Soul In Exile 3: Love Runs Aground

by The Hesh Inc.

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There she stands straddling the boardwalk Pushing out from the beach into the sea Like some vaunted marine version of radio city She stands crumbling but she’s calling out to me She’s the crown jewel of the waterfront The echo of former grandeur The haggard old lady of the coastline A glimmer of former splendor Once upon a time she saw royalty come and go Long ago when she hosted many a famous face But now even the derelicts that used to hang here are gone They moved along and never were replaced Her star once shone bright in the sky But like a meteor, she fell It was a downward spiral onto the slagheap And all that’s left now is a hollow shell I walk the terraces soaked with ocean spray Beneath the paint-chipped vaulted ceiling I search around for a way inside Just to get the feeling Just to stand within the cavernous hall To let her spirit surround me And to try once again to make heads or tails Of what’s going on around me. Well I can’t believe that this is happening yet again After we both agreed once that we didn’t want to repeat that end But you had this thing about “growth,” above everything else And at the same time you say I’m thinking only of myself Why don’t you look in the mirror Well we went out west to change our place and change our luck We didn’t last a year there before the disaster struck It was those ‘friendships’ you cultivated outside of us, away from me Well I know how close your kind of ‘friends’ can be Now the picture is so much clearer And all your advisers whisper in your ear That you could be doing so much better than me Your enablers tell you what you want to hear And they show you what you want to see Your sycophants that all surround you With your pronouncements, they’ll all agree And all of the above, they drown you With brown tides of sympathy And you emphatically state “there is no us” You resent the way I push and you’re not even willing to discuss But if I don’t fight for us, what does that make me? Well you stall, blackball, and build your wall With the help of all your ‘friends’ You obfuscate and manipulate All your means to reach your ends You may say that there is no more us I say it isn’t so There always was an us, there is an us And I refuse to let it go! And as I sit inside by the piano onstage Playing my heart out to four thousand empty seats The hidden sounds of concerts and celebrations of better days Embedded in these walls release their heat And set me on fire with a passion that consumes A passion that once existed for you filling up this empty room Bringing some life to light the palpable darkness and gloom Struggling in vain to counteract the words of my inner prophet of doom No more funny places No more famous faces No more days at the races No more steeplechases No more former graces No more love embraces All that’s left is empty spaces And the glory with barely any traces It’s all gone! ©2017 The Hesh Inc.
Well I heard it on the highway like the holy word of G-d It was so loud and clear I had to pull over, I was so awed Well I heard it on the highway and I couldn’t resist the push It was just like a commandment from heaven, like the voice in the burning bush Well shake, rattle, and roll down the Garden State Down Routes 35, 71, and 88 Even if we’ll just run round in circles cursed by fate We’ll capture all the views now ‘cause we may never be here again I heard it on the highway, it was the greatest song in history It had a rhythm and melody all its own but the lyrics, they were a mystery It was the sound of the rock’n’roll heart and it was beating in full blues time It said, Go down to the ocean and make the music of your mind Well I saw it from the highway Risin’ on the horizon like Mt Sinai in flames Like a fiddler on the roof down on the Parkway Singin’ out that tune and calling my name It was handed to me by the seaside White hot and written in stone Full power forward and full speed ahead No stopping now that you’re on your own It was the day I graduated when I came back in touch with the calling It was there where fifteen bands were playing Paying respect to the one who had fallen It was just as the all-star open jam was ending The sound of drums boomed from way up high There were ten bolts of lightning, one for each Word crashing through the mist-choked sky I heard an organ scream through a Leslie But none on Earth ever sounded so great I looked up to heaven, I thought I saw the moon But I knew I was staring clear through the gates I kicked off my shoes, I fell down on my knees I bowed face down into the sand But he didn’t want none of that false formality She just wanted me to reach out my hand Well I heard it on the highway … ©2017 The Hesh Inc.
When I saw that above-mentioned vision, I must have gone blind When I heard it on the highway I nearly lost my mind I was knocked out in the first round Dead before I hit the ground Knocked out in the first round And I left what I once was behind I saw the boardwalk lying empty like an unplowed field I saw the casino’s doors all shut and sealed I was knocked out in the first round When I saw what became of my old town Something got stolen and I couldn’t live it down And it burned like a scar unhealed There was a circle on the floor where the carousel used to be There was G-d-only-knows-what where dad’s hotel used to be There was just dirty water where the bumper boats used to be There were cruisers and dealers where the rollercoaster used to be The ferris wheel used to be The pier of steel used to be The sky ride, the high dive, this town’s appeal used to be I don’t want to be a Used To Be The true believers all come by busload and caravan And it seems like every one of them has got a plan But they’re all knocked out in the first round When they see the disparities that still abound Ready once again to burn it all to the ground They don’t care, just as long as they see their man Everybody holds out hope for some improvement But nobody holds out any hope for any new amusement It’s all knocked out in the first round They bulldozed the Palace down All they saved was the Tillie grin from the silly old clown Now it’s all history but hey, at least there’s movement There are upscale condos where the Monterey used to be There are upscale condos where Net Lane’s used to be There are upscale condos in what the Berkeley used to be There are upscale condos where the St. James used to be There’s upscale where everything we knew used to be There’s upscale and more upscale as far as the eye can see Maybe what’s better is what Used To Be So here I am, still in my position as a rock’n’roll singer A piano player in the place where my soul still stubbornly lingers I wanna make sure my glory days don’t fade away I wanna make sure my glory days are here to stay I wanna make sure my glory days keep on being glory days ‘Cause they’re slipping right through my fingers C-8 meets C-4 and then—implosion Another piece of a broken dream falls into the ocean We’re all knocked out in the first round Dead before we hit the ground Knocked out in the first round Flat out cold still on the way down Knocked out in the first round Fall like bricks but without a sound Knocked out in the first round What I saw when I finally came back to this town Knocked out in the first round So much happened since then but I still can’t live it down Knocked out in the first round Oh … knocked out! ©2017 The Hesh Inc.
Love runs aground A wrenching sound Into the shore like a burning ocean liner Drifting, smoking, ramming into this town What happens to a love that couldn’t get much finer Hellstorm Hellfire Seven days and seven nights just like a bad dream Nobody knows if there will be any survivors Such a senseless end was unforeseen Straight from the wedding They were heading Off to a happy ending But they caught fire out at sea They lost power In the fateful hour Just what went wrong remains a mystery Hellstorm Hellfire The burning hulk beached off the convention hall Destruction meets destruction and the toll rises higher Spectators from the city Come one, come all Is this conflagration The sorry culmination Of a romance everybody said Showed a sea of promise Sha la la It was magic Now it’s tragic Fairy tale love gone become a nightmare Save Our Ship Save Our Survivors Save Our Souls sweet rock’n’roll It was a class act Now it's a sad fact B-movie love affair done gone up in flames Save Our Ship Save Our Survivors Save Our Souls sweet rock’n’roll Love runs aground … ©2017 The Hesh Inc.
Well our love ran aground when the passion engine locked The sudden jolt caused me to bolt and finally take stock Our house was made of glass and you flung that rock And I was shattered by the crash I moved the token of our love from my finger to my pocket I’d love to take it to the lake and shoot it off like a rocket Or maybe I’ll just take it downtown and hock it After all, I could use the cash I tried walking all over the shards of what we used to be But in my blindness and oblivion I stepped on them in my bare feet My soul in exile, trailing my blood in the street Oh those glass memories cut so deep Remember what must be like ancient history How we’d spin up to the cities in search of music and poetry The little lost sheep poet’s son-in-law would turn his own key From an old tradition into a song From the bottom line to the middle east to the castle by the sea From the funky clubs down the aisle on the way to the canopy This time it was to be for real, it was to forever be And you marched on right along I Love You I Love You I Love You Seven Times Round My Soul went the refrain And for snail’s pace time I couldn’t put it on for fear of withdrawal pain My soul in exile, tried crying but no tears came This time nothing remains Well our love running aground It must have been a spectacular sight to see Considering how it blew up like Independence Day fireworks In front of the whole community And speaking of independence I’m taking my time cherishing my newfound liberty Time and money are mine to spend Any which way now that I’m free I’m doing all the things I couldn’t do with you And I’m doing them with such glee You thought I wouldn’t have the guts But that just shows how well you really knew me You think I’ll just sit here and rhapsodize Till I question my sanity But that won’t happen this time, you see I’m through with the dirge and elegy. Well there would have been a time I’d have loaded up my car with all my past mistakes And like a stunt in a movie I’d stick the accelerator to the floor and disconnect the brakes I’d take her up Edgemont And with a figure-eight spin I’d ditch her in the lake As if somehow all that would Eliminate all the pain and dull all the ache Well this time I think I’ll leave all the garbage by the curbside I’ll set all the flotsam at the waterline Let it get taken by the high tide Then I’ll point my car whichever way she’ll go And hit the road for that long, long ride But without you as the rider by my side I have only my faith as a guide My ship runs adrift when cast off from you With nowhere to land, no direction, little hope of rescue My soul is in exile as long as it’s not one with you … ©2017 The Hesh Inc.
We’re gonna buy that old building Make it a national monument Move the music back in and give the old times a new spin Let’s get on with it We’re gonna buy that old building Plaster posters on the walls Gonna party past midnight every night all night We’re gonna have a ball We’re gonna live out our dreams ‘Cause we must persevere We’re gonna be everything we couldn’t be In those years We’re gonna buy that old building Put a recording studio inside We’ll put all our songs on vinyl from first version to final We’ll have the greatest band of all time We’re gonna buy that old building Gonna dig in real deep Fix the leaks, clean the floors, all the windows and doors We’ll be playing for keeps We’re gonna rebuild the glory ‘Cause we can’t let it die And if anybody tells you it can’t be done They’re telling you a lie (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) Just back in time for the renaissance (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) We’re gonna do it right and get a good response (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) Put that carousel where its rightful place is (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) Give this town a reason to live We’re gonna buy that old building Make it what it used to be and more Keep the arcades in place and give the arena a new face The premier spot on the shore We’re gonna buy that old building Shine it up till it gleams Turn on all the lights for 1,001 summer nights Pack it tight till it bursts at the seams We gotta reinstate the crown And bring back the pride We can’t let it all fall into the water There’s too much history inside (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) Don’t demolish what keeps this town alive (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) Don’t let some grandiose plan cloud your eyes (Rock’n’roll chamber of commerce) Don’t bring it all to an end (Rock’n’roll—I tell ya) It’s gonna live, breathe, and jump again. ©2017 The Hesh Inc.
They came to ride the horses, to give them one last spin They came with their cameras to take the last views in They paid their last respects Last-ditch games cashed in, then left Like ex-lovers taking what they had and drifting apart Those who came for fun, they came a bit too late They were met by the ghosts of what was and what could’ve been, undecided by fate The remains of yesterday’s rides Are only rubble to untrained eyes But it’s holy wreckage to the knowing heart A couple of days wandering might be mighty fine In the shadow of the abandoned rollercoaster all covered with vines But if it’s thrills they’re wanting They’re never gonna find it haunting These plowed-over fields that once held the amusement parks They made us big promises, they exploited our dreams All they left us was a skeleton of cracked cement and rusted beams The master plan turned out to be a dud Making progress like a wheel spinning in the mud And there’s no light at the end of the tunnel ‘cause we’re being kept in the dark But there’s four arms straddling fully functional five-star hotel Gleaming and sparkling amidst all the ashes, rising where all fell The tower keeps watch over the wild proceedings like a silent sentinel Waiting for the day that will see the rebuilt carousel With a blessing of hope Well the storm of the century came and beat up on our scene It rose up in a biblical fury and smashed all to smithereens Whatever little remained Was blown by the wind and washed by the rain Say goodbye to this East Coast Eden maybe once and for all And now every year things get progressively worse Like a poem getting more depressing with each successive verse Don’t think what I did isn’t sitting on my mind It’s killing me that I left you behind And sometimes I can’t help but feel that I dropped the ball Baby I know things are gonna get better for us I know things can’t stay this way forever for us There’s gotta be a way to get it all together for us I know there’s gotta be a change in the weather for us ‘Cause the snow’s been falling, the lake’s been frozen way too long And it’s been taking me an eternity just to write you this song But after the long winter the sun’s gonna shine real strong ‘Cause as long as you are, baby, I know not everything was wrong You’re my blessing of hope You’re my blessing of hope. ©2017 The Hesh Inc. For my daughter, Bracha Tikva.


Hesh has been around for many years. When it comes to original music in New Jersey, I can remember as far back as the early ’90s seeing him perform in bars with piano and voice to many approving fans. When you talk to him about his past, his simple answer pretty much tells the story of yet another New Jersey original that not only made an impression but did so as he moved around. I had recently asked him to explain his musical goals, and he had this to say:

“This album is some 20+ years in the making! I began writing the songs when I was still in college up in Boston. The drummer, Izzy, I have known since my high school years, and I would rehearse early versions of the songs in the empty auditorium at the BU Hillel House. Then later, once both he and I were in the New Jersey/New York area, we put a band together and included one of the songs, ‘Love Runs Aground,’ in our regular setlist. Later on, I recorded keys-and-voice-only versions of the songs and put them out as the first ‘Soul In Exile.’ But I always wanted to put them out as full-band versions, and now here they are. Musically and lyrically, though, the songs are not the same as they were in that earlier version. A lot has happened in my life since then, and I rewrote quite a few of the lyrics to reflect that. Some of the music was revised as well, particularly in the song ‘Soul In Exile.'”

So, after speaking with him and getting the CD, I wanted to take a listen and give you my impression on the music, the players and the man behind the musical magic. First of all, I should point out that the cover depicts the wreck of the Morro Castle, a ship that caught fire and ran aground in Asbury Park in September of 1934. The CD cover, created by Natalia Kadish, is a perfect depiction of the aftermath of that tragic fire and the ongoing struggle of a city that has come back from disaster with a whole new set of problems.


Hesh continues to shine bright and create musical gems amongst his peers, and I always look forward to his next musical indulgence. This record not only proves that he still commands presence amongst peers, but it demonstrates the seasoned work of a songwriter with plenty left to say.

~John Pfeiffer, The Aquarian Weekly


released March 10, 2017

Hesh Meister—piano, organ, vocals
Izzy Kieffer—drums
Steve Lopresto—bass
Lane Sparber—electric and acoustic guitars
PK Lavengood—lead guitar
Steve Peckman—saxophone
Danny Flam—all brass

brass/horns arrangement by Izzy Kieffer
additional drums by Steve Honoshowsky

Recorded at Retromedia Sound Studios, Red Bank, New Jersey
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Adam Vaccarelli

Cover art by Natalia Kadish
Art direction and design by Matt Mrowicki/Impression technologies LLC


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The Hesh Inc. New Jersey

Songwriter, performer, keyboard player, beach enthusiast, perpetual transplant, aspiring cult figure.

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