Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
For the most part, our tendencies lead us in the right directions. They lead us home at night - to our rightful beds, to lie next to the ones that we've committed ourselves to, forever or for the time being. Our tendencies lead us to helping others, even when we don't have to lift a finger, even when we don't know them from boo. Our tendencies tend to be good for us, though sometimes - without much of a decision being made - they lead us right into the shit. We hardly recognize it and if we do, it's too late. Raymond Carver writes, in a short story entitled "Everything Stuck To Him," a piece that takes us into the middle of a holiday interaction between a father and daughter, a little about such a change.
They're sitting at home, over drinks, and the father asks his daughter if she would like to hear a story about her mother. She tells him that she does and he tells a story about an 18-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, who are married and have a newborn baby girl together. The baby has been up all night, fussy and wailing and the mother is losing all cool. The father decides that he's going to put on his long underwear and his hunting coat and head off hunting, as his buddy would be waiting for him. They'd already made plans, you see, and breaking them didn't seem like an option. They fought and she told him he had to make a choice - his friends or this family that he had, even if he was technically still a boy, even if they were, technically both still children. He went outside, scraped the frost from his windshield and sat there a while before coming back in. His wife and his daughter were asleep, so he got out the skillet and began to cook some bacon. The wife awakened and the made up, vowing that they'd never fight again. They made waffles and bacon together and the scene ended. The mother and father were not together any longer and the man commented, "Things change. I don't know how they do. But they do without your realizing it or wanting them to." It might be that there's no understanding the shifts that people make, or the ways that they drift apart.
The ways that people change, the ways that they're likely just fulfilling their hardwired tendencies is central to the material of Houston band Buxton. Lead singer Sergio Trevino writes tales that feel like they're told the way that this father tells this one story to his grown daughter - matter-of-factly, with an even hand. They are stories that can be seen better from afar, for those involved, but they sound like gasoline pouring from lips at their inception. There are broken promises and there are figurative piles of bodies - the results of messed up relationships. There's love to give and there's love to take away, all mixed up together. Trevino sings, "There's always been an evil/And there's always been the people/That never change." And there have always been the people who change strangely, as he notes later in the session. Buxton songs are sober reminders that no one knows how anything's going to end up - contentment over waffles and bacon or a dim winter night over quiet drinks, with much spilled.
Buxton Official Site
New West Records