Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley at Echo Mountain
Boiled down, these trips we're on are precariously short. They are magically abrupt, truncated briefings on the bigger pictures that we'll only get to step back from long, long after we can do anything about them. We won't be able to pull out the frame. We won't be able to tuck at the corners. We'll not be able to make ourselves look better in the photographs taken to recall these days. We'll not be able to take ourselves out of any of these photographs, nor will we be able to insert the people into them that we really wished were there at the times that we needed them to be there, or wanted them to be there. These are the heroic, solitary journeys that are done quietly, without so much as a hello or goodbye, just those footnotes that we give them. If only we were allowed some mulligans or given the chance to do a little editing, heaven help us. We'd make something spectacular out of these spare parts and these wild, flaying brambles. We are left out here with our limps, our eyes, our hearts and some spare change and we're supposed to get around on our own. We're supposed to figure it all out. We're supposed to find the right words to be said to the person or people in our lives who deserve all the right words being said to them. We're supposed to figure out the appropriate people to place our love in and we're to do so in a goddamn hurry. We're not supposed to mess it up over and over. We're supposed to get brighter and we're supposed to figure it out - figure out how to be right, to not feel broken all the time and how to makes others feel right and not so broken all of their time.
California band Dawes realizes the shortness of these breaths and the quickness of these synapses, as well as the speed with which we feel shame and happiness. Lead singer Taylor Goldsmith sings, "If I wanted someone to cut me down, I'd have handed you the blade/I want you to make the days move easy," on "If I Wanted Someone," from the band's latest record, "Nothing Is Wrong." What's incredible about Goldsmith and the valiant roots music that he, bassist Wylie Gelber, drummer Griffin Goldsmith and piano player Tay Strathairn make is that, for all of the sadness that it walks beside, the clearly chosen path is one of stubborn determinism and that of pure resiliency. It's music that is about - more than anything else - love overcoming. It is about finding sunshine in the hopeless situations. There's a home to return to. It might not be the one that was left, but there's something there to get back to. There's a loved one that needs you - that will always need you, even if things have been sketchy. You're a loved one that's going to be needed. Goldsmith writes as a man who will always find a way to be there for those who need him. He sings as a man who looks off into the distance and sees it half full. He has to live that way or else it would all be too much. He'd find it too hard to take one more step on what seems to him to be an endless ramble, a roaming that keeps him away from his heart's content. Luckily, he's able to see it. He's able to see that he keeps it all inside. He sings about the burdens of each day and all of the sadness that's incurred, but there is heeling. There is light. He sings, "There's a place in my heart where I can always wait…/There's a place in my heart where you should always feel loved," and he seems to know that he's not and never will be lost to badly.