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about

I was working in a Texas Gulf Coast town many years ago. In the evenings I would occasionally go to a local tavern and have dinner. After several months I had become acquainted with many of the people that worked there. One evening, I noticed that one of the bar tenders wasn't at his usual station and on further inquiry, I found that he had been severely injured over the weekend; suffering a debilitating neck injury.

I was struck by this and went back to my apartment in a somber state trying to put myself in this young man's place, wondering how one could cope with the knowledge that they would never be able to be mobile again without the help of others.

The lyrics to the song Sail Away came as a result, being a metaphor for the power of the mind to transcend all physical and temporal boundaries or limitations.

Over the six year period that the Long Road Album was produced, this song evolved from the initial simple three chord progression. A modulating bridge was added before the last verse to make it a little more interesting. Then I came up with the intro that you hear on the nylon string guitar, which itself modulates from one key to another. And finally, we added a percussion break after the bridge.

The sailboat rigging that is heard at the beginning of the song was recorded at Kemah Shipyard on Galveston Bay one damp and dreary morning. And the seagulls came from the public domain site freesound.org. The clip "flock of seagulls" was posted by justkiddink. It was modified with fades (in and out) and blended into the mix at the beginning, middle and end of the track.

My initial idea for the song was for it to have a Caribbean flavor. My producer, Mark Hallman, had access to an excellent steel drum player but we were not sure what we were going to do about percussion. Then in the spring of 2015 I heard Laura Mordecai on stage at the Kerrville Folk Festival and I immediately knew that I had found what we needed. Quite coincidentally, Laura had worked at The Congress House Studio many years prior, but Mark had no idea that she played percussion.

And finally, I have to mention the back up vocalists, the Armadillo Angels; Tristan and Miranda. Tristan had been singing harmony to Sail Away since she was just a kid every spring at our Camp Dances with Armadillos campsite at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Their hard work and practice shows in the final mix of the song.

lyrics

Sail Away
Copyright 1996 Robert Lindsay Nathan

Intro:

Cmaj7 Bbm7 Ab(Add G, Add D#) D D7

G Bm Am Bm
G Bm Am Bm

G Bm Am Bm
Sail, (echo "sail" in harmony)
G Bm Am Bm
Sail Away
G Bm Am Bm
I can sail, (echo "sail" in harmony)
G Bm Am Bm
Sail away

Like a bird up in the sky
Or a delicate butterfly
I can Sail
Sail Away

If the seas of life get rough
I'll just smile and say "That's tough!"
'Cause I can Sail
Sail Away

I can sail (echo "sail" in harmony)
Sail away
Sail (echo "sail" in harmony)
Sail away

Like an eagle on the fly
Or a cloud that's gliding by
I can sail
Sail away

If the stress of life gets high
And comes tumbling down from the sky
I'll just sail
Sail away

Bridge

Dm Cmaj7
Sail Away
Bb E E7
Sail Away
A Dbm Bbm DbM
Sail, (echo "sail" in harmony)
Sail away
Sail (echo "sail" in harmony)
Sail away

Help me launch this weathered dingy
Set the sails and they'll start singing
"Sail away"
In harmony

We'll just look for calmer water
Where the dolphin and sea otter
Play all day
Sail away

Sail (echo "sail" in harmony)
Sail away
We'll just sail (echo "sail" in harmony)
Sail away

credits

from The Long Road, released April 15, 2016
Robert Lindsay Nathan - Acoustic guitar, steel and gut, Lead Vocal
Mark Hallman - Drums, Bass
Laura Mordecai - Percussion
C.J Menge - Steel Pans
Taylor Hallman - Vibes
The Armadillo Angels (Tristan Sapp and Miranda Vandenberg) - Harmony Vocals

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about

Robert Lindsay Nathan Canyon Lake, Texas

Robert Lindsay (Bama) Nathan was born in New Orleans on September 24, 1952. He was raised in Muscle Shoals Alabama and formally educated in Texas (Gig 'em Aggies). He has been writing songs since the early 1970's and has circled the globe playing them.

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