Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
"The way that the sound moves, you're hardly an echo/Hardly and echo/I found my way through/The hold and the let go/The hold and the let go/I've nothing remaining here for her/Arms waving back at trains."
Sam Watts of Ghosts I've Met sings those words toward the middle part of his song, "Gunpowder City," and you almost want to leave it at that. You almost want to just say, "Good night. The man's done enough. He's said what needed to be said and we believe him. You should believe him. We should all believe him and we should now be able to feel exactly how he was feeling when he wrote those words. We should be as hurt as he was when all of this was caused and we should be managing admirably, just as he seems to be pretending he is."
The Michigan-born songwriter brings into his writing the strongest of sentiments of labored emotion. Damn it if the aftermaths of his failed or failing relationships don't feel like they hurt a bit more than those of most others. They burn us because they've burned him. They are covered not with easy sadness, but that which has been earned, that which is absolutely formidable and earnest. He requests forgiveness from someone after saying the wrong thing when asked if he was happy. He tells that person, "I meant nothing by, 'I've been happier.'" It's a little line, but it hangs up in the air there for quite some time, as the song goes on. It's a powerful anecdote that seems to fit his general operations. Things have fallen apart on him a lot. Things have been difficult - more so then they are currently, as well as less so than they are currently. The shadows have got him covered and he finds that the shade that they cast is agreeable. Watts sings, "It's the same damned wind, it's just not at your back," almost as a reminder to himself to spare the pity and to just live through the gusts by lowering the head and shoulders some and trudging on.