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This song was written before the idea of the project was hatched. I had recently read James L. Swanson’s “Manhunt” about the Lincoln assassination and the capture of John Wilkes Booth, and Sarah Vowell’s “Assassination Vacation”, a humorous travelogue concerning our Presidential assassinations and those inspired this song and eventually the whole EP. All of these songs were love songs written from the perspective of the assassin and this was John Wilkes Booth’s song. He was supposedly engaged to Lucy Hale, daughter of abolitionist Senator John Parker Hale. It could be suspected that Booth was using Lucy Hale to gain access to various Union politicians in order to plan sabotage and assassination. And honestly, that’s probably it, but in these songs the assassins are the heroes and they genuinely love their subject.

An important side note is that several lines are stolen from “Maryland, My Maryland” written by James Ryder Randall in 1861. This is the official state song of Maryland and I’m just acknowledging the theft before anyone accuses me of it.

This was the first new song that Ron was working on when I joined the band. I remember going over the song segments with Ron and Seth, finding my part and getting comfortable with going into 3/4 time on the chorus. My introduction to the band before we had a name other than Ron Freeman.

I still remember the first time we tracked the demo for this song. It was the summer of 2008, shortly before I moved to Columbus, and it was just me, Ron, and Seth recording around one mic. I knew then this song was something special, so as we started working on it for the EP. It just gained more life and now is such a rich song. It was fun learning to play drums for it, as was playing the couple of guitars on it. The tempo is interesting in the chorus, too, and to make sure we had the timing correct going into them, I had a few count-offs in the song to help us out. Ironically, it felt like it was the easiest song to record, possibly due to the fact it is such a likable song. Not that the other songs aren't; it's just that there will always be a favorite, and this one happens to be. One of the last additions to the song that I suggested were the extra background vocals in the choruses, so this song is one of two sung by all of us in the band.

This was the first song that Ron presented for this EP. Probably the most memorable part of this song was learning the interesting time signatures in the chorus and coming out of the bridge. We spent literally hours of rehearsal trying to get everyone onboard with it. Then one day it just clicked and now it feels very natural. We lost a drummer in the process, but hey, that happens. Besides that this was the first song with the new incarnation of the Ron Freeman Group where the vocals really came together as a vital part of the band.


Hold my useless hands
Close to your chest
Pictures you might find
In the pockets of my vest
Please don’t get upset
Please don’t get upset
They are all actresses compared to you

Always to tyrants we’ll sing
As the song of Maryland rings
The despot’s heel is on the shore
And he holds his torch at the temple door
We’ll light the streets of Baltimore

I love you, Lucy Hale (x3)
Do you love me too?

The sound of a drive-in film
Comes through on the AM dial
The engine burns in your driveway
And we listen for a while
Please don’t get upset
Please don’t get upset

We’ll burst these tyrant chains
As your sister watches from the window pane
Your mother’s standing at the door
And your father’s boots pace the floor
We’ll light the streets of Baltimore


I can see you on the grass, watching all the cars pass
From a folding chair outside, with a blanket overtop your thighs
On just another Thursday night
The campfire’s burning…
The sweetest words I ever wrote
We’re written on the back of an envelope
You’re reading by the firelight
Everyone else is getting high
Tomorrow all the schools are closed
No one tells us where to go
You’re reading by the firelight
Everyone else is getting high



from Assassins EP, track released November 16, 2010
Ron Freeman: lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Chris Vogt: drums, guitars, vocals
Seth Ellsworth: mandolin, violin, shaker, vocals
Bruce Kline: bass, vocals
Savannah Kocher: harmony vocal
Sharon Udoh: keyboards, vocals
Bill Pratt: pedal steel guitar



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