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Honor the Father

by The Restoration

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Narrator: Sheriff Glen Elewine, 1954 “There’s something in the woods.” They’ve been sayin’ that a good long time. Since before I pinned this badge onto this shirt, The stories have been comin’ down the line. There’s been talk about animal sacrifice, Blood rituals— A family that keeps pagan rites— A threat to good Christian Lexington-ites. I hear them in the churches singing “Hallelujah”. Now, I think myself a Godly man, But a sheriff can’t make service every Sunday. My sanctum was always an empty road— Until the Sunday that little boy ran from the woods in tattered clothes. I stopped my car and he came to me, yelling, “I woke up to my momma screaming Daddy’s hands—his knife—he pushed it down— Down— And Momma, she quit moving.” The boy, he told me he had run, And behind him heard his sister yelling curses, Choked out by the distance he had come. Well, as I locked my car and followed him into the woods off Highway 1, I thought, Some folks say they’ll pray for me and other ones, they wish me luck. Well, either way, I know I’m gonna need it.
Sweet Talker 02:10
Narrators: Roman Bright, Diana Colly, 1937 Roman: I was so blue ‘Til I met you. D-D-Diana, could I trouble you—(hiccup!)—for a dance? Diana: No thank you, Roman, I am not looking for romance. Roman: Alrighty, well I guess I’ll go give that apple bobbin’ a chance... I’d like to sweet talk her, ‘til she’s sweet on me. I’d like to sweet talk her, but that never works for me. Tiny Snellgrove: Say there Roman, man she can’t keep sayin’ no to you all night. Roman: Well, Tiny, you know I—I don’t want to be a pushy guy— God help me, who’s that guy touching her dress, holding her hand— I think they’re going to dance! Tiny: Don’t flip your lid! You gotta sweet talk her. Roman: I’m gonna sweet talk her, ‘til she’s sweet on me. I’m gonna sweet talk her her, ‘til she’s sweet on me. Pastor Greg Pope: Say kids, save some room for the Holy Spirit!
I'll Stay 01:47
Narrator: Diana Colly Bright, 1940 Roman, I can’t say why I let you dance with me When you knew only the wrong things to say. It was funny, heaven knows, But I felt sorry, so I stayed. I fell for your sheepish grin—the way you’d squeeze my hand And stare at me like I might float away. There were tears too, I suppose. But I loved you, so I stayed. A wedding— A new town— A cottage in the woods— Our little wall to keep the wicked world away. You’re difficult, you know, But you love me, so I’ll stay.
Narrator: Roman Bright, 1941 - 1953 You’re a dream— I’ll say it again; you’re a dream. I’m the man who gave you that little ring. When we wed I gave you my name And promised to always know what’s best for you In sickness and in pain. I was taught to follow the old ways. Honey, I want to follow the old ways. We’re gonna follow the old ways. My father was a good man— With an iron hand. He was good. He was good. He was good. He was good. I was bad. I learned to honor the Father and suffer like the Son. Eat his body, drink his blood, we are the Chosen Ones. We’re the last good family, I tell you, and we’re gonna be the last ones. Keep it clean— I’ll say it again; Keep it clean. When you bleed, I say it’s a sin When it comes, you will stay in the hut (for seven days and nights) and When it comes, a curse on everything you touch. When I lay with you Let nothing block my seed. And when the babies come, we’ll burn the lambs to make you clean. My children, these are the last days Because the wicked ignored the old ways. This is the only way that we can be together when it’s all over. The twentieth century is gonna— It’s gonna be the last one.
Leaves 03:52
Narrator: Diana Colly Bright, 1954 No more leaves onto this ground. The Lord gave us a daughter and a son And I once knew a way to love you. You came to me and said we’d have a son. You touched my belly and named him Jonah. When he came you wept as you held him. But you brought him up with a stern hand, And I convinced myself that pain was a virtue. We moved to these woods to learn to read God’s law, But you showed me what you read in it was all that mattered. Through our little girl I finally saw, That I’d let you act as a prophet and a jailer. You sang songs with her on your shoulders, But you forced your law when her blood came. And I realized I’d brought my children into suffering. No more spilling in the dust, The blood of the ones I love. When you come for me I will not bear the seed Of another soul for you to crush. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed but in the end the only thing that stopped you was a cold, little, rubber disk.
The Trial 05:56
Narrator: Sheriff Glen Elewine, 1954 The boy’s blue sneakers crunched the leaves. Briars pulled my socks and pricked into my ankles. The sounds of cars were swallowed by the trees. As we reached a canebrake the boy began to pick up speed. Through the cane there came a light, The smell of coffee, Then a clearing and a cottage; In a deck chair, a man with closed eyes. He heard our footsteps and said, “my son, sometimes it hurts to do what’s right.” I asked about his wife and girl. He startled, then he struck a gaze that never wavered. He walked me to a crude, perfumed hut. To its side were two mounds marked with rocks, freshly dug. I pulled my cuffs, and I thought, Some folks say they’ll pray for me; and other ones, they wish me luck. Well, either way, I know I’m gonna need it. When the case finally went to trial The talk of justice in the town had reached a fever. Sermons preached of false gods exercised. But as he took the stand, I saw conviction in his eyes. Circuit Judge M. Cramner: “Roman Cyprus Bright, you’ve been charged with participating in witchcraft, culminating in bizarre acts of subjugation against your wife and daughter and two counts of murder in the first degree. How do you plead?” Roman: “Not guilty! See, In Genesis 3:16, God said to the sinner Eve, ‘Your husband shall rule over thee’ And I’ve followed that to the letter. (Leviticus 15:19-30, Leviticus 12, Luke 2:22-40) As God struck Onan down for spilling his seed on the ground, (Genesis 38:1-10) I only followed his design when I found my wife spilling mine. And when my daughter cursed my name (Matthew 15:4, Leviticus 20:9) and put the Word of God to blame (Leviticus 24:16), I kept the Law, like Abraham, but God did not stop my hand—and she stopped breathing. (Genesis 22) Set against my child and spouse, revealed as foes in my own house, I’ve proved my love for Him devout. Hallelujah.” (Matthew 10:34-39) When they sentenced Roman Bright to die he cried out, “Am I the only one who follows every line Of this book we call Divine? You hypocrites! False witnesses! Your faith is just a shallow lie!” They took him out, but he screamed: “Hallelujah!” Some folks say they’ll pray for me, and other ones, they wish me luck Well, either way, I know I’m gonna need it.
Father 03:03
Narrator: Jonah Bright, 1963 All I ever wanted was to grow to be The image of you, Father, the sum of your beliefs. But how can I believe there’s good in where you’ve gone? How can I find comfort in family and home? I have learned so many things you never knew, That this stone feels eternal between me and you. You taught me that the Spirit reveals the Truth Divine. How could it be that your truth was so different from mine? When I have my own boy I will make him strong. He will feel my hand guide him away from wrong. When I find a woman, I will make her see, The warmth that’s in my heart, the goodness that’s in me. ‘Cause I’m gonna sweet talk her, ‘til she’s sweet on me. I’m gonna sweet talk her, ‘til she’s sweet on me.


An exploration of the subjective bias of religious radicalism, Honor the Father explores the courtship of Diana Colly and Roman Bright, a couple united by mutual longing for spiritual enlightenment and escape from the modernizing world of the 1940s South.

A decade later, married and sequestered in the woods of Lexington, South Carolina, the couple's diverging literalistic interpretations of the Bible brew a violent confrontation, thrusting the reclusive Roman Bright into a public court trial. Lexington's devoutly Christian townsfolk, having misinterpreted the Brights' observance of obscure Biblical rituals as Paganism, are hungry for symbolic justice.

Crowded into a small county courtroom, the town awaits Roman's statement to the jury, and a judgement that affirms the righteousness of their god.


released November 9, 2012

Produced by Stephen Russ, Daniel Machado
Engineered & mixed by Collin Derrick
Mastered by Tim Hall


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The Restoration Columbia, South Carolina

We write concept albums about the American South.

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