Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There's a soothing bit of darkness contained within the parts of Curtis Evans' song, "Walk Out," an ode to a dissolving relationship, of which there is little to no hope of salvaging. It's a song that brings us into the thick of the rough road, but the tempers have flared down. The emotions are still busted and shaky, but there's been some time to come down off the ledge and gain a different perspective on just what's being yelled about, why everyone's so cross and saddened. Most of it's very obvious: the end of a love will do that to anyone. It will cause a person to feel things that feel more painful than torture. The Elgin, Illinois, native takes us to the point where the principle characters have already been deflated, had their anger stoked and their insides deadened, before coming out on the other side of things, with a sober heart, a dry tongue and little energy to do much of anything for a while. It's not a common mode that Evans takes us through, but he shows here that he's very good at describing - EXACTLY - how hearts break and then how they, right before our very eyes, begin to stitch themselves back together, as if sighs and tears were the invisible thread needed to fix the gashes and the holes. The way that "Walk Out" goes is that it takes on a mellower, but really, if we're to be honest, just as brutal of an attitude as the line I'll never forget from the original Double Dragon arcade game. With an opponent gassed and dazed, head slumped and unable to put up any more of a fight, the commentator or game overlord demands that you, "FINISH HIM!" And here, it's the same sort of suggestion. There's a turning in the doorway. There's a decision to quit holding onto something that now just feels like a potato sack of dead weight, a mass of grief and bricks, of an anchor, and there's no more reasonable choice but to walk the hell out of the house and the relationship, for once and for good. Evans writes like a man who has felt the unbearable cold of a scorning once or twice, as if he knows that the definition for hot and cold are sometimes the same, or at least confusing. He's likely hung on words over the phone, read into them, and been wrong about them just as much as any man, or even more. He's probably played the game and has been backstage where all the secrets exist. It's a terrorizing feeling, not knowing how someone's going to treat you, in the end, when the end is near. He sings, "When you walk out, walk out/Won't you take the rest of me?" and the plea sounds as if it's coming from a man who realizes that if all is literally gone, it's the only way to catch a fresh start. It's like taking a torch to the grounds, setting a controlled burn to force new undergrowth. It works for people too.