While working as a harbor patrol officer at the Santa Barbara Harbor (1995), Gosnay noticed the beauty of Crosby's sailing vessel and, given her already-present love for music, the connection between the two was immediate. Crosby wrote some of his biggest hits on the Mayan while seeking respite from the ever-chaotic world of music.
Crosby purchased the 59-ft. Alden 356-B centerboard schooner in 1968. References to the Mayan are found in many songs; among them, "Wooden Ships," "The Lee Shore" and "Through My Sails." She graced the cover of the 1977 Crosby, Stills & Nash album, "CSN." The boat became an inspiration for many musicians, including Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Crosby's muse also "spoke" to Gosnay.
She decided to write a song about the ship and later, Blenda Shipp (could her last name be any more of a coincidence?) provided the first arrangement and vocals for a rough cut of the song. As with most treasures, the cassette tape harboring Gosnay's emotional tribute was tucked away in a box and forgotten for nearly two decades.
In April of 2012, Gosnay discovered the Mayan was for sale. Remembering her days spent on the California coast, she was again confronted with the passion she felt for the beautiful, now-iconic, sailing vessel.
At the encouragement of Grammy-winner Ruthie Foster, she decided to "dust off" the cassette and revive the song--this time through the talented vocals and arrangement expertise of Elizabeth Wills. Ever-popular Woody Russell agreed to be on hand to add electric guitar and back-up vocals.
And award-winning music producer Mark Hallman (The Congress House Studio, Austin) would add the professional touches required to elevate Gosnay's brainchild from something simple to something profound.
Hallman states, "Lane found a great team to realize this beautiful song; Elizabeth Wills and Woody Russell were the perfect dream catchers."
One early fall morning, in the technical jungle of recording instrumentationwith only seven people to witness the magic"I Am The Mayan" came alive during a tedious six-hour process.
A few months later, the EP was available and on its way to David Crosby as a giftpurely and simply a gift, with no strings attachedto the music legend.
Some things are meant to be casually observed and released; others, to be experienced at the level of the soul and kept nostalgically preserved as part of either our own personal history, or shared for a greater good.
In the case of "I Am The Mayan," a little bit of both occurred. The love for an inanimate, wooden "object" became the catalyst for "The Mayan Project"in Gosnay's hopes that the song will help find "her" a new captain that will continue the music legacy that David Crosby began.
Gosnay, states, "I have been overwhelmingly compelled to get this song recorded and gifted to him. All the logical reasons to not do this had zero chance of stopping the process."
The history of the Mayan is now part of our culture and it is Lane Gosnay's most sincere hope that musicians will rise to the challenge of taking ownership in this iconic vessel.
"I am so grateful to Elizabeth, Woody and Mark. Not being a songwriter or recording artist myself, I was humbled to have these three individuals make an honest, concerted, heartfelt effort with this project," says Gosnay.
"Together, we all worked to express the voice, personality and power of the Mayan in the most genuine of ways. Though neither Elizabeth, Woody or Mark have ever seen the Mayan, they, indeed, now know her. They've taken a most memorable journey with her."
Gosnay uses words like "inexplicable" to capture what happened so many years ago in the harbor. Perhaps "Mayan channeled her voice through me" best describes what occurred.
The elusive how it happened is not really the issue at hand; the fact that it happened is the heartbeat that keeps the dream alive.
And alive, she is.
Sail on, Sweet Mayan