Chalk on the Sidewalk

by S. J. Tucker

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about

Rerecorded and released in hopes of helping Bandcamp do right by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during this intense year, "Chalk on the Sidewalk" wrote itself in 2015. This version got a glowup from my #MusesontheRoad tour sisters Ginger Doss & Renée Janski. The three of us recorded our tracks remotely while sheltering in place, and I put them together in my studio space on 6/18/20. We hope to release another version ASAP including our tour mate Lynda Millard on flute, but it was important to me to get this version ready for Juneteenth.

Make your own donation: www.naacpldf.org

In all my paper white whiteness, I ask you all to please listen to and support Black and Indigenous voices as often as you can, to aspire to be antiracist in all you do, and to keep pushing for positive change. It's time. Our children deserve a world that's worthy of them, no matter who their people are, where they live, how they look, or where they come from.

Also, wash your hands, and hang in there.

--S. J.

lyrics

Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open

Tina's just a little girl
but she opened up a portal to another world
with the chalk on the sidewalk.

Even while drawing that very first line,
she laid out the treasures of her beautiful mind
with the chalk on the sidewalk:

flying fish in a coastal cove,
a map to the pirates' treasure trove,
in the chalk on the sidewalk.

Always encourage the mind of a child.
Imagination is meant to run wild
with the chalk on the sidewalk.

Everybody sing:
Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open.
Let's keep the magic on our side.
Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open.
Let's make it safe to play outside, for them.

I see my friends and neighbors in the whole design,
not templates for a police outline
in the chalk on the sidewalk.

See, I believe in their rights to stand up,
to be heard and answered, to not end up
in the chalk on the sidewalk.
Just a body in the chalk on the sidewalk.
Can't Breathe in the chalk on the sidewalk.
Down in Houston with a clock on the sidewalk.

"Love thy neighbor" still applies
regardless of creed. Compassion must rise,
or else, what will we be in our children's eyes
but the very same monsters we claim to despise?

Little kids ain't throwin' shade
when they show us the truth in the art that they made
with the chalk on the sidewalk.

Tina's just a little girl,
but give her some room, and she can change the world
with the chalk on the sidewalk.
It all starts with the chalk on the sidewalk.

Everybody sing:
Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open.
Let's keep the magic on our side.
Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open.
Let's make it safe to play outside, for them.

Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open.
Let's keep compassion on our side.
Try to paint a picture with your eyes wide open.
Let's make it safe to play outside, for them.

credits

released June 19, 2020
Lyrics, music, cover image, lead vocals, arrangement, bass, guitars, mix, and production by S. J. Tucker; The PixieHouse, Camp Timberlake, Arkansas.
Harmonies and djembe by Ginger Doss; Eagle Audio, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Layered harmonies and keys by Renée Janski; Janski Studio, Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Mastered by Ben Deschamps, Amphis Music, Hamilton, ON.

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