Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Iowa resident Jen Gloeckner operates within the context of those weeks and months between the middle of September and those days just a few weeks ago, when we wound the clocks forward. She does her best thinking when everything's chilly-to-bitterly-cold and we lose everyt last drip of our daylight before any one of us are home from the office or the fields. It's this depressing time of the year, from which she derives the majority of her powers, banking on them to give her some inspiration in spite of the torpor, in spite of the mind and soul-numbing aspects of the season that draws on forever and gives us little to love. Gloeckner has different settings, but her best is the one that she exhibits on the song, "Only 1," from her last album, "Miles Away," a song about conquering love and about the depths that people will travel for it. It's a song that waltzes into us, asks for our hand and then makes sure that we're getting the sense of what's in the air that evening. It's a touching tale of simple infatuation, a connection to another person that defies reason, as well as death.
She sings with a brave, but vulnerable and aching huskiness, a sound that casts the light of a harvest moon over the words coming out of her mouth in balloons of white exhalation. It's a song that explores the feeling of personal and emotional isolation, of living without really being able to live like you'd want to. It's a song about being swept away into the detritus of the clamoring of days that drift into the dragging of weeks and the disfigurement of years. Before you know it, all is part of one gray blob and there's no swimming out of it. Gloeckner sings that, "I'd die to love you," and she continues to make references to the suggestion, telling us that she sits there "like a loaded gun." It comes out as a desperate sort of feeling - part madness and all human nature, a sensation that's been experienced by everyone at one time or another. It's nothing foreign, but scary all the same. It's a feeling that stuns us and makes us feel completely alone or forbidden, as if we're not going to ever be the way we'd like to be and that's to make everything seem right again. It's the impossibility that she presents to us, lovingly and with a pall.