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CHAPTER IV

LOVERS ON HORSEBACK

Song Stories

Album Liner Notes

In this series of Song Stories we’re taking you behind the scenes of each song.

Chapter IV– The Carolinas is the fourth EP from our album Old Bones Odyssey

Coming soon: we’re creating a podcast that dives deeper into the stories and history behind our songs.

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Lovers On Horseback

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Lyrics

Lovers On Horseback

“They say you can hear their sighs, kisses on the wind
Like the tree they’re evergreen, souls that never die”-Lyrics/Ellen Kaye

Ellen Kaye – Lead Vocal
Ethan Fein – Guitar, Banjo
Diane Monroe – Violin
Koa Ho – Upright Bass
Zach Mullings – Drums, Bongos
Jackie Presti – Backing Vocals
Soara-Joye Ross – Backing Vocals
© 2022 Ellen C Kaye and Ethan Fein. All rights reserved.

Dancing to life’s sweetest tune
Our tree 
Lost in bloom 
Spreading branches to the sky 
Lovingly to the moon 
Watching over lovers riding by 

The old cedar tree rests now 
On that sleepy hill 
Waiting for the sun to rise 
‘Neath her sleepy boughs  

Polly and Elisha flew
Through loves open doors 
Riding on the wings of hope 
Loving hearts so true 

Ten miles over land they raced 
Laughing all the way 
Leaping through the air so high 
Horses flush with grace 
They met Bishop Asbury   
Golden circles bright 
Clasping reins and hearts, as one  
‘Neath that cedar tree 

How they rode 
How they flew 
The wind at their backs 
Flashing hooves on fire 
Past the sun 
Past the sky and the rain
The stars as they blew on past 

Building a home close by 
That faithful loving tree
Living for the moon to rise 
Sweet treasures, bluer skies 

They say you can hear their sighs 
Kisses on the wind
Like the tree they’re evergreen 
Souls that never die 

How they rode 
How they flew 
The wind at their backs 
Flashing hooves on fire 
Past the sun
Past the sky and the rain 
The stars as they blew on past 

Polly and Elisha flew
Through loves open doors 
Riding on the wings of hope 
Loving hearts so true 

The old cedar tree rests now 
On that sleepy hill 
Waiting for the sun to rise 
‘Neath her sleepy boughs 

‘Neath that cedar
The wings of love will never die
The wings of love will never die 
The wings of love will never die 

Ellen C Kaye – Lyrics
Ethan Fein – Music 
Recorded/Mixed/Mastered by Bill Moss
Ellen C Kaye, Ethan Fein, Bill Moss, Alan Joseph – Producers
Outlier Inn Recording Studio – Woodridge, New York
Samurai Hotel Recording Studio – Queens, New York
A Repair With Gold Production LLC SM
(c) 2023 All Rights Reserved

The Story

Lovers On Horseback

Backstory

“The country was sparsely settled with few preachers, so Polly Willis(Willets) and Elisha Sellars, with two friends, rode horseback 10 miles to intercept Bishop Asbury, after whom Asbury Park, New Jersey was named; who was making a trip through North and South Carolina on horseback. Meeting him, they were married, on their horses, under a cedar tree beside the road. Building a cabin near this place, they lived there for some years. “ 

A fragmentary four-page record, “NC Burwell History,” was written by Ann Leonard Giersh of Winston-Salem, North Carolina in April 1897. She was 81 years old at the time. In May 1935  George Ernest Burwell Sr., Ann’s nephew, added more details.

Bishop Asbury & Asbury Park History

Asbury Park is a beachfront city on the New Jershey shore. It became a music destination in the 1960’s when many rock and roll bands, rhythm and blues, soul and doo-wop singers performed regularly on the beachfront. It continues to be a touring stop for musicians today. It was founded in 1871 by James A. Bradbury, a broom manufacturer from New York City. He chose to name the city after Francis Asbury, one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. For 45 years Bishop Asbury would travel an average of 6000 miles each year, by horseback or carriage, across the early American colonies, preaching to and marrying all who were interested, including my 4th great-grandparents, Polly Willets and Elisha Sellers.

Polly & Elisha Back Story

On my mother’s side we come from North Carolina, going back a ways to the 1600’s. Lovers On Horseback is about my 4th great-grandmother Mary “Polly” Willets Sellars falling in love with my 4th great-grandfather Elisha Sellars and getting married by Bishop Asbury, of Asbury Park, under a cedar tree on horseback.
Since I was very young I’ve had a few copies of an old informal kind of family tree letter. It was a bit hard to figure out, till I realized that it was written by two different people at different times. First, Ann Leonard Giersch (the aunt of my great-grandfather George Ernest Burwell Sr), wrote the original family history in 1897 when she was 81 years old and then George himself, in 1935, filled in some spots.
In it, they tell this story of Polly and Elisha riding on horseback to be married. How they wed underneath a cedar tree and then built a cabin nearby, where they lived for many years.
The original letter was very plainly written with few words describing this, but it was enough to make me want to write this song. Along with that old letter, I used my cousin Josephine Shaffner Forsberg’s (with her husband Max Forsberg) extensive research on my mother’s North Carolina Burwell line. Josephine and Max’s deep knowledge has been a huge support to our project.

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Ellen C Kaye

Ellen C Kaye

Singer/songwriter, producer, podcast maker, mom, born and bred in NYC. Night Club singer at heart.