Masts of Manhatta : “Track By Track”

Devil’s Got Your Boyfriend

This is a song that came out of nowhere. I don’t know who it’s about, probably some residual stuff from past relationships, ugly stuff. Thankfully whatever this was is behind me. I was inspired by Mishell Ndegeocello’s “If That’s Our Boyfriend” (it wasn’t last night). When I first wrote the song I immediately assumed I would give it to another artist to sing. It didn’t feel like my writing. But it made it’s way onto the record and I can’t imagine it without it. It is one of my favorite recordings from the album.

Your Night Is Wide Open

This song is about a text message that changed my life. We were on tour. We had a 20 hour drive ahead, from Minneapolis to NYC  and there was a full moon. I was in a foul mood, had bad PMS and really didn’t feel like being in a van for 20 hours with 4 other people. My guitar player, Jon, was in the back seat entertaining himself with a cooler full of Labatts Blue. He was the only one having fun I think. I had sent a text to my friend, who is now my husband, complaining about the trip.  He wrote back “Your night is wide open” and my heart opened up. He had called me on my shit, and it said everything: this life is what you make it. I hadn’t thought about him romantically until that very moment. It was the smartest and most poetic thing anyone had ever said to me, and it was in a text message. The next day we saw each other and I fell in love. The verses are vignettes on our travels together early in our relationship.

Big Red Heart

A song about how excruciating dating and falling in love can be.


A close friend surprised me by ending our friendship abruptly. We had started to drift a bit when our lives became more complicated. She chose to shut down all communication without explanation. I was so hurt and confused, in trying to figure it out, I had made up a story that she was abducted by a traveling circus.

We Moved Our City To The Country

Having a cute little cottage in the Catskills.  It is our getaway from New York City and all of its craziness. For years and years people did the same thing for the same reason. Utopian societies and artist colonies were built in the early 1900s. People were escaping industrialism for a quieter more natural life. However, for many, the city life still held allure. The utopian societies collapsed in competition with each other, and there is only one artist colony to speak of in Woodstock, NY. However, people still come up to the country to escape the city, but I found that you can’t truly escape because you are surrounded by other city folk like yourself. 70 % of homes in Woodstock are second homes. It’s super easy to get to a Home Depot or a Walmart. And even in the Midwest, or other parts of the country we see Walmarts, Home Depots and Starbucks everywhere we go. It’s hard to find a place in this country that doesn’t have these things. The first tempo change represents the people in the early part of the 1900s on a train up the Hudson (a hint of “Simple Gifts” is heard in the violin line) and the last tempo change represents the way it feels when you get up there and you are staring up at the big blue open sky. I added recordings of real birds, and our dogs during a stay up there.

When You Laugh The World Laughs With You

This is a song written for my husband and a tribute to the wonderful life we have created together living part time in Woodstock. I am so in love with him that I truly believe when he is happy the rest of the world feels more happy, even if they don’t know it.

Reciprocal Feelings

My struggle with insecurities and low self worth makes it hard to be my own best friend at times. Becoming aware of the negative thought patterns and perspectives I create in my head is the first exercise in personal healing. I don’t really know who is speaking in this song. Is it the Ego? Is it the Conscious me complaining about the Ego? Or is there a third party? The observer?  The last lines: “when you realize love is not a trophy, you illuminate bright the stars are close, we are very close, we are one” means when you finally realize that love is not something separate from you, that it is not something to reach for or be attained, you will illuminate like the stars because you, me, and the stars are all love, we are one.

In The Moonlight

Stepping back in time, this is a road trip song about me and my mom making the drive from Los Angeles to Eugene Oregon where I grew up. She would come down at the end of my school years at University of Southern California and drive me 1,000 miles to our home. Up the I-5 we drive through Kettleman, otherwise known as stinky cow town, and Corning, CA where we thought we had car trouble but it turned out we had just run out of gas. We spent all day at a Texaco station trying to figure out what was wrong with the car. Bartles & James wine coolers were very hip then and this may have had something to do with our malaise. Mt. Shasta and her image will always be a fond memory. But, the biggest message in this song is the eternal wisdom my mother tried to impart on me as I was growing up, falling on deaf ears. She would quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet by saying “to thine own self be true” and I had the gall to roll my eyes. I hated it because I didn’t get it. People pleasing, to a fault, had been my game. That little nugget, tucked away like a squirrel hiding a nut, was just waiting to be found. Fast forward to today…. nut successfully found, shell cracked and I am still in the process of removing the casing.

You're My Isness

A love song. Memories of being in different places with my husband, driving home from Woodstock on a Sunday with Phil Schapp’s Birdflight program about Charlie Parker on the radio. Driving up I-5 once again toward Reading, CA stopping at the Indian reservation Casino, near where Merle Haggard has a home.

Angel, Won't You Come Down?

This is a song written for our future child. We are adopting a child and the process has taken a lot longer than we had expected. It has given us too much time to think and talk and wonder. Words don’t help, they are like scarecrows. We have no idea what it will be like until it really happens. We found ourselves praying to whatever god even though we were are not destitute, calling out to our child “Angel, wont you come on down?” we are happy with our life, but it sure would be better if you were here already.

I Love You Today

A song for both my husband and for our future child. Loving someone in ways you never thought existed.

**This album is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Hanson, my spiritual guide and teacher who died suddenly Feb 17, 2009.
I believe the work we did together made all of this possible.