Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The human trials are ongoing. They continue to stretch and adjust, while they shape-shift and decide to draft up new rules in mid-stream. We're exhausted by them, but we cannot shake them. These taxing games of chance and a little skill are unavoidable and often amusing from the outside looking in, giving any number of the bent necks something to nibble on. We all get lost in the Diaspora of it all, consumed by it. It's often such a white-washing, a bombardment of trickery and deception, but then, it's mostly our trickery and deception playing the greatest roles of their lives. We are the creators and massage therapists for these escapades. Singer and songwriter Christina Courtin writes songs that speak to these human trials, looking at and thinking about what's going on around her, as well as just below the skin, as if she were looking at a small nest of baby bunny rabbits huddling together in an exposed hole above the ground, orphaned but not really knowing that yet, with a mother still warm, but expiring on the side of the road. She looks upon these trials in amazement, turning them into short vignettes of innocence, as the documentation of all that we go through to get to somewhere else, sometimes anywhere else is more appealing. There's sadness in her pretty voice, but there's also this kind of big-eyed wonder in it, directed at all of the ways that remind us that as tortuous as it all may seem to get, it's not torture. The protagonists in the songs on her self-titled, debut full-length, are embarking on these stretches of time that test them and disrupt them. They get upset and then they're rewarded by something so very sunny and pleasant that all of the rainwater evaporates from them and they're able to enjoy it. These characters realize that not much is easy and so they resort to appreciating how bright the stars burn when they find us gazing upon them. They appreciate that the next day gets lit up by the sun as if it were trying to cheer you up with some kind of olive branch or a truce. Courtin's songs are gentle murmurings between one person - or many different single people - to the future people they're going to be honeys with, going on adventures with. For some, that search will end successfully, for many it will take countless tries and for some, it will never happen. It seems as if there's no settling in for those in Courtin's songs, not yet - all of this, just the "fleeting rolling of the dice." She sings, "From my head, down to my toes, up to my knees," and the short line expresses the totality and all-encompassing emersion of the lengths that all of us go to daily. We're loaded from the top of our height to the bottom of it and then the kicker, "up to my knees," suggesting that we're flooded and most everything is hard to handle but at least we still have the free use of our heads, arms and upper torso and we can swish through the gunk at our feet, not letting us trap us in the heap of string.