Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley
Brett Dennen has problems. They're those good problems to have though. He cares too much and he feels too much. His stress is that eustress that's so hard to come by. He seems to have the market cornered. The singer-songwriter from Northern California, sometimes concerns himself with worldly issues - in fact, we know that he's a humanitarian and likely worries about others more than he does himself - but the problems that he gets to writing about most of the time are those that come from having a huge heart, or an easily smitten one. He bothers himself with the need to find and be in love and, if we were to stack up all of the things that we can worry about, this is one that straddles the line between good and bad. While it's the most important thing to find out there in the wilderness, love is more for the sportsman. It's as enjoyable as it is anguishing. It's as beautifully complicated as it is discouraging. He probably finds some kind of safety in the way that the search is always different, but ultimately the same. He seems to find himself immersed in the pleasures of preoccupation, of getting it so bad for a pretty thing that it makes him sick. It's like sun poisoning, only the poisoning never happens and it's more just a basking in it. It's going overboard and realizing that you're not going to drown in those waters, but rather have a breakthrough and discover that, after some scary struggling and thrashing, that you can actually breathe underwater and that everything's going to be just fine. It's taking the plunge into the open depths of that thing called love and recognizing that, even when it's bad, there are innumerably more parts that are good and worthwhile. Dennen touches and absorbs this sentiment. He appreciates the situations that can arise and he meets them head-on, with dimples in his cheeks and an isn't-this-the-greatest smile. He's one of those mellow fellas that you have a hard time ever picturing being cross or worked up. You can't see him blowing his lid or letting himself lose his temper over something miniscule or even something important. He seems to ride the waves and the undulations of the unpredictability of love. He's a sightseer and a lover of it. There's a holiness to it that he never loses sight of. The magnificence of it never catches him off-guard.