Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Music comes from the book of love, sings Mark Heidinger, the man behind the Washington, D.C. one-man-band Vandaveer. The book is also called long and boring by the same guy, stuffed to the brim with anecdotes, charts and figures and little scraps of reference, of tall tales and very real gravity. It's full of the crystal clear impressions as well as the static-y persuasions that wrap around everyone's wounded, but still gentle heart. Or at least that's how the truly kind hearts are - fond of resilience and getting back up, even if they've lost far too much blood and they're shaky as fawns. They get the dirt flossed out of their teeth, the twigs and leaves combed from their ruffled hair, the wounds scarred over with a glossy mark that slowly fades back to the skin it used to be and before the trickling tears have calmed into a light dry, the mouth is already attempting a comeback, lending its breath to a song or a melody to silence the heartache that brought all of the preceding events on. It's enough to ask which came first: music or love. There's probably an easy answer that won't be belabored here, but there could still be an argument if someone wanted to make one. The way that Heidinger sings it, here with some lovely female vocal accompaniment that he was touring with at the time last spring, they could be conjoined twins, sharing a base of a neck, some arms, torso and legs. They often may wish to splinter off and get greedy - claiming certain particles of blood and fluid as their own and just get pissy about ownership - but there's really no getting away from the responsibility of what they were born into on that fateful day of conception. It's not in one of his songs, but Heidinger or the spirit of Vandaveer, might say something like, "Love comes from the back of the neck, from the back of a breath, from the hairs that stand up on end on both as the sparks sprinkle down like unseen pixie dust." His is an idyllic look at the preciousness of days spent in that moment - or years and years of moments if you're one of the lucky ones - with two souls in-synch. It's a take on the very transparent fragility that is associated with the feelings that beat like tiny, but mighty wings of passion and connection. Heidinger sings as if the moods and assortments on his inside are in the midst of a spring cleaning - that soothing pitching and renewal that seems to leap out of people when the winter weather breaks for good. He sings as if, perhaps unbeknownst to him or in complete consortium with his understanding, there's a sapling blooming from near his toe-tips and it's inching through his bones and muscles and just as it's stretched his elastic skin to its popping point, the green buds pop out from the ends of the hard brown tree limbs and that's what pokes through on the other side. The buds are his fingertips and partially his hair. The tree is opened up to the light outside and that's when the song starts - each of them - at that moment, when it's learned that there's something new and pleasant just beginning a new awakening or seasonal existence. It's a natural release and once it's begun, the song that is, it rests and soon enough, without really noticing what's happened, you're in the shade and there's a nice little serenity invading.
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