Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Listening to a Busman's Holiday song is like hearing a symphony being played by a roasting fireplace, the combusting and disintegrating pieces of wood acting as all the players, along with the conductor and the theater it's taking place inside. The music comes out calmly, but sometimes surprisingly hot and jumpy from the embers, but always mindful of its purpose and its posture. It speaks in its own language and it's there, undeniably, for providing such comfort that's not at all replicable by anything else. It creates a feeling of the smallest of worlds, a world that could be made up of just two individual people, intent on consuming an evening, receiving all of the heat that this particular fire could ever give to them and in reading by that orange light, satisfied with a hand in a hand and a mellow drink resting next to the other hand, relaxing into a depressed pit on the arm of the sofa. It's music that makes us instantly melancholy and at the same exact time, appreciate the fullness of life and what's still to come.
Lewis and Addison Rogers, the brothers and two singers and songwriters for this Bloomington, Indiana, band have an uncanny knack for good feelings, even in the face of this kind of melancholic filter. They are good - filled with good, good hearts and that blinding and welcome cheeriness - and therefore they insist upon the warmth of those fires and not a passing thought that someday those fires will come to their ends and the cold air will rush back into the den where they sit. This does not occur to the Rogers boys and their songs are gorgeous and brilliantly construed as romancing the rapid progression of people suddenly finding themselves smitten with the other and waking up with aching joints, on the furthest side of youth, but still looking at each other with that twinkle in the eye that says something along the lines of, "It's been fun, hasn't it kiddo."
Busman's Holiday songs are framed by a sensation of graceful aging and they come at us like the kinds of songs that Cary Grant would have written in his older years, looking back fondly on the times gone by. These are songs about love, for love and they tend to wash us up in their innocence. They make us believe that putting the right hand within one of our nervous free hands could be all that will ever matter to us and it will make us whole and happy forever after. Lewis and Addison Rogers make us wholeheartedly believe that this one act could make us feel like we all have an ice cream cone in our hands and we'll feel like that until the sun explodes out of the sky.
*Essay originally published March, 2010
Look for a long-overdue, new Busman's Holiday album A Long Goodbye in the spring of 2014!