Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Danny Reisch and Grant Johnson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
The last place that we saw Dent May was at show at a venue named in commemoration of an old baseball stadium, in New York City last fall. This place is nothing like the overall feeling that the Oxford, Mississippi, man puts into every saccharine song that he writes. It's a place that seems miraculous in its existence. It appears to be skirting all kinds of laws and city ordinances and yet it is a "legitimate" place of operation, promoting shows and filling what appears to be a hovel in a former meat-packing district with gobs of people. There's a shitty couch in the corner, ready for the junkyard, covered in who-wants-to-guess and there are a couple kids over in the other corner selling beers for a few bills each. The place feels shady at best, and dumbfoundedly amazing in its almost certain impermanence.
It's a place that May surely loves because of the tolerance for everything, absolutely adores playing because of the pure sweatiness/party time-ness, but the ethos of such a spot doesn't click with the most important emotional themes that his music thrives on. Even here - during the CMJ festival in October of 2011, when he was playing a set primarily of his new, guitar-based songs (which wound up on his excellent new album, "Do Things") for one of the first times, losing the ukulele that dominated his debut - the songs are still pulled from a deep well of dedicated love, from a place that's rooted deep.
They are songs about best friends. They are songs about people who are at least willing to grow old with one another and see where that leads them. They are songs about lasting love - about the stuff just not going away. They are songs about relationships you can believe in still being around if you check back in on them a few years from now. They'll be heavier, maybe, but they'll mostly be exactly as you remembered them to be. The place with the kids drinking beer and smoking weed over there in the well-trafficked, well-lit former meat-packing district won't be around the next time you look, even if you wanted it to be.
Dent May Official Site