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.
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