• Digital Track
    Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $1 USD  or more

    You own this



At an Eckhart Tolle workshop in San Rafael, California, he said that Time is an abstract construction and doesn’t really exist. In fact, he went on to compare Time to a phantom criminal who is never seen, yet we have remaining evidence that something has happened.

So we decided to write this song to capture the essence of that realization. We describe the scene where something has happened and yet there is no perpetrator, only the details left behind, the “circumstantial evidence.” This perspective of Time was important to us since we were trying to move further into the “now” rather than reliving the past or anticipating the future.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise


Scattered traces
All around and much too near
Tell me in their silence
Secretly, once again he’s been here

Subtle changes
In my room and in my mirror
Confirm what I suspected
Once again, revealing he was here

Nobody saw him
Enter or go out
Though based on the evidence
There’s not a single doubt

His only motive is
To commit the perfect crime
Leaving his dull mark all around on everything
That phantom thief called Time
That tricky devil, Time

Always without warning
No way to avoid him
From the shadows I can hear him breathe

Not a moment is safe
Singled out of harm’s way
Only thing for sure: Time will never leave me

That phantom thief called Time
That tricky devil, Time

Disturbing details
Turn up, littered everywhere
Proof that he still lingers
I can feel his presence in the air

Nobody sees him
Only what he’s done
There’s no way that we can find him
He’s always on the run

That tricky devil, Time
That phantom thief called Time


from After All, track released September 1, 2008
Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Mr Toad's San Francisco - Mastering
Eckhart Tolle - Inspiration


all rights reserved



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
... more

contact / help

Contact Cheryl and Emerson Martlage

Streaming and
Download help