Becky Warren and The Great Unknowns

Becky Warren and The Great Unknowns

 Nashville, Tennessee, USA
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Becky Warren & The Great Unknowns are an alt-country band whose first record was released on Indigo Girl Amy Ray's Daemon Records label. Their second album, released in 2012, has picked up 'best of 2012' designations and awards, including the grand prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest.

Biography

Becky Warren is the Washington, DC-based songwriter and lead singer for the alt-country band The Great Unknowns, a band that sometimes seems to be trying very hard to live up to its name. Becky and the band recorded their first album in the basement of a college dorm on a shoestring budget in 2003, intending to press just enough copies for friends and family members. But the record found its way into the hands of Indigo Girl Amy Ray, who declared it “Excellent songwriting in the Americana tradition—really one of the best things I have heard this year” and released it on her independent label, Daemon Records.

Becky’s songwriting quickly attracted accolades. No Depression said: “Warren’s songwriting is evocative and richly detailed throughout.” Maxim called the songs “unpretentious heartland rock” and said: “Becky Warren writes about guys who’ve treated her like shit with a dignity they don’t deserve.” All Music Guide wrote: “Warren’s voice and lyrics perfectly flow together, conveying longing and hope with a sense of tough pride…It’s the highlight of a terrific debut that shows tremendous potential from Becky Warren.”

Most bands would try to ride that sort of success to fame and fortune, but not the GUs. After 2005, they all but disappeared for five years, and band members moved on to other projects. During that time, Becky struggled with a marriage that had become troubled when her soldier husband returned from Iraq with PTSD. When the marriage ended in 2010, Warren realized she had a lot to say, and wrote furiously, penning 12 new songs about love, loss, and the life-altering effects of war.

The new Great Unknowns album, Homefront, proves that Becky can pick up right where she left off—the album was released in January and has already picked up several songwriting awards, including the grand prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (for “I Wish I Was the Girl I Was”), second place in the Washington Area Music Association’s song contest (for “Homefront”), finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards AAA category (for “Homefront”) and semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition AAA category (for “Lexington”).

Lyrics

Lexington

Written By: Becky Warren

I heard you moved back to Fayetteville
With that girl you used to see
Heard you got a little place
Does she remind you at all of me?

I never think about you
I never wonder how you are
Never think of how you looked in the television light
Do you think about me?
Do you wonder how I am?
Do you think of how I kissed you in Lexington that night?

I'm not as stupid as you think
I knew the whole time you'd be gone
I knew you didn't mean a thing you said
So I'm glad you didn't prove me wrong

I never see you in my mind
In that tshirt that you wore
The letters faded cross your chest
Your fingers warm against my thigh
Do you see me in your mind
As you're turning off the light?
Do you think of how you held me
In Lexington that night?

Down where the railroad used to run
You told me you'd never be my love, my love

I heard you finally fell in love
You said you'd never have the heart
But I guess you found one somewhere, my dear
Or else some girl tore you apart

I never wish it was you
Beside me at the bar
With the band about to play
And your arm around me tight
Do you wish it was me
When you're with some other girl?
Do you think of how you touched me
In Lexington that night?

When I Was Your Girl

Written By: Becky Warren

We stood in the snow, you were lit from behind
Like a halo in a painting of Mary
I was lit from the front and the light was unkind
But you said I looked like an angel

Chorus:
When I was your girl
When I was your girl
Let's talk about old times when I was your girl

Driving up to Lowell on SR 3, holding hands and talkin bout the radio
I told you that I thought that only music would save me
But you said I was your salvation

Chorus
When I was your girl, you made me feel so right
Beautiful and shiny and new
It couldn't last forever, but it sure felt like it might
Up until the minute it was over

Chorus

I Wish I Was the Girl I Was

Written By: Becky Warren

Bar room lights shine on the snow
The girls outside in their shiniest clothes
They drove all night to make the show
But I haven't been since ages ago

In a bar back then on the edge of town
Where the girls wore summer clothes year round
We talked until the lights came on
I told you I was good as gone

But I wish I was with you tonight
You could play me that new song you like
Take the interstate right out of town
With the radio playing and windows down
I wish I was the girl I was
I wish I was the girl I was

Sometimes I still forget I'm gone
I put your favorite record on
And every song feels like a prayer
I didn't know I'd lost somewhere

The college kids down at the bar
When the lights go down and they hear the guitar
The world outside will drop away
Nothing left but sound and ache

Chorus

You got a lot of nerve to call me now
After all the ways I let you down
I’m tired of wanting things I can’t have anymore
And I wish I was a girl who’d stick around

Chorus

Birmingham

Written By: Becky Warren

We burned out fast and we never looked back
But when I close my eyes, I still see you in that baseball cap

In a cheap motel off the interstate
You said you were incomplete and you were gonna stay that way

You got a way of saying something
That everyone wants to hear
In a way that no one wants to hear it

We drove all night to Birmingham
And you said you loved me too but that it wasn't worth a damn

You got a way of saying something
That everyone wants to hear
In a way that no one wants to hear it

I should've gone to Jackson when you called me
I should've done a thousand different things
But you don't make it easy anyway

When I think of you with your blue jeans frayed
I see the girl I was and wonder where she is today

You got a way of saying something
That everyone wants to hear
In a way that no one wants to hear it

You got a way of saying something
That everyone wants to hear
In a way that no one wants to hear it

Homefront

Written By: Becky Warren

I came home ready for one hell of a fight
With a thousand rounds still echoing all night
Somewhere in Arkansas, my truck found 5th gear
And I punched that pedal down til the Ozarks disappeared

You can only live so long on anger and beer
Talking with your demons while your friends all disappear
And you won’t survive too long just waiting to die
But you can bet I’m damn sure gonna try

On the homefront, sweet Elizabeth you were right
There ain’t no homefront, even if I drive this interstate all night
Oh, the homefront, c'mon baby don’t give me up
Cuz I got no homefront, I got no homefront

The day she left me, she woke me up at dawn
Laid down beside me with her head upon my arm and said
“You look behind you, baby, one too many times,
You’ll spend your whole life behind enemy lines.”

Chorus

Somewhere on this highway is the soul of every man
Who ever left his girl behind to go off to foreign lands
You say you see a stranger when you look into my eyes
But I know that you could love him if you tried

I came home ready for one hell of a fight
With a thousand rounds still echoing all night
Lord, deliver me down this highway in the dirt
Away from all of the people that I’ve hurt

On the homefront, sweet Elizabeth you were right
There ain’t no homefront, even if I drive this interstate all night
Oh, the homefront, c'mon Elizabeth take my hand
We’ll drive the blacktop down into the promised land
Be my homefront—I don’t know why I broke your heart
But i can make it whole again if you can tell me where to start
Oh, the homefront, cmon baby don’t give me up
Cuz I got no homefront, I got no homefront

Dead River, Lake County

Written By: Becky Warren

Dead River, Lake County
I've been lonelier than this before
Like every night I laid down beside you in your bed
Dead River, Lake County

US Highway 441 near midnight
I've been emptier than this before
Like sitting in the kitchen as you pulled up the drive
US 441 near midnight

Up ahead the lights of Jacksonville
Are burning up the sky
As I drive into the city without you by my side
It's the first time in years I feel alive

Two-lane road running through the pine scrub
I've been further down than this
Like every time I listened as you cut me down to size
Two-lane road running through the pine scrub

Up ahead the lights of Jacksonville
Are burning up the sky
As I drive into the city without you by my side
It's the first time in years I feel alive

Dead River, Lake County
I've been lonelier than this before
Like every night I laid down beside you in your bed
Dead River, Lake County
Dead River, Lake County

Abilene

Written By: Music by Becky Warrren & Michael Palmer; lyrics by Becky Warren (BMI)

The day you said you were leaving, the sky was wide and blue
The sun came through the windshield and I felt it burn me through
By the Baptist church in Corinth, a sign told us to pray
You put your hand on top of mine and I took my hand away

Chorus:
Abilene, you loved her better than me
And when you left that day, I knew you'd stay
Right there in Abilene

The day you said you were leaving, I drew circles in the sand
Watched the river jump its banks and wash them back again
River to the ocean, ocean to the shore
I counted back from nothing to the girl I was before

Chorus

The day you said you were leaving, the birds were flying south
Above the roofs and chimneys to the outskirts of town
Who were you to tell me not to worry and not to cry
On your way down south to Texas with barely a goodbye?

Chorus

She's Always There

Written By: Becky Warren

Cigarettes and alcohol
Without them, I wonder if I'd have friends at all
I tried prayer; I tried song
But the feel of them things in my mouth is always wrong

CHORUS:
And there's no place in the world I'd rather be
Than right here with my whiskey in easy reach
I'm not what I was, but she don't care
That bottle—she's always there

There once was a girl who loved me best
But I won't bore you and anyway, you know the rest
You won't see me cry 'bout the cards I've drawn
Cuz by the grace of Wild Turkey I go on

CHORUS
And there's no place in the world I'd rather be
Than right here with my whiskey in easy reach
I'm not what I was, but she don't care
That bottle—she's always there

Well, sometimes you gotta wonder
If it's even worth a fight
When the best you feel is two beers into a night

CHORUS
And there's no place in the world I'd rather be
Than right here with my whiskey in easy reach
I'm not what I was, but she don't care
That bottle—

And there's no friend on this earth who's got my back
Like the first cold beer in a six pack
I got nothin' to give, but she don't care
That bottle—she's always there

Heavy Shit

Written By: Becky Warren

Heavy shit is gonna make you feel alone
If you're sitting in Baghdad or San Antone
If you're out behind your high school getting stoned
Heavy shit is gonna make you feel alone

Everyone knows what it is to go to war
In back of a Bradley or down at the grocery store
When you're 5000 miles from what you feel like fighting for
Everyone knows what it is to go to war

Heaven help me
I don't know what's wrong
I went away
And came back gone

Your heart gets broke, you're gonna wanna die
Holding an M-16 or a case of Miller Lite
When you hear she bought a condo with some guy
Yeah, if your heart gets broke you're gonna wanna die

Heaven help me
I don't know what's wrong
I went away
And came back gone

If you got nothing, you'll try anything that lasts
Bullets or pills or driving fast
You'll find a place where the shit is finally past
If you got nothing, you'll try anything that lasts
Yeah, if you got nothing, you'll try anything that lasts

Different

Written By: Becky Warren

Tell me, do you ever start to call my number
Cuz you heard something you know would make me smile?
Do you hang there above the last button
Til the lady comes on to tell you how to dial?

From time to time, could you swear you see me in the city
Cuz it's been years, but you'd know my walk anywhere?
Do you wait there on the corner and wonder
If you should say hello or just leave me standing there?

We're not so very different, you and me
Though I said that we were
Though I said that we were
We're not so very different, you and me
Though I said that we were
Though I said that we were

Are you ever half listening to the radio
When the DJ starts to spin my favorite song?
Do you catch yourself thinking you'd give anything
To have me there where you could hear me sing along?

We're not so very different, you and me
Though I said that we were
Though I said that we were
We're not so very different, you and me
Though I said that we were
Though I said that we were

Off My Back

Written By: Becky Warren

I'm a good guy
I don't fool around
Sure, I get messed up
But I always come down
So won't you help me, God
Cuz I feel I'm sinkin'
Could you get my baby off my back about the drinkin'?

Well, she don't know how good she has it
In a world of nasty habits
I could be some kind of jerk
But I just want a whiskey when I get home from work
Now, is that too much to ask?

When I'm a good guy
I don't lack for class
Yeah I might get drunk
I might break some glass
But I treat her right
So I've been thinkin'
I gotta get my baby off my back about the drinkin'

Well, she don't know how good she has it
In a world of nasty habits
I could be some kind of jerk
But I just want a whiskey when I get home from work
Now, is that too much to ask?

Well, I'm a good guy
Ain't got a lot to lose
I've been kicked around
Hell, I've been abused
But I could stare it all down
Without once blinkin'
If I could get my baby off my back about the drinkin'
I gotta get my baby off my back...

I'm Leaving

Written By: Becky Warren

I dreamed that we were lying on a hill somewhere
I dreamed I knew the look in your eye
I dreamed I saw every bit of your heart, love
I dreamed that it didn't make me cry

God knows I'll never love another man
But darlin', all these dreams just break me
I hate to say I think I've done all that I can
But I'm leaving, though I know what kind of girl that makes me

I dreamed I left a stain upon your heart somewhere
That was deeper and darker than war
I dreamed that it was easy to be good a true
That I knew what all this aching was for

God knows I'll never love another man
But darlin', all these dreams just break me
I hate to say I think I've done all that I can
But I'm leaving, though I know what kind of girl that makes me

I dreamed that we were lying on a hill somewhere
I dreamed you ran your fingers through my hair
I dreamed there was a country where my faith had gone
And I dreamed that you and I were almost there

I'm leaving, though I know what kind of girl that makes me

Discography

January 10, 2012: Homefront. Several tracks are receiving radio airplay on stations including: KOTO, WCNI, WHFC, WERU, KRVM, WMNF, and WQBR. "I Wish I Was the Girl I Was" won the grand prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest ("Birmingham" was a finalist) and the song "Homefront" came in second place in the Washington Area Music Association song contest.

December 2004: Presenting the Great Unknowns
All songs received some radio play, but "Round Hill" was played on Steve Earle's radio program and several other stations. "Abilene" and "When I Was Your Girl" were also radio favorites.

Set List

When I Was Your Girl
Round Hill
Abilene
Something to Do
Deliver Me Home
Don't Come Home
1000 Mies from Tennessee
Lexington
Dead River, Lake County
Bad Way
Wrong
Homefront
I Wish I Was the Girl I Was
Birmingham
I'm Gonna Get My Heart Broken
Love Song