When we Heatons started working on “Cabin Boy,” we were thinking only of the rawness of this ballad about unrequited love and anti-same sex couple sentiments (even if the cabin boy in this song is really a woman in disguise). We were also increasingly aware of the importance of singing from different perspectives. 

In the song, a female sets out to follow her true love across the sea. She dresses like a male sailor and talks a ship’s captain into taking her onboard. The captain ends up falling in love with him (who is actually her). She begs him to keep silent, afraid his crew will mock him.

We started playing “Cabin Boy” in the throes of a massive home renovation project. For much of the winter we had little insulation, no front door, and limited power in the house. It was interesting to sing this song, set in a cold ship cabin, in our own little deconstructed home. And it was warming to play music together.

We shot the video with our friend Andy Cambria in our partially finished living room. And we planned to launch the song on St. Patrick’s Day, to take advantage of the spotlight on Irish music on this day, and use it to highlight a song that we think has real depth and importance.

And then Covid-19/Corona Virus hit.

Our gigs were cancelled. Our kid was sent home from school for at least three weeks. And now restaurants and parks will close. Like everybody, all of our plans, our income, and our “normal” turned inside out almost overnight.

Over the last week, we have seen abysmal, ignorant, undignified behavior (like the woman at the grocery store checkout line, cart piled high with eight dozen eggs, heaps of toilet paper, countless loaves of bread, in front of Shannon with her small basket of staples which did NOT include eggs, toilet paper, or bread, because there were none left.)

And we’ve seen kind, noble, balanced responses (like that same woman who turned to her and said in a thick local accent, “sweethaaaht, you go on ahead.”)

We are all coming from different situations. AND we are all human.

Before Covid closed our local schools and set everybody into an isopropyl alcohol-hoarding frenzy, we were already on dangerously divisive ground. 

But this new scary virus that is spreading across the globe throws us all together. It’s better for all of us if both toilet paper stockpiler wearing a MAGA hat… and bleeding heart liberal who gets annoyed that there aren’t enough eggs… remains virus free.

Intolerance and ignorance are toxic, infectious. With this acute pandemic, maybe we can start to wish well on our fellow humans. Whether they are wearing a MAGA feed hat or a Rupal-esque ball gown.

At one point it was scandalous for a ship’s captain to fall in love with his male cabin mate. Now maybe we can just hope that both of them wash their hands and cough into disposable tissues.

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