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At Riccardo's coffee bar in Fiesole one morning, two women sat down at the table next to ours. We paid little attention at first, but as they were about to leave, we began a conversation. Of Swedish descent, they were on holiday from the US. Something clicked between us, and as we drove away, we had an idea: We invited them to lunch and an afternoon in the country at our place. The impromptu invitation that we extended felt natural and appropriate.

This song tries to capture the essence of that period—collaboration and active participation. Rather than just putting our work out into the world, we decided to deliberately reach out to relationships. We realized that we must “invite” people into our lives and we actively accept other’s “invitations” to engage in theirs. In doing so, we strike informal agreements to collaborate together.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


Got a letter addressed in fancy script
Ripped it open with a style to match its flair

Words so fluid that they dripped and ran right off the page
The honor of my presence is requested

Laughed out loud when I read who it was from
Earlier this morning, I mailed them an invitation of my own

Including them, letting in
Then I find that they’re inclined
To pen these lines of invitation, let me in

Sat down at the desk to write out my reply
And to thank them for including me

With words so fluid that they flowed between my pen and page
Wrote of invitations coming and going

I imagine basking in your presence
Sharing all of our lives by invitation

The pleasure of your company


from By Invitation, track released August 1, 2009
Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering
Inspiration - Marilyn and Ann Skiold


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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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