Jumble of Fences

from by Cheryl and Emerson Martlage

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This is a song that we wrote about the political events of the day. We were in Italy, as the US launched the war in Iraq. It was so frustrating to be in the midst of such aggression following 9/11. There was this incredible search for the assailants.

How likely would a “clean” win be? Covert vs. overt actions. It was all so confusing and frustrating. It was even more difficult to be in Europe, because everyone we talked to wanted to know why we, as a nation, were doing such despicable things.

We decided to write this song as our way of processing the insanity of war. We imagined each nation as a separate backyard in the global neighborhood. No one could own up to the truth since it was all so jumbled and confused. The offenses were many on both sides of the fence. Those times were difficult, as we wondered what it meant to be “American,” and global citizens at the same time.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


The table caught the baseball
Also the shattered glass
Careless, yet accidental
Stray toss in a game of catch
Wild pitch in a game of catch

Impulse to flee on foot
That ball fell from the sky
Straight-faced, while convincing
It came from some passerby
Implicate another guy

There is no way they could know
Who had thrown it
Since kids always play
In the backyards
Jumble of fences
Jumble offenses

But on second thought
I could face the consequence
Take my chances
Admit it was me

But I know, on the other hand
If I say I was the one
I’ll have to work hard
Til each day is done

Simple truth
Restitution isn’t easy
It’s an uncommon decency

There is no way we can know
Who's to blame here
Since we never stay
In our own yards
Jumble of fences

We lose our friends over
Jumbled offences
And we make amends over
Jumble of fences

Jumble of fences


from Reason to Stay, track released January 1, 2005
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 - Unrest after 9/11


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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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