Copyright © 2017 Kyle Knapp. All rights reserved.

videos …House of Sod Burr Oak Acres

House of Sod - 2007 Sod House Records

Track List (click for lyrics)


  1. Down the River Road
  2. ‘cross the Wide Missouri
  3. the Song that Joe Hears
  4. Daughter of the Snow
  5. Is This Heaven?
  6. Continue On
  7. Barnswallow Dance
  8. Sybil
  9. Mother’s Day
  10. the Road
  11. Desperado
  12. Mercy on Me
  13. House of Sod

Down the River Road

words & music by Kyle Knapp


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


© 2005 Kyle Knapp


 

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'cross the Wide Missouri  

 compiled by Kyle Knapp


(no horses, mules, crickets or other indigenous species were harmed in the recording of this reenactment...)


© 2007 Kyle Knapp


 

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the Song that Joe Hears  

words & music by Kevin Sullivan


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…


© Kevin Sullivan



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Daughter of the Snow  

words & music by Kyle Knapp


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


© 2005 Kyle Knapp


 

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Is This Heaven?

words & music by Kyle Knapp


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


© 1996 Kyle Knapp

 


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Continue On  

words by Bob McDonald,  music by Kyle Knapp


Mama, please don't cry for me

And don't call me your hero

I only did what I had 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

Every word meant something 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


And we will 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


© 1995 Kyle Knapp/Bob McDonald

 


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Barnswallow Dance  

music by Kyle Knapp

© 2006



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Sybil  

words & music by Kyle Knapp


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


© 2006 Kyle Knapp

 

 

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Mother's Day

words & music by Kyle Knapp


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


© 1992 Kyle Knapp

 


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the Road

words & music by Terry Talbot


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 said

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 glum

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 farmland 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


© 1976 Birdwing Music/BMG Songs/Firewind Music

All rights reserved.  Used by Permission

 


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Desperado  

words & music by Don Henley & Glenn Frey


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


© 1973 Cass County Music/Red Cloud Music

All rights reserved.  Used by Permission

 


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Mercy on Me

words & music by Kyle Knapp


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

mercy on me...

mercy on me...


© 2005 Kyle Knapp

 


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House of Sod

words & music by Kyle Knapp

(acknowledgment to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for portions of the 2nd verse)


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


...as it is written, “the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul…”


Consider now the mystery of the gospel, which in generations past was hidden from the sons of men, but is now revealed to you, his saints, with whom God was pleased to share his secret treasure: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He who has ears to hear, let him hear.


Do you not know that you are a temple of the living God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? Therefore I beg you, if you have tasted the Lord’s kindness, offer yourself to him as a living sacrifice, for such offerings are holy and precious in his sight. And all who call upon him shall receive mercy…


© 2006 Kyle Knapp



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“Earth's crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)   …folk/roots/americana stories from the prairie - nostalgia, midwest history, songs from the heart


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 folk collection, with a hint of "country" flavor





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Play Samples Below:

“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.  House of Sod 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 (more…)