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We thought that perhaps we had created enough “stuff,” and it was time to stop. Something signals an author or painter that the time has come to “finish” a work. Closure is needed. "Fitting Pieces" was that point for us. We wanted to “lay out” all of our accumulated pieces of work, to look more objectively, take stock—figure out what we had created. So we took a short break.

We wanted this CD to be upbeat and optimistic. The rhythms and chords seemed to be different from those we had written before. The pace was quicker and livelier, rather than somber and contemplative, as much of our earlier work had been.

Our family has always worked jigsaw puzzles together. If there was ever a “tradition” or “ritual” for us, it was in the puzzle. Iris came to be known as the “Master Puzzler” which was a tough distinction since we each had a specialty. But, she was incredible to watch. In any case, it was an appropriate metaphor for that period—almost as if we were finally fitting together some of the partnership as well as the family pieces. Everything started to make more sense. It had been a long journey up to that point, and our moment of reflection seemed long overdue.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


Scattered before me
On the table, random pieces wait to be
Pressed into their one and only destination
Connecting part to part
Completing the scene

Searching for corners and edges I begin
Fitting pieces where nothing has been
Until it all falls into place
No longer just scattered before me
Making sense finally

On the box there is a photograph of a place I’ve never been
Merely fiction 'til I fit the pieces in

Yet the picture seems familiar, like something I once knew
Reminiscent of a memory
But somehow with a missing piece or two

Searching for corners and edges I begin
Fitting pieces where nothing has been
Until it all falls into place
My days are scattered before me
Finding just how they’re really meant to be
Fitting each piece
Completing the scene


from Fitting Pieces, track released July 1, 2007
Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering
Inspiration - The family puzzle table in the sun room


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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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