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Letitia’s father, who had served as an army photographer in Vietnam, came down with a form of cancer associated with the Agent Orange herbicide sprayed indiscriminately during that war. “It pissed me off that people in company offices were manufacturing and making the decision to use this chemical, and that their decisions are affecting my family these many years later.” The metaphor of the boat stuck on a sandbar and waiting for the rising tide, comes from her parents’ dreams of living on a sailboat in retirement—dreams that have been put on hold by this illness. Over the chunky folk-rock arrangement, introduced by a Neil Young-ish guitar into, Letitia’s fragile soprano warbled a fetching melody about a Wall Street that has “plans for our pockets, cigarettes for our lungs, poison for our babies and bullets for our guns.”

lyrics

This disease and its gnashing teeth
It brings me to my knees makes me bow before God
I'm not proud that that's what it took
To make me believe what's in every good book

All these chemicals that made you sick
Wanna find the man who made them and show this to him
The long lonesome hallways and the ruined plans
The look in your eyes and the trembling hands

I tried to be patient like my mother but I can't be
We ran aground now honey sit tight and hope we'll float out on the rising tide

You said the breeze it feels oh so sweet
But you must be getting old 'cause it's something old folks say
As a measure of time, well, what good is age
It takes so many years to learn to hold on the days

They can pour all this money down the hole in your side
All the money on Wall Street, these tears can't dry
they've got plans for our pockets, cigarettes for our lungs
Poison for our babies and bullets for our guns

I am a cog in this machine that ruins lives of people unseen
I can't stop it but Lord let me try
It's a sad sad feeling comes to visit at night

I tried to be patient like my mother but I can't be
We ran aground now honey sit tight and hope we'll float out on the rising tide

credits

from Parts & Labor, track released February 24, 2015
recorded & mixed by Chris Freeland at Beat Babies Studio

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Letitia VanSant Baltimore, Maryland

Letitia VanSant & the Bonafides are a Baltimore & Washington, DC -based quartet that straddle the boundary between acoustic string band music, roots rock, and the confessional folk of a singer-songwriter.

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