Album: Train of Tears

Train Of Tears
“Train of Tears” signals the rebirth of Skinner on several levels. The original songs are gritty, touched by the angst his long journey has led him through, but also by a renewed hope. He has dipped into a deep well of emotions and brought them to the surface: Mental Illness is a challenge to be taken on, not a definition of who or what a person is. The stigma, which can be just as damaging as the illness in its isolation, is one that Skinner wants to actively speak out against. The cut “Walk With Me” contains the lyrics, “So open up your eyes, clean out your ears. Learn to listen, listen to learn, and then you’ll hear….”

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The idea of performing as a solo artist is foreign to me. As a drummer, I have always performed with bands, and I prefer the idea of a band. So we approached the making of this album as a band project. I believe we accomplished that in the making of this album, even with the very busy and sometimes conflicting schedules of the musicians involved. Somehow, it all came together. I thank them and I thank God for this opportunity.

Train of Tears ContributersTrain of Tears The songs contained in this album truly reflect a labor of love, sweat, and tears. Due to the severe sexual, physical and emotional abuse I endured as a child, my life has been effected in so many ways. But I never could have imagined the mistreatment and abuse I experienced later on in life as an adult, when I was given a diagnosis several years ago of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression. The subsequent loss of family, friends and business associates was crippling in and of itself. Due to the prejudice, the fears and the stigma of mental illness, you find your life being changed dramatically. You are treated as a second class citizen by so many. I can now understand what others experience due to the color of their skin, their race, their religion, and their creed. It is more than just an unpleasant experience.

They say when the going gets tough, you find out who your true friends are. I am very, very fortunate to have such great friends, some of whom appear on this album. I hope this album can help change some people’s perceptions of those with mental health issues.

1. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door: A great song by a great songwriter. This song was used in the movie, “Heaven’s Gate”, a great movie, but a sad movie. The oppression of others by those in power, and of one man trying to do the right thing. The artwork, courtesy of Megan Skinner, who along with Danielle, Melissa, Michelle and Alisa, helped bring a piece of Heaven into my life.

2. Find my Dreams: Well I’ve accomplished one of them. I have been a professional drummer most of my life, but I always wanted to play guitar and sing. Dreams can come true.

3. Katrina: Based on a real person I once met. I feel the lyrics express my thoughts on the Katrina’s of the world.

4. Not the One: A song five years in the making. The loss of childhood friends due to mental illness and the betrayal and subsequent divorce from Hell, was overwhelming.

5. Stand By Me: Another great song, which help me to thank all of those who stuck with me, who did not give up on me, who still believed in me. If we measured success by the amount of friends one has, then I am truly one of the wealthiest people around. I thank you all, God Bless.

6. Sad Song: Once upon a time, a father sat with his three youngest children. They asked him why he was so sad. He couldn’t answer them, so he went to his room and picked up his guitar. Sometimes words can’t convey what is in one’s heart. He never wanted his pain to give them pain.

7. Walk with me: See the lyrics below

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When you look at me, what do you see
Have you judged me by the lack of a smile
But come with me, step into my shoes
Can you walk with me for one mile
Then perhaps you’d see, another part of me
I’m also a man who likes to sing
I too have hopes, hopes and dreams
To be more than what you labeled me

So open up your eyes, clean out your ears
Learn to listen, listen to learn, and then you’ll hear
And then you can get past your stigma and fears
Of what has caused you to treat me so callously

Can you take a chance, can you try to understand
That I’m still a man, who has some plans
Who falls to his knees, from agony
That can cripple me, But it’s only a small part of me

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Booker T. Washington

I’m not a child to be patronized
With all your fake smiles
I too have hopes, hopes and dreams
To be more than what you have labeled me

Your prejudice and fears, are quite clear to me
And no double talk hides that fear from me
Intelligence and insight, still resides in me
So come down from your throne, throw off the robe
That gives you such abusive power and control
Can you sit with me, can we talk for a while
Do you think you could walk in my shoes a mile

I’m not impressed with your titles and degrees
Compassion and understanding do more for me
Can you show me, show me your humanity
Instead of talking down to me
Can you sit with me, can we talk awhile
And then I know you could see me smile
And then I know you could see me smile
And then I know you could see me smile

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8. If I Were a Carpenter:I have always loved this song. Can we accept each other for who we are?

9. Train of Tears: The journey of life is sometimes difficult.

10. Why?: A song that I wrote many, many years ago but could not finish because I did not want to deal with it.

11. Love Again: The promise of knowing love again is still a good thing.

12. Deaf, Dumb, and Blind: I am still angry by the reluctance of so many to acknowledge how serious and harmful child abuse is. I used to see a bumper sticker saying “It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.” I agree. Read the lyrics below.

Sometimes it’s hard to write what’s in my head
Sometimes it doesn’t get put to the page
But what is in there now contains, it contains a lot of rage

I’ve been growing, thinking of love, and the life
But I have to tell you now, part of me still wants to fight
I know there’s more good, for all the world to see
But the horror, the trauma, the damage of children
Still….still is haunting me

Like a discordant note, cursing through your veins
Like the feel of a knife, stuck into your back
Across the school board so black
The sound is still haunting me

I know some day, I’ve got pretty songs to write
The power of love, I know some day I’ll write
But for now the sound of broken children
Still enrages me

Someday I’ll change this chord
To a chord, a sound so bright
But for now the sounds of haunting
Will still be my friend at night

Did you ever wonder why
When you look into their eyes
And listen to their cries
Did you ever wonder why
When you listen to them cry
How could you be so Deaf, Dumb and Blind

Listen to album tracks, buy individual songs or the entire album at CDBaby

Buy MP3s at Cdbaby
Available On iTunes