The Great Talk

by Flat Mary Road

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Recorded in South Philadelphia and West Philadelphia in early 2014.


released August 19, 2014

Flat Mary Road is Alex Irwin, Pete Clark, Dan Papa, Chris Reber, and Steve Teare.
Erica Goldberg sang backup vocals for "Jason."

The drums were recorded and engineered by Robin Carine. Everything else was recorded, engineered and mixed by Dan Papa. Mastering by Don Sternecker at Mixolydian in Delaware Water Gap.

Cover photo by Dan Papa. Lettering by Steve Teare.



all rights reserved


Flat Mary Road Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A band whose instrumentation is informed by the indie rock recordings of the late 1980s, whose vocals borrow from Appalachian folk and radio announcers, and whose lyrics seek to narrate American life both pastoral and urban.


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Track Name: The Great Talk
Great Talk

Let the pattern drop out
I’m stuck between decisions that I’m not married to
the world is full of corners
I’ve never noticed this one before

Plain talk to great talk
great talk, the only talk
feel spent completely
the only way to feel

You’ve crossed a bridge to get here
don’t ask me how I know
I’m a pretty skirt, you’re the tallest stud in the room
what difference does it make who told on who?
so, you’re strange, so, you’re in your head completely
go ahead and ask me how you show
I’m trying to tell you I’m in love with your darkness
don’t ask how this can go

Little lady down by the train tracks
are you going to make a move or make tracks?
race hard, you’re hardly making headway
little lady, angry little lady

Sad scene
hardened scene
sad seed
rotting seed

My choice
a man's choice
to wait and make
to make no choice

Three years have gone by, I can’t believe
I can’t believe how tender we got
the world is full of movies
I’m sure I’ll see this one again, I’m sure

Plain talk to great talk
great talk, the only talk
Track Name: Gray Susan
Gray Susan

Smoothing out my mood
soothing, soothing, talk me down
you’re hard to hate I think
Susan, Susan, night on the town
until you’re quickly back in the house
and the years are replaced
you’re hard to stroll with but we’re
walking, walking, through the rooms

Oh, it was a game changer day
oh, but you’ve strayed my mind away
your darting eyes are on target

All the houses were haunted, haunted
after I’d been inside
all the alleys would be screaming, screaming
if you’d stay outside
oh, lunging on my back
at the crack of dawn
you gray creature, please forgive my anger
and my throwing arm

Oh, the walls talk
in a language you can’t understand
Susan, you’ve been too good to me, you make it feel like I’m getting away with something
there’s something clearly hidden in your eyes

Don’t throw me across the room, you’re going to
kill the moment
don’t leave me in the filth, you’re going to
kill the moment
don’t restrict me to your rooms, you’re going to
kill the moment
don’t restrict me in your thoughts, you’ll
kill the moment
Track Name: Gallows

Secret tragedy
save me from the gallows
the poor girl sees the dreams I’ve been having
in my eyes
the big lust was the criminal element

Deception from the start

What a calamity
your life in broken records
I live too far from the ocean to share a thing with you
all those promises I made you

Wash up on the shore

Hang up
head east
until you’re seaside
find me
wade out
until we're knee high

Can’t we meet this way again?
all you ever really wanted was a friend
an old-fashioned rivalry

Am I the only one stirred up?
am I the only one still stirred up?

I'm tossing fuse as I burn
I love the fuse, love the fire, love the term
and I am satisfied by you

Strictly in scenario

Some jokers get off easy
You and I
wading the seas
with dead legs
Track Name: Mama Said
Mama Said

Found myself in the middle
I’ve worked my way out of plenty of things like this before
I tried to put myself into pockets
I tried to make myself of use
the dream that you were needed to hold that final corner of the house together
is the dream of me as a family man
as a great family man

Out of the kitchen
out of the living room and
out of the house
out of the neighborhood
out of the city and
out onto the road

We grew up at a similar pace but I've backtracked once or twice
you should give it a try
it’s like my mama used to say
I never had the luxury of a community, of a clear, honest culture
I’ve tried tripping myself by own bootstraps
I always end up landing at your doorstep

Out on the highway
out of the county and
out of the state
out of the country
out of the hemisphere
out of this world

The rails are cold and lead
ride it out, my mama said
Track Name: Carnivorous Plants
Carnivorous Plants

I fell asleep
in your apartment
I didn’t think
that I could do it
the more I sleep
the more I dream
I dream of you
turning away

I hear scratching at my door the whole work day
just want to let only one in
I can tell you’d be good-looking at that age
I can feel your wrinkles pressed into my face

Life is strange
thank God
I’m so confused
thank God
quit channeling a stranger
I feel like I’m home
it’s not the end of the world
but it wouldn’t matter if it was

Carnivorous plants
Track Name: Easily Read
Easily Read

Out my window on the road
white smoke rising from the trees
brought me back to the good old days
every day we’re working on another good old day

It’s like I told you
the words I sold you wither fast
they don’t last

Is nothing sacred?
Or is it everything?

You see that collection of fog across the way?
Inside is an entire city, and a friend I used to know
seems like she was living out her embarrassing days
and really, we were privileged
to see it in person

Close this chapter
close the whole book of me, I’m easily read
I’m easily reddened
Track Name: Shameless

Aimless, aimless walking
I find myself
more and more caught up in it
shameless, shameless talking
I find myself
more and more mixed up in it

My imagination entertains disaster
find the homes that I’ve lived in crumbling one after the other
I see my seven deadly sins, they’re all

Ending in death in the same week
in the same week
oh, me of little faith
oh, me, oh my, my, my little faith

You haunt me every night
your name appears in bright lights
and on the news and on road signs
and in the middle
of bigger words

All your preferences surround me
all your favorite songs stuck in my head
I hear your footsteps
they’re mimicking mine
I feel your fingerprints all over the place

You’ve resurrected my paranoia
you’d like it if I took your advice
now, wouldn’t you?
You’d like it if I figured it all out and

Packed up and left in the same week
in the same week

Say it again, now
say it again
Track Name: Jason

we’ve almost come full circle
back home
but we’ve still got a lot of money left
we’ve been saving
all year
oh, how far do you think we can get out and still make it
back to here?

This trip has taught me
to appreciate
the small rewards
and I’ve learned things
about myself
that I’m easily pleased
with the little things
with just two chords

That diner in West Virginia
the look of the hills
the doo wop they played out of Richmond
and it gave me the chills

Well you know who those trees
remind me of
don’t you, friend?
And the more that they are
piling up
the more I don’t think I’m ever going to
see her again
but I’m going to see a lot of trees

I’ve been known to get myself
into good things
Jason, you’ve watched me
turn away
oh, time and time again
the branches stretch into
my past

I live in my dreams
and I need to wake up
I live in my dreams and
I’m in need of your wisdom to
wake me up

Jason, we’ve lived like
two care-free rats
this past month
I’m stunned we never fell ill
I am shocked that we were never
pulled over
well, it’s not like our youth
when you would ask me for the truth and
I would lie
I’ve been trying to write a song for
a dear friend of mine but I am scared
I’ll cry

He’s that kind, to me
he’s that kind
Track Name: Slow Explosion
Slow Explosion

Campfire, campfire
oh, I'm in love with my annual desire
and to choose a wife to force me
up and down these stairs
and see the stars of my exhaustion sparkling

I can't see a thing
don't even know what I'm looking at

Oh, be my bride
this little boy said
oh, be my bride
this little boy said, or I'll be dead

wash your face
in the mud
wash your face in the mud made from my ashes
this sneering muddy face could mix into a crowded place
and come out
shining like
the rising autumn sun

a slow explosion in the trees

I can't see a thing
don't even know what I'm looking at

I tried to be transparent with you
I can't see a thing
Track Name: Newspaper Man
Newspaper Man

I knew that when I left the house I would find something
I knew that when we both crossed paths I would know it
that giddy, stupid, childish nausea has never
left me without drama

And I walked away from your three doors so full of air
the kind of air that you need to survive
my only goal in life has always been warmness and it’s
always at arm’s length

I’m your newspaper man
I’m your newspaper boy
I’m your newspaper

What if it was all still ahead of me?
What if it was all still waiting there, in the head of me?

I could sit for hours with no break in between
listening to your words bounce off the walls onto me
such a buttery inflection
words that I want to
devour and digest

Then something welled up and I wrote you a letter
and the words flowed onto the page like a post-flood river
I analyzed the future, then I criticized the past
I never even mentioned one star

Dancing around, I let that girl dance me around
clowning around, I let that clown take me to town

And I brought up these walls like your bones bring up your skin
and I secured these walls like your secrets kept within
and it’s more of a home than my home that doesn’t move
and it’s more of a home than my home that I will own
with a window that I will throw a bottle through
with the cat and the dog who can’t tell the difference between the two
with the neighbors who build fences just to have something to lean onto
with the wife and the kids and the walls and the rugs looking so damn blue
with the wife and the kids and the walls and the rugs looking so goddamn blue
Track Name: Larger Rat
Larger Rat

Ran into a friend
out the doors of the station
and we started
to have a chat

The roar of an engine cut through our
the rat has aged into nothing but

A larger rat

I’ve seen the rat grow up
I used to fix the hinges on his mother’s door
his father worked in town
I watched that fur slowly fall out

What’s a poor mother to do?
When your little rat wants nothing to do with you
he needs a

A larger town

Went on talking with my friend
talked of couples that had ended recently
he could see my thoughts were hacking through the past
and I could see his concentration
was similarly
Track Name: To Join a Cult
To Join a Cult

Take me out of context
take me out of town
if you take me you’ll see I
lay my money down

The hardest thing about happiness
is giving some away

Take a left here and cut through
the meat of the city
even in the shadows you still look pretty

You know I’m a low-flying man

She says she wants to be a woman
she says she wants to be a real woman
I said just wake up in the morning
I said wake up and be a real woman
be my real woman
and I’ll be your real man

No, no, I can’t commit to nothing
no, no, at this point I can’t commit to loving
I got a hunger deep inside me
it’s nature telling me to get a job

But I’ll stare at you from across a table
I’ll stare at you when I’m drunk and able
our reward is beer on Earth

Everyone wants to join a cult
but there’s never any follow through
there's never going to be any follow through
Track Name: Your Dog's a Good Man
Your Dog’s a Good Man

Oh, your dog’s a good man
until he gets bored I’ll stay if I can
a light wind is pushing his coat and his ears
I was grilling you for details but not anymore

Oh, my head is abuzz
I perpetually juggle the heart and the grudge
a giant waterfall of information
took me an hour to notice the weather

And oh, you’re a sight for dead eyes
a hero of the story, trenchantly
a hero in the true sense of the word
oh, to sense the use of a useless word

Through the open door, arms flailing
this is another big moment for me
straight out of the gate, mouth shooting off
this is another interview with me
saw myself staggering to get to you
from the balcony
I took a chance
coming over here
you can’t help but take a chance

Oh, my friend, I've been here too long
a strong wind is pushing the past from behind
between us, a history, a glorious dance
between us, your dog’s fur, a glorious dance

I’m losing the sense of my size
am I the tip of my fingers or the lens of my eyes?
I’m struggling to keep my essentials informed
as if my inner circle really needed the nonsense

And oh, where to begin?
It’s been static forever
where to begin?
Go on and deprive me of information
when I can’t help myself I just make a projection