Lift Me Up

(Song by: Rob Kneisler  –  Song & Performance Notes below)

Rob Kneisler

Rob Kneisler


Lake Union rocks me awake early morn’
Cast off the lines, push away from the docks
Feel her heel over as we bear for the Locks
Another day a-sailin’.

They say that life has its ups and its downs
Much like the rise and the fall of the tide
And like the Locks that both join and divide
The lakes and ocean.

Lift me up, lay me down
Let me in, I’ll come around
Push me out, Into the Sound
To sail the ocean

The Ballard Locks are one hundred years old
The gates swing open and pull me inside
I think of the boats that have taken this ride
Sailors gone before me.

And I know I shall cross once again
The back and forth and the here and the gone
Just like the salmon returning to spawn
Over and over.


I know fresh water and I know the salt
It’s like the difference between day and night
It’s in the smell and the way that the light
Flows to the horizon.

You’re not a sailor, I once was told
Until you’ve sailed ‘till the land disappears
And you’re alone and have faced all your fears
Floating on forever.



In preparation for writing this song I read books, took the tours, bummed rides up and down the Ship Canal, interviewed friends and strangers alike, made a few lifelong friends and saw many sights I would not have otherwise seen.  To say the experience was memorable would be a gross understatement.

Armed with this wealth of new information and experience, I set out to write something poignant, meaningful and historically significant about the Ballard Locks, and ended up writing a little love ditty instead.  Oh well.  I guess music is, in a way, similar to certain types of food: while you can control your inputs, you can’t always control what comes back out.  So I wrote a love song and no regrets about it.  Because of this experience I have already completed another song and have at least two others on the way – it’s a gift that keeps on giving and I thank the kind folks at Maritime Folknet, Jack Straw Productions, and 4 Culture for making this possible.

The arrangements for the song were a complete no-brainier for me, meaning that I elected to not use mine and instead relied on the kindness, expertise and raw talent of that magical duo William Pint and Felicia Dale who I consider to be an absolute must-have for any undertaking of this kind. And then there were my Whateverly Brothers Dan Roberts and Chris Glanister who cheerfully did whatever asked of them and made everything frosty and fun. Then there is my good friend Robin McGillveray who was with me on this right from the start and gave me indispensable help with remarkably Buddha-like patience – his stamp is definitely on this arrangement and it is a much better song for it. And then finally there was the guidance and targeting help we got from our engineer and new friend Steve Ditore of Jack Straw Productions who somehow in spite of everything managed to get us home safely – and thanks for that, Steve.

  • Words and music by Rob Kneisler
  • Performed by:
    • Rob Kneisler (lead vocals, guitar)
    • Robin McGillveray (bass, backup vocals)
    • Felicia Dale (hurdy gurdy, backup vocals)
    • William Pint (octave mandolin, backup vocals)
    • Dan Roberts (backup vocals)
  • Recorded at Jack Straw Cultural Center

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