The Great Plains are an Ocean

Great Plains album cover
  1. Carolina
  2. Sand in My Shoes
  3. Put Up Your Hands
  4. Turn to Me
  5. All I’ve Gotten
  6. I Knew Your Name
  7. Nothing to Tell
  8. Another Lie
  9. Sky is Blue
  10. Bright Lights, Big City
  11. Great Plains
  12. Twisting Up a Dream
  13. Sing With Me
  14. Waltz in Quebec


Carolina, where ships go to die
off your outer shores, out of sight, out of mind
you’re first in flight but last in love, empty sky is all you have
you can’t stay there all your life, we all come down

Blue Ridge Mountains—as close as I could get
looked down on a cloud, still earthbound at the end
you’re first in flight but last in love, empty sky is all you have
you can’t stay there all your life, we all come down

I can’t think too clearly under starry Southern nights
and the songs you play they fill my head with light
I’d put up a fight but we know you’ve already one
without a drop of moonshine on my tongue

Carolina, promises unkept
spring was nowhere near, despite everything you said
you’re first in flight but last in love, empty sky is all you have
you can’t stay there all your life, we all come down.

Sand in My Shoes

I don’t wanna die, just live enough to forget
everything I’ve lost and every place I’ve ever left

‘Cause there’s still sand in my shoes from your little seaside town
and there’s still snow in the shape of your shadow on the ground

I don’t wanna lie, just leave enough off the tale
that I tell myself to make it to another day

‘Cause there’s still sand in my shoes from that weekend we left town
and there’s still snow in the shape of your shadow on the ground

Like a leaf pressed between the pages, trapped in another time
just slightly faded, but fragile, here and now, it can’t survive.

I don’t wanna die, just live enough to forget
everyone I’ve lost and everyone I’ve ever left … behind.


Put Up Your Hands

Put up your hands, show me the shape of your heart
tight as a fist, or soft as an open palm
don’t waste my time, don’t waste your breath
it’s what you’ve done, not what you’ve said

You say you’re proud, proud of this world that you’ve built
but when I ask about all the blood that’s been spilled
you hide your mouth, you speak in code
you think you’re smart, but everyone knows

You’re so bulletproof behind the artless walls that leave you blind
but I can see through the charade—you’re so afraid

Put up your hands, show me you’re bound to be free
give me your hand or wait to be swept out to see
need I be kind when the future’s mine?
Your thoughts and prayers won’t turn back the tide

Turn to Me

Take me home, yours or mine, doesn’t matter much to me this time of night
I just need someplace warm, a place to land that’s softer than my lover’s arms

‘Cause when she turns to me, she turns into stone
and when she turns away, I may as well be gone

So tell me true, am I here? Don’t care what I look like long as you can see
that I’m a man, flesh and bone, enough to cast a shadow standing on my own

Will you turn to me before the morning comes
and I turn into a raindrop in the sun?

All I’ve Gotten

I found the past up in the attic of my mind
Covered in dust, deep in a box I thought I’d left behind
And most days it’s easy to look ahead
But some days you can’t even fall out of bed

I found the time, back when you asked me to fly your way
Out to the coast, out where the sun shines every day
And I still remember the things I said
But I still don’t understand what I did

Oh I wish I could say that I’ve learned from my mistakes
So many years have gone, and all I’ve gotten is older

I should’ve lied, I should’ve bared you my heart and soul
Should’ve come clean, should’ve kept playing that empty role
all those songs I sang to you
I still don’t know which words were true

I Knew Your Name

One midnight, the summer I turned seventeen
We shed our clothes and leapt into the great unseen
Little more than strangers, I knew your name
Waiting in your driveway, I’m glad you came

Two windows down, we drove up to the reservoir
Just north of town, but it felt like we had gone so far
the water left me shivering, I called your name
Waiting in the deep, I’m glad you came

Breathless as the day we were born
We both knew how to swim but not to walk
So when the light beams found our faces and said we had to leave
We found our clothes and tripped our way on bare, unsteady feet

One morning, I woke up from a drawn-out dream
I reached for you, but I’d been asleep for many years
My mouth is dry my mind is blank, what was your name?
One thing I’ll remember—I’m glad you came

Nothing to Tell

Sun is loud in the bright of day, makes the sound of time burning away
So I wait to take a breath until the sun has deigned to set

So don’t say, don’t tell me your name and I swear I will do the same
So I can tell you anything or let the quiet between us ring

Tonight, tonight the moon’s an eye nearly all the way shut tight
And even if she could see, she can’t speak, she can’t speak
There’s nothing to tell—nothing to tell

One last puff and kill that flame. Come inside and take the stage
at this modern medicine show. Sing me something I didn’t know

I needed.

Another Lie

Spring is just another lie
Bitter poison, sweet, sweet wine
Fill my cup, burn my tongue
Close my eyes, pretend it’s love

Sun is just a circle in the sky
There’s no warmth in a trick of light
Cool and distant, gone too soon
May as well be the moon

Don’t fall for the river, gleaming in the light
the surface may have melted, still winter deep inside

Bitter poison, sweet, sweet wine
Drowns my doubts every single time
Breathe it in, fill my lungs
Same old song I’ve always sung

Sky is Blue

The sky is a lonely shade of blue, watching the water, waiting for someone to come true
Each broken promise leaves a wake long past when the morning breaks

The sea is a mirror spreading lies. It gives the illusion of depth but soon you will find
all those secrets that you’ve held, you were just keeping from yourself

I have found solid ground
Is just a myth we’re all afraid to doubt
A fairy tale that we can’t live without

The sky is a lovely shade of blue, catches the moonlight and turns into something new
Someday she will see, all she needs to be is be

Bright Lights, Big City

Drinking in a bar on 10th Street, you told me your Big Apple dreams
going down to where the lights are always bright ain’t as hard as it might seem

We’ll leave our cars in someone’s driveway, we won’t need them when we go
say goodbye to this old one-horse town and wake up where it’s never slow

Let’s move down to New York City, you can cut and paste your way
I’ll do whatever I’ve been doing, what do you say?

We won’t talk about the weather or how the leaves are turning blue
We’ll speak our minds to perfect strangers or disappear like lovers do

Let the city take you in its arms, hail a taxi when the rapture comes
watch the sun take off its heavy crown, lift our heads up when the night falls down

Let’s move down to New York City, take a train into its heart
join the dreamers and the cynics, find a place where we can start

Great Plains

The Great Plains are an ocean so calm you’ll never drown
the mountains are a great wave frozen, we won’t live to see come down

You’re asleep, I’m awake. You’re a death, I’m a wake.
You’re a ship sailing through and I’m a wake.

The sky is empty as I am. What I’d give to see a cloud.
I’m searching for a place to land. Hopes are dashed without a sound.

You’re the moon, I’m the tide, I have nowhere to hide.
Like a leaf on the wind, my hands are tied.

Home is where the heart is when it finally stops beating.
Where the silence looms so loud, can’t tell the calm from the whirlwind.

Steel your nerves, steal a map, and if every page is blank
raise your sails, don’t look back, don’t look back.

Twisting Up a Dream

I’m twisting up a dream—this time I’m gonna try to make it last
I’m making room to breathe—tonight and then again when I break fast

Burn my bed—who needs sleep?
Bite my tongue—talk is cheap
Feel a slow, steady beat
Leave my troubles—they’ll keep

I see a little snow—enough to change the city’s silhouette
Highways are closed—in my head’s as far as I can get

I came alone, but you’re all here
Nothing ever truly disappears
The haze it hides and it reveals
The truths you need, need to hear

I’m not flying to forget. I just need a middle distance from it all.
Put away your safety net—I promise I won’t fall

I’m lying in between the way things are and the way that things could be
Waiting in the wings—the words arriving just before I speak

The clouds will part, my path is clear
Mud gives way to spinning wheels
The pictures match the way I feel
It looks so real … so real

Sing With Me

I’m all alone, standing in front of a sea
Of poets and strangers, lovers and judges-to-be
No I am not afraid, the silence is mine to break
The air is a future I can shape

I don’t presume but I have made room for your song
Just say the words, we will know where they belong
The key it is yours to turn, I’ll do my best to learn
Music that I have barely heard

Will you sing with me tonight, our voices like your hand in mine
And if the spotlight’s less than kind, we’ll survive, we’ll be fine

Out on the waves, I am no braver than you
I’m much too old to feel anything but the truth
You don’t need all your strength, just take a deeper breath
Open your eyes and see what’s left

Waltz in Quebec

No, we’re not alone, a city’s a city no matter how small
Or cobblestoned, the cafes are crowded in spite of the fall

So come, let’s take a walk, a couple of strangers who don’t even know how to
talk, save to say “I love you” but that’s all the language that I need today

Take my hand, it’s not Paris or Rome but I know you understand
Take my hand, and let’s dance in this snow globe on the Saint Laurent

It’s cold, but let’s stay awhile in this park right outside our hotel where the moon’s shining bright
on this ring, and the look on your face means we don’t have to say anything.