'Walking Barefoot'
     Stacey McNeill & Jonathan Smith
                   Release date 29th October 2022

IMG_1307.BMP
Walking Barefoot cover art.jpg
IMG_1307.BMP

Listen/download 'Walking Barefoot' here

About 'Walking Barefoot'

‘Walking Barefoot’ is the fourth collection from Stacey McNeill and Jonathan Smith. It continues their shared journey into emotionally literate songwriting, which began just two years ago with the release of the critically acclaimed ‘Leaving Autumn Town’ mini album. They then followed this with two more collections of melodic and heartfelt music in 2021, ‘Parallel Lines’ and ‘New Songs, Old Guitars’. With extensive radio play on stations round the world, including multiple BBC shows, and a main stage appearance at the Warwick Folk Festival this year, McNeill and Smith have found a growing audience for their music.

 

October 2022 sees the release of ‘Walking Barefoot’, a highly personal album which carries a shared thread of what binds us together in our humanity...love and loss, joy and grief, uncertainty and reassurance, regret, and the hopes for better futures.

 

Musically, the album carries the lightest of touches, built around acoustic guitar, piano and vocal harmonies, which invite you to let the songs seep into your unconscious at your own pace. 

 

There are subtle nuances in the arrangements - the call and response chorus of ‘Lies’, a nod to world music influences on ‘Pacific Waves’, the tumbling acoustic cascades of ‘Uncaged Bird’, the Civil Wars-like intensity of ‘The Bed We Made’. Two tracks (emotional piano ballad ‘Blood On My Hands’ and the mini-epic title track ‘Walking Barefoot’) have already reached the semi finals of the UK Songwriting Contest for 2022, with 5* commended ratings.  Each song on the album carries its own identity, though they also exist as parts of a greater whole. 

 

With both writers having had plentiful experience of mental health issues (Stacey helms a rapidly growing mental health and well-being online community and business through ‘Fox Under the Moon’, and Jonathan has many years experience working in mental health and palliative care in the NHS), these songs offer empathy and compassion to anyone who needs them. 

Click on image to open cover in a pop-up

Walking Barefoot cover art

Lyrics 

all songs written by Stacey McNeill & Jonathan Smith

Lies

 

It’s not your hand I want to hold
It’s not your heart that captivates my soul
It’s not your smile that holds mine
It’s not you that I have looked so hard to find

I’m not the one that dreams of you
I’m not mesmerised by everything you do
I don’t believe each word you say
I’m not hypnotised by every move you make

I’m not trying not to fall
I don’t even care at all
And that’s a fact (and you should know that…)

I don’t miss you (like I used to)
I don’t want you all the time
I don’t keep you (like a secret)
In my sweetest dreams at night

I don’t need you, I don’t love you
I don’t picture every memory of you and me
And see you every time I close my eyes
And maybe you’d believe me
If I weren’t telling you lies

It’s not the fire that burns inside
You’re not the moon above that moves this restless tide
It’s not my heart that’s yours to steal
It’s not your tenderness that I have longed to feel

I’m not trying not to fall
I don’t even care at all
And that’s a fact (and you should know that…)

I don’t miss you (like I used to)
I don’t want you all the time
I don’t keep you (like a secret)
In my sweetest dreams at night

I don’t need you, I don’t love you
I don’t picture every memory of you and me
And see you every time I close my eyes
And maybe you’d believe me
If I weren’t telling you lies

 

Pacific Waves

We’re waves in motion
Flowing through these lives of ours
We’ll survive the deepest ocean
But drown in a sea of stars

We’re words unspoken
Melodies carried on the breeze
Promises and hearts wide open
And dreams too big to believe

Will you be my anchor 
If I say I’ll be your lighthouse in the darkest night?
We’ll dance on golden shores
While the moon showers the sea with silver light

We’re rivers flowing
Leaves that fall to feed the ground
Embers that once burned still glowing
And clouds where silver linings are found

We’re a still horizon
Where every setting sun will burn
Below the skies the moon will rise in
And above tides forever on the turn

Will you be my anchor 
If I say I’ll be your lighthouse in the darkest night?
We’ll dance on golden shores
While the moon showers the sea with silver light

Blood On My Hands

You were the best thing I ever had 
But you didn’t know it, you didn’t know it
You were the only one I ever really loved
But I didn’t show it, I didn’t show it

Chorus
Here I go again, blaming everybody else
When the truth is deep down I just can’t forgive myself
I know what I’ve done, now our love is dying
I’ve got blood on my hands and I can’t hide it

I was the only one that you could ever trust 
But I didn’t see it, I didn’t see it
And now I’m sorry but it’s not enough
And you don’t believe it, you don’t believe it

Chorus

Now I find myself lost and I don’t know what to do
Nothing I could say would change you feel, 
I kick myself so hard for losing you

Chorus

 

 


The Bed We Made

I’ve heard the weatherman say there’s a storm brewing 
He’s not wrong
I’ve seen those clouds in your eyes getting darker
For so long

Looks like it’s going on for heavy rain
Right now it’s sunny with a chance of a hurricane

You made the rules and I played, 
You made me renegade
Now we lie in the bed we made

Oooo....

We knew that playing with matches and gasoline 
Could go wrong
But still we’re drawn like a moth to the flame within
So strong

Oh we never meant for it to go this far
We tried not to let it hold
But here we are

You wrote the rules for play
You let me win again
Now here we are 
We have to lie in the bed we made

Ooo

I heard the weather man say...

Hold On

Every year at this time, the world takes to sliding
People like you and like me find new ways of hiding

Maybe you’ll unfold yourself like a fan
Open your wings like a butterfly can

I feel the water is thin
How can it hold me? (Lean back and I'll be there for you)
I feel the weight pressing in
It wants to enfold me (you’ll float if you trust to let go)

This is too much for me even to try
I’ll be here tomorrow, still right by your side

Hold on, hold on

This is not the first time today
I’ve noticed my breathing
Counting every smallest intake
Inside I’m screaming

I’ll push away all the latest debris
I can’t be sure that the mess isn’t me

Hold on
Just hold on



Almost Mine

Where the stillness of the lake is like a mirror
As the sun sets on her shore each afternoon
Where the river weaves a ribbon of pure silver
And the wild flowers dance beneath the moon

You took my hand and there we walked together
And I fell for you like a raindrop from the sky
In the place where the mountains reach the heavens
And you were almost mine


Where the silence in the vale sings like a choir
And the evergreens stand tall against the breeze
Where the rushes bow their heads toward the mire
And the wind whispers secrets to the reeds

Where we lay down on the ground among the heather
And I fell for you like a needle from the pines
In the place where the mountains reach the heavens
And you were almost mine


Where the skylark sings a song about the summer
'cause in winter all it seems to do is rain
The years roll on and into one another
And I wish that I could see your face again

'cause I remember when a day felt like forever
And I fell for you like a falling star that night
In the place where the mountains reach the heavens
And you were almost mine

Running Out

There on the side, are two glasses of whiskey
One's empty
Here on the couch, I sit waiting for you to call me
And hold me

Can’t you see you’re that something on my mind
At the bottom of every bottle you’re all I’ll find
They say that time's a healer, there’s no doubt
I’m starting to see we’re running out

There on the walls, little pieces of your memory
Haunt me
Here in our bed, I will sleep if I remember how to
Without you

Chorus

Here in my head you will never be away from me
Stay with me

 



Uncaged Bird


Little thing
You keep your mind untold
Your thoughts a rosebud yet to unfold

You still sing
Though others shout above
The small insistent notes of love

A pocket of night stars
No fear of cutting free
I swallowed down your spark
Now there’s a fire inside of me

Cast adrift
Yet tethered to the dream
You hollowed out a log to float downstream

Looking up
The cracked and broken sky
A cloud-filled pattern hits your eye

A pocket of night stars
No fear of cutting free
I swallowed down your spark
Now there’s a fire inside of me

Little thing
You keep your dreams untold
Your thoughts a rosebud yet to unfold

You still sing
Though others shout above
The small insistent notes of your love

Something

Yesterday I heard that song
I sang along with the radio
It took me back to you and that old guitar, 
The summertime we felt so long ago

Something's have changed now, but I still say the same
And I’d go in a heartbeat back to that day


Remember how easily conversation flowed like wine from the bottle on the table that night 
And our eyes said more than our words did
And even now when it’s all just a dreamlike memory, ships that passed in the night
Yeah I’m sure as hell there’d be something

You're married now, there’s a ring on your finger
Just like the one he gave to me
And time passed, and things changed, it don’t fade
The memory of how it could have been

Chorus

And if we passed on the street today, would you realise?
Turn around and give a second glance
And would you fly back in time to that night
Given half a chance

Something's changed now, but I still stay the same
and I’d go in a heartbeat....

Chorus




Walking Barefoot


When every word you shape
Shrinks to nothing at all
When every step you take, 
Runs the risk of a fall

When you’re hiding in the shade from the fear of doing wrong
Closing up your mouth so others cannot hear your song
With the walls around you blocking out the sky
You can’t see how to try


And you’re not broken, you’re just trying to feel complete
And you’re getting there, though sometimes it’s exhausting to believe
And when you can’t even see the wood for the trees
Just keep walking through the forest
In your bare feet


When the blindfold is removed
The light can hurt your eyes
When you’re trying to be the you
That others recognise

When you’re running from a thing that you can’t even describe
When the people all around mistake your flight for stupid pride
When your power to speak becomes a noiseless cry
You can’t see how to try


And you’re not broken, you’re just trying to feel complete
And you’re getting there, though sometimes it’s exhausting to believe
And when you can’t even see the wood for the trees
Just keep walking through the forest
In your bare feet


 And you're more than you believe you are

If only you could see 

And you’re not broken, you’re just trying to feel complete

And you’re getting there, though sometimes it’s exhausting to believe

And when you can’t even see the wood for the trees

Just keep walking through the forestIn your bare feet


Cos you’re stronger than you think
More worthy than you feel

And your fragile heart

Is beautiful to me