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This song was the first one written on a 12-string guitar. The sound of the guitar created a mysterious mood that seemed to reflect what was going on in our lives at that time. We were in the final stages of deciding what to do with our work and our relationship.

There was a sense that all that life as we had known it, that we'd built, was dissolving—as if on shifting sands. At the same time there was a growing feeling that this exciting new future, we were actively creating, had firm footing, built with stone on solid foundations.

It was a time of significant change, which showed up in everything we said and did. "Sand Castles" was a significant signpost. The song was completed at about the same time Em ended his corporate career.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


I built my castles out of sand, and then
Everyday I took them high against the wind and rain
With every piece I made by hand, and then
Forced into the wall

I feared that it just might fall
I worried that it might someday fall . . . might someday fall

Then in the morning I would walk
Step-by-step I climbed the tower to the top
And on the landing I would stop, and then
I’d shout into the room

Please don’t fall
Please don’t ever ever fall

Then the wind drew near and it knocked the towers down
As the waves washed around the handmade walls.
The sand then gave way and it melted into ocean
So the castles made of sand disappeared
The castles fell down just as I had feared

Just as I feared

Now I build castles out of stone
And everyday I make them strong against the wind and rain
With every rock I choose by hand, and then place into the wall

I know that these stones won’t fall
It’s true these stones will never fall

When the wind draws near it will rage against the towers
As the waves wash around the handmade walls
The rocks interlock and won’t tumble to the ocean
So the walls will stand tall in the wind and the rain
Castles made of stone will always remain

Will always remain

Now in this place that’s made of stone
I face a window to the ocean so I can see
Where I can sometimes go alone, and then
I dream of castles yet to be.

Now they won’t fall
No they will never ever fall
Stone castles never fall
They never fall


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


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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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