Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Curtis Henderson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
An old country song gets sung by Jake Bugg and a few different things happen. They're mostly good, but they do struggle to make you feel too good. He takes us walking down that "old country lane," and it's a walk that we enjoy, but not for many happy reasons. Along the way, we hear the limbs of the trees speak. They murmur and they creak, moaning out the time, counting our steps, reminding us of things that we'd
long since let go of. The birds up in those usually silent trees crack solemnly and wisely, reminding us that these kinds of walks are going to continue, as long as we're around, goading us with all of these things that once were.
They are faint recollections of happier times. Things have gone rusty and memories have faded into their cruel, burnt colors - ones that can no longer hide the truth. These are memories that, when taken in, sink to the very bottom of a stomach. They are the heaviest of weights, swallowed and incapable of being digested. The guts just get rubbed, massaged, with the hope that the sometimes dull, usually throbbing pain burns its way cleanly from them.
The 19-year-old Bugg is already an old man and he has a way of sounding like he's ready for trouble -- like he's already been through more trouble than his years should have already warranted. He's found trouble and it's found him. He doesn't differentiate between the two, nor should he. He's found a home in the salty, dirt-stained patches of life, where rottenness follows ripeness.
*Essay originally published June, 2012