
But there’s room for a new start
I pull out all the weeds
The dead and dying plants
There’s not too many left behind
Should I take another chance?

And when the rain
Washes away the fruits of all my labors
This ruined earth makes me want to cry
And who knows whether starting over
Will be worth it?
But I’ll never know if I don’t even try

The water drowns so many
While other plants will thrive
It all comes down to gardeners
To help each one survive

And when the rain
Quenches the thirst of fruit within this garden
I watch them grow with a hint of fear
’Cause who knows how long any bounty
Ever lasts?
I’ll try to relish it while it lingers here

Maybe other hands were better made for this
Maybe it’s not the weather—maybe it’s just me
All these years I’ve labored,
Trying to build this garden
Maybe it wasn’t meant to be

Hate not yourself, O gardener
We all have struggles
We all feel weak sometimes
Like we’re not good enough
Like one storm can ruin
Everything we’ve tried
But life’s a journey
Every failure and success
A stepping stone in the path
Another chance to begin again…

And when the rain
Washes away the earth and leaves me nothing
This sorry soul falls right down and cries
But here lies fertile ground
To plant a new beginning
And this shining sun makes me want to try

Lord, I’ll give it a try
Just another try
It’s worth it to try
Try

Hate not yourself, O gardener

Try, try again