Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
There is one tired and worn out comment that, under the right circumstances, can always elicit some choking up, a frog in the throat, some welling of salty water at the corners of the eyes and a strong desire to gather up your children or your precious loved ones and hug them tight. It's a statement that, at least, commands a passing thought, some acknowledgement. It comes when some horrific tragedy happens and on a newscast, in a newspaper article or elsewhere, a tearful mother or father mourns the loss of a child and reminds us, so easily and simply, to never take any day for granted, to live full lives every time we awaken, without exception. It's such a clichéd statement, but it's an effective one and if you find yourself engaged in the details of the story, feeling some form of closeness to what had happened to those poor folks, you listen for at least a few minutes and vow that you're going to do just that: lead yourself into a more worthy and admirable expenditure of your time and, hence, a better division of your love and energy.
Bloomington, Indiana's husband&wife gets to us in this way, at times, with lead singer Mike Adams delivering a verse that can boil it all down to the brass tacks and present us with a portrait of a man who, dammit, is doing his best to stay away from the brambles and the scrapes, and to honor his limited breaths and dwindling days. The characters that he sings about on the group's latest album, "Proud Flesh," are men and women who struggle to connect the dots, but who also realize that some form of struggle is most absolutely the name of the game. There are going to be bruised shins and shiners, words that you'd rather you could erase and loves that you wish could be swiftly regenerated, but it's not how any of this works. The title track to the new record is a dandy and it contains such pertinent writing and a beautiful glimpse into the territory that this foursome, which includes Tim Felton, Bryant Fox and up until last month, Will Rose, tracks in. Adams sings, "Of all the magic I have had to learn/And what to use it on/Of course I don't believe/In evil spirits, but it's hard to keep it up/When they're every place I see/I need to figure out/If I'm wrong then I'm lost/And I'm alone, but I'm around/What I need and I want/Don't throw away your love/Cause who are you to know the whole thing/Yeah, who are you to blow the whole thing," and shows the enormity of what we're all up against, while still suggesting that pure evil might not be out there and that there is something magical that we all have in our quivers. We just need to draw back and let it fly, see what will happen.
Crossroads Of America Records