1. Kansas

From the recording Scarce (2006)

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(key of C)
Written Nov. 20, 1999 during a long westward trip across Kansas. If memory serves, I had just played a very discouraging show in eastern Kansas the previous night and my wife and I spent the first couple of hours wiping tears from our eyes as we rolled out onto the great plains discussing the show and, more than likely, our general uncertainty over the future since I had only recently embarked upon a solo career after spending seven years in a budding young acoustic duet. I was, for all intent and purposes, starting over from scratch (yet again). I was young and green and the learning curve was to be a steep one. Hindsight 20/2o.

The final version of this song is quite different from the original. There’s a certain spacial monotony to it that I suppose could be an apt representation of The Sunflower State: the long westward venture begins with eager anticipation of seeing the Rockies gloriously rise above the monotonous drudgery, but by the end of the plains, I’ve grown more than a little weary of their rolling nothingness. It is a parallel to life — birth’s miracle, youth’s exuberant invincibility followed by our fear and loathing of the end of life. But that’s just me; maybe you see things differently….


(Eric Peters, Brent Milligan)

our lives are like Kansas as the wind barrels down
where the fields are forever in the span between towns
we marvel its beginning and we scoff at the end
somewhere in the middle we make our amends
the farmer prays for bounty, the wife for their home
out here is Kansas where it’s hard to live alone

how deep is love
how long and wide
can there be living
when we’re all dried up inside?

power lines melt over yon without trace
clouds slowly funnel into sky’s westward face
one field newly green, the next one burns gold
a heart that is bitter is a heart that grows old
a picket fence with a gate that freely swings wide
out here is Kansas where the groom takes his bride

how deep is love
how long and wide
can there be living
when we’re all dried up inside?