"Echo" BackStories, Lyrics, and Credits

All songs written by Michael Monagan ©Sossity Music except “O-o-h Child” Stan Vincent © Kama Sutra Music

ME 'n u

Philippe’s is an old LA eatery between Chinatown and Olvera Street that’s specialty is the French Dip sandwich. When I was walking out of the restaurant one day I noticed that one of the tall windows along the front had a very old pane of glass with the wavy and uneven patterns in it. All the other windows had been replaced by new unmodulating glass but this one had really stood the test of time. Block that metaphor! Rather than block it I embraced it and made it a song about a love that would stand the test of time. For my sweetie. (And here’s the video- https://youtu.be/H6Nt5jeB4tU )

Old window, old glass, imperfect, but it lasts
Aren't we like and old window, so easy to see through
Me 'n U

Old sweater, old cloth, it's tattered but it's soft
Aren't we like and old sweater, so familiar so true
Me 'n U

Blow, let the wind blow. Blow, let the wind blow.

Old guitar, old wood, it's cracked but sounds good
Aren't we like an old guitar, a friend when you're feelin blue
Me 'n U


What self-respecting songwriter does not write a song about their kids? Not me. Maura, our second daughter, has green eyes despite the fact that neither Gaili nor I, nor our parents have green eyes. Where did they come from? (She also had blonde hair but I did, oddly enough, have blonde hair as a tyke.) Gaili’s family is Hungarian, thus the Budapest reference and mine is, of course, Irish (Galway). Fred Sokolow’s banjo added just the right complimentary color.

Where'd you get the green eyes,
Where'd you get the blonde hair
Were they from someone long ago?
Were they from Budapest or were they from Galway
Or maybe somewhere in between
Maura, where'd you get the pretty green eyes

You're running in circles, you're rolling in laughter
Chasing after big sister Kylie-o
Wearing her hand me downs, you're a little gypsy
Will you never own nothin of your own
Maura, chasin' after big old Kylie-o

Riding on a rockin horse, riding with no hands
Don't you have the fear of falling in your soul
When your Dad says "No", you're buckin' like a bronco
I guess I didn't see the pretty little wings of gold
Maura, riding on a horse with no hands.

Banjo- Fred Sokolow

Mixed by Tony Phillips

O-o-h Child

The 5 Stairsteps were a family group modeled after the Jackson 5 who only had one hit, but it was a good one. A simple repeating pattern that modulates and then returns home is the music for a basic sentiment; everything’s going to be all right. Who doesn’t need to hear that once in a while? Tracy Caine, friend and neighbor, laid down a groove that has taken this song to over, as of this writing, 40,000 plays on 8tracks.com. A good song resonates.

O-o-h child. things are gonna get easier
O-o-h child, things will get brighter
O-o-h child, thing are gonna get easier
O-o-h child, things will get brighter

Someday, we're gonna walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Someday, when the world is much brighter
Someday, we're gonna get it together and get it undone
Someday, when the world is much lighter

Drums- Tracy Caine

Mixed by Tony Phillips


Probably the most introspective song on the album, this one wonders why, when we see something as beautiful and magical as a firefly, we want to capture it and put it in a jar. Yes, I suppose it’s human nature, I certainly did it as a child, but what is it about us that makes us want to try and control beauty? Who knows.

Fear is the heart's birthmark, it follows you everywhere you go
It finds your weakness, it'll drive you mad if you let it,
Don't let it

Standing in front of you, not knowing what to do
My mind is a leaf blowing down the street
And dancing on the edge of my memory
A firefly, a firefly, in a jar

There's patterns in fingerprints and stars in the sky
We often do things and don't know why
And waiting for the chance to be set free
A firefly, a firefly, in a jar

Mixed by Tony Phillips


In the “It Just Goes to Show You” department: some friends have thought of this as a country song- “Kenny Chesney should record this!” but I think of it more in the soul category. Either way it’s a love song expressing that all encompassing and complete feeling of wonderfulness that we’ve all had one time or another. Penny Nichols stacked the harmonies on the chorus (it took her all of 5 minutes!) and gives the song a yin to my yang.

Your face is like a song baby,
I sing it to myself all day long

Little things you do make me laugh
I have your heart in mine just like a photograph
I wanna feel the warmth of your skin
I'm knockin at your door, baby let me in
I'm floating down a stream, perhaps I'm in a dream
If that's the case then lord let me dream on

You're like a waterfall, you're like a waterfall baby
It rushes over me so strong that I can't see
I lift up my face and close my eyes
You're like a waterfall

I love the way that you move, baby
You sway so confident and so damn smooth
You take my hand and I get high
I feel a fire start way down deep inside
I'm losing all sense of space and time
You're running through my veins just like a fine wine
It's like I'm on a roll, I'm losing all control
I'm giving you my heart and soul

Vocals- Penny Nichols

Mixed by Tony Phillips

out of)
Galway Bay

There’s a tradition in Ireland of writing songs that could have been written a hundred and fifty years ago. This one plies the classic story of the poverty and desperation that makes a man leave his family to seek employment in a distant land in hopes of sending for his family after creating a new life. But what will happen while he’s gone? Multi-instrumentalist Zack Leger created the green hills of Ireland playing Low D Irish whistle, Uilleann pipes, and bouzouki while Penny and Deb work their magic on the harmonies.

Sailing out of Galway Bay
How can I feed my family and me
When all of the jobs been taken
How can I bear the children's quite stare
Why have their dreams all been broken
And I know things will never be the same

Sailing out of Galway Bay
With my Mary standing silent on the shore
Heading for Americay
To a land I know will never be my home

Strangers I'll find, will they be kind
Will they allow me the freedom
To work like a man, will they understand
When it's the time for my leavin'
And I know things will never be the same

Fortune may be elusive to me
And I may prove unsuccessful
But how will I know if I never go
And put all my cards on the table
And I know things will never be the same

When I return how my heart will burn
To see my Mary standing in the clover
Will she take me in or will I have to spend
The rest of my days without her
And I know things will never be the same

Vocals- Penny Nichols and Deborah McColl
Bouzouki / Low D Irish Whistle / Ulleann Pipes- Zac Leger

Mixed by Tony Phillips


You're not suppose to know this but Inside was actually written as a homework assignment when I was getting my special ed teaching credential. I knew I wanted to write a song for the college class project and when one of my classroom assistants, exasperated by a student with autism weeping and unable to tell us what was wrong, said “If only we could see inside his head what’s bothering him!” Bingo. I was off and running. Tracy, in a totally different approach to the drums, sets the mood, with another neighbor, John Fitzgerald, enveloping us with the vibes while Penny and Deb navigate the tricky harmonies with beauty and grace. 

I wish that I could find a way inside your mind
So I could understand what makes you cry
You act like you don't care but I know something's there
Way down deep are feelings

Inside, inside, inside, let me inside
If only I could see on the inside

Is it something that I said that makes you turn your head
Overtime I try to get close to you
Just give me a clue how to get to you
And maybe we can work this out together

Is all the world you have all you need to know
Or do you ever want to look outside
I'd trade the world I have and everything I own
Just for a single look

Vocals- Penny Nichols and Deborah McColl
Drums- Tracy Caine
Vibes- John Fitzgerald

Mixed by Tony Phillips


This song was written when Tom Sayers, Steve Noonan, Tom Nolan, and I used to get together on Tuesdays to write. I wanted to create a very simple song about a very overused subject. This recording is from The Front Porch Band’s one and only EP.  The FPB is a blues, rock, country, reggae band in which I play drums. Judy Rudin, Joel Wachbrit, Spero Anthony, Tom Corbett, and Boo Bernstein are a blast to play with although we’ve been hibernating for some time now. “Love” is a three chord song with a fourth chord thrown in only once; do you know where?

There's something everybody wants,
There's something everbody needs
Somethin' that you cannot live without
Just like food and air, You'll die if they're not there

Makes you either cry or twist and shout

LOVE opens up the coldest heart
LOVE makes a strong man fall apart
LOVE you can never know what it will do
LOVE makes a man go to war
LOVE another wonders what he's livin for
LOVE it brings out the worst and the best in you

If you treat it carefully, it can help set you free
It can give you strength where there was none
But if you love's not true, it will come right back on you
Love's not a game to be lost or won

LOVE challenges the way we live
LOVE teaches us how to give
LOVE offers us the chance to change our mind
LOVE puts aside hate and greed
LOVE shows us what we really need
LOVE it's an opportunity to be kind

It can't be bought and sold, It's hard to catch and hold
Help us see things in another way
It must be taught and learned, it must be lit and burned
It's something you must practice every day

Harmonica- Judy Rudin
Guitar and Vocals- Joel Wachbrit
Bass- Spero Anthony
Mandolin- Tom Corbett
Pedal Steel- Boo Bernstein

Mixed by Tony Phillips

Open Your Heart

This is a song that has been used as an invocation. It is a plea that appeals to a higher calling. It is a non-religious song that nevertheless covers the same ground. I think of it as a meditation. I can’t explain why harmonies are so moving for me but Penny and Deb have created something here that is really stratospheric. Ron Suffredini’s acoustic bass rounds out the bottom end with playing that is at once unobtrusive yet essential. I was introduced to Jim “Kimo” West’s slack key music when I went to Boulevard Music on a whim. Wow. Knocked me out AND gave me the icing on the cake for “Open Your Heart.”

Open your heart, open your heart
When you open your heart
Love will come, love will come
Love will come when you open your heart

Open your eyes, open your eyes
When you open your eyes
Understanding will come, understanding will come
Understanding will come when you open your eyes

Open, open, open, open, open

Vocals- Penny Nichols and Deborah McColl
Guitar- Jim “Kimo” West
Bass- Ron Suffredini

Mixed by Tony Phillips