Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There was a sermon that I had to sit through the other afternoon. It wasn't bad, just one of those things that you already had thought about a million times and it didn't take someone in a cloak to reiterate the point about scars being a sign of healing. The whole thing came about because of a baptism that I had to attend and so, I sat there - with nothing else to do - and listened. Of course, it was the most I'd thought about scars for a good long while, but then I started to think about what natural restoration like that actually is. It's only a temporary quality of the human body, to want to or be capable of cleaning up the messes of accidents and poor decisions. The massive gash slicing down the middle of my forehead - which I obtained last May in London - has definitely gone away very little. It's going to be a prominent accessory for the rest of my time and I'm old enough to not give a shit. It's a fine that it's there. We'll see how it looks when the wrinkles set in.
At some point, later in age, the body just decides to go completely south and you're stuck with whatever renovations and cosmetic redesign it wants to do. Your arms start to collect those purple liver spots that are about as unsightly as things come, you begin to hunch over and your teeth accelerate their rotting. It's pitiful, but it's the way it goes. Your elasticity is shot to hell and you get nothing back. It just goes. It's not as depressing as it should be though because we've seen it happen hundreds of times to all kinds of people we've known and loved. We've seen years break down the house we grew up in - the porch cement getting wobbly and the steps dropping, the door peeling and sticking. We all just start falling apart and it's as it should be.
Colorado's Gregory Alan Isakov writes music and words that punctuate these matters, these new milestones in lives that aren't meant for legacies, but more just for their given time and then they're excused, sent off into the night. He's the equivalent to packing a good solid, old man's pipe and sitting out in the chilliness or in the stiff and stagnant summer air and just thinking about how we're all sliding downhill and there's not a thing that we can do about it. Rather than being a sad thought, it can just be seen - through that slow smoke and those crossed legs - as a narrative to decipher, or just mull.
The character in Isakov's song, "Evelyn," is off selling gasoline, cigarettes and beer during the graveyard shift at a convenience store, while his girlfriend or wife is sleeping at home, a place that he left behind with a clean kitchen table. It all seems so tidy and still so rife with general sadness, the dead-end job and the thought of two people who may in fact love each other very much, mostly just passing in the night, in various states of weariness. They sense that they're peeling, that something's gone a bit wayward, even if it's all as could be predicted. Isakov sings, "This house/She's quite the talker/She creaks and moans/She keeps me up/And the photographs know I'm a liar/And they just laugh as I burn her down." Burnt down, falling down, caved in, one way or another, the house is gone, never to be the same.
Gregory Alan Isakov Official Site