Magic Helicopter Press


Selected Lyrics 1990-2014
by Simon Joyner

$16 + shipping

Order Only Love Can Bring You Peace

6x9 | Perfectbound
ISBN: 978-0-9841406-9-5


For twenty-five years, Nebraska songwriter Simon Joyner has crafted haunting, honest songs about the unsettled dust of lovers and strangers.

A pioneer of the Omaha music scene, Joyner has earned the praises of Conor Oberst, Beck, Gillian Welch, John Peel, John Darnielle, and more.

As Dennis Callaci explains in his heartfelt foreword, Joyner has spent those years and earned those praises for songs about the "sorrow and southbound turns" of "the put-upon, the tortured, builders of arcs."

Only Love Can Bring You Peace is the first selection of Simon Joyner's lyrics (assembled and edited by Simon and his wife Sara) to appear in book form, showcasing the images and characters of over 15 albums, EPs, and rare releases.

Only Love Can Bring You Peace also features two interviews with Joyner (from Aquarium Drunkard [2015] and Circumstantial Evidence [1996]), rare liner notes, and illustrations from over a dozen guest starring friends.

Whether you're new to Joyner's work, or you've had his songs stuck in your head since 1992, this book serves as a sturdy companion to what Callaci calls "the grass, branch and bone of a lifetime."


"Omaha has given us the reigning heir to Henry Miller's dark emotional mirror, Townes Van Zandt's three-chord moan, and Lou Reed's warehouse minimalism: his name is Simon Joyner." — Gillian Welch

"Pound for pound Simon Joyner is my favorite lyricist of all time. He has shades of all the greats (Van Zandt, Cohen, Dylan) but exists in a space all his own ... He truly is an American songwriting treasure. It is my hope that more people will discover his music and share in the unique joy that it brings." — Conor Oberst

"Little bits of several folks that I like in what Simon does, but he ends up being his own man, no question." — John Peel

"It's not critical hype to say that Joyner possesses the same emotional depth as Leonard Cohen, or the same ability to tell a story. Here are the inhabitants of the boarding house in Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, still staggering or sitting wondering what's become of their lives. Joyner's characters tell their stories as if from shock, in the aftermath of their disbelief at the beginning of quiet, devastating acceptance." — Thom Jurek @ All Music Guide

"For over twenty years, Simon Joyner has carved out a particular space for his own strain of music and storytelling ... He’s equally adept at channeling characters who live with the long-term consequences of quotidian decisions and getting inside the head of those in darker territory." — Tobias Carroll @ BOMB


"Only Love is an act of generosity and separation ... Lyrics are intimate, portable things — think of whatever you wrote on whatever notebooks you had as a teenager — and reading a song instead of hearing it is another opportunity to let it hook ever-more relevantly into daily life .. Joyner keeps his heart on his sleeve real hard, in a way that makes me uncomfortable when people put his songs onto mixes but seems brave otherwise — brave like a tightrope walker or the third shift." — Mairead Case at The Seattle Review of Books

"You don’t put on one of Joyner’s records to elicit cheap laughs, but to go through something and know you have done so. This makes his songs particularly well suited to the page, where you can go over a line a few times in order to properly take it in without dispelling the spell of sound the way you will if you back up a song." — Bill Meyer at Dusted


Simon Joyner is a musician who lives in Omaha, NE.

Cover design by Allyson Gibbs


Dennis Callaci
Robert Cook
Maryrose Crook
Jeremy Earl
Luigi Falagario
Christopher Fischer
Mark Gilbert
Laetitia Glenton
Bill Hoover
Hamish Kilgour
Joey Lynch
L. Eugene Methe
Christine Stormberg
Tinca Veerman
Paul Vogt


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