Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
JM Airis is the rare story of a man of song who has decided to leave Eau Claire, Wisconsin, during the city's heady days as a city that can do know wrong when it comes to recording artists. He's taken himself to Brooklyn, New York, but what's it matter anyway? It sounds like central Wisconsin, in the neighborhood of the Chippewa River and the Leinenkugel brewery, got into him good enough anyway. That isolated feeling of looking down off a bluff and seeing nothing but weeds, cornfields and trees, not buildings and cities - just sprawling land, is there. It's a great thing and it's a stifling thing too. It's being out in that sunshine that's falling all over everything evenly, without much of a direction.
The songs that Airis writes are those that are coming from a person who's got his mind made up, but he's always gonna reserve the right to change it whenever he wants to. He sings about things burning in the fire - throwing them in the fire. He sings about getting out of the dead end places and then realizing that it might not have been for the better. It had to happen at the time though, because everyone needs to feel what it's like to leave. There's a belief that body's are bound to change, as he hints at during " First of Many," and holding them back is as foolish and nearly as impossible as holding in a sneeze.
One song further along in this session, he sings, "Time is moving so slow/It's a shame, such a shame/To go back to where you came/Cause I want to see this one through," and in those lines we feel that the conflict is finally coming to the surface. It has to do with the people left behind in places, not just the places that were left behind. It's sort of how places get to us, isn't it - the people in them that we're forsaking for some place different? He compares the city, any city to a parasite, at one bend and wishes another person off with a brusque goodbye, the likes of, "I know the wolves that you're gonna meet." It feels like a warning that could never and would never be taken seriously, even if it's as real as anything can be, the result of first-hand experiences. There's always a chance for a return, once the wolves have had their meal.