The Pugilist - Full Album

by Damned Rivers

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about

The debut album from Nashville folk-rock band Damned Rivers is “The Pugilist,” a triumphant story of transformation and recovery. The record tells the tale of a boxer at the end of his career, staring down the possibility that his life is changing forever.

This story was born from Ian Mauldin, principal songwriter for Damned Rivers, while living through the hardest year of his life. Looking for meaning and drive in this new chapter, Ian wrote a story about a boxer, fighting for his life.

This is an album that bends without breaking. Wielding unshakable optimism against the challenges of life, the album takes you on a journey that leaves you brimming with the confidence needed to go down swinging. The Pugilist himself gets KO'd in what would be the hero's triumphant moment in any other story. But, in the end, sometimes loss is the necessary catalyst for change. In this story, the hero is eternal, built to last and, in some form or another, his name is carved in stone.

credits

released July 12, 2019

Damned Rivers is:
Ian Mauldin
Mark Summarell
Kyle Hassenfratz
Ricky DeMeo
Annie Johnson

Recorded and mixed by Mark Summarell
Mastered by Joe Hutchinson
Album Art by Brianna Goral

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about

Damned Rivers Nashville, Tennessee

Damned Rivers is a band out of Nashville, TN who make their own blend of americana and folk, writing heartfelt lyrics against a backdrop of punk rock energy. They utilize strong dynamics and earthy tones to write songs that are gripping and memorable.

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Track Name: Pulling Punches
I have no retort
against the notion that there's
fear in my heart that your love is a bloodsport

and I can't begin
to imagine what state of mind
you're really in

so let it out
don't you start pulling your punches now
we're toe to toe
we are performing for an eager crowd
who wants to know who's gonna win
so we have got to duke it out

I won't stop now
even if I'm up against the ropes
I'm gonna make it out somehow

I just wanna grow
so why won't you step aside
maybe we both can make it home

but you're gonna let it out
why would you stop pulling your punches now
we're toe to toe
we are performing for an eager crowd
who wants to know who's gonna win
so we have got to duke it out

if you feel the sky is falling
you'd better rise to take it's place
you've gotta youthful optimism
why would you let it slip away
and if you think it's indecision
with which I occupy my time
you've never had to make a choice
with someone hanging on the line
had to say "I'll be fine"
Track Name: Prizefighter
don't let 'em get you down
though lord know that they'll try
that's the earliest flaw of man, we've been
fighting each other since the dawn of time

so stay up on your feet
give 'em the old one-two
but if you turn and face at me
well I'll tell you right now that I don't like to lose

if you think my eyes are looking kind
it's cause I'm searching for your weakness
cause I may be going down
but now without a fight
I'm a pugilist right now
I have been for so long
and I might well still be
by the end of this song

I won't be throwing in the towel
till it's covered in my sweat
if you place your money on me
no promise I'll win, but it's a pretty safe bet

cause I've never thrown a fight
no I'd never waste the day
yeah who's got time for that
what with all the consequences we pay

if you think my eyes are looking kind
it's cause I'm searching for your weakness
cause I may be going down
but now without a fight
I'm a pugilist right now
I have been for so long
and I might well still be
by the end of this song
a prizefighter, oh yeah

if you should happen to lose
be sure to thank the ones that did this to you
that's the hardest part of life
painting silver on the deepest of hues

if you think my eyes are looking kind
it's cause I'm searching for your weakness
cause I may be going down
but now without a fight
I'm a pugilist right now
I have been for so long
and I might well still be
by the end of this song
a prizefighter, oh yeah
Track Name: Bookend
I know I was just a bookend to you
put there to hold your stories up while you found something new
but you gave me your consolation prize
a little something for your efforts and a shot right at my pride

don't know what I was thinking
giving everything that I have
looking for a new end to the
same old story

I want it back
every single thing I said to make you laugh
I want it in tact
there's just some victories I really need to have

I've been keeping my hands in my pockets for a little while
trying to keep my chin up without sticking my nose into the air
but they want me to take this bribe
caught cold like I'm faded or I never tried
but if I'm going down
they'll have to go to the cards, yeah he lost
but the man can fight fair

don't know what I was thinking
giving less than all that I have
looking for a new end to the same old story

I want it bad
the kind of happiness the cynics scoff at
don't want it to lack
any properties I think it should have

down in the foothills of Georgia
I spent a lot of time looking up toward
higher peaks; greener leaves
I think I'm ready to scale the bluffs
and I'm taking you with me
but you should speak if you've had enough

don't know what I was thinking
giving less than all that I have
looking for a new end to the same old story

I want it back
the kind of happiness I had in photographs
I want it to last
not the kind that you blink and then it's passed
Track Name: Sweating Out the Sickness
I've been feeling kinda ill
I read the postcards on my windowsill
and you know it brings me back
to secret message pressed in candle wax
it was a hot damn shame
I got a little too close to the flame
and it melted away

now if I'm rolling on wheels
let me be going downhill
let me be half empty so I
do not spill
I'll take the long way home
to buy me some time
if I'm in hot water
that would be fine
I'm sweating out the sickness
uh huh, oh yeah

I could have been your punching bag
hanging round but never striking back
but you were always in the ring
looking for something a bit more challenging
and I was too easy
offering up what you wanted to take from me
so please, please, please

if I'm rolling on wheels
let me be going downhill
let me be half empty so I
do not spill
I'll take the long way home
to buy me some time
if I'm in hot water
that would be fine
I'm sweating out the sickness
uh huh, oh yeah

I've never been much good
at caring for myself
never seen a doctor when I'm in poor health
and you may think that I don't care
when I feel like hell and I'm just lying there
truth is I just don't know what to do
except lay around, pretend I don't think of you
oh but I do and the medicine makes me blue

now if I'm rolling on wheels
let me be going downhill
let me be half empty so I
do not spill
I'll take the long way home
to buy me some time
if I'm in hot water
that would be fine
I'm sweating out the sickness
uh huh, all my life

cause I bit the poison apple
now I'm paying the eternal price

I'm sweating out the sickness
uh huh, woah oh yeah.
Track Name: Feels Like Hell
I got your blood on my shirt
hope it didn't hurt
you were wounded so I carried you
until you could desert me
I'm fed up
k, maybe that's a lie
my heart has already decided
I'll love you till the day I die
well that was not my choice

sometimes you gotta burn it down
just to build it back up
it was not enough
just to treat you kind
and I feel like hell
or a hole in a wall
in a cheap motel
I'll let you break me down
just to build me into something you like
that's right

I was your crystal ball
you could read it all
you were more a clouded vision
I never thought you'd fall for me
we'd cut up
laugh until we cry
then we'd go our separate ways
we never said goodbye
that was also not my choice, it was yours

sometimes you gotta burn it down
just to build it back up
it was not enough
just to treat you kind
and I feel like hell
or a hole in a wall
in a cheap motel
I'll let you break me down
just to build me into something you like
that's right
I'll let you break me down
just to build me into something

can't say I'm shocked
can't say that I didn't see it coming
can't say you're the lucky one to lose my loving
well but why won't you let me love you
is there something I could do
oh darling let me through

sometimes you gotta burn it down
just to build it back up
it was not enough
just to treat you kind
and I feel like hell
or a hole in a wall
in a cheap motel
I'll let you break me down
just to build me into something
Track Name: No Words
He's strung out like a Tennessee river
with whiskey in his blood and arrows in his quiver
we weren't sure exactly what to do cause were
sitting on the sidewalk staring at the moon

and we all
we all just stay the same
we don't change

he said
please fix my boots so I won't finish last
make sure that man of yours stays way back in the past
if love's forever how come it never seems to last
so drink it down and drink it fast

I stopped once to ask if he's ok
with his fists up in the air he drove me away
cause his girl would nibble at his pride
till he was't smiling and neither was I

and we all
we all just stay the same
we don't change

he said
she rigged my boots so that I would finish last
I guess I'm drifting now so far back in her past
she told me love's forever but that it
never seems to last
so drink it down and drink it fast

there's no words I know it seems absurd
but I'm chasing after her like a dog after the birds
it's futile, I'll do it for a while
till I fall down to my knees and I can't help but smile

cause we all
just stay the same
yeah we all
just stay the same
we don't change

I fix my boots so I won't finish last
do what you need to cause I'm coming back
love's forever if we'd only let it last
so take your time
Track Name: Cobblestones
I can't put you up again
on a pedestal
like when we first began

and I could only see the good in you
I know you knew it too
that's how you snuck on through

over time you know it happens slow like when we
walk on the sidewalk; break the cobblestones
I won't wait for you the time it takes you to make
up your mind I'm moving on

I didn't know it was afternoon till the sun went down
time wears a heavy crown
I take no solace in the moon

if fate told you where to go and what it would bring
would you change a thing
or just let go and follow suit

into the stream you know the ebb and flow like when you
knock me down you knock a domino
I won't wait for you the time it takes you to make
up your mind I'm moving on

because it's not enough
to keep me in your back pocket

I'm first string
but you have not been choosing me
and it hurts me
that you keep back-burning me

so keep the heat down low
let it simmer slow
keep the heat down low this time
but it's not gonna keep me warm

because it's not enough

over time you know it happens slow like when we
walk on the sidewalk; break the cobblestones
I won't wait for you the time it takes you to make
up your mind I'm moving on
Track Name: Throwing Down the Gloves
if I've outlived my glory days
give me one good reason I should stay
no I think it's time I made a change
and moved just a few states out
just because I'm moving on
that don't mean I'm giving up
no I've made up my mind
I'm throwing down the gloves
there's other ways to keep up the fight

so I ran the devil through with his own pitchfork
I said you got two or three good points but I can't be the advocate for you
there are times in our lives where we must hold fast to the truth
no matter how much they're compelling

even though it's a southern town
I'm locking my front door when I go out
leave a challenge for the kids who're sneaking round
if you want in kid you gotta commit
I'll shake your hand when you say your name
but that don't mean I'll commit it to my brain
if there's one thing that I got to explain
I met you that don't make us friends

so I ran the devil through with his own pitchfork
I said you got two or three good points but I can't be the advocate for you
there are times in our lives where we must hold fast to the truth
no matter how much they're compelling and

ain't nobody ever gonna leave this town
it's become some kinda shelter for the wicked
leave your burdens outside the city limits
just make sure your fences are picket
so we can see through
if we need to
and I think we'll need to
yeah we'll keep our eye on you

so I ran the devil through with his own pitchfork
I said you got two or three good points but I can't be the advocate for you
there are times in our lives where we must hold fast to the truth
no matter how much they're compelling and

ain't nobody ever gonna leave this town
it's become some kinda shelter for the wicked
leave your burdens outside the city limits
just make sure your fences are picket
so we can see through
Track Name: When the Wind Messes Up Your Hair
when the sun peeks above the treetops
the runaways decide to head home
and the demons that they have not been facing
are still waiting there, stronger than before
with the chardonnay caked up in her mustache
her breath was thin the air
there was a fire in her stare
it's alright honey, go wait in your room
I'll take the fall this time

and though time has scattered us
as time tends to do
I hope you think of me
when the wind messes up your hair
and that train pulls on through

where the sunflowers grow above your head
you know that you are in the right part of town
and the rope swing that hangs down by the riverbed
will take you up, but soon you'll come down
and if you don't let go you will not reach the water
you'll come back to the shore
but at least you didn't drown
I blamed you then, I cannot blame you now
you can't always take the fall

there came a time when I just had to go
I hope you don't resent me for it
and I hope you can forgive me
when the wind messes up your hair
and by chance you don't ignore it

a young man works on a construction site
he thinks he can lift any weight
he can work away the days and even the afternoons
but at night he has to eat what's on his plate

we used to fight cause we were brothers
and I think it hurt when I said goodbye
but I hope that he forgives me
when the wind messes up his hair
and that train pulls on by
Track Name: Built to Last
he was hanging on by the spurs of his boots
lord, he tried to climb but he fell down every chute
his failure sometimes seemed absolute
but he kept on truckin

he keeps on like it was his only task
if you're in is way he will strike you hard and fast
he's got no other choice, if he stops he'll get passed
yeah honey he was built to last

nothing gets graded on a curve
his aim is as true as his word
though as loud as he gets he is rarely ever heard
he keeps on singing

he'll take a swig if he's handed a flask
his language sometimes gets too crass
it's cause he's faced the fights and he's faced the facts
yeah honey he was built to last

these things we think about
never really seem to bother me
I was really kinda hoping
you would agree cause
I might seem crazy
thinking the past was in the past
you know honey I'm built to last, yeah

he'll bend but you'll never see him snap
he leaves the past back in the past
and if you can't find the words for his epitaph
it's cause honey he was built to last
Track Name: Letter From a Fan
there's a thousand different ways to tell you how I'm feeling
and I'm telling you none of them would feel genuine
so for the hundredth time this year I guess I'll just stay silent
till I can figure out some way to speak my mind
I know that in some ways you feel like you fell short
I'm writing you to tell you that's not true
this is a letter from a fan who knows your perseverance
maybe a little better than you do
I remember when they used to say
that he'd get so close to death he'd hear his angels speak
and then he'd tip his hat and thank them for reminding him he's weak
he got so used to living life inside a cloud
that when he'd call to them for guidance he wasn't very loud

there was a time when you stood tall and next to no one
back in those days don't think I ever saw you lose
now even though today you are a different kind of champion
I still remember every single move
now don't listen to the people who just try to doubt you
no in those situations don't listen to the doubts of your own
just close your eyes and keep on fighting like you've always kept on fighting
you're still the king even without your throne
I still remember when we used to say
that you'd get so close to death you'd hear your angels speak
and then you'd tip your hat and thank them for reminding you you're weak
but you got so used to living life inside a cloud
that when you'd call to them for guidance you weren't very loud
but still they'd answer
still they'd answer

this is a letter from a fan
you saved my life that's no exaggeration
it happens once in a generation
nothing's as trivial as it seems

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