The Undertow: About the Songs

Blood Red Sky

For the last three decades, I’ve been trying to gain a greater understanding of why my younger brother took his own life back in 1984. It was a devastating tragedy that still continues to haunt me to this very day. I’d been holding it all inside for a very long time, and finally was able to find some kind of closure through the writing of this song.

Shipwreck Of Love

Always had this idea of using the analogy of a shipwreck at sea to a failed relationship. For some reason I seem to be more comfortable writing love disaster songs as opposed to ones with happy endings. Not really sure why.

Treasures In The Sand

As a young boy, our mom would take my sister, brothers and me down to the ocean on many a summer day.  There we would swim, fly kites, build sand castles, and look for seashells, starfish, driftwood washed up on the shore. This song was based on my recollection of those happy times.

Keep The Light Burning Abby

This is the very first tune my songwriting buddy Ted DeMille and I wrote together. The story line of the song is based on a children’s book about a lighthouse keeper and his daughter who lived up on the Maine coast.  This is one of my favorites, and over time inspired me to write several other songs with ocean themes.

Widow’s Walk

Dating back to the early 19th Century, A widow’s walk was a platform built on seaside housetops where wives of sailing men could look out to the ocean for their husband’s ship as it sailed from, and back to port. Oftentimes it became a place of sadness and mourning when their sailors never returned, as many a ship went down at sea in those days. Hence the name Widow’s Walk. This is one of my favorite co-writes with good friend Rich Schleckser.


A lighthouse was a comforting sight to the sea-faring man. In the dark of night, in the fog, ocean storms, the beacon of a lighthouse would guide them safely to shore. To this day lighthouses still play an important role, preventing disasters at sea. This was another successful collaborative effort with my songwriting buddy Rich Schleckser.

Young Sailor’s Dream

This song was inspired by some old pictures of my parents taken back in the day when they first met, and eventually married.  I’d always wondered about the beginnings of their relationship and how it all got started. I decided to write their story through this song. Some is true, some is fiction. The setting takes place in Scotland, where the Lang ancestry can be traced to.

The Marginal Way

Located on the Southern Maine Coast, the Marginal Way is a footpath that winds along the rocky coastline with some spectacular panoramic views of the ocean. I remember the first time I walked the trail, noticing couple after couple, young and old, holding hands as they walked along. You could feel a sense of love in the air. Over time I came to realize this is truly a very spiritual place. My wife and I have a long standing tradition that each spring, around our anniversary, we would walk the Marginal Way together.   

The Undertow

The undertow is a most powerful force, hidden far beneath the ocean’s surface. If you have ever been swimming in the sea and felt the undertow grab and drag you down to the ocean floor, it is a sensation you will never forget. It renders you totally helpless.

This song is an analogy between the turmoil in a relationship, and the turmoil of the undertow. Many a couple have got caught up in it, but not everyone would survive its wrath.

Massachusetts Turnpike

The setting is in the historic fishing village of Gloucester, Ma. A fisherman and his son are the main characters. The young man had no interest in following in his father’s footsteps. The life of a fisherman was not easy….back breaking work, risks out at sea, and low pay. He decides to leave home in search of a better way of life…heading west on the Massachusetts Turnpike. In some ways the song is really about my own youth, and how it all eventually played out.

The Rising Tide

I started writing this tune well over a decade ago. It is based on an old saying that captured my imagination: “The Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”.  I made many attempts to write this song over time, each one falling short of my expectation. Then one day, out of nowhere, this version poured out of me. It was a gift, expressing everything I wanted to say, including a fresh musical setting that seemed just right for the story line. This song is dedicated to everyone in my life who inspired me to set my sights higher, reach for the stars, and chase my dreams.

Rye Harbour

This is a special place on the NH Coastline we visited frequently over the years. Only about a forty minute drive from where we live, it is a joy just sitting and watching all the wooden boats float out to sea with the wind in their sails. Often we would walk out on the jetty to get a better view. On a clear day we could look out and see the Isles Of Shoals, where my Scottish ancestors landed centuries ago. Seagulls would hover overhead, their song ringing in our ears, and our senses would come alive from the smell of the cool salty air. In this song I attempted to paint a picture of how I remember this most beautiful ocean setting.