Moment of Truth

by Cheryl and Emerson Martlage

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Moment of Truth is a collection of stories about values. We find ourselves again amid trying times that test our resolve. In difficult situations we rediscover what matters most, in our relationships with family, friends, each other, and the environment that sustains us.

Curiously, the challenges tend to shift from devastating to generative. As struggle releases our creative energies, we emerge stronger and more capable. Like caterpillars that transform into butterflies, we find our wings to rise above the fray, and our flight gives us new perspectives.


released March 1, 2009

We dedicate these stories to the memory and in celebration of Margie D. Tibbs, beloved wife, mother, and friend to many.

Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Tom Tomasello - Producer/Arranger
Jim Bruno - Vocal producer
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering
Patricia Barry Ryley - Graphic Design


all rights reserved



Cheryl and Emerson Martlage San Diego, California

At the age of 48, and after 25 years of marriage, we headed to a secluded town for 6 weeks, to create a new relationship and begin again.

When we arrived as if by magic, we co-wrote our first song ever— "Never Sleep," evoking the mystery and magic of the new adventure. Twenty years later, we're still making music. Join us on our musical storytelling as the adventure continues to unfold
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Track Name: Moment of Truth
Faced with trying times
Values become abundantly clear
Beneath, breaking through
Principles and beliefs appear

You know that because you are you
All the things that you do
In a moment of truth prove in the end

You have to do what you have to do
It is the only way
Knowing that you do what you have to do
Makes it easy—nothing left to say

As you know, when times are much too rough
And you have had enough
The only thing to do
The only way to make it through

When life has thrown you down
Taken you to the ground
There is a voice inside
That says, “You must do what is right.”

You know what you must do

Whatever it takes
And the sense that it makes
Within that moment to carry on

You have to do what you have to do
It is the only way
Knowing that you do what you have to do
Makes it easy—nothing left to say

In trying times
Principles and beliefs appear
Beneath, breaking through
Values are held instinctively near

You do what you have to do
What matters most becomes abundantly clear
Track Name: More Than a Miracle
Farewell to spring and fall
Good-bye to all
Those who were here before we moved in
Claiming the earth for ourselves
We will need more than a miracle
To recover, undo the harm suffered at our hands

Where are the days we knew
With creatures who
Hunted and thrived, survived in the wild
Claiming the earth as their home
But now they need more than a miracle
To endure, their very lives rest within our hands

Awed by mystery, inspired by nature
Urgently we are called together
To take our part, lend a hand, take a stand
Raise our voices

With resolve and determination
If our hearts are filled with conviction
Then everything endangered will have a place
Finding peace at last

Then maybe spring and fall
Will after all
Be those we knew, now that we’re here
To reclaim the earth . . . for us all
It will be more than a miracle

To recover, heal the harm, is within our hands
Track Name: Unwind
Too much to do, a list of shoulds
Just a normal day
All I need to clear my head is
A little time away
Just unwind
Maybe meditate

Haven’t met my expectations
Feeling somewhat low
How to regain my balance
I really need to know
Lighten up, release my hold
Try to let go

Yesterday I felt this way
But thought today would bring some changes
A sense of harmony
Erase my weary expectations

My last respite, had my hopes set
Thought that I’d revive my spirit
Instead I added to
My growing list of bad vacations
Still I will try again
And hope it won’t be the same

I need some quiet days
I’m tired of ones that try my patience
Rather than waste my time
I think I will just unwind

Maybe if I try to see things
As they are instead
What if all my restless spinning
Is really in my head

Rather than just the way it is
Nothing good, nothing bad
Just the way it is
Track Name: Earth Quake
Awake at 4 am
Just couldn’t sleep in
Sensed something shifted while I slept
I felt the earth move

Then something deep within
Shuddered again
A tremor rumbled from beneath the earth
I heard a scream

From out of the dark
It seemed to have come . . . from me

Up to my knees in rubble
How can I know which way to turn
Half the roof has fallen ‘round me
Wires crackle, starting to burn

Over my head in trouble
Am I all alone in this mess
Everything is broken, shattered
I hardly recognize what’s left

My world has fallen apart
Without warning

I hardly recognize my life
Everything changes and moves
In an earthquake

Now nothing is the same
I felt the earth break
The shock of aftershocks has left me
Swaying, reeling

My world suddenly
From out of the blue, fell apart
Just how can it be
Reality shifts

Abandoning me
Track Name: Numbered Days
Although our days follow each other
We learn when we are young
Our days are numbered
Can’t escape our numbered days

Childhood milestones turn into seasons
Wistful teens create the age of treason
Everyday, life turns a page

Decades hurry by in a whirlwind
Bringing us to the prime of life
They say age is only a number
I think they’re wrong
Yet I hope they’re right

They say age is only a number
I think they’re wrong
Yet I hope they’re right

We fight, deny, at last rediscover
Sadly years fall away
Our days are numbered
Can’t escape our numbered days

How they flash and fade
Our numbered days
Track Name: Sky's the Limit
Night fitful, restless
Uneasy dreams filled with what could go wrong
Gray dawn creeps in to signal night is done
At long last

Skye-bound this morning
Driving that far somehow doesn’t feel right
Doubts fill my head but I don’t want a fight

So I must select words, taking care
To share all of my misgivings
Trying desperately to salvage plans we’ve made
While remaining true to myself

Surely we can make the best of things
Together with our close friends

Plans shift and vary
Reminding us that it’s never too late
As another prospect falls into place
Just standing by

Limits up to the sky
All is ours to decide

Ours to decide
Track Name: Living Without Power
Heartless hurricane
Ripped through the coast of Texas
All the way to Ohio we felt the wind
Trees fell across the lines
Sparks flew, lights dimmed and flickered out
We were left in darkness
Living without power

Tragic hurricane
Swept away in its madness
Almost everything standing in its way
Though we are miles away
Safe, we thought, without an ocean shore
Unsteady in the darkness
Living without power

Out in the mailbox
I found letters that I read by flashlight
Threw out all the food
That wouldn’t keep just one more day
Streets are empty since the traffic lights went out

No one going house-to-house
All the newspapers say that help is on the way . . . Just wait

Nothing left to do but sleep away the time
‘Til the power is restored
We can only hope and pray that help is on the way

How can a hurricane
Cause so much grief and heartache
Leave us isolated, withdrawn and still
Rather than sit and wait
Maybe someday we’ll try to figure out
How to create more power
No longer in the dark

No longer in the dark
Track Name: Common Ground
Saturday afternoon
Ninety minutes, give or take
Over country roads
Arriving where they wait for us

We’ll have time enough to talk
Catch up on each other’s lives
As we wind our way
On the ride from Millstone Farm to Middletown

Over hills, taking curves in between rolling fields
Suddenly there’s a detour we didn’t expect to find

Hope it won’t be too late
If we go the back way
On the road to Middletown

In the middle of nowhere
Thought by now we’d be there
Somewhere close to Middletown

After some twists and turns
Familiar landmarks come into view
An almost hidden sign
Directs us onto “Old 122”

Finally, we arrive to find them waiting
The intense summer sun is fading
Casting shadows over Middletown

We renewed common ground
On the road to Middletown
Track Name: Carbon Copy
Paying with dimes borrowed
Like there’s no tomorrow
Great American dream
Hope it comes true

Global carbon copy culture
Followed like no other one
Wrapped inside each flag are
Red, white and blue shadows

If we pay attention
Weigh the consequences
Set the stage for progress
What will it mean to us

Make the best of plans laid
Fix our careless mistakes
Embark on years of healing
Changing the scene forever

Posing all new plans
Second thoughts rush my awareness
Daily sacrifice
May be too much

Yet to save the earth
Will surely take some drastic measures
Any effort made
Is barely enough

Red, white, blue, green

All perpetuated
The image we created
It’s only natural then
That we take the lead forward

Carbon copy cultures
Follow like no other
Restore our common cause
The freedom to breathe always

Free to breathe
So the footprints that are left upon the earth fade
Disappearing into green
Track Name: Sleeping Man
There is a man sleeping
High upon a mountain in Tuscany
Everyone knows that his lover has gone, so he grieves
Left all alone

There is a man waiting
Heartbroken from the day that she went away
Hoping that someday she will return, so he waits
Sleeping alone

It has been years since he lay down
To rest himself, so weary and worn
She will awaken him
When at last she comes home
To live again

He dreams of her and of their love
Willing to wait as long as he must
Believes in destiny
Wears his heart on his sleeve
For all to see

Fulfilling his destiny
High on top of the ridge
For all to see

And so the man sleeping
Forever from the day that she went away
Everyone sees that he’s lying there still
Face in the clouds
Patiently waiting for her
Silhouette in the sky
Sleeping alone