Tell the Truth

Story Behind The Song

Mike Kuhl and I had a writing session in which we were focusing on writing blues material for my then up-coming CD. He had the hook and most of the chorus for it, I loved the idea and so composed the music and added lyrics with him.

Song Description

I marvel at the symmetric nature of the "blues man" and the preacher man. Both have driving forces that the layman thinks is Good vs. Evil. I mean, the very duality in human nature is expressed in the blues, and this is what I was feeling when I wrote Tell the Truth. I broke out of a box of conformity, I cut up my credit cards, I quit cable, I sold my comfortable home, and moved into a smaller space to live within my means. The illusion went away and the blues moved in to stay. I became a pilgrim of the blues and my partner and producer, Liz Ficalora, and I went to the Delta. We went down to Clarksdale. I had to go. I went to see the first one-strand in the Delta Museum. It's the first slide guitar! Muddy Water's original cabin is reconstructed, and on the outside was the one-strand. I felt like I had seen the Holy Grail. So as I continued writing the songs for the album, I started to express and focus on the inequalities in my own life, as I experienced them. I wrote the song "Sticks and Stones" after someone told me they hated me because I was gay. What do you say to that? The story "Change" came when Mike Kuhl had seen a homeless veteran downtown and he didn't need just loose change, he needed real change in his life and the societal attitudes of homeless people. I just started listening to the sounds of oppression, and giving it a voice. It's not unique, but it was a first for me. I usually write "to the solution," but this time I wasn't afraid to see my shadow side and embrace it.

Song Length 3:12 Genre Blues - Delta, Blues - Rock
Tempo Medium Fast (131 - 150) Lead Vocal Female Vocal
Mood In High Spirits, Passive Subject Life, Philosophy
Similar Artists The Pretenders, Melissa Etheridge Language English
Era 2000 and later


Behind every sinner there's a sin;
Behind every winner there's a win;
Behind every mystery there's a clue,
all you gotta do, all you gotta do
is tell the truth

Behind every rhyme there's a reason;
Behind every traitor there's a treason;
Behind every Lincoln there's a Booth
all you gotta do, all you gotta do
is tell the truth

Tell the truth - there's no use lying to me
Sing your blues - and the blues will set you free;
Don't wanna be a fountain of misinformation
I'm a trustworthy source
unlike those country stations
that no longer play the blues
that tell the truth


Behind every Johnson there's a crossroads;
Behind every Bonnie there's a T-Bone;
Behind every curtain there's a debut
waiting for the dance
any kind of chance to
Tell the Truth

Lyrics Mike Kuhl/ Jill Sissel Music Jill Sissel
Producer Liz Ficalora Publisher Hyland Lake Music (ASCAP) Smoke Ring Music (ASCAP)
Performance Jill Sissel
Clean Clean

Clean Clean

Artist Name
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