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House of Sod

by Kyle Knapp

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    "Earth's crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God" (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

    In the 1800's, European settlers in the American heartland were often faced with a shortage of building materials. So they cut out blocks of prairie earth and stacked them up like oversized bricks, building "sod houses" to live in.

    Kyle Knapp's newest and most heartfelt project, "House of Sod", a bit rootsier than his previous "Refugee" release, makes use of this historical motif to explore such themes as the changing seasons of life, the wonders of nature, spirituality expressed through simplicity of heart, perseverance and courage through death and loss, humility and repentance, and the mysterious interactions between the divine and the physical "real" world. The title track compares the sod houses of American antiquity with the creation story of Genesis, in which God forms man from the earth, building a "sod house" for his own Spirit to live in.

    Stellar session performances by Tim Hosper (bass & slide guitar), Chris Peterson (fiddle), Greg Lowry (accordion and lap steel) and others complement Kyle's own vocal and acoustic guitar work, resulting in a simple yet full and engaging collection, with a hint of "country" flavor.

    Players:
    Kyle Knapp: Acoustic guitars, vocals (plus some bass guitar, whistling, percussion, jug...)
    Tim Hosper: Slide guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, bg vocals
    Chris Peterson: Violin
    Greg Lowry: Accordion, lap-steel guitar
    Kevin Hall: Drums & percussion
    Michael Rubin: Harmonica
    Kirk Williams: Bg vocals, bass guitar
    Mike Evans: Drums, Percussion, "Sod Shanty" vocal
    Landa Taylor-Thompson: Percussion
    Erin Onkka: "Mystery of the Gospel" voiceover
    Russ Goldstein: "Sod Shanty" harmonica, guitar and bg vocal

    Produced by Kyle Knapp, Bruce Newman, & Tim Hosper
    Engineered (mostly) at Barnstormers, Austin TX, by Bruce Newman
    Mixed by Kyle Knapp at Dry Creek Studio, Omaha
    Mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Studio B
    Home-grown in the fertile prairie soil

    For full lyrics, reviews and more, visit www.kyleknapp.com/houseofsod
    For Kyle's other albums visit www.kyleknapp.com/disco.htm

    Includes unlimited streaming of House of Sod via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

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1.
Walk a mile to a magic place down the river road Where ten years old seems like yesterday Cross the creek 'til you find a place Down a path lined with chicory and Queen Anne's Lace Where you disappear without a trace Until it's time to go Down the River road It's a wonderland of innocence all my own But the girl next door used to go with me there sometimes And there was music everywhere underneath the sky The crickets' song and the droning of the dragonflies As we tasted young love while the sun was high And our hearts were free Down the river road Well everything changes - innocence gets lost Still you long for a place lost in time lost in time... We landed the moon and the river road became an interstate I guess that's progress in the real world But it's hard to hear the oriole's call Over freeways and cell phones and shopping malls There's a scent of a dream I can almost recall If I let my mind wander Down the river road
2.
3.
Joe, bring the hearse around For my Mary’s heaven-bound It’s been ten years since we were married Too soon to lay her in the ground Seven children show our love I guess one more was one too much But life is hard here on the prairie We’ll put our trust in God above I remember when I first saw Mary Picking wildflowers in the rye But those flowers are all dead now And heavy snow is in the sky Heavy snow, bury me Wash away my misery Got no time for pain and sorrow Still gotta raise a family Still gotta raise a family…
4.
When Bill & Rachel Snowden staked their claim in Omaha July of 1854 Rachel might have been the last white woman for a thousand miles Men would gather just to see her smile Tell me Rachel, why did you come here? What took you so far from your home? The first few lonely winters in this dusty frontier town Would've brought an ordinary woman low Daughter of the snow As the cabin they called home became St. Nicholas Hotel Sometimes she served a hundred meals a day You can hear her pots a-clangin' to announce the noonday meal One thing you never heard was her complain Rachel, what was it called you from the folks you loved To make this cold Nebraska sod your home? Was fragile femininity a thing you left behind To build a life where few would dare to go? Daughter of the snow A hundred-fifty years gone by erodes a memory A sprawling city barely knows your name And the debt that's owed to you most likely will not be repaid But then I reckon it was not for thanks you came The reaper finally had his way in 1899 Rachel's bones are resting up on Prospect Hill But her spirit is still with us living in the legacy Of a proud heart the prairie could not kill Tell me Rachel, why did you come here To make this unforgiving place your home? You can plead your case to history, but it's a fickle judge I know Is a graven marker all you'll have to show If you could see your homestead now, half a million strong I wonder, was it worth the price you paid? With your husband and your children, leaving everything you'd known To make this Nebraskaland your own Daughter of the snow
5.
Riding into tomorrow, or west on highway 20 Life can be a lonely road Where the frozen fields lay fallow, and a few naked trees Shiver in December’s cold My heart is cold and empty, like those gray clouds above As darkness settles in for the night When my eyes are drawn westward, where the land meets the sky And suddenly the clouds begin to ignite Is this tomorrow’s birth or yesterday’s funeral pyre? The Iowa sky is on fire Is this Heaven? Does Jesus live here? Has eternity finally begun? Is this Heaven, where the night’s born again In the last dying gasp of the sun? I’m bound to the land, but my soul’s lifted higher Where the sky is on fire Can you live in a day? Can you capture a moment? Can you hold it in the palm of your hand? Though I can’t comprehend it, I know somehow we’re connected To our Maker, to the sky and the land But don’t look to the sky for the kingdom of Heaven It’s among you, I heard Jesus say But when his glory’s revealed to a heart that is open I know Heaven can’t be too far away Is this Heaven? Am I really here? Please don’t tell me how long I can stay Is this Heaven, where the clouds are ablaze In the cold, crimson dregs of the day I’m bound to the land, but my soul’s lifted higher Where the sky is on fire The road is dark now, the vision has passed But a part of it somehow remains This creature of dust has touched something beyond And I know that I can’t stay the same Is this Heaven? Am I really here? Please don’t tell me how long I can stay Is this Heaven, where the night’s born again In the last dying gasp of the day? The Iowa sky is on fire, Heaven’s smiling on me I’m bound to the land, but my soul’s lifted higher Where the sky is on fire
6.
Continue On 04:05
Mama, please don't cry for me And don't call me your hero I only did what I was paid to Though it's a tragic way to go And Dad, I hope you remember All those talks you had with me I want to let you know right now Each one meant something special to me Continue on, don't let your world come to an end Continue on, the Lord will help your sad hearts mend Continue on, there's still a future for your life Continue on, continue on To those I worked with side by side Thank you for the times we had We always knew this day might come While protecting the good from bad Continue on, don't let your world come to an end Continue on, the Lord will help your sad hearts mend Continue on, there's still a future for your life Continue on, continue on This is for the lives I've touched With my life, or with my death I just urge you all to carry on And trust the good Lord knows what's best And to my family of the shield Past, present, and to come We pledge to lay our lives down For all, not just for some Continue on, don't let your world come to an end Continue on, the Lord will help your sad hearts mend Continue on, there's still a future for your life Continue on, continue on
7.
(instrumental)
8.
Sybil 04:23
Sybil puts her boots on And crunches through October’s cast-off clothing The wind says Autumn’s over, but her heart still holds the Spring She walks out on a cold November morning As the snowflakes gently fall And kiss the frosty face of the dawn But no one seems to notice Another mystic moment come and gone The days are growing longer Sybil struggles to shake off Winter’s chill Will her passion be awakened As April’s ardent sky draws the dewy drapes of evening To make love to the trembling earth And kiss the blushing cheeks of twilight But no one seems to notice Eternal secrets whispered in the night Fragile fruits are waiting to be tasted, Sybil So stay with me awhile We’ll savor Summer’s golden glory As all creation reaches To touch the tender tears on God’s face But does anybody notice The mystery unveiled in his embrace? All creation reaches To kiss the tender tears on God’s face Lift up your face in wonder Mysteriously lost in his embrace
9.
Mother's Day 03:54
In that moment of passion, I wonder if you knew that destiny was in the room Or that seeds of the future had been planted and conceived within your womb I thank the Lord above that I'm alive and free To bless the woman who gave life to me and my family There was one who fed me, who nurtured me along the rough and ragged road of youth The tongue that scolded me, the hand that dried my tears The heart that helped me see the truth that life would not be easy, but remember when I'm grown If I share the love she showed me, I'd never be alone I'd never be alone As generations roll on, will they remember those who sustained them on the way? As my children, and their children, come into their own I hope that I will hear them say I thank the Lord above that I'm alive and free To bless the woman who gave life to me and my family I thank the Lord above that I'm alive and free To bless the woman who gave life to me and my family We're a family We're a family
10.
The Road 04:56
I saw them standing by the road Around a bus, rusted and old I picked them up, they numbered 3 to 5 Please take us home, the oldest sighed Now the sorrow in his voice Left me with no other choice And I could tell by the way they shyly sinned Where they were going, I’d already been They were like the flowers bent by the breeze Growing by the highways, the ones you never see Like living in the shallow pavement cracks They come from the city, they said they ain’t never goin’ back Lord, Lord, see the children grow Give me the light to let them know I wanna tell ‘em ‘bout Jesus, before they go on home I saw her standing by the road She could not have been more than a mere 14 years old I picked her up, her eyes were numb Please take me home, they seemed to hum Her hair grew long over sun-touched skin And she seemed much stronger than the others had been And we talked all night, talked time again And where she was going, I’d already been She was like the flowers bent by the breeze Growing in the meadows, the ones you never see Like living in the fallow farmin' tracts She come from the country, she said she ain’t never goin’ back Lord, Lord, see the children grow Give me the light to let them know I wanna tell ‘em ‘bout Jesus, before they go on home Where will they go? How will they know? Who will they be? It’s up to you and me
11.
Desperado 03:31
Desperado, why don't you come to your senses? You've been out ridin' fences for so long now Oh, you're a hard one, I know that you've got your reasons But those things that are pleasin' you can hurt you somehow Don't you draw the queen of diamonds boy, she'll beat you if she's able You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet Now it seems to me, some fine things have been laid upon your table But you only want the ones that you can't get Desperado, I know you ain't gettin' younger Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home And freedom, oh freedom , ha! That's just some people talkin' Your prison is walkin' through this world all alone Don't your feet get cold in the winter time? The sky won't snow and the sun don't shine It's hard to tell the nighttime from the day You're losin' all your highs and lows, ain't it funny how the feeling goes away? Desperado, why don't you come to your senses? Come down from your fences, open the gate It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you You better let somebody love you, before it's too late
12.
Mercy on Me 06:38
I came to this land in the spring of 1885 With my wife and three kids, a sack of wheat, And a dream as big as the Dakota sky But the crop failed, the well ran dry, and locusts ate everything that the Sun didn't scorch away And left me nothing but shame to show for all the dues that I'd paid And like a band of accusers surrounding the place where I stand As my aspirations all crumble to dust in my hand My pioneer pride laughs at me, like the failure I am Oh Lord, have mercy on me... When I was just seventeen, the Almighty called me to preach the Gospel of old I proclaim words of truth, but somehow my heart has grown cold “Sinners, repent!” I thunder, but sometimes it feels I’m just acting a part And each finger I point sends three right back at my own malignant heart And like a band of accusers surrounding the place where I stand As all my self-righteousness turns to blood on my hands A jury of pride and mockery, to decide who I am Oh Lord, have mercy on me... The story’s told of two men who went up to the temple to pray The first said “I’m not like that other guy, guess I must be okay” The 2nd said with tears in his eyes, “it’s true, I know the kind of man I am today” Only one went home justified… which one am I? Which one am I? Everyone on Wall Street was wailing, it was a Tuesday in 1929 But I made a fortune buying up their losses, ha! Those fools were so blind Now I live in luxury and ease, in an empire only I control Master of all I survey… why so little peace in my soul? And like a band of accusers surrounding the place where I stand Where my pockets are full, but there’s nothing of worth in my hand My earthly subjects mock their king, “He’s just a man!” Oh Lord, have mercy on me And like a band of accusers surrounding the place where I stand Lay the crimes of my heart and the unrighteous deeds of my hands Is there nothing good in me? No, I know what I am… Oh Lord, have mercy on me
13.
House of Sod 04:33
Some see the father’s glory in the mountains and the deep Crashing waters call his name Silent stones his confidences keep For some the mighty waves are where his hand is seen But here, on the Great Plains, The God of all creation speaks to me… Lord of the prairie, keeper of my soul Entrusting to this simple heart the mystery of old You chose to make the dwelling place of God In this house of sod Seldom do we see beyond this temporal façade Yet Earth is crammed with Heaven And every common bush afire with God I witness and remove the sandals from my feet As here, on the Great Plains, The God of all creation speaks to me… Lord of the prairie, Lord of my heart To be with me you left behind your palace in the stars And chose to make the dwelling place of God In this house of sod

about

"Earth's crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God" (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

In the 1800's, European settlers in the American heartland were often faced with a shortage of building materials. So they cut out blocks of prairie earth and stacked them up like oversized bricks, building "sod houses" to live in.

Kyle Knapp's newest and most heartfelt project, "House of Sod", a bit rootsier than his previous "Refugee" release, makes use of this historical motif to explore such themes as the changing seasons of life, the wonders of nature, spirituality expressed through simplicity of heart, perseverance and courage through death and loss, humility and repentance, and the mysterious interactions between the divine and the physical "real" world. The title track compares the sod houses of American antiquity with the creation story of Genesis, in which God forms man from the earth, building a "sod house" for his own Spirit to live in.

Stellar session performances by Tim Hosper (bass & slide guitar), Chris Peterson (fiddle), Greg Lowry (accordion and lap steel) and others complement Kyle's own vocal and acoustic guitar work, resulting in a simple yet full and engaging collection, with a hint of "country" flavor.

For full lyrics, reviews and more, visit www.kyleknapp.com/houseofsod
For Kyle's other albums visit www.kyleknapp.com/disco.htm

credits

released July 1, 2007

Players:
Kyle Knapp: Acoustic guitars, vocals (plus some bass guitar, whistling, percussion, jug...)
Tim Hosper: Slide guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, bg vocals
Chris Peterson: Violin
Greg Lowry: Accordion, lap-steel guitar
Kevin Hall: Drums & percussion
Michael Rubin: Harmonica
Kirk Williams: Bg vocals, bass guitar
Mike Evans: Drums, Percussion, "Sod Shanty" vocal
Landa Taylor-Thompson: Percussion
Erin Onkka: "Mystery of the Gospel" voiceover
Russ Goldstein: "Sod Shanty" harmonica, guitar and bg vocal

Produced by Kyle Knapp, Bruce Newman, & Tim Hosper
Engineered (mostly) at Barnstormers, Austin TX, by Bruce Newman
Mixed by Kyle Knapp at Dry Creek Studio, Omaha
Mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Studio B
Home-grown in the fertile prairie soil

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about

Kyle Knapp Omaha, Nebraska

Kyle looks at life as a sojourn rather than a destination, of which his songs and stories are a patchwork illustration. Life is a journey; music is a vehicle.

Sometimes gleefully flat-picking, sometimes softly finger-picking, sometimes strumming feverishly, Kyle Knapp combines his skill as a singer-songwriter with his passion as a storyteller to engage his listeners in a journey to the soul.
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