Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The little conflicts turn into bigger conflicts when they're given the chance in Chelsea Crowell songs. Everything escalates when the situation is ripe for it and the people that the daughter of Rodney Crowell and Roseanne Cash puts into her folky country narratives are capable of it all, but they mostly work themselves into some twisted scaldings, those binds that simply burn, but aren't going to destroy them completely.
They seem more likely to get discouraged, to see themselves as facing greater and greater odds of obtaining happiness with every passing day. They've been hurt by other people, as is wont to happen. They've been used and discarded by other people, which is almost the same thing, but a little different. They've been left without any suitable conclusion and every time it's happened, it leaves them a little worse off and the anxiety regarding what they're going to amount to builds and pressurizes into something that has a physical ache to it. As the years stack up for these people, they start losing hope when they see others gaining in ways that they're not. There's much talk about marriage in this set of songs and along with that are discussions about what it takes to get to that point with someone else - not a menial endeavor. It's something that often gets mistaken as chance - nothing but simple chance, being in the right place at the right time, bumping into the goddamn thing, or finally opening your eyes to what was standing there in front of you, stupidly all this time.
Crowell, while cool in her portrayal of these folks, comes from these places of frustration, seeing things go from bad to worse, as the odds dwindle on the outcomes ever being ideal. Those available men are becoming fewer and fewer and the younger years were foolishly wasted on frivolous loves. Those years are blamed for a lot, but little good comes from blaming kids for adult displeasure. "Life is made of time," she sings, but quickly she acknowledges that there's a real fear that they don't have much left to play with. It's life and it's time. They're both draining down to the nub. "Time is not on our side," is what's been best learned. Good looks have gone to waste and passion has been short-changed, given to the wind.