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Fifteen Years

by John Michael Hersey

Released 2017
Released 2017
John Michael Hersey is a singer/songwriter known for his sophisticated yet accessible melding of rock, pop, folk, blues and country. Hersey is first and foremost a storyteller, one who happens to play a mean guitar.
  • 04:06 Story Lyrics Like a Vagabond

    Down in the darkness I stowed away

    A tempest is brewing I heard someone say

    It goes on

    Like a vagabond


    The captain is crazy, the crew is drunk

    We’re taking on water but still we ain't sunk

    It goes on

    Like a vagabond


    I can't stop the wind

    I can't the tide

    I have no idea when the waves will subside

    High in the crow's nest

    I'm sure they must know

    But here in the hold

    I'm just going with the flow


    I thought I did hear as the thunder did crash

    A lifeboat loosened and dropped with a splash

    It goes on

    Like a vagabond


    Now all the sailors in rocket-ship cars

    Are setting their sights on the shores of the stars

    It goes on

    Like a vagabond

  • 03:05 Magic Magic
  • 02:44 Story Lyrics Strange Strange Sea

    When up is down and black is white

    When up is down and black is white

    When good is bad and wrong is right

    I’m just a sailor upon the sea

    Just a sailor upon the sea

    And it’s a strange, strange sea my God has made for me


    Last night I sat watching the news on my TV

    Last night I sat watching the news on my TV

    There was death and destruction but the Mets won 5 to 3

    I’m just a sailor upon the sea

    Just a sailor upon the sea

    And it’s a strange, strange sea my God has made for me


    I hope you’re watching

    Whatever you are

    Maybe things look clearer

    From upon your star

    But here below it’s just me

    And this strange, strange sea


    It’s us and them and me and you

    It’s us and them and me and you

    It’s Christian and Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist and Jew

    And I’m a sailor upon the sea

    Just a sailor upon the sea

    And it’s a strange, strange sea my God has made for me


  • 04:54 The Color of My Skin
  • 02:25 Here in the Middle
  • 04:54 Story Lyrics The Storm Sometimes

    Sometimes I'm floating

    Sometimes I'm free

    Sometimes the shadows

    Don't bother me

    Sometimes the rain

    Is soft and warm

    Sometimes I lay awake at night

    And listen to the storm


    There among the clouds

    That's where I want to be

    Falling to the river

    And flowing out to sea

    Sometimes I can feel it

    My heart is in my head

    Like when I'm lying breathless, baby

    Warm inside your bed


    Thunder shakes the windows

    Echoes in my soul

    It's mine to have and hold



    There, there that was it

    That was it there

    That powerful, blooming feeling

    That caught me unaware

    Sometimes I can see it

    Out the corner of my eye

    A strobe light to creation

    A flash across the sky




    Sometimes there is rhythm

    There is harmony in my heart

    Sometimes there's a dance

    Of which I am a part

    Sometimes time is

    Unfolding as it should

    Sometimes I feel good




    Sometimes I'm searching

    And sometimes I find

    Just what I'm needing

    To free up my mind

    Most times I'm waiting

    For the time to be right

    Sometimes this crazy storm

    Just has me staying up all night





  • 07:09 Brave New Man
  • 05:54 Times Arrow
  • 03:45 Story Lyrics One Track Mind

    I keep thinking about you, baby

    I can’t sleep thinking about you, baby

    In so deep thinking about you, baby

    I got a one-track mind


    Every night

    And every single day

    I’ve got a singular fascination

    That just won’t go away

    You stole my heart

    But it’s a victimless crime

    Cause just the thought of you

    Has me smiling all the time




    Before you

    Turned my world around

    I had a bad preoccupation

    With the love I never found

    I thought I was

    The loneliest boy on earth

    I felt my life had no meaning, no worth


    But you came along

    And convinced me I was wrong

    Even made me write this song

    You turned my hell about-face

    Into a place I call heaven

    Now twenty-four seven





  • 02:51 Clowns Cry Too
  • 03:41 You Don't Care
  • 04:27 Another Night
  • 03:07 The Skin I'm In
  • 03:47 One
FIFTEEN YEARS is a selection of previously unreleased recordings from 1986 to 2001 featuring the evolving singing, guitar playing and songwriting of John Michael Hersey.

“Like a Vagabond” and “Magic, Magic” were recorded in 1986 at NYU and feature Katherine Bescherer on guitar and vocals, Kurt Gundersen on bass, Dore Abrams on piano and Adam Weber on drums. “Strange, Strange Sea,” (co-written with John Carney and Michael Vassaras) “The Color of My Skin” and “Here in the Middle” (co-written with Vassaras) were recorded at Harold Desau Recording in NYC in 1988 and feature Peter Millrose on keyboards, Al Cohen on bass and Tass Filipos on drums. “The Storm Sometimes,” “Brave New Man” and “Time’s Arrow” were recorded at Waterfront Studios in Hoboken, NJ in 1991 and feature Millrose on keyboards, Randy Gilmore on sax, Darren Solomon on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums. “One Track Mind,” (co-written with David Sykes and William “Prez” Tyus) “Clowns Cry Too,” “You Don’t Care,” (both co-written with Tyus) “Another Night,” (co-written with Sykes and Tyus) “The Skin I’m In” (co-written with Jack Kolkmeyer and Tyus) and “One” (co-written with Sykes and Tyus) were recorded at DSP in NYC between 1999 and 2001 and feature David Sykes on keyboards, Bob DesJardins on bass and John DiGiulio on drums.

The front cover photo was taken by Georgia Popplewell and the back cover photo by Ettore Toppi. All tracks were master by Rich Gaglia.

Hersey has released seven other albums of original material: Soup Du Jour (1999), Whirligig (2003), Mr. Lucky [with Speedo and the Cadillacs] (2004), How Am I Here? (2007), Adirondack (2014), You Got to Me (2016) and Personal Belongings (2017).

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