Read This If I Don't Make It Home

by Gratiot Lake Road

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recorded in livingrooms, bedrooms, and old churches in michigan and virginia between summer 2013 and summer 2014


released November 21, 2014

gratiot lake road is
ben jensen (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, organ, vocals)
emaleigh jensen (banjo, vocals, words)
matthew radue (drums, percussion, electric guitar)
tony laux (bass, synth, rainstick)

dobro on tracks 07 and 11 and internal combustion engine on track 03 by ben lassiter
electric guitar on tracks 05 and 06 by matt bradley
electric guitar on tracks 01 and 05 by mike glass
recorded and mixed by ben jensen
mastered by eben louis mannes


all rights reserved



Gratiot Lake Road Newport News, Virginia

Gratiot Lake Road is the music of Emaleigh and Ben Jensen. (pronounced GRASH-it)

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Track Name: All Heart and Sandstone
the world ceases to exist
just beyond the reaches of my headlights
and tonight i am the only one

once we were invincible
driving around with our eyes closed
all heart and sandstone

at night the shadows come alive
and they are vandals stealing all that we have
as the sun goes down the ruins crack and crumble
houses heave their final breath

time takes from the young and old
maybe i’m wasting mine
spending my nights foggy eyed crying
with the room spinning dark around

i need to slow down
last night i dreamt that i had died
and everything faded to black
as my body sank into the earth
i could feel you pulling me
from above
you are always saving me
no one saves me like you
Track Name: Leave Your Light On
turtle in the pond robin in the tree
i dance all day to the songs she sings
the sun shines bright on our milky skin
and the sea is calm despite the wind
you told it to me once and i didn’t believe
so you told me again and i still didn’t see
but you stayed all night through the wind and rain
and still you stayed when the morning came

leave your light on leave it bright
i need you more and more each night
i don’t deserve the love i’ve received
i take and take and never give

lightning bug in the palm of your hand
feet dug deep in the salty sand
you know he won’t light inside a jar
so you let him go with a wave of your arm
there at the top we saw the whole world
with its white cap waves and black sand shores
maybe we took things we shouldn’t take
but everything will return to its place

praise the father praise the crook
everything i ever took
i swear i will give it back
one day

turtle in the pond robin in the tree
there’s not much left for that bird to sing
she sang as the tide came in on the sea
she sang for you and then she sang for me
you told it to me once and i didn’t believe
so you told me again and i still didn’t see
but you stayed all night through the wind and rain
and still you stayed when the morning came
Track Name: Creatures Much Worse Than Ourselves
we don’t sleep at night we just drive like maniacs
but we sleep all day and rot away in our bed sheets
and shameful childhoods we all live with the worst of regrets
we’re not asking for forgiveness
just that everyone would forget
everything we’ve ever done

we’ve all cloven hooves and we live like animals
and rightly so for the world is full of creatures much worse than ourselves
so i will stay indoors til i’m sure that it’s safe out there
this home’s so full of all my
thoughts someday they’re sure to scare me out
but i’m holding out til then

we’ve got stars for eyes we don’t see where we’re going to or coming from
so we hurt the ones we love the most and we’re never
quite sure why we do the things we do
i’ve always tried to make it right
but it always seems to make it worse
Track Name: To the Sea
across the bay i spotted lights
and the chilling sound of silence
filled the night we huddle in
and you begin to play
a melody i do believe
that this isn’t what i dreamed
but it’s better than i hoped
i have learned to hope
and we’ll all make our way
to the sea where the waves
will swallow our fears someday

and when first light stretches on
all the water and the sand
we will see oh we will see
that it wasn’t you or me
who caused the night
who made the light
and we’ll all make our way
to the sea
Track Name: Letters
fifty plain white envelopes
i’m sorry i never wrote
fifty plain white envelopes
i’m sorry i never wrote to you

we all think that our time
is the only time that matters

fifty plain white envelopes
i tried to write but always choked
never could put pen to paper
always thought it better left unsaid
we were driving in your car
you told me not to go so far away
you knew i wouldn’t listen
always knew that i could never stay

we all think that our lives
are the only lives that matter

fifty plain white envelopes
yesterday i threw them out
couldn’t bring myself to bear
the weight of their
condemning stares any longer

we all think that our lies
are the only lies that matter
Track Name: Raven
raven watching from the tree
bring your weathered song to me
i haven’t any time to sleep
i haven’t any time to
call upon the name in vain
and wish that i was home again
summer’s months how they do weep
summer’s months are warm and weak

oh i once was young and sweet
kissing you between the sheets
listening to the rain that beat
each stone in the cemetery
now we stand out on the water
now we are the son and daughter
of a long awaited storm
of a chance to be reborn

raven watching from the tree
bring your weathered song to me
i haven’t any time to sleep
i haven’t any time to
talk that old man winter down
steal his thick and thorny crown
make your home inside my hands
you know he spares no creature from his wrath

oh take me home i’ve been out here so very long
and i’ve been doubting you and i feel ashamed
oh take the wind remove this thin and fearful skin
and make me whole holy and unafraid
Track Name: Oh These Snow Swept Roads
oh how the trees gather snow
how they bend and break when the cold winds blow
in this town perched beside the bay
where chimneys billow smoke
like some sad crude offering to the moon

oh how my lungs fill with cold
how it stings my eyes and burns my throat
sending my love across the lake
but how can i keep on
shouting louder still against the crashing waves

oh how the sun rises slow
and aura is in flames colored red and gold
and the bishop looks on across the bay
arms outstretched
and feet firmly planted in their place

oh how i feel far from home
how i bend and break when the cold winds blow
i drive on around the lake
calling to my love
all i want to do is make it home to you
Track Name: Car Crash
chimneys smoke when winter comes
they say each year they’ll quit
but everyone knows how hard it is
when the sun’s all hid behind those clouds
birds all flying south
and that first snow covers up the ground

i startled you down by the water
did you know i was startled too

streetlights change when nighttime comes
they turn themselves to light
because everyone knows how dark it gets
but who will be a light to them
and how can they shine as bright
when the darkness seems so heavy now

i may never live to forget some of these memories
dear caught in headlights thrown in the air on the roadside
alive then suddenly so dead
Track Name: All That We Borrowed
if you were to leave this earth
without me i would not survive
and all the labor of my hands
would turn to ash and rust

all my days would be the same
without you and all my words be sighs
until my bones began to break
and my flesh returned to dust

all that we borrowed will remain here
our bodies our bones our homes and all that they contain
our love and our laughter our wine and our whiskey
our poems and our letters our mouths filled with honey
gaping wide to catch the falling rain
Track Name: Dirty Hollow Homes
west virginia heading north from the coast
fleeing all that hallowed ground and holy ghosts
something in you told you this is all you’d need
all your fears packed away and hiding in the backseat

oh ohio

you saw it coming all those battles lost and won
but you never were the one to take the blame
silly sinner did you think that you’re forgiven
that your burdens never were for you to bear

oh ohio

west virginia while those storms rage on outside
we’ll stay warm and dry and terrified
nothing’s perfect but our dirty hollow homes
are what we cling to all the more when we’re alone
Track Name: 322 6th Street
where do you go at night
when the bars close down
when the lights go out
whose footsteps do you hope to hear
on this cold street in this quiet town

everybody needs someone to hold you when
the night starts closing in
and you feel forgotten

i am a splintering oak
when the cold winds come
when my heart goes numb
when all your letters and notes
couldn’t give me hope couldn’t keep me warm

everybody needs someone to hold you through
those nights when your ghosts get to you
and nobody knows you

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