Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
It's the same nearly every night, after we get through reading three or four books and it's time to turn on the night-light and off with the house lights, the play button on the portable CD player brings either the Sound of Music soundtrack or a disc of Frog and Toad stories into my oldest daughter's room. She cries out every night around three or four in the morning when she awakens to hear silence and demands that the play button be pressed again for another go around. These are her lullabies, but they don't necessarily have to be. It's what we've presented for her and yet, there's a new album that will be thrown into the rotation, as of today. The mailman brought forth, in a padded, yellow envelope, the newest album from English singer-songwriter Essie Jain - a mesmerizing writer who now calls New York City her home, with her husband - an eight-song collection that's a soothing balm of fairy dust and sandy eyelids. Jain sings on "Falling Asleep," The rabbit folds his ears/The mouse, he twitches his nose/The cat, he curls his tail and this is how we know/That they're falling asleep," and we're happily willing to take that warm milk into our mouths and curl up with a blanket, feeling like we've packed away a solid day's worth of activity or nothingness, whichever it may have been. The songs on "Until The Light Of Morning," are surrounded by the nurturing feel of a mother or father with a child, sitting in a rocking chair and just holding on even after the young one's drifted completely off into slumber-land, just not wanting to let go, staring at the sleeping creature, stymied by what they're actually holding, this innocent, heavy breather. Jain has, over the span of a handful of albums, placed her sentiments within the grasp of such gentle regard that it seems like such a natural inclination to make an album geared to the nighttime period for both children and their worn out parent-followers. Bedtime isn't a time when the children retire and then the mommy and daddy turn the party up, it's a time when everything's worked itself to that moment when true tranquility and solemnity can be had, when real reflection can be taken. It's when the single glass of wine comes out and the shoes are horned off of swollen and steamy feet and everyone in the room gets a chance to hear their own thoughts. It's a lovely time, really. It's a time that makes other times during the day envious. Jain wields distinctive beauty in singing about drifting away into that ether. It's slight and it approaches without us knowing. It feels soft and it's delicate and it makes us want to sleep forever, as long as we can still hear the music on the hi-fi.