Sue Jeffers

Sue Jeffers

 Kent, Ohio, USA
SoloFolkAcoustic

insurgent folk

Biography

Sue Jeffers' dad probably had no idea what he was starting when he gave his daughter a copy of Abbie Hoffman's Soon To Be a Major Motion Picture as a high school graduation present.

Ohio native Jeffers hails from the historically significant city of Kent, drives a hybrid car, puts a lot of time and energy into her local peace coalition, and has recorded five albums on her own label, FBI Records. While many of her songs focus on political and social ills, she also writes about affairs of the heart and other everyday topics that all music fans can relate to, no matter what their party affiliation. And despite her focus on activism, she emphasizes that she is a musician first.

"I do find music is a good way to communicate with folks that might not otherwise listen to me if I just gave a speech," she says, "but music is more part of who I am, and I just can't imagine not singing or playing. The music isn't just a vehicle to get out a message."

However, the music and the message have been intertwined her entire life. Piano lessons began at age five, and guitar in fourth grade, and shortly afterwards, her fundraising efforts for UNICEF put her on the organization's float with a crown on her head in a hometown parade. As a high school student, she helped get a levy passed before heading off to college as a flute major.

Her life has been nonstop ever since. She still manages to hold down a day job (to pay for the hybrid car) while playing between 50 to 100 shows a year. Her music has been included on compilation albums by Indiegrrl and the 1999 Musicians For Peace project.

And like many passionate activists, Jeffers has been cuffed, booked, and locked up. While protesting President Reagan's "star wars" program in from of Cleveland's NASA building in the 80s, she was one of 21 activists arrested. While in the holding cell, she kept up everyone's spirits with an impromptu rendition of a bluegrass anti-nuke song that turned into a cell-wide square dance. When the cops dragged her to a smaller cell away from the others, she just sang louder. Then they made the mistake of putting her in a cell with a telephone.

"We called a couple of newspapers and TV stations," Jeffers remembers, "and then started singing again until the residents down a ways suggested we shut up so they could go back to sleep!"

Her voice will not be silenced. She was banned from one Open Mic because of her views, but she finds more doors open to her because of her determination to sing her mind. Her tour schedule includes peace rallies, Earth Day celebrations, and more coffeehouses then she can keep track of.

Of her first album, One Man's Ceiling is Just Another One's Door, the Stonewall Society wrote: "Not any sort of repeat of other artists' style or work. Sue Jeffers owns her music in the traditional style of those she is influenced by. And she does them both honor and growth."

Jeffers manages to avoid burnout by reaching out to those she inspires. "We have a pretty good group of folks here in Kent who support and keep each other going," she says proudly. "It helps to organize with loved ones."

Besides, failure is not an option. "Just like I can't imagine not doing music," she adds, "I can't imagine not singing out."

Catch up on projects both political and musical at www.fbirecords.com.

musical affiliations:
Indiegrrl Performing Member
Outmusic
Stonewall Society
Folk Alliance
Folknet

Lyrics

tiltawhirl

Written By: sue jeffers

well I cleaned the house the other day
found the floor and used a broom
I even cleaned the car out
something that you said i'd never do

been trying to rinse my spirit clean
maybe hot wax my mind
i can feel the mess around us
but I swear that I know that we can shine

it's just an observation
i'm not making a complaint
we all make our own decisions here
and you say that i'm free to walk away anytime
but i've got no plans
i'm not making any plans to hike without you

just when I think i've got things in control
i'm reminded while I sleep
always someone gonna come round breaking things
and i find the glass in the morning with my feet

I remember when I asked if you would be my gal
you said you already were
now its like we're on a tilt a whirl
with bolts too loose to hold the floor

i'm just writing incantations here
and lighting candles to the night
we all make our own decisions dear
and you might say that i'm free to leave the ride anytime
but i've got no plans
not making any plans for getting off without you

(©sue jeffers 2006)

more words

Written By: sue jeffers

silly me when the phone rang
at midnight i thought that it
just might be you on the line
i'd been thinking of putting
the guitar thru the wall again
but answer and i tell my dad that everything is fine

in my dream the other night
we were riding on the train
over snow covered bridges thru some town
i kept falling thru the ceiling
you were chatting in the lounge car
and strangers kept pulling me down

well we're coming on a new year
and we've got a chance i swear
i'll try to keep my seat down on the floor
i'm not talking about perfection
we'd both know that was a lie
but there are ways to a better kind of world

the past's knocked us around and the now
can throw you to the ground
i remember being there
its hard to get up any more
can get so damn dark
and you get so damn tired
it's hard to remember that there ever was a door

so tonight i've turned the lights out
burning wicks down here alone
trying to keep my head above the ash
but you know i've got a flashlight
and the batteries are still alright
we could kick away these cans and all this broken glass

we stumbled to the new year and we've got a chance
i swear i'll try to keep my seat down on the floor
i'm not talking about perfection
we'd both know that was a lie
but there's a way to a better kind of world

copyright 2006 sue jeffers

yelling for war

Written By: sue jeffers

i keep seeing shots of people both here and there
carrying their presidents on a stick
these old men using people's lives on both sides of the line
to play their politics
and they're yelling for war, yelling for war

i hear the news they managed to update the boots
for those who lead this war
yeah the technology's changed but the thinking's still the same
as in all the other wars that we've ever fought before so we're
yelling for more

i hear the preachers on the television recreating their religion
trying to sanctify their fears
and everyone is looking for someone else to blame
for the evil that we've had a hand in for all these years
so we're yelling for war

i've heard people who i thought were sane
cheering for killing terror and pain falling on those they don't know
'cause they're scared for themselves and they're scared for their friends
so they're looking to someone who claims that he knows why
we're yelling for war

tonight the first american to be buried by this war was given his salute
the grandson and the son of those who were asked to fight before
and we're still looking for reasons for what these men were asked to do
so we're yelling for more

we've been manipulated, terrorized, cheated and abused
asked to do things we can't explain
so people cheer a killing field their friends and family walk
because they're told by their leaders it will help to stop the pain
caused by yelling for war

the generals keep telling us the children that we kill
are collateral damage or just mistakes
we've been taken to the point our humanity is lost
and we've got to help each other to find out what it takes to stop
yelling for war
stop yelling for war

on this train

Written By: sue jeffers

there's no smoking marijuana on this train
there's no smoking marijuana on this train
they'll stop and throw your ass off
you'll be stuck in Alpine Texas
there's no smoking marijuana on this train

you all can play that guitar on this train
you all can play that guitar on this train
but you gotta keep it down for all the
people sleeping round you
but y'all can play that guitar on the train

but y'all can't smoke your reefers on this train
no you all can't smoke your reefers on this train
bake it in a brownie
if you gotta bring it on here
'cause y'all can't smoke your reefers on this train

you best look like a gringo on this train
you best look like a gringo on this train
or storm troopers in El Paso
will demand to see your passport
if you don't look like a gringo on this train

well the kids had all the hotdogs they could eat
yeah, the kids had all the hotdogs they could eat
after the drug raid when we all
got back on the train
the kids threw up those hotdogs on their seat

now the cars smell like an outhouse on this train
the cars smell like an outhouse on this train
three days out from L.A.
the Texas Eagle sure is smelly
and the cars smell like an outhouse on this train

we don't care 'bout your perscription on this train
we don't care 'bout your perscription on this train
don't matter what your doctor sez
it ain't legal in texas
there's no smoking marijuana on this train

there's no smoking marijuana on this train
there's no smoking marijuana on this train
if the conducter suspects you
then the police will collect you
there's no smoking marijuana on this train

copyright sue jeffers 2002 - on Welcome Home

postcard to encinitas

Written By: sue jeffers

well then again thinking about it now
i guess that i might have been wrong
didn't mind coming without you
i never thought i'd be gone so long
and i don't know what you've put behind you now
but nothings changed about me
i feel like everything's changing without me now
feel like i'm chasing ghosts
well i wish we were out at the teahouse tonight
but i'm two thousand miles from there
looking for some pot or a friend i know
just finding drunks with nothing to say
they all seem to have the same lines to try
but they don't change a thing for me
i feel like everything's changing without me now
feel like i'm chasing ghosts
theres not much to say about it now
guess its time to start moving on
still i wish you'd changed your mind
if i'd asked you one more time
but we both know that song
and i don't know what you've put behind you now
but something's changed about me
cause when i think about trying to find you now
i know i'm just chasing ghosts

heart on my shoulder

Written By: sue jeffers

funny i've not been sleeping lately
when i do its not for long
but the last time i went under
i was dreaming of a song
"if i got your name tattooed here on my arm
do you think it would help impress your mom?"
even tho when i woke i didn't rush to the corner
to enshrine your name in a heart on my shoulder
it doesn't mean no it doesn't mean
doesn't mean that i've changed my mind

well i sent a note off to the senator
told him i didn't like his plan
he sent back some form letter
talking bout one woman and one man
bein' vital to america's very heart and soul
along with purtectin the flag up on the pole
now he doesn't mind torture and war is just swell
but activist judges will land us in hell
well it doesn't seem, no it doesn't seem
doesn't seem i changed his mind

you know i've not been happy lately
with the way things are turning out
seems there's tyrants everywhere with
excuses and lies that they mouth
so we stand up and keep shouting no
hey we demand that liberation begin at home
just 'cause i believe that the world can be brighter
and i won't let the bastards go without a fight
it doesn't mean, no it doesn't mean
doesn't mean i've lost my mind

casmalia

Written By: sue jeffers

every day the trucks roll by
headed round the hill
and its another million dollars down the road
the dumpsite there's still open
even tho its known to kill
cause theres another million dollars down the road

wonder how this can go on
when ten percent of the town is gone
from the poisons that get dumped there everyday
but the profit that the people make
to look the other way
is just another million dollars down the road

ask the people in the street
they say to close the dump is wrong
got to put it somewhere in the world
but you know that they don't live nearby
never knew the people who've died
they think they live a million miles down the road

wonder how this can go on
when ten percent of the town is gone
from the poisons that get dumped there everyday
and its everybodies problem
cause the world is our backyard
we've got to work to make it a place to stay

child playing in the yard
swinging on her swing
well she doesn't understand her lifes been sold
but the family can't move out now
cause the house they're in's not worth a thing
cause there's another million dollars down the road

and what amounts to murder
just gets a slap on the hand
hear the epa wants to grant an order to expand
how can people have so little respect for their fellow man
is life really worth
just a million dollars down the road

copyright sue jeffers 1999

over us

Written By: sue jeffers

and to come to the end of believing
in what you've had to say
everything we've made into this day
will come back to us with what we sent away
and its come to the time that we're grieving
for what we cannot save
seems you try to hold onto believing
that we never needed it all anyway
and i know everything
is everything just a part
a part of what we'll be
and everything is not a tool for the human race
its more than what we see
and it's come to the time for our leaving
the place we're at today
you say you don't want to
have to pay for the changes but
whatever made you think what we have today is cheap
we're poisoning our mother
and dying in her hands
once we've raped all the life from the land
can you tell me who'll put it back again
and i know everything
is everything just a part
a part of what we'll be
and everything is not a tool for the human race
its more than what we see
and i can tell you that i'm frightened
by most of what i see
the clouds that we have coming over us now well
they were never meant to be
and its past time for our grieving
for what we haven't saved
i never could take to believing that we never
needed it all anyway and i know
everything is everything
just a part of what we'll be
everything is not a tool for the human race
well its more than what we see

copyright 1998 sue jeffers

greenpeace canvasser's lament

Written By: sue jeffers

well its cool to make quota in clairemont
when your turf's full of grouchy old men
i know there must be supporters here somewhere
but so far all i've got is a ten
no peddler signs in the window
no solicitor signs on the door
i haven't got any siding or ginsu knife offers
but they won't give me time to explain what i'm here for

chorus:
please don't slam the door in my face
i've been walking for hours all over this place
all i want is a 20 or 50 or more
to help clean up the earth & stop nuclear war
please don't slam the door

this woman is talking long distance
and her neighbor wants to send something in
the man down the street's cooking dinner
won't give me no time to begin
the last man was in the marine corp and
he thinks i'm a communist nut
seems we followed his ship sometime last year
so i say have a nice day and watch the door shut
chorus:

bob stood and smiled and nodded
and agreed something has to be done
about ozone depletion and the toxics and the forests
but he said that he won't be the one
he knows there are people who're dying
and the planet has got to be saved
but he's gonna sit here and wait for jehovah
to come clean up the mess that we've made
chorus:

copyright 1990 sue jeffers

foreign fighters

Written By: sue jeffers

foreign fighters crossed the border from kuwait into iraq
200 thousand strong they came and started to attack
foreign fighters in their humvees foreign fighters in their jets
dropping dirty bombs out by the tons & 300 million leaftlets

the foreign fighters' strong man spoke from far across the sea
we must crush the evil doers, that's what jesus said to me
they have botch-you-lism, anthrax, and want yellow cake and tubes
to make nukeyaller devices - and i swear that its all true

after 20 days, 2000 tons of bombs and thousands dead
the foreign fighters climbed a statue, put their flag over it's head
said torture chambers, secret police are gone forever more
then put soldiers in their stead, did the same behind locked doors

and they said we're hear to liberate and not to occupy
we've found no weapons of md but many more will die
if we keep killing civilians we just can't be blamed for that
its the fault of all those foreign fighters we've been shooting at

they started wrapping villages with razor wire and guns
put up signs that said this fence is here for your protection
do not approach or try to cross or you'll be shot -to make clear
the foreign fighters are just here to help spreading violence and fear

the foreign fighters bombed a wedding party and they said
we targeted a compound - those were bad guys in the beds
so the witnesses and video all say that we were wrong
but they were doing foreign terror dances and singing foreign songs

a foreign fighter cheerleader made his position clear
in the affairs of Iraq , for'ners should not interfere
we'll install the proper folks in our brand new democracy
and pax americana will reign from sea to burning sea

somebody's mother

Written By: sue jeffers

tonight somebody's mother's lying underneath a wall
brought down by another mother's son
and the people there start digging for the living and the lost
looking for a reason and a why for what was done
one father finds his daughter walking dazed among the rubble
while a brothers huddled crying down beside his sister's shoes
and somewhere in the distance the men who sit in power
well they're calling for a bloodbath
say there's nothing else to do

chorus:
they call for war without an end
to just go on and on my friend
and the leaders will keep fighting
while the others pay the cost
til the people rise to stop them
heal the connection that's been lost

tonight somewhere a mother's told her teenage son is dead
brought down by another child's gun
and the family's told he sacrificed for country and for god
take comfort that he gave his life so the battle could be won
and one father finds his daughter on the network's nightly babble
and a mother's crying, praying that her son is found unharmed
and somewhere down the street the men who stand to profit
well they're calling up their brokers to discuss the stocks and bonds

chorus:

tonight somebody's mothers lying underneath a wall
brought down by another raytheon bomb
and the people there start digging for the living and the lost
while waving flags, some celebrate with patriotic songs
and one father finds his daughter walking dazed among the rubble
and a sisters crying down beside her brother's stolen youth
and somewhere in the distance, the men who sit in power
well they're calling for a bloodbath
and they will not speak the truth

capital limited

Written By: sue jeffers

6:15 in Union Station
thermos full of wine
down here on track 26
an hour past the time
crawled down to the station
rush hour traffic lakeshore drive
folks with signs up on the bridge
said he lied they died

chorus;
selling us some slaughter and selling us some lies
a torture appetizer with a side of freedom fries
to be eaten over breakfast with a tablespoon of fear
and thrown down in the evening with some ignorance & beer

i've got a camera full of photos
of my niece at 6 months old
and a book full of dead children
never mentioned in the polls
and a child with one mother
one father and one leg
sacrificed to the straight talking
stiff necked corporate USA
chorus:

an hour past toledo
and 1/2 past the last wine
each time i turn out the lights
my thoughts fill with the crimes
operation 'raqi freedom
liberator, lightning, storm
squeeze play, spear, new market
high tech military porn
chorus:

voice of america

Written By: sue jeffers


i have buried all my demons of fear and insecurity
with half a million dead bodies over in sand bunkers and shifting graves
and grocery stores somewhere far away
somewhere where i don't have to look at children dead on either side
cut down by someone's father or mother while somebody's brother or sister cried
all just doing what they had to do
being all they could be in the end

i have buried all my demons of fear and insecurity
with strip mines and toxic dumps, poisoned lakes and sacrifice zones and
shopping malls not too far away
i have won my war with the planet, covered over my mother with tar
concrete and cyanide pools, styrofoam and pesticides
i am horrible in my mastery
i have purchased my present with my children's end

oh, but i'm proud of my excess and deny my insecurity
and i stand in the center of my world and beat my chest
and wipe my hands on my flag, here on my world
here in my world where i don't have to see starvation or pain
or death unless i choose to
for i have numbed myself with my fear and my greed
and maybe this is all that i can be
is this really all i will be in the end

here we go

Written By: sue jeffers

i didn't sit down here to write a song for you tonight
you know things don't always go the way i plan
the muse she won't cooperate
and i have to pick up what she hurls my way
so i started once and i started twice
then erased it all cuz it wasn't nice and
with the country fighting how many wars
and the capitalist myth convulsing on the floor
this is not what i thought i had to say
but its best not to fight with the goddess you know
so here we go

so when you nudged me at the acceptance speech
when barak obama said
his lesbian sisters deserved to live life free
for a minute i thought maybe i'd been forgiven
and should ask you but you see
i started once and started twice
and then i got nervous and i chewed some ice
now the christian right is having fits
about the judges in connecticut
saying folks deserve their rights even if their gay
using legal code to judge law you know
so here we go

you can tell me about your therapist
and i'll raise you with my mom
we all look for help to understand
and i know tonight wasn't meant to be a test
but i can make meaningless small talk with the best
so i chatted once and i muttered twice
and i made damn sure that i stayed polite
you keep walking out and in the door
leaving love convulsing here on the floor
and i know you don't want to hear what i've got to say
best not to fight with the goddess you know
so here we go

sunrise

Written By: sue jeffers

so i've got fruit flies in my sunrise
and a picture of some skin from some
cute gal in a cowboy hat
leanin on me with a grin
and my fingernails are broken
and the country's down the drain
the bastards want another war
and the lies all sound the same

been sitting here waiting
waiting for something
something that's better than the wrong
don't know why i'm standing still
when i really should be out there
fighting to help push it along

the news crawl is reporting
at least a dozen killed by
airstrikes by the u.s and the
talking head has been
telling me about bear attacks
and pit bulls on a lawn
and that somewhere on the west coast
there's a baby with a bad mom

tired of waiting
waiting for something
anything thats better than the wrong
i'm just no good standing still
better moving forward
evolve or revolve
to will the revolution on

i hear some talk about hope
& there's lots of talk about change
but i see no difference in the landscape
only in the way its framed
so they relocate the kill box
and redirect the blame
for those on the receiving end
their death comes just the same

tired of waiting
waiting for something
anything thats better than the wrong
i'm just no good standing still
better moving forward
evolve or revolve
to will the revolution on

and i can still see you standing here
with a smile on your face
tell you it had been too long since
we've been in that space
and the country has been broken
but i hope we've just been bent
would be easier moving forward if
i could hold on to your hand

tired of waiting
waiting for something
anything thats better than the wrong
i'm just no good standing still
better moving forward
evolve & revolve
to will the revolution on

Written about 8 months ago ·

Dr Sues Talking Fracking Blues

Written By: Sue Jeffers

We are here from oklahoma to frack up your town
to poison your water, shake up your ground
buy up you statehouses, and EPA , news
the attorney general and governor too
and write laws that say
you can't know what we do
and you can't talk about it if we do it to you
we're chesapeake.
Vampires
thanks for inviting us in!
 
what's in the water? Don't worry your head
chances are good that you won't end up dead til
our profit's been made and we've
pulled up the stakes
left you with land that our work has disgraced
left you with underground toxified lakes
olympic sized
environmentally friendly!
And perfectly safe to drink.
 
car-cin-o-gens and some mutagens too
and more that we just don't know what they will do
all mixed together and floating about
shoved underground, well, until it comes out
no realtor will touch it, it won't pass inspection
the banks that we own will not give you extensions
but the profits we make
mmm, it's enough to give us all an erection
and there's still some left over to buy the election
 
what's in the water? Do you still persist?
It would damage our image to give you a list
we will tell a few if you're going to insist
listen closely
it's balderdash
a little thing we like to call public relations
 
tetramethyl ammonium chloride is one
and napthalene. Napthalene always is fun
and a lot of these chemicals are found in your house
and just like the poison you put down for the mouse
you always drink everything found on your shelves
ammonium persulfate is good for your health
 
petroleum distillate, hydrotreated lite
you may well be having with dinner tonight
we'll frack up your farmland and frack up your woods
and all that complaining will do you no good
cuz we've bought up you statehouses, the EPA ,news
the attorney general and governor too
and write laws that say
you can't know what we do
and you can't talk about it if we've done it to you
 
we'll lie and we'll lie and we'll lie and we'll lie
and your dr can't tell you what's making you die
five million gallons of water per frack
and we frack it so hard that there's no coming back
but we'll say its all the same
just like field irrigation
yeah, its just like watering the golf course
 
5 million gallons of water thats ruined
we'll conflate with the water new yorkers consume
in 8 minutes time and just hope that its clean
instead of being mixed up with Toluene
it's balderdash
it's marketing! Xylene, it's whats for dinner
 
come on down
we're here to create the "jobs of the future" for you frakin community! Yes, we're creating a demand, spurring new growth in exciting fields! You can never have enough radiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, undertakers, toxic remediation teams. How would you fancy running a  water bottling company?  opportunities are endless!   fire fighters for those emergency times when you try to use that thing that used to turn on the water- what was that again? A faucet?. We're helping make nebulizers and asthma medication a growth industry – our stockholders will thank us. And finally we are leading the way in spurring new growth in the construction industry. You're welcome for the earthquakes. This has been a public service announcement.

Discography

To the Kitchen & Back - LP
Revolution - LP
Cowboys in the Dust - LP
One Man's Ceiling is just Another One's Door - LP
Out of the Bus-LP
Welcome Home - LP
Better Kind of World - LP

Included on:
Indiegrrl Compilation Vol I && Vol III
Ground Zero - Musicians for Peace Compilation
Stoking the Fires of Resistance - benefit CD
May 4 CD Project - benefit CD

Streaming Audio available at http://www.fbirecords.com
http://www.soundclick.com
http://www.cdbaby.com/jeffers2

Songs from "One Man's Ceiling" and "Welcome Home" have
received international airplay

Set List

Set list and times are flexible, and vary according to venue request.
in general i do 2 1 hour sets, or 3 sets at 45 min each.

The bulk of the material is original - I can do an entire show of originals to avoid PRO issues, or throw in selected covers if more appropriate.