Strength To Survive

Release Date: 01/31/2012

  1. Mentality
  2. Strength To Survive
  3. Everything Changes
  4. Don’t Worry
  5. Tell Me
  6. It’s Not Too Late
  7. Gone Today
  8. Let You Go
  9. Not Done Yet
  10. Slow Down
  11. Be with Me Now
  12. When We Were Younger
  13. Gone Today (Acoustic 2010)
  14. Jah Is Listening Now (Acoustic 2010)
  15. She Still Loves Me (Acoustic 2010)
  16. Prison Blues (Acoustic 2011)


1. Mentality

Written by Jacob Hemphill at band practice right before the studio session for Strength To Survive.

Even asleep, mentality’s
awake – nobody realizes
how much we can take
Let’s save the future of
the world for our sake,
it goes “forwards ever,
backwards never,”
We were the students but
now we’re the ones who
teach – we were the
children and your lies
we did believe
But we ain’t kids
no more and we don’t
need your speech, it goes

“forwards ever, backwards
never,” and truth
and right is yours
to control now,
there’s no way, no how
we will never do what you
have done under Jah sun

You’re right and we’re
forever wrong: IRAQ,
“forwards never, backwards ever”

The plane’s in the air…
Look down, the animals
are scarce… oil is
water now, and water’s
everywhere, we cry
“Fuck your system,
I’m not with ’em”

2. Strength To Survive

Written by Jacob Hemphill

I’m amazed, in a way
that we got this far…
at the pace we’re going,
you’d think we’re gone,
Amazed, in a way, that
we’re all still here –
just look at our
last 50 years.
and our test, in the west,
in the years to come:
Does the dollar really
matter when the
whole world’s gone?
Worry about yourself
while the world still
turns, but wait until
we’re watching it burn…

Stuck in the revolving
door, and caught in
our race for sure –
just look into your
eyes: Do we have the
strength to survive?

It’s not like cigarettes,
not like your T.V., it’s
bigger and broader than
any other thing –
it’s consume less and
giving back more,
and leave your old
ways at the door.
And by the way, if we
don’t, we can kiss it
good-bye – our sun,
our moon, our earth
and our sky.
Our world will recover
in a billion years, but
fuck it if we’re not
even here, when we
are stuck in the
revolving door


3. Everything Changes

Written by Jacob Hemphill in 2010 at Joe’s house. “I had been complaining about all my ‘troubles’ then wrote this realizing I really had none, in comparison to the majority of the world’s population. This song started Strength To Survive and so on.”

What do we really need
in this life?
I look at myself some
times like it’s not right
People out there with
no food at night
and we say we care, but we don’t
so we all lie
but what if there’s
more to this,
and one day
we become what we do
not what we say
and we end up in
all the shit that they’re in,
and roles are reversed
and it was different?
We were the ones with
nothing to eat,
We were the ones with
blood in our streets,
We were the ones with
only our screams,
and they were the ones
just watching on TV?
We were the ones
broke down and torn,
with our life at our back
and our wife in our arms
and they were the ones
like “Damn that’s so sad”
and we were the ones like

“Nothing ever changes,
it’s the only thing
I know –
nothing ever changes,
I’m looking down this
road, and
nothing ever changes.”

Look at your dreams
and your intentions,
how selfish it is
for you to mention
turning your thousands
into millions,
marry a model
and then have children

Well they got their
dreams too, I imagine
like water that won’t
come back to kill them,
Sleeping at night
without a murder
in some little town
you’ve never heard of
Now look at your
nightmares, and
all of your worst fears,
your car and your
house and your girl
and it stops there
All these things you
can’t imagine losing,
like “Oh no, what if
that happened to me?”
Well what you got
they’ll never have –
to be like you,
to be your chance –
to be like you
before they’re gone,
but no –

Nothing ever changes
at least that’s how
we act like God has
got our backs
looking down this road,
I can see the pain is
only gonna grow + grow + grow

Maybe we need
more shoes on our feet,
maybe we need
more clothes + TV’s,
maybe we need
more cash and jewelry,
or maybe we
don’t know what we need
maybe we need
to want to fix it –
maybe stop talking,
maybe start listening
maybe we need
to look at this world
less like a square
and more like a circle
maybe just maybe God’s not unfair
maybe we’re all his kids
and he’s up there
maybe he loves us
for all our races
maybe he hates us
when we’re all
so racist
maybe he sees us –
when we don’t care,
that it’s heaven
right here
but it’s hell over there,
then maybe the meek
will inherit this earth,
‘cuz it was written
before, so…

Everything changes,
nothing stays the same
everything changes
and if you feel ashamed,
maybe you should
change this
before it gets too late
maybe you should
change this
my brother, we’re
standing at the gate
everything changes
everything changes,
right in front of me.

4. Don’t Worry

Written by Jacob Hemphill

Why do we have to
break down
to know if it’s real?
Why do we have to
hurt ourselves
to learn how to feel?
Why do we learn the
right way
by doing the wrong?
Why does it start to
make sense
when it’s in a song?
I know that you
told me once
but would you please
tell me again
When do I kiss goodbye
my troubles?
The struggle never
seems to end
Why is the truth
always so painful?
Why are the lies
so easy to take?
Don’t worry, I can wait

I know there’s
somebody out there
who knows what I mean
silent on the outside,
inside you scream
trying to let it out
but it’s just too much
then it all comes out
when we’re so drunk

Truth always so painful,
Lies so easy to take –
don’t worry, I can wait.

5. Tell Me

Written by Jacob Hemphill, originally for Boomer but we ran out of time!

From the very first
time I saw you
I felt my old life
and it was all new
I felt my knees get weak
my heart went crazy
I felt some yes and no,
I even felt some maybe
I’d climb a mountaintop,
I’d swim the ocean, too
Get down on my knees,
but only if it was for you
I think that I would do
about anything
You’re in my dreams
and in the song I sing

Come on tell me
and I will believe you
tell me not to go
and I will never leave you
Tell me I’m yours,
tell me you’re the same
tell me anything

I’ve seen so many girls
and heard so many lines
and once or twice
I thought that
one of them was mine
but how it always goes
and how it’s always been –
I start to think that
we’d be better off
if we were friends
but there’s a new turn
yeah there’s a new twist
I know I said before that
I just couldn’t handle this
I’m not the type to
write you love songs
so it would help
if somebody sang along
and said tell me anything
From the very first
time I saw you,
there was something
different, and it was
all you
it’s in the way you move
and how you look at me
like being stuck on you
is something I’m
supposed to be
And that’s okay too,
and if you feel the same,
then we can trade looks,
maybe we can trade names
and we can look back
down the road
and you can say, remember
how the song goes?
It goes Tell Me Anything

6. It’s Not Too Late

Written by Jacob Hemphill in Brasil in 2010 @ soundcheck.

It’s not too late
Everyone, we seal our fate
If it’s not too much
for me to say,
this whole thing is our
Everyone is under Jah sun

Every day we’re all here
no use in fighting
your brother
we’re all in it together
this whole earth
is your mother
and I work for the father
and it’s not too late
Your hands are part of
His plan

It’s like we’re all here
for one reason, and it’s
clear –
No use in fighting
your sister,
there’s no way you
can get her
This whole earth is
your mother, brother,
and I work for the father
and it’s not too late

7. Gone Today

Written by Jacob Hemphill

When I look and see the sun
I see positive + negative
at once
I see a brand new day,
or the same old one,
so I wait just to see
exactly what kind
of day it’s gonna be –
picking my head straight
up – life is what I need
and I could be gone today –
tomorrow could be close
or it could be go far away
I guess what I’m trying
to say, is if
you can hear me now,
just know I’m happy

When I look
and see the moon,
I can see those before me
who’ve all done it too –
I can see, through
all my troubles,
that somehow, they
got through,
‘cuz we’re all family –
even if we don’t act
like it, or, we just
don’t see,

I guess I’m thankful for
who you think we could be
There could maybe
be something else
Like not something
you see or touch,
but something that
you felt –
There could maybe
be a road?
It’s like (Rootz) Underground
said, but it stays
in the corners
of my soul

8. Let You Go

Written by Jacob Hemphill

It occurred to me as
things are slowing down
that it’s always much better
when you’re around, and
it’s slowly turning me
upside down – wait –
you can be who you want to
you can see who you want to
there’s nothing I can tell
you now, except:
I’m always thinking of you
even when I don’t want to
in more ways than I count –

‘cuz I didn’t mean to Let
You Go, should’ve been the
first one to let you know.
Change your mind, and let
me slide just one more
time, it doesn’t have to
be this way, we could
stop fighting and wake up
in your place, or, I could
go, leave it to chance and
just let this go on…

And when we’re in the
future, and “Now” is a
million miles away, will we
start to reconsider what
now belongs to yesterday
This whole life is moving fast
for me, is it for you the
same? Do you dream?
When you do, do you wake
up saying my name?
We were only children, still
deciding who to be, I
remember following you,
hoping you’d look back
at me, but then a
band became my life, and
you heard California’s nice,
and then we got older,
like people do, but I
didn’t mean to Let You Go.

9. Not Done Yet

Written by Jacob Hemphill

It’s hard for me when I
think about the
things that never been,
they keep coming back
again, like they’ve
got something to prove.
I love my memories,
but they have a way
of controlling me at times –
I’m so lost without you.
And I can’t get far from it
and from what went wrong,
and I know it’s stupid,
‘cuz it’s been so long.
The farther I get away,
the more I hold on.
It’s just this feeling I get,
it’s like I’m not done yet.


I think about those
times, when we were young,
and everything was
so brand new –
our words were so true,
and you looked into my eyes
that one last time –
if I had known back
then what I’d be
living with today,
we might’ve stayed, but
I can’t get far from it
and from what went wrong,
and I know it’s stupid,
‘cuz it’s been so long –
the farther I get away,
the more I hold on.
It’s just this feeling I get,
it’s like I’m not done yet.

10. Slow Down

Written by Jacob Hemphill in Rhode Island in the hotel.

You can search the world for
signs of life, and realize
the truth was in your heart.
You can try to become who
you want, and never get away
from who you are. You can
trust another like no other,
watch them fall and then
you fall apart, tears you apart.
Always seen myself alone
but in my darkest hours,
there you are… where’s my
guitar… so I can say

Oh now you got to slow down,
oh, when all I have is now.

I’ve been all around the world
to find “it,” travel east and
west like everyday
I’ve been high + low since I
have lost “it,” how do I
get back to yesterday? It
feels like a game…
I have seen “that” look
in people’s eyes sometimes, and
all I do is chase them away.
I’ve been all around the
world to find “it,” but
every time I do, I don’t
let “it” stay, I chase
“it” away… so now I say:
slow down
when all I have is now
slow down
when all I have is now

11. Be With Me Now

Written by Jacob Hemphill at the very last second and I begged John to get everyone back in to hook it up. Thanks buddy.

In two months, I’m through
the door way –
put my guitar on the floor
and you will sit
and tell me
that you can’t take
any more and you will
sit and wonder
What I can only speculate –
that time is gonna
be telling us
what we don’t want
it to say, so

Just be with me now,
Feel your hair wrap
around my finger,
feel your words turn
into whispers,
feel your fall asleep
and dream
Dream that you could
be with me now
as I keep track
on my fingers –
the cities, and the
the pieces of my

Part Two
It’s been so long
since I’ve seen you,
almost forgot your face.
Time brings people closer –
it does the opposite
to me ‘cuz I’ve got my
Hallways, and My Hotels,
and a ticket with
my name.
– so long since I’ve
seen you, and there’s
so much to say
but just be with
me now

12. When We Were Younger

Written by Jacob Hemphill right before the Diversity Tour.

I never really got
why we’re here –
Just look at all we
build in our lives,
then we all disappear
a few of us are born
with so much,
while most of us are
chasing down a dream
that we just can’t touch
so why we try so hard
in this place when
pain + suffering’s a
guarantee, and happiness
is a phase?
I wonder if one day
we’re at peace?
or will this whole
world just become like
the Middle East?

But when I was younger,
I had the answers,
I’ve gotta say
But all of my answers,
now that I’m older,
turn into questions
right in front of me

I wonder where we go
when we die?
If there is anything past
all our sun + our sky?
‘Cuz airports only
take us so high –
is it hidden in the stars,
what’s the answer to
your soul’s light?
I wonder do we get
to come back?
I wonder if I will remember
these questions I’ve asked?
Or will I just start
over again?
I hope it’s not too hard
to find all of my
old friends
But when we were younger


I wonder do we get one
true love?
Or maybe there’s a
few out there?
Or maybe not even one?
I wonder if it’s made up
by man?
I wonder, if love is
what we make
with our own two hands?
I wonder why I write
all these songs?
I wonder if you
know what I’m saying
when you sing along?
And will you know
my name when I’m gone?
Or are you just
too sick of all these
love songs?
But when we were younger…



All songs written by Jacob Hemphill
All songs arranged by SOJA
Produced by John Alagia
Recorded at Lion and Fox recording studios, Washington, D.C.; the village in Santa Monica and Musiciscweapon Studios in Arlington, VA. Recorded by Vim Fox, Mike Caplan and John Alagia.

Guests: Zac Rae on keyboards, Michael Chaves on guitar, Davey Chaegwiddeu on percussion, DU Chris Crisis (cuts)
Art and layout design by Jacob hemphill.
Artwork by Raul Gandolfo
(P)(C)2012 ATO Records, published and licensed by SOJA L.L.C. (ASCAP) 2012 DMV Records

Thanks to our manager Elliott Harrington and Red Light Management; John Alagia and Brian Scheable; Coran Capshaw and Dave Matthews: Patrick Jordan, Jon Salter, Paul Dryden, Stephanie Alexa and all our friends at ATO Records; Duffy McSwiggin, Mike Greisch, Taylor Schultz, Chip Hoper and all of our friends at the Paradigm Agency; Rob Markus, Jared Rampersaud, Mark Gelger and everyone at William Morris Agency; Stephan Schulmeister, Rolf Radny, Tillman Otto aka Gentleman and the whole Bush house Mush Crew; Elliott Groffnan, Jonathan Horn; Jim Fox, Mike Coplan and Lion and Fox Studios; Zac Rae, Michael Chaves and Davey Chaegwiddeu; Grover Duvall, Paul Reed Smith, Paul Miles and everyone at PRS Guitars; Matt Brownell (happy Mac.N.Cheese), Trevor Young, Soljie Hamilton, Joey Stakes, Derrick Pasker and Mark Curran; Marc Carlini and Full Count Films; Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs; Jackson Besty, Mr. and Mrs. Besty and all of our families, all of our friends, everyone we used to know, and everyone we know now.

Mostly, though, we need to thank our fans. This has been an incredible experience and we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Everyday I wake up and still can’t believe all this is real – we will never stop, because of you. Together we can change the world.

Strength to Survive
“Dear everybody that has paid to see my band:
It’s still confusing, I’ll never understand” – Andy Hull