"That Sea, The Gambler" as written by and Gregory Alan Isakov....
Cursed your captain and stow me below
Hold me amongst all your cards
Oh we were sea bound, and aimless at best
Clutching to the wheel and those charts
But that sea was just a gambler at heart

Oh there we were, the sun hit the starboard
And we were as free as we could be
We waited for land, oh we waited for thee
We aimed to stay calm and cool
But that sea was just a gambling fool

Come to me mary come, you know you once were queen
The ocean is holding all the kings
And tossed aside the weary

How i’d love to steer you straight into those waters
While those daunting clouds above began to pour
And when we’re found, we’ll kiss that ground
And roll around on that lovers floor

Come to me mary come, you know you once were queen
The ocean is holding all the kings
And tossed aside the weary

The ocean holding everything
And tossed aside the weary

Aw that dreadful, gambling sea

Lyrics submitted by AugustOfOmaha, edited by Stockholm, BlimeyMe

"That Sea, the Gambler" as written by Gregory Alan Isakov


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That Sea, The Gambler song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationThe song is a metaphor for the navigation of love. Let's take a look.

    The first line is a direct parallel to a fight the he may have had with his significant other. "Curse at your captain and stow me below," gives vivid imagery to a literal interpretation. Gregory is the captain of the boat, upon which he feels condemned and shackled to the prison below. "Hold me amongst all your cards," is a metaphor for the game of love being played. (As the song continues this game is referred back to using the words "King" and "Queen." Sadly, as we all know, "king" triumphs "queen.") "oh we were sea bound and aimless at best" is the hopeful optimism inherent in the beginning stages of love: true nostalgia is being communicated. "Clutching the the wheels and those charts," characterizes the tone of the relationship he is singing about: sadness, that neither of them had direction to steer through the rough water/sea that is their love: vast, unpredictable, and truly "aimless." "But that sea is just a gambler at heart" is the reaction to his realization that his love, the sea, was a gamble just like the card game that his significant other plays.

    The second stanza is in reminisce. He remembers how "free" their love was at times during the calm of the ocean looking out over the "starboard" on their future together. But the no avail, they "waited for land" and "waited for the". They couldn't find their "ground" so to speak. But they "aimed to stay calm and cool" so as to work through their problems. Sadly, that sea, their love, is just a gamble and has the upper hand.

    "Come to me Mary come, you know you once were queen" is an allusion to the biblical Virgin Mary because these waters are uncharted and virgin as well. Queen is used to denote the card game again and to explain that their problems, the King, has the upper-hand in the relationship's love. And the "weary" are tossed aside due to the struggle inherent in relationships. A bridge is inserted with the sounds of lamenting.

    Next, Gregory wishes to steer ahead, through the clouds to land where they can heal.

    Overall, the song is about navigating love, which is truly a gamble because it's uncharted area. It's beautiful because I think he had closure, but more so because Gregory has great perception of the trials and journey that is a part of finding yourself during love's rapture.
    Trmoore8on July 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'd really like to know what this song is about. The music is beautiful and peaceful. Maybe its talking about the jounery of a relationship and how it can be rough like the ocean or very long with no land in site.
    Bryceingon August 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell I would like DamnSam' interpretation to be right, but i just cant shake the feeling I get when I hear this song; a broken heart remembering/looking back at a relationship. Lets not forget that 99 procent of all song are love songs.

    The sea often symbolizes truth. Gregory sings, to me, in the second verse about a couple dancing the wild and unpredictable and pure dance of new love - "Oh we were sea bound, and aimless at best."

    He remembers the crazy new love 'hitting starboard' and the feel of this pure beautiful emotion, and he goes on to say that this new love was waiting to 'find land' and settle down.

    "Oh there we were, and the sun hit the starboard.
    And we were as free as we could be.
    We waited for land.
    Oh we waited for the
    We aimed to stay calm and cool."

    But here the theme of the song really comes to light as Gregory sings of his realization that you cannot steer love. Love is true, pure; and the water is pure.

    He remembers Mary (as in synonym for mary times) and wishes her back.
    Merrildon February 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Please keep making music.
    gela212on December 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI may be way off, but it's worth a shot.

    Perhaps it's about self discovery? The ocean is him, and he is sailing with all his might to try and find his way to land, where he will then understand himself. The journey he is choosing to take is a gamble, and the sea is a gambling fool, so would it make sense that the sea is just a part of him that he hasn't discovered yet? Could Mary be the person who he needs to make the journey work (for sometimes people have to find the right person in order to find themselves)?

    I'd really like to know for sure what this song is about, because I highly doubt my cognition is good enough for me to do it on my own...
    DamnSamon January 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI may be way off but I think he is talking about arbitrary judgment/god. That we are completely powerless over our life's course and that we ultimately are subjected to the whims of a nameless/faceless God.

    In this instance I think he is referring specifically to a relationship that started out amazing and the storms hit. They waited it out hoping for the shore, but ultimately it wasn't up to either of them what would happen. Que Sera Sera, also known as shit happens.

    I wish there was a hopeful hidden message to be found here, but it is clear that he is at the whim of fate.
    wodtke84on January 08, 2016   Link

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