Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Last night, at a small little rock and roll show, there were these two people standing in front of me, about halfway back in the crowd of people. It wasn't too crowded, but it wasn't too thinned out either. There was just enough space that everyone could have a little more than their fair share. It was as good as you were going to get. It left you with an ability to see people behaving, watching where they put their hands, how close they talked, what they were really there for, much more than the music. The girl standing in front of me looked as if she'd just come from the office, on this Indian summer-like evening that was threatening to drop. She wore a curve-hugging green dress and she was standing beside a man that didn't look as if he'd belong to her. He wore a wedding ring, we could see though, as did she and we could have suspected such just by the way they spoke to each other - amid the loud sounds, without hearing even a fragment of what they were discussing. She looped a thumb over the corner of his back pants pocket and the easy and sweet affect of the gesture was there. It was a reinforcement of bond - a minor reinforcement - but an acknowledgment that this was all there was. This was all that was everything that was truly meaningful.
It was a throw-away moment for them and it likely happened a few more times, with a few other couples last night, in that same room, but it was an act that Jay Nash and would have stopped to see through as well. The people that the songwriter from the northeastern territories of the United States, writes all either have or are seeking renewed faith in the person they've chosen to love. It's more than that though. It's that subtle feeling that can be exchanged so effortlessly - with a slight touch or look - that communicates the understanding that we're running through that wall together and we'd muster up the kind of freakish strength it would take to lift a car off of the other, if we'd ever find ourselves in such a tight spot. It's the knowing, the feeling that it's us against the world. Nash sings about it here and it's one of those sentiments that needs no explanation, for those lucky enough to have it.
Even when the times get rocky and the wheels feel like they're going to fall off, the notion that there's something stronger at work between two people - a history and a boundless admiration that never wavers too much - and it just might be enough to overcome anything. It's why you hear people in these songs hesitant to give it out. Nash sings, "Lover, your love is harder than stone." He promises that it will be worth it, even when it's not his promise to make. He sings, "It's a test of your will now/Are you willing to lose/You just have to jump and you never have proof/You say you don't need me/But I'm telling you you do/And I'll keep telling you til I get through." It's just a matter of getting to that clearing, to that place, where that off-the-radar, nearly imperceptible thumb hooked into a back pants pocket is all there is to it.
*Essay originally published September, 2012