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Big Oak

by Big Oak

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    Album download comes with a couple bonus tracks (they're nothing big) and printouts for a DIY CD Sleeve and Lyrics Booklet

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This is our first album. During the making of this project, we learned a lot about recording thanks to the guidance of Kylie Buddin at United Action for Youth. Unfortunately, at the end of the process, we lost all of the project files to our songs except "Mount Shroud". This kept us from adding some minor tracks to some songs and mixing others to optimize their sound quality. Luckily, we had saved earlier versions, but they are not perfect. Some songs were closer to being finished than others, but we've tried our best to tweak them in a way that brings them together into a solid whole album. So that being said, we are proud to present to you our debut album.


released August 12, 2016

Joe Feldmann: Lead vocals, guitars, piano, banjo, erhu, harmonium, jaw harp, stylophone, toy piano, etc.
Thomas Gumpper: Backing vocals, guitars, drums on "Mount Shroud"
Daniel Szmyrgala: Backing vocals, guitars, tambourine
Louis Ho: Violins
Joel Tansey: Bass
Ricky Rodriguez: Drums

Recorded and mixed at United Action for Youth

Cover art drawing by Leah Dusterhoft



all rights reserved


Big Oak Iowa City, Iowa

Big Oak is an experimental folk band from Iowa City started in 2014. They tend to think really big and put over 30 tracks in each song, without neglecting to find some unique instruments and sounds to throw in as well. In theory, it sounds like a mess... and it is, but they're pretty proud of it.

Joe Feldmann
Thomas Gumpper
Louis Ho
Daniel Szmyrgala
Joel Tansey
Ricky Rodriguez
... more

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Track Name: Sleeping Bear
Nights like these I struggle in ways to describe
Don’t care to look with these bloodshot eyes
How many papers must one file to make their pay?
How many lies must one hear to think they’re okay?

What’s the point of growing when all your flowers wilt?
Rivers washed away all of his silt
Rusting wire and bleeding hands along the plain
Spiraling circles in the clouds that turn me insane

Though it’s growing late
If I concentrate
Maybe someday
This sleeping bear will wake

Left alone again in this room
Nothing but a harp and a crooked old loom
Now to envy the rabbits and the coast
Both take what little they have and make the most
Track Name: Ice and Snow
When the ground is ice and snow
Father Sun his face don't show
Oh my dear, please let me know
When you are ice and snow
Track Name: Gospel in C Minor
Mary, do you see your babe?
Give you a holy name
Jesus Christ will someday
Rise from his grave

Joseph the carpenter
Build us a brand new church
Build it strong, build it firm
The savior is near

Mary, with your tears in your hair
Pick yourself up, just don't care
No use for cryin'
When the savior is here

Some say for The Lord's sake
Is but our own mistake
Heathens, well, they hide their face
Scared as they may

You lot are falling deep
Way beyond The Lord's keep
For every sin you sow
So shall you reap

Peter, with your love so strong
Hear me when I sing this song
Show me from right or wrong
Just point the way

Lordy, see your head hung low
You fill me from head to toe
Grace flowing in my bones
Join in the fray

Sinners, you foul men
Builders of the serpent's den
Your time has come to end
Repent while you can
Track Name: The Sea and a Machine
When the waves have grown too high
On this coast where I lie
And all that comes out is a sigh
The sun is fading in his grace
He's still here to make a place
All I can see is your face

Many a man have been called by the sea
But many more have died in her company
In her company

Our souls are all we've ever been
We're just a big machine
Or maybe it's life that is a dream
Hopeful that I won't drown
And your waves won't bring me down
To your arms you know I am bound

Many a man have been called by the sea
But many more have died in her company
In her company
Track Name: O Verum
O Iesu culpis
O Iesu pie
Fili Mariae
Track Name: Phantom (Part I)
Orange and red runs down the hill
Like a painting standing still
Just as a pretty young sweet girl
Whom I care for and always will

Now she's here and then she's gone
'Cause her will is much too strong
Any asshole can write a poem
Or a drunkard sing a song

As the willow starts to mourn
Coats and scarves to keep us warm
Relate the soul to the sight
On this cold autumn night

Her hair is black don't you know
And skin as pale as a ghost
Haunts my dreams now and then
Those are the ones I like most

Wooden doors open the way
To a place we would go everyday
Now we're older and wearing suits
Our day jobs always seem so gray

As the willow starts to mourn
Coats and scarves to keep us warm
Relate the soul to the sight
On this cold autumn night

Moonlight shines in the night
Man makes his own light
But my phantom girl looks best
When she's in my own dark sight
Track Name: Mount Shroud
If I was a picture in a frame
Who would count the echoes? Who to blame?
Help the foggy swoon to remain
But how can I so weak keep contained
Oh I know all is not black and white
But the world is dangerous and you'll be cold at night

If there's something that you want, but you can't have
You can always have the mountain
And if there's a dirge to sing but can't be sung
Then listen to my bluebird cry

Looks may warm where eyes grow pale
They're heavy made of glass, mind so frail
If the key were ever to be found
Then paws would swift across the rocky ground
So let me go, ain't no sin in my mind
Though intentions be so fit, first may seem unkind

If there's something that you want, but you can't have
You can always have...