Understand

by Jon Schommer

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about

Dear Friend,
I am so grateful for the opportunity to share these songs with you. The collection of tunes on Understand represent, for me, an audio journal of sorts from the last five years of my life, documenting my reflections on love, loss and hope—you know, the important things. It means so much to me that you are taking the time to listen and I hope that the lyrics and music can meet you where you are as a companion on the journey.
Love,
Jon

credits

released May 16, 2014

All songs written and performed by Jon Schommer on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, and ukelele.

"Alive Together" co-written by Jennie Potter
Additional vocals on "Feast of the Assumption," "Alright Okay," "Understand," "Alive Together," "Roads," "Coming Down Prayer," and "Can't Explain" by Tess Gunty.
Piano on "Alright Okay," and "Better Day;" banjo on "Alive Together" and "Alright Okay;" and electric piano on "Coming Down Prayer" by Matt Caponigro
Drums and percussion on "Better Day," "Can't Explain," "Coming Down Prayer," "Don't Know Many," and "Roads" by Jordan Sunshine Hamrick
Bass on "Can't Explain," "Roads," and "Don't Know Many" by Michael Thompson
Flute on "Understand" by Maria Surat
Electric Guitar on "Don't Know Many" by Ben Wilson
Trumpet on "Feast of the Assumption" by Emily Langford
Oboe and Saxophone on "Feast of the Assumption" by Shane Verploegh
Additional Vocals on "Better Day" by Sammi Marie Otero
Composition and arrangements on "Feast of the Assumption" and "Understand;" programming on "Feast of the Assumption" and "Coming Down Prayer;" drums and additional guitar on "Understand;" bass on "Understand," "Better Day," and "Coming Down Prayer;" additional drums on "Coming Down Prayer" and "Don't Know Many;" mandolin on "Roads;" and additional vocals on "Coming Down Prayer," "Better Day," and "Roads" by Peter J Hochstedler

Recorded and produced by Peter J Hochstedler and Jon Schommer in mansions, suburban homes, urban retreat houses, chapels, and university practice rooms throughout Indiana.

Album and CD artwork and design by Hien Luu, Ryan Ketterer and Jon Schommer.

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Track Name: Feast of the Assumption
it was the day that Mary rose up into the sky
it was then I lost my dearest love
the angels they were singing Hosanna! on high
as my heart it sank like a dying dove

the virgin’s clothes were white and her radiance, it warmed
but mine were soiled in the dirt
as she journeyed to the son that she once held in her arms
I dug a hole for all the things that made you hurt

they sang
“Glory, Glory On High”
“Glory To The Seed That Falls And Dies”
“To The Seed That Falls And Dies”

her children searched the clouds for their mother gone above
but blue and white were all that they could see
when I look into your eyes I try to find your forgotten love
that you wrote and whispered you had for me

but they just sing
“Glory, Glory On High”
“Glory To The Seed That Falls And Dies”
“To The Seed That Falls And Dies”

sometimes she pays a visit to some small Mexican town
and when she goes she leaves for them her rose
and I often find myself wishing you’re around
or waiting for the day this yearning goes
or waiting for the day a flower grows
Track Name: Alright Okay
It will be alright it will be okay
there’s no need to worry about yesterday
just love in the moment through what we do and say
it will be alright
it will be okay
it will be alright
it will be okay

momma’s gone and you were on your own
with pains for friends and rains for a home
I don’t understand most of the time
I’m searching for a sign you’re searching for a sign
That it will be alright it will be okay
there’s no need to worry about yesterday
just love in the moment through what we do and say
it will be alright
it will be okay
it will be alright
it will be okay

I know the tension in your mind
the pull of Truth the faith you find
plant it in your heart like a seed in the soil
the sweetest fruit--it comes from toil
yes the sweetest fruit it comes from toil

Loneliness can be so long
so many ears don’t hear the song
hopeless in blackest night
the darkness will give way to light
yes the darkness will give way to light

and it will be alright it will be okay
there’s no need to worry about yesterday
just love in the moment through what we do and say
it will be alright
it will be okay
it will be alright
it will be okay

try to feed you try you eat
communion can be bitter sweet
the more we love the more I try
to quench your thirst as you quench mine
oh to quench your thirst as you quench mine

it will be alright it will be okay
there’s no need to worry about yesterday
just love in the moment through what we do and say
it will be alright
it will be okay
it will be alright
it will be okay
it will be alright
it will be okay
Track Name: Understand
I don’t know if it’s been 24 hours or 24 years since I’ve been here
But I know that you’ve tamed me, even though we’re still wild
So meet me in the morning for a song and a smile

I will hold your hand
Try to let you know I understand
Stare into my eyes if you can
Try to let me know you understand
Even if I can’t

We have different tounges, eyes, arms, stomachs, lungs and shirts
But we’re learning the same language slowly until it hurts
For me it’s finding my patience as I’m stepping in your poo
Fro you it’s sprouting from the ground blossoming into a truer you

I will hold your hand
Try to let you know I understand
Stare into my eyes if you can
Try to let me know you understand
Even if I can’t
You will understand
Even if you can’t
I will understand
Even if we can’t
You will understand
Even if we can’t
We will understand.

Though it feels like I smoke a pack a day
I’d go through endless cigarettes if I could bilocate,
Stand in the same places my heart seems to be,
See all of your faces and know that I am free

I will hold your hand
Try to let you know I understand
Stare into my eyes if you can
Try to let me know you understand
Even if I can’t
You will understand
Even if you can’t
I will understand
Even if we can’t
You will understand
Even if we can’t
We will understand
Even if I can’t
You will understand
Even if you can’t
I will understand
Even if we can’t
You will understand
Even if we can’t
We will understand.
Track Name: Coming Down Prayer
I’ve been coming down now,
Coming down from clear mountains.
I’ve been coming down now,
Lost and found now like the wind.

I’ve walked winding roads now
Wind my soul now let it spin.
I’ve walked winding roads now
Waiting for the journey’s end.

Can you hear my mother,
Hear my sister’s songs so sweet?
Can you touch my father,
Touch my brother love from me?

Will you love my lovers
When I’m covered, out of reach?
Will you take my soul, my body whole
And your love teach, and your love teach?

When I have no strength;
Crushed by questions asking why
There’s still room for hope in planted seeds
That die to rise

For you see all my weakness,
All my failure, all my pain.
You know me unworthy
But you love me all the same, oh all the same.

With prayer on my lips and on my heart and on my knees
With prayer in my hands and in my mind and in my feet

I’ve been a true lover,
A trying lover, despite me
I’ve been a true lover,
I try to love you gracefully.

With prayer on my lips and on my heart and on my knees
Prayer in my hands and in my mind and in my feet
Oh in my feet
Oh in my feet
Oh in my feet
Oh in my feet
Oh in my feet
Track Name: Alive Together
I’m alive and you’re alive
We can be alive together
We can spend our days just singin in the son
Where we go oh we don’t know
We won’t worry about tomorrow
We were singin in the beginning
and we’ll be singin when we’re done.

We’ll sing it through the byways
and we’ll sing it through the trees
We’ll sing it when the leaves are red
And when the leaves are green
When we’re floating down the river
Or wading into the sea
We’ll sing this song wherever we may be.

I’m alive and you’re alive
We can be alive together
We can spend our days just singin in the son
Where we go oh we don’t know
We won’t worry about tomorrow
We were singin in the beginning
and we’ll be singin when we’re done.

Oh when we’re done
When we’re done
When our last note has been sung
When we’re done
When we’re dancing with the angels in the sun

I’m alive and you’re alive
We can be alive together
We can spend our days just singin in the son
Where we go oh we don’t know
We won’t worry about tomorrow
We were singin in the beginning
and we’ll be singin when we’re done

I’m alive and you’re alive
We can be alive together
We can spend our days just singin in the son
Where we go oh we don’t know
We won’t worry about tomorrow
We were singin in the beginning
and we’ll be singin when we’re done
Track Name: Better Day
I walked down the banks of the St. Jo’s
The wind was cold as it bit my nose
I saw a man there wearing ragged clothes
He said, “Sir I got a heavy soul.
“I lost my children with my wife, run out.
I lost my job and I lost my house.
Now I ain’t a saint, no I can run my mouth
But I’m still waiting for a hopeful sound.”
And so I sat with him and sang

How long with the vultures fly?
How long will we still shut our eyes?
If my brother’s woes are not my own
How can I call this world a home?
How can I call this world a home?

I went up to the diner for a cup of brew
I thought I need some warmth and to rest my shoes
As the gal at the counter brought me my food
She asked, “What else can I do for you?”
She said, “I’m the one that’s running my home
I love my kids but I feel so alone
I work three jobs just to keep us going
I’m always waiting for the strength to come.”
And so I sat with her and sang.

How long will the storms pound?
How long will our ears ignore the sound?
If my sister’s cries don’t move my bones
How can I call this world a home?
How can I call this world a home?

I looked in the lake and I saw a face
I knew it well though he looked out of place
He said, “I feel like I go go go with such haste.
I just don’t want my time to turn to waste.
‘Cause we’re distracted from distraction by distraction
And if you want peace you better take some action,
But the smog and the screens can make you lose your passion
Don’t stop waiting for a better day
How long?
Don’t stop waiting for a better day
How long?
Don’t stop praying for a better day
How long?
Don’t stop working for a better day
How long?
Don’t stop working for a better day
How long?
Track Name: Can't Explain
The sun rises over West Virginia hills
The steam rolls off the barn’s tin roof
Your spirit moves through this world
I can see it go where it wills
But I can’t explain the beauty
That I see in you

It’s like ground under my bear feet
Or the coolness of the morning dew
I can’t explain the beauty
That I see in you

No I can’t explain
I said I can’t explain

Sometimes you seem so far away
It feels like together we will never be
On the telephone
I forget what I was going to say
But I remember you
In the beauty that surrounds me

It’s like tomatoes in the garden
Or bees buzzing round the blooms
A hike to the top of the mountain
Sleeping on the ground under the moon
I can’t explain the beauty
That I see in you.

It’s like sunshine in South Bend winter
Or a smile when I’m feeling blue
I can’t explain the beauty
That I see in you.

No I can’t explain
I said I can’t explain

Sometimes you seem so far away
It feels like together we will never be
On the telephone
I forget what I was going to say
But I remember you
In the beauty that surrounds me

Whenever I get lonely
And I don’t know what to do
I just think of how you love me
And how we’ll see each other soon
Oh how you love me
And how I love you

Love is kind and patient
Not jealous, pompous or rude
Not inflated or selfish
Nor over injury it broods
It does not rejoice in wrong doing
But rejoices in the truth
It bears all
Believes all
Hopes all
Endures all those silly things we do

Love never fails
No I can’t explain
How love never fails
No I can’t explain
How love never fails
No matter what you do
And I can’t explain the beauty
That I see in you
No I can’t explain
How love never fails
No I can’t explain
How love never fails
Track Name: Roads
So many roads crossing in this space
Intersections of our lives
Like perpendicular tails
Of them shooting stars
Like telephone lines that make you cry
Oh like telephone lines that make you cry
Hold my hand embrace my pain
Walk with me for a ways
Then let me go when bright darkness comes
For the road it calls and I obey
Yes the road it calls and I obey

One day these roads will cross again
I’m so joyful thinking of
Them seeds we planted long ago
Will grow to shelter all this love
They will grow to shelter all this love

So many roads crossing in this space
Intersections of our lives
Like perpendicular tails
Of them shooting stars
Like telephone lines that make you cry
Oh like telephone lines that make you cry
Oh like telephone lines that make you cry.
Track Name: Don't Know Many
I’ve been to the mountains and I’ve sailed the ocean blue
I’ve swam in the rivers and walked for miles in these shoes
I’ve seen all kinds of people who played all kinds of tunes
But I don’t know many who can love like you.

Some people spend their time just talking on their phones
Some people live their lives just dying to be known
Some people pass their days no knowing what they’ll choose
But I don’t know many who can love like you.

Your love, it glows like a candle in the dark
Like a flash light, an illuminary spark
Reflecting the sun of perfect love, yes you do
‘cause I don’t know many who can love like you.

We’ve got brothers locked in violence, fighting in the wars
We’ve got sisters chained to culture, starving for something more
But I think everyone’s searching for what is true
And I don’t know many who can love like you.

I’ve been to the mountains and I’ve sailed the ocean blue
I’ve swam in the rivers and walked for miles in these shoes
I’ve seen all kinds of people who played all kinds of tunes
But I don’t know many who can love like you.
I said I don’t know many who can love like you
I said I don’t know many who can love like you.