How Quiet the Night

from by Cheryl and Emerson Martlage

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This song was begun long before we started writing music together. It was written out of the grief that we both felt as Iris prepared to leave for her freshman year at Boulder-1998/99. Two years earlier Aaron had gone to Boston, but we had Iris there to buffer that loss. When she left, we were alone in the house, facing who we really were without kids at home. Her departure created a loss that signaled deep dissatisfaction.

This song and story is one of the most important early ones, still gripping us deeply, even to this day, that ultimately led to many of our changes.

The accompanying drawing of the little girl looking longingly through the window was taken from a postcard given to Cheryl by her sister. It looked remarkably like Cheryl did when she was young—holding a youthful energy that she very much wanted to recapture.

As "therapy," Em decided to draw the little girl on the postcard to represent that poignant time. Never having drawn people, and in particular, faces before, he was carefully coached through the process by Cheryl and our dear friend Zia.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


I always knew you’d move away
but in the meantime there are things to say, and
I guess that our time is running low
Please don’t go

I need some conversation

Every time I look around this place
I can’t help it but I see your face, in
the doorways and the windows of the rooms
I resume

Reflecting days when you were younger

It’s the toughest when I reminisce
about the simple things I really do miss, like
your running-jump when I’d walk through the door
Run once more

I need a little jump start

I thought I needed the American Dream
and everything depended on me
That situation wasn’t quite what it seemed
since I never dreamed
how quiet the night, might be

Take all the money
Destroy all the treasures
Steal everything that you need

I hold the key to rooms
where memories are stored—
those voices at night
that quietly talk to me

I always knew you’d move away
but in the meantime there are things to say, and
I guess that our time is really running low
Please don’t go

I need some conversation . . . now

I’m in need of a little conversation
Let’s just talk a while
I hear the windows and the walls
that surround me

Those voices at night
That quietly talk to me


from Never Sleep, track released January 1, 2003
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
Inspiration - Iris


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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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