A precursor to a full-fledged documentary song, “I Lay My Eyes on You” relates Hannah Batley and Malcolm Brooks’s impressions of Barbara Brooks’s work balance with 2 year-old Ian in childcare.
 
Clio Berta selected this song to illustrate as part of the Documentary Art Project.
 
Hannah Batley – vocals
Nora Willauer – cello
Malcolm Brooks – guitar, bass, and mandolin
 
I fill my coffee cup
The work is piling up
How am I going to get through this?
I see your photograph and breathe easy
Another marathon and then
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Gabrielle Attra left a home, a cat, and a relationship. She considers whether to begin anew in the depths of winter.
 
Gabrielle Attra – story source
Lois Anne, Sandy Weisman, Grant Andreaus, Kathrin Seitz, Rich Anderson – co-writers
Will Foote, Malcolm Brooks – teaching artists
Workshop hosted by Kathrin Seitz and Rich Anderson.
 
I woke up
My immediate thought was
About the cats
It’s so cold
Not loving another
Would only hurt me
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As part of the Documentary Art Project, this song was selected by Anna French for creating a series of panels. The song was written before documentary songwriting became an established method. It expresses Hannah Batley and Malcolm Brooks’s approach to life.
 
Hannah Batley, Meredith Batley, Anna French, Danji Buck-Moore, Ian Brooks – vocals
Sophie Davis –violin
Nora Willauer – cello
Rushmore DeNooyer – bass, guitar, percussion
Malcolm Brooks – guitar
 
Produced by Rushmore DeNooyer
Mastered by Pat Keane
 
Come with me
Walk with me
I’m off to find peace
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Utah and Colorado: Hazel Delehey and friends are hiking for miles and Hazel has fallen ill. She and her friends call themselves the “Stoke Train” to keep them going.
 
I got a bad cold
Terrible heat for 18 days
My feet hurt, my throat hurt
 
I got a fever in the night
I wanted to go home
Every day was a struggle
for me to keep going on
 
Single file and singing
Everyone’s on the stoke train
Stoke train keep on moving
Keep me from sitting down
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From the Identities project
 
Brussels, Belgium: Sacha De Keizer (on the left in the photo) grew up negotiating a French home life and a Flemish school life. Additionally she found herself acting as “a third wheel” confidant in her parents deteriorating marriage.
 
They divorced, and and she lost her family, her home, and even her loyal dog Happy. She says, in an understatement, there was “Collateral Damage.”
 
For me everything that is family
Is my house and my dog
She is the only one
who went through it all with me
I am the third wheel in the marriage
There was collateral damage
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From the Identities project
 
London, England: Camila Solis Torrez, who grew up with her Bolivian mother in England, recalls a time in 6th form when she yearned to be friends with people who shared a Spanish cultural background.
 
She finds them, but then she discovers that she is different from them. She’s not interested in fashion or the things they love to talk about. She becomes so isolated that her mom says, “Your room looks like you’re depressed.”
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From the Identities project
 
London, England: Noura Safar is a university student in London whose mother is half-German and half-Iranian. Her father is Iraqi. She grew up as an only child with Germany as her home, but her heart feels alive whenever she visits the Middle East.
 
In either place, she feels she’s only half of herself. She has learned that she has a half-brother from her father’s previous marriage. She’s reaching out to this half-brother, hoping, as an only child, to find a sense of kinship. She emails to introduce herself, wondering, “Should I say My Dad, Your Dad, or Our Dad?”
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Something Was Stolen – Lead Sheet
 

Nora Willauer – teaching artist, cello, vocals
 
This song is part of the Songs of #MeToo project.
 
Grandpa came to visit us
For two weeks I didn’t talk
I was three, I shut down
Mom told me the tale
 
Something was stolen from me
Something happened to me
I feel like I’m chained
I want to be free
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Cat Bennett, a farmer in upstate New York, reveals her experience of the changing American dream.
 
What do you do when money fails?
For me, wealth was measured in healthy food
And getting to play outside. I never noticed we were poor,
I had cows to hug and trees to climb.
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Before his passing at the age of 96 in early 2017, Lester Tenney recounted this story and inspired this blues song about finding hope during World War II. After Lester heard Will Foote on a sketch recording, he requested a CD so that he could practice singing like Will. He and Will differed in age by 73 years, but something about this song bridged that gap.
 
When we walked by the Filipino’s hut,
We saw the apples and we knew
Americans were sending us a message, saying
Prisoners, we have not forgotten you.
We were Americans on a death walk,
Prisoners of the Japanese.
We didn’t know whether we were going to live
To walk, to walk, to walk another ten feet.
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