Sweetheart, Keep Your Chin Up

by Vanessa Peters

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about

In a box marked "sounds like Sarah Harmer" I store away records like this for rainy days and those chosen moments when I feel the need of female serenading.

An Austin native yet now more accustomed to a life on the road, Vanessa Peters serves up a lovely dollop of mainstream roots with a side order of twang and just a dash of jangle that has at its core a witty and observant songwriter whose imagination is allowed to roam free. Hooks a-plenty 'Sweetheart, Keep Your Chin Up' is essentially a pop record that would brighten up any of those utterly dull daytime shows on Radio 2.

Take "Austin, I've Made A Mess" for example, a record that screams out PLAY ME, was written to warm the cockles of Wogan's heart, ah be jeezus it would. "Drowning In Amsterdam" is one of those infuriating songs (but in a good way, if you know what I mean) that you can t get out of your head, all layered and lithe. Whilst "The Next Big Bang" sounds like a song Aimee Mann would be delighted to perform let alone write.

Any band called Ice Cream On Mondays had better be bleeding good. Thankfully they are crisp, responsive, and unobtrusive. Just how I like 'em. It's a cliché to say there isn't a bad track on the record but, well, there isn't a bad track on the record. Five albums in and Peters has surely cracked it this time.

I defy anyone with a ear for a catchy melody sung in a beautiful, rich and completely engaging voice not to be enamoured with this baby. Fans of Sheryl Crow will love it I am sure. Lets hope they buy it in their droves.

--Americana UK

credits

released March 1, 2009

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about

Vanessa Peters Dallas, Texas

Indie singer/songwriter based in Texas. Musician, Italophile, Virgo, coffee nerd, food lover, bossy-pants, big ol' softie.
I've released 10+ albums and played over 1000 shows in 11 countries. I'm not done yet.

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Track Name: Good News
i'm getting tired of this one-way conversation
i've been singing at the top of my lungs
and nothing seems to be getting through
i guess these are songs you've already been sung
and the girls say don't get lost in the job
it's just a way to make ends meet
but it's so hard when i sing and you don't hear me
you just keep staring at your feet

but there's good news in the paper today
this war keeps draggin' on
and they're sending more sailors out to sea
to get sucked in by a song

so i sing my songs in a minor key
but it don't seem to do any good
i guess they're all a whole lot stronger than me
they just sail on home like they should

and i've never been much good at this job
but it's the only place that i call home
so i sink down and get under the waves
and they keep sailin' on

but there's good news in the paper today
this war keeps draggin' on
and they're sending more sailors out to sea
to get sucked in by a song

so i guess she's a pretty one waiting in your bed
i could've made you the king of the sea
but i watched as you turned that ship around
you chose her instead of me

but there's good news in the paper today
this war keeps draggin' on
and they're sending more sailors out to sea
to get sucked in by a song
Track Name: The War
planes keep on crashing
and lightning bugs ricochet
off my sleeve and into my heart
and i ask them to stay
leave behind a little spark
because sometimes you need some help
out of the dark

and not everything ends well
not everything's a fairy tale
but i'm here to tell you
i've been in the war

not everything works out
but honey, never doubt
i'm gonna fight for us
in the war

push back and away we float tonight
just one more chance to get it right
hold on tight to that tiny spark
let's pull ourselves up out
out of the dark

and not everything ends well
not everything's a fairy tale
but i'm here to tell you
i've been in the war

not everything works out
but honey, never doubt
i'm gonna fight for us
in the war
Track Name: The Next Big Bang
we are many miles apart
and i'm no better than the average jane.
the sky is without stars or i miss you cards
so i try hard not to complain

about the weather or anything else here
cause things have pretty much stayed the same
since the call came and you headed on your odyssey,
trying to make a name.

and most days i just hold my breath,
await the next big bang,
cause every new storm that blows in
could bring you back again.

i sit at home and work this loom,
look straight through the boys and mutter little prayers.
i weave myself a piece of sanity
and hope you're safe out there.

and most days i just hold my breath,
await the next big bang,
cause every new storm that blows in
could bring you back and

i know the road is long.
i know the sea is wide and deep.
but i know you promised to come home,
and that's a promise you should keep.

and most days i just hold my breath,
await the next big bang,
cause every new storm that blows in
could bring you back again.
Track Name: Austin, I Made a Mess
i had a heart full of good intent
a sweet little house, paid a decent rent
but i shouted and shouted
and no one heard.

i tried to carve out my own little place
i followed the rules til i was blue in the face
but someone else
always had the last word.

and if a tree falls and no one hears
well it's like that with all of these years
no one knows what happened
so maybe nothing really happened...

and austin, i made a mess out of this
and i'm going home.
i only saw the dark of your sunny side,
it left me feeling alone.
and you won't even notice
cause a lot of people come and go.
you only hear what you want to hear.
you only know who you wanna know.

well i guess i tried to tame you,
but you know that you can't blame me for that
cause i know i'm not the first
to make that mistake.

and you never made me a promise
but you seemed so full of promises
was i fool to think
there's one in there for me?

and if a tree falls and no one hears
well it's like that with all of these years
no one knows what happened
so maybe nothing really happened...

and austin, i made a mess out of this
and i'm going home.
i only saw the dark of your sunny side,
it left me feeling alone.
and you won't even notice
cause a lot of people come and go.
you only hear what you want to hear.
you only know who you wanna know.
Track Name: Drowning in Amsterdam
well it could rain for days
and then where would i be?
tethered to this chair,
barely capable of gravity.
tethered to the earth,
to the tram bell and the rain.
tethered to a ghost
that i may never see again

and it could rain for days
and then where would i be?
drowning here in amsterdam,
on my way out to the sea.

so i'm tethered to this moment,
like i am to all those past,
to all those sworn forever
that managed not to last.
i'm tethered to this frame i wear
that keeps me just upright,
tethered to these dreams of you
that keep me up at night.

and it could rain for days
and then where would i be?
drowning here in amsterdam,
on my way out to the sea.

well they're stacking up the chairs outside before they float away.
all of man's handiwork won't keep the sea at bay.
they pumped the country dry here to claim a piece of land
but we've melted down the icebergs - water's comin' back again...

and it could rain forever
and the streets would never dry
i'd struggle on against the flood,
unable to cry
cause the sea's closed off,
and i cannot drift away.
i'm tethered here in amsterdam
with what i didn't say.

and it could rain for days
and then where would i be?
drowning here in amsterdam,
on my way out to the sea.

and it could rain for days
and then where would i be?
floating down the amstel,
on my way out to the sea.
Track Name: Medals
well it's always been such a contest with you.
the score is never final 'til you say we're through.
and i built you a pair of wings, and onward you flew,
and now every so often i get a small bit of news.

but i'm tired of chasing medals.
i'll never run as fast as you backpedal.

and a few years after the games have passed,
you sit there watching your gold,
and i'm not so sure the silver and bronze
aren't just for the audience at home
and i resign myself to the distance
the million laps it would take to reach where you sit
the salt in my eyes and my weak jello heart
and i wonder if it's even worth it.

well there are some dreams that you'll never capture
they loom over your head and they block out the sun
and you stare at them, enraptured.

and that's how you fell out of love with me
and in love with higher stature
and your friends shook their heads and said
boy, you'd better hurry and catch her

cause she's tired of chasing medals.
she'll never run as fast as you backpedal.

and a few years after the games have passed,
you sit there watching your gold,
and i'm not so sure the silver and bronze
aren't just for the audience at home
and i resign myself to the distance
the million laps it would take to reach where you sit
the salt in my eyes and my weak jello heart
and i wonder if it's even worth it.

and i'm tired of chasing medals.
i'll never run as fast as you backpedal.

and a few years after the games have passed,
you sit there watching your gold,
and i'm not so sure the silver and bronze
aren't just for the audience at home
and i resign myself to the distance
the million laps it would take to reach where you sit
the salt in my eyes and my weak jello heart
and i wonder if it's even worth it.
Track Name: Keep Your Chin Up
well there are no pills left to swallow
the bitterest part's gone down
no brick road left to follow
'cause the storm's blown through town
and i am sifting through old postcards
i filed inside my head
where islands glow like ruby shoes
and you meant every word you said

so kansas, keep your chin up -
the good witch is still around,
and i am packing up the postcards
and getting out of town.

you were trapped inside a camera
convex and upside down
i could not save us from it
the sky was burned and browned
it was curling at the edges
as the fire destroyed it all
and all that kept us on the ledge, dear,
was the memory of the fall

so adam, keep your chin up -
i am taking all the blame,
and i will bury all the apple cores
and leave you your good name.

and there are no wicked witches here,
just fairy tales unlearned.
princes off their horses,
happy endings spurned
in favor of some sad post-modern finish
to our tale
postcards trapped in bottles
and ships that don't set sail

so sweetheart, keep your chin up -
i admit it's all my fault.
the postcards all are water-logged,
and the ship has filled with salt.
and every postcard held a little lie
that was meant to glue this shut,
but i forgot to fix myself, dear,
and it was me who fell apart.
Track Name: The Grammar of a Sinking Ship
well it's so unfair for you
and it's so unfair of me
to be swaying back and forth
i'm a lot more saw than see
and i am more gone than going
i'm more past than i am present
i left or i am leaving
the tense makes little difference

cause it's the meaning of the word
that really matters more
it's the action of the verb
i was tearing then i tore
your heart right out of place
and sent it out to sea
no captain or a first mate
to guide back to me

but i pulled up the drawbridge
i hoped the ships would pass
but metal scraped on metal
i knew this song would be our last
i tried to call and save you
when i realized what i'd done
but only the gods could have saved you
and then my dear, you were gone....

and the clearance was too low
i'd waited too long
and everything went under
and all the siren songs
couldn't tempt you into jumping
you were already overboard
choking on our memories
while i refused to cut the cord

but i pulled up the drawbridge
i hoped the ships would pass
but metal scraped on metal
i knew this song would be our last
i tried to call and save you
i realized what i'd done
but only the gods could have saved you
and then my dear, you were gone....
you were gone.
you were gone.
you were gone.
Track Name: First Lesson
this is my first lesson in dying
how we are no longer even friends
and now you're just one of the many
that i may never see again

but you may as well have been in the towers that came crashing down
folded in upon themselves and went way down underground

but maybe you were in the harbor when the planes flew overhead
in the market square where the holy man decided you were dead
they never found you in the square or at the bottom of the sea
they never found you in manhattan
so there's some place you might be

and this is the next lesson in dying
sometimes the dead just don't stay dead
you came along when my brain was concrete, freshly poured,
now i have the imprint of every word you said

but now you're one of many casualties, and there's no list of names.
you vanished somewhere in the crowd, and it all went up in flames.

or maybe you were in the harbor when the planes flew overhead
in the market square where the holy man decided you were dead
they never found you in the square or at the bottom of the sea
they never found you in manhattan
so there's some place you might be

and you're dead to me and i'm dead to you
at your request
i wonder if this is what they mean
when they say it's for the best

cause we were all inside the towers when they came crashing down
in the market square where the holy man blew up the whole damn town
but you were nowhere near the square or at the bottom of the sea
you were nowhere near manhattan
so there's some place you might, you might be...
where could you be??
Track Name: Coming to Meet Me
it's not the wings of pegasus
that carry me tonight
across a deep, dark sea.

so i cannot sit back
i cannot relax
enjoy the flight and get some sleep.

but over the freeway,
i see a pair of lights i think recognize.
could that be you, coming to meet me?

and it's true i've been away,
but now i'm coming home to stay.
is that too much to ask that that's you
coming to meet me?

and the plane touches down
i see relief in the faces all around me.

and i know that i said the wrong thing
i know i left it hanging by a string
but i'm hoping it's still there, hanging on.

chorus

he's at the service of the poets,
at the service of the oil men.
he's still king of the magnolia,
even though you can't see him.

and the buildings now are much too tall
cause modern times have changed it all
but i still remember when i was a kid.

and i remember thinking
that a prince would come and save me
swoop down on pegasus
to where i hid.

chorus
Track Name: Saint Anthony
well st. anthony, i'm slipping
i've gotta learn to walk with a rope tied round my waist
if i insist on digging up every past mistake

and resurrection's a scary thing when it sneaks up on you
maybe the tomb should stay closed
'cause ghosts aren't for talking to but

st. anthony
there seems to be something i've lost
and it's staring me square in the face.
and st. anthony
can you take a moment's pause
and sift through what can still be saved?

well i thought i saw a rooftop, covered in snow
but it was only made of steel reflecting light in the sun
and i could use nerves of steel now 'cause i'm coming undone

and sometimes there's bridges to burn
but what if you burn the wrong one?
well you'd better be a good swimmer in the long run and

st. anthony
there seems to be something i've lost
and it's staring me square in the face.
and st. anthony
can you take a moment's pause
and sift through what can still be saved?
Track Name: Just Down
well how many times do i have to tell you?
do as i say, not as i do.
but i know that you don't hear me.
you're so far gone, it's like never knew me.

well i'm still sending up my prayers,
but are they listening up there?

and how small were we down below?
did you think you'd pull that trick and that we'd never know?
and did you think that you were brave
as you flew away with those wings I made?

and i'm still sending prayers to you,
but the smog's too thick and they can't break through...

and now your wings are melting fast.
you're covered in sticky wax.
you're so far gone that you can't turn back,
and from here... i guess it's just down.

and what was it like as you fell?
did you think you'd bust right straight through
and go on straight to hell?
or was there a moment
when you thought you were
saved?
Track Name: A Million Little Rocks
i let go of your hand
when the nails filled the air.
the sky splintered apart
and the pieces pierced our hearts.
it would've been better to end there
'cause at least i could say
that i died loving you
doing nothing wrong
no one yet betrayed.

and dear god, i am small here on the edge.
please pick me up and float me across the sea.
put me in a little boat and i swear i'll try to row.

and i swear, i won't give up this time.
and i swear, i won't give up this time.

there are a million little rocks to throw
or place inside my pockets.
i could start another war,
or sink down under without a second thought.
lift my skirt above my ankles,
and just start to wade on in,
but as the water rises your face
it floats up again.

and dear god, i am small here on the road.
it bends and it folds, and finishes at the sea,
so put me in a little boat and i swear i'll try to row.

and i swear, i won't give up this time.
and i swear, i won't give up this time.
Track Name: Okay from Now On
while you were sleeping late
the neighbors will debate
who was in your driveway this morning
but here comes the sunrise
and i know how to take a cue
i know when i've had my warning

but i back out in neutral
i do not make a sound
i've got my cloak of invisibility
wrapped tightly around
and i tell myself that

everything will be okay from now on
if i just close my eyes and believe it
the unraveling of love is sometimes hard
but there is only so long you can grieve it.

and it's not worth admission
to get into this town
and by admission i mean confession
and there's no getting around

that i'm still pulling up the sidewalk
to find the lost storyline
to find the clues to lead me back
to what i left behind

but the breadcrumbs are all paved over
and the forest has been cut down
so i've got my cloak of invisibility
wrapped tightly around
and i tell myself that

everything will be okay from now on
if i just close my eyes and believe it
the unraveling of love is sometimes hard
but there is only so long you can grieve it.

mothers walk their daughters to school
little pig-tailed girls in winter coats
somehow that's the kind of thing
that i still miss the most
but i tell myself that

everything will be okay from now on
if i just close my eyes and believe it
the unraveling of love is sometimes hard
but there is only so long you can grieve it.