Hard to Please

by The Black Lillies

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about

Marketed and Distributed by Thirty Tigers/RED
℗ 2015 Black Lilly Music / Attack Monkey Productions (BMI)

theblacklillies.com

Gearing up to write this record, one reoccurring theme kept smacking me in the face. It came from every direction and in many ways, but always the same: write from your heart. Create from a personal space. Heart. Heart. Heart. It was the only way to do it.

So when I got home from tour and it was time to get to work, it was fitting that I found my focus in the simplest and most direct of ways. I was going to be home for two weeks (an eternity for me), but completely absorbed in the writing process – unable to spend time with my son Cash. I told him, “While I’m home, I won't see you as much as I’d like to. I’ve got to buckle down and write this record, and you know…there’s a real chance I could fail.” He turned to me, took a pause and breath, and with a pointed finger said, “Daddy! Go write a record, and then let’s go buy a farm!”

It’s all I needed to hear, just knowing that someone completely believed in me. If I ever started to lose my focus, his words would return. And he was with me the day I wrote the song Hard to Please. After giving me some brutal advice that only a ten-year-old could … he informed me that he himself was not so hard to please!

I’m not sure that’s true, nor should it be. If there is something that embodies the spirit of the Black Lillies team, it’s never settling for less than your best. Every stage, every song, and every mile. Expect it of yourself and all those around you, and never, ever apologize for being Hard to Please.

Hard To Please is the most driven, focused, and refined project I’ve ever been part of. Beginning with the songs and the energy and life that inspired them; the arrangement process in a basement in our hometown of Knoxville … to two snowy weeks on lockdown with Bowman and Trisha and saving grace Sam Quinn, (who joined us for pre-production rehearsals), digging into the nature of each song … to our manager Chyna’s tireless efforts and relentless encouragement, and our amazing fans’ continued belief and support. Everybody stepped up and delivered, personally and collectively.

The recording process was nothing less than mind blowing, or “righteous!” as was exclaimed in the studio often. It’s safe to say that the “A team” brought their “A game” to this project. Producer Ryan Hewitt pushed us all to be and express our best creative selves, and captured The Black Lillies in our most fully realized recording to date. Sincere gratitude to assistant engineer Chad Cuttilll for his superhuman endurance and good vibes, and huge props and appreciation to Bill Reynolds, Matt Smith, and Daniel Donato for tracking these songs out live and playing your arses off!

As always in making a record there is really no real beginning or ending to all the thank you’s and credits due. So many people contributed their time, efforts, and talents to this project. So I’ll keep it short and sweet. First and foremost, I must thank our incredible fans. And secondly, thank you to the core team that truly made this project possible. Job well done to Chyna Brackeen, Ryan Hewitt, Chad Cuttill, Trisha Gene Brady, Bowman Townsend, and Sam Quinn. This would not be what it is without each one of you!

Peace and gratitude.
Cruz Contreras




Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Hewitt
Assisted by Chad Cuttill and Owen Lewis
Additional Engineering and cocktails by Chad Cuttill
Recorded and Mixed at House of Blues Studios, Nashville, TN
Studio Intern: Tyler Spratt

Executive Producer: Chyna Brackeen

Mastered by Dave Collins
Dave Collins Mastering, Los Angeles, TN

Illustration by Scott Guion
Additional tattoo images by Chelsea Linnaberry
Album layout and design by Courtney Hendricks, Best Behavior Creative Club

Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras
“Hard to Please” music by Cruz Contreras and Bowman Townsend; lyrics by Cruz Contreras



Sending love and thanks to each and every one of our incredible friends, family members and fans, with special recognition for Bill “The Appalachian Hippie Poet” Alexander; Eric Bowen; Becky and Steve Hancock; Stuart Martin; Candace and Lynn Fowler; Ken at Sportsmen’s Tavern; Tony Novello; Mae Stroda, Bruce and Sharon Court of the Canadian Court House; Dennis and Tammy Double; Markus, Dora, Sarah, & Kate Garza; Ron and Karin Rouse; Chris Canfield, Marcia Asquith and Mike Hammer; Krista & Winston Thompson; Jen and Randy Reeves; Rob, Ashleigh, and Rowan Bergstrom; Laura A Longoria; Frank U. Soto; Elizabeth Hussey; Orla Kinsella; Rusty Gordon; Iggy and Jasmine Hutchison; Jen and Steffen Heins; Lee and JoJo Brown; our Atlanta family the Martinezes; Brett Dougherty and family; Nancy Ward; Art & Mary Shearon; the Monroe family; Kathleen DiRosato; Mike and Susan Clark; the fabulous Reenie “Pop-A-Wheelie” Mooney; Mauro Mengaziol; Richard Fauteux; Bill Kappa; Zoe Marie Moreira; Christopher Cook; Len Pavelka; Adam Goodwin; Cynthia Chace; Cameron and Hannah Cosgrove; Pam and Steve Hall; Cherie Piercy; Kyle Wright; Joni Harrison; Steven Horton; Bob and Lori Liberatore; Trina Nicholson; Reid Simpson; Kimberly Brown; and Karen Dillon.

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released September 8, 2016

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Track Name: Hard to Please
Music by Cruz Contreras and Bowman Townsend
Lyrics by Cruz Contreras

I've been working my fingers to the bone
Everyday one more day done gone
Show me a sign so that I can see
That the sun's gonna shine one day on me
We got a long way to go and a short time to get there
Get your foot in the door, don't just sit there
I don't need ya but I want ya and I wish that you could see

Chorus
You’re hard to please, so hard to please
Ain't nothin ever good enough for you
You got me down on my knees
You gonna have your way no matter which way
Say whatever you're gonna say
... You’re hard to please

Well it's a big old world with lots of folks in it
Some take take, some gonna give it
At the end of the day it's all about the same
Ain't nobody else that you can blame
For your own damn troubles and the way ya go
Buck up now you got a long ways home
It's like I said when you end up dead
There's no farther to go

Chorus
You’re hard to please, so hard to please
Ain't nothin ever good enough for you
You got me down on my knees
You gonna have your way no matter which way
Say whatever you're gonna say
... You’re hard to please

Tell me once more so I can hear
All the things you know all the things you fear
Do what you want cause at the end of the day
You know just what I'll say...

You’re hard to please (4x)

Chorus

You’re hard to please, so hard to please
Ain't nothin ever good enough for you
You got me down on my knees
You gonna have your way no matter which way
Say whatever you're gonna say
... You’re hard to please

You’re hard to please...
Track Name: That's the Way It Goes Down
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

Good love gone, I never felt so low
So I set out on a trail of woe
Anybody got in my way
Take it or leave it nothing more to say

Mama sure wouldn’t be proud of me
I knew better though I could not see
All the angels said now he’s hell bent
Steady your wings and let’s make a bet

Here’s a guy that thinks he’s got it made
Drinkin’ rye whiskey in the midnight shade
Take one down pass it around
Company and misery meet downtown

That’s the way it goes down (2x)

Staring at the phone but it don’t make a sound
There’s a picture of a love left town
She’s probably with him getting me back
How could I blame her, it’s a two way track

Blame it on love blame it on fate
Blame it on the one that you’d love to hate
But you can’t so you won’t so you just forgive
There’s a better way to learn and live

That’s the way it goes down (3x)

If I had it all to do it over again
I wouldn’t change much but the shape I’m in
And I’d hold your hand and never let go
Stand up proud …

And if I had it all to do it over again
I wouldn’t change much but the shape I’m in
And I’d hold your hand and never let go
Stand up proud so everyone would know (2x)

That’s the way it goes down (x6)
Track Name: Mercy
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

Oh darling, oh darling
I am calling out your name
And I’ve got a feeling, mighty revealing
That your tender heart feels the same

But it ain’t easy, no it ain’t easy
For a grown man to confide
That I need your love
Mmm … flesh and blood
That’s why I’m calling, calling on you ….

And your mercy
Sweet mercy
Send it down the line,
Oh right on time

You know you do it for me
Yes you build me up
And you fill my cup
With your mercy

Oh darling, yes darling
I can hear you calling out my name
And it sounds so good, every time we meet
Like a rollin’ melody you’ve got a hold on me

Still it ain’t easy, no it ain’t easy
For a grown woman to confide
That I need your love
Mmm … flesh and blood
That’s why I’m calling, calling on you

Oh darlin’, only you can rescue me
I am calling, calling down on bended knee
Wondering, wondering when will we arrive
Believing and seeing from that love look in your eye

Oh mercy
Sweet mercy
Send it down the line
Oh right on time

You know you do it for me
Yes you build me up
And you fill my cup
With your mercy
Track Name: The First Time
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

And the first time that I saw your smile
I knew in a moment that I’d walk any mile
And I never, no, no, no, how could I have known
That your love would be waiting at the end of a never ending road

You give me such a hard, hard time
Never felt such cold inside
Tell me, where is my pride
You know it ain’t right
No, no, no it ain’t right

And the next time that I touched your skin
I knew that good love of ours, oh, it would never end
And I never, no, no, no how could I have known
That your love like a flower would be wilting, got me feelin oh so low

You give me such a hard, hard time
Never felt such cold inside
Tell me, where is my pride
You know it ain’t right
No, no, no, no it ain’t right

And the last time that I saw your eyes
They say there’s nothing to do nothing to say, don’t even try

Oh, but I should have known
Oh, no, no I should have known
Love like yours, slamming doors
Gonna leave a woman out in the cold

You give me such a hard, hard time
Never felt such cold inside
Tell me, where is my pride
You know it ain’t right
No, no, no, no it ain’t right

You know it ain’t right
No, no, no, no it ain’t right
Track Name: Bound to Roam
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

Darlin’ Sarah, you know I'm leaving
I'm 21 and bound to roam
I've got a pistol and a greenback dollar
Fare thee well, I'll ride alone

Willie my darlin’, don't leave me standing
You know I'll gladly be your bride
I've got a dagger and a silver dollar
Ride away and you're bound to die

Love it changes like the seasons
Steal your heart like an old freight train
Leaves a young heart cold and wanting
Comes and goes like a summer rain

Darlin’ Willie come down with me
To the river...one last time
I've got treasures for you only
Pleasures for you there to find

Oh dear Sarah, you know I love you
In your trust I do reside
I'll go with you down to the river
Take my hand, you'll be my guide

Love it changes like the seasons
Steal your heart like an old freight train
Leaves a young heart cold and wanting
Comes and goes like a summer rain

Darlin’ Willie, take my hand now
Let's go down to the water's edge
Wade on in...feel the water
Wrap around and take us in

Oh dear Sarah I'm so scared now
The water's rising and I can't swim
Hold my hand and I'll go with you
Sink on down to the promised land

Love it changes like the seasons
Steal your heart like an old freight train
Leaves a young heart cold and wanting
Comes and goes like a summer rain
Track Name: Dancin'
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

Well I'm thinking ‘bout my darlin'… it's been a long long while
Yeah, I’m thinking ‘bout my darling
Sure has been a long long while
Let's go dancin', let's go out in style

Hey there darlin’, go and find your dancin' shoes
Hey there daddy, go and grab your dancin’ shoes
We can go downtown and chase away these blues

Let's go dancin',… just like we used to do
We’ll go dancin’ … dancin’ me and you
Get that sunshine feeling, chase away these blues

Hey lordy mama, go and find your dancin' dress
Oh, lordy mama … have you seen your dancin’ dress?
Oh you know the one, the one that I love best

I’ll tell you the truth now, it ain't always been a ball
Tell you the truth now, life ain’t always been a ball
But right down the line, you've been my one and all

Let's go dancin' … just like we used to do
We'll go dancin'...dancin' me and you
Get that sunshine feeling, chase away these blues

We've been higher than the mountains
Lower than the valleys wide
Through the good and the bad times
We'll go side by side

Sing me a sweet song
Let it be what it will
Come early morning
We'll be dancin' still...

Oh we'll be dancin'...just like we used to do
Yea we'll be dancin'...dancin' me and you
Get that sunshine feeling, chase away these blues

Let's go dancin'...just like we used to do
We'll go dancin'...dancin' me and you
Get that sunshine feeling, chase away these blues

Find that sunshine feeling, chase away these blues
And we'll be dancin'...dancin' me and you
Track Name: Desire
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

Standing in the light out on the hill
The sun in your hair the whole world stood still
Silhouette on a blood red sky
I could see the fire burning in your eyes
Oh the fire burning in your eyes

I could've heard your heart beating from a mile away
Take it all in things words can't say
Sunset falling on a bright eyed dream
I guess everything's not what it seems
No everything's not what it seems

But desire, oh desire
You can look away but it still remains
You can't hide that burning flame of Desire

And the prettiest thing that I've ever seen
crashed in like a storm and gone like a dream
We took it all in and we drank our fill
Now I hold you in my heart and I always will
I hold you in my heart and I always will

Like desire, oh desire
You can walk away but it still won't change
You can't hide that burning flame of Desire

And the coldest thing that I've ever known
Is life without you in this world alone
There's a picture of you burned in my mind
And I'll carry it with me till the end of time
I'll carry it with me till the end of time

And this desire, Oh desire
You can look away but it still remains
You can't hide that burning flame
You can walk away but it still won't change
You can't hide that burning flame
You can turn away but it still remains
You can't hide that burning flame
Of desire
Track Name: 40 Days
Forty days and forty nights
Flying down the highway white line sideways leavin it all behind
We gonna rock n roll till the break a dawn
Set em up knock em down sing our song
Forty days and forty nights

Mmm beep beep back it up real slow
Pull up a chair cause momma Nestor knows
Ol Blind Joe gonna sing you a song
Kick you in the teeth send you along

Forty days and forty nights
Flying down the highway white line sideways leavin it all behind
We gonna rock n roll till the break a dawn
Set em up knock em down sing our song
Forty days and forty nights

Ol Green River’s got a smell to it
Five AM why can’t we just quit?
Police man said there’s a change of plans
We’re going downtown boys, show me your hands

Forty days and forty nights
Flying down the highway white line sideways leavin it all behind
We gonna rock n roll till the break a dawn
Set em up knock em down sing our song
Forty days and forty nights

Buy me a bouquet up in Boise town
Gotta see your baby when you come around
Swing her to the left, swing her to the right
Drinks on the house…you only get one night

Forty days and forty nights
Flying down the highway white line sideways leavin it all behind
We gonna rock n roll till the break a dawn
Set em up knock em down sing our song
Forty days and forty nights

Lookin for a win, tryin to find a way
Scarlett called up said that she can pay
High on a mountain up in the sky
From here on out…I think we’re gonna fly………

Down to The River of Sorrows where the spirits flow
Cold cold water gonna soothe your soul
Sing and dance, rock all night,
Hangin by a thread…in the spirit’s light

I seen the devil and my lord settin side by side
Up on the rock over the countrywide
Playin cards, shootin dice
It’s just like I thought now….I think I’m gonna cry
Track Name: Broken Shore
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

There's a rock in the middle of the ocean
Where the water meets the sky
Built from the fire way down below
I can hear her mournful cry

Waves crashing on a broken shore
There's darkness on the sun
Please lord don't leave me here
In the valley of the gun

Sail across the ocean
Span the waters wide
Seventy thousand gonna take that hill
Look death in the eye

There's fire on the ground and earth in the air
The whole world's come undone
The devil's loose on a beach of fire
In the land of the rising sun

Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
It’s so hard to tell
Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
It’s so hard to tell

Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
It’s so hard to tell
Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
It’s so hard to tell

Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
Which way is heaven and which way is hell?
It's so hard to tell

I see colors flying, brothers dying
The tides of war have sung
Gonna fight to the death till there ain't much left
In the land of the rising sun

I see colors flying, brothers dying
The tides of war have sung
Gonna fight to the death till there ain't much left
In the land of the rising sun

In the land of the rising sun
In the land of the rising sun
In the land of the rising sun

There's a rock in the middle of the ocean
Where the water meets the sky
Built from the fire way down below
I can hear her mournful cry
Track Name: Fade
Music and lyrics by Cruz Contreras

Is it time? Time for the moving on
Give me a sign, tell me you’re holding on
You say that you hear me but I don’t believe it’s true
I can see it in your eyes but our thoughts are misconstrued
I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it a thousand more
I’ve loved you from the first time and I love you even more

Please don’t fade, fade away
Please don’t fade, fade away

It’s crazy how we try to hold on to the days
When everything was promised and we’d always find a way
Hold on to each other and dwell within the light
Now all the sky is clouded and day has turned to night

Please don’t fade, fade away
Please don’t fade, fade away

We’ve got a good thing darling…and don’t you forget
There’s a brand new sunrise we’ve never seen yet
Just a little patience and the living is ours
Hold on to tomorrow and we’ll count our lucky stars

Please don’t fade, fade away
Please don’t fade, fade away