Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
The people in Martin Sexton's songs are concerned with the integrity of their days and their lives, whether they know they are or not. They're worried about what they're clocking in for every morning. For some people, they're worried that they're busting their humps for no recognition and very menial pay. They're beyond struggling to make their ends meet, but they're incapable of busting out of their ruts and doldrums because the fridge doesn't fucking feed itself now, does it? They stick with the ugly parts of life because those are the stickiest parts, the ones that cling. For other people, they've got a better problem, but it often starts to feel differently to them. They're arriving at the beginning of their days, in nice suits and wonderfully shined shoes, ready to bang heads with the world, just to get deals done and dollars made. They've got no financial woes to speak of and their account has been padded well. It's just that they're so far removed from what they thought or hoped they'd be doing with their lives that they don't even recognize themselves. It eats at them slowly, then before they recognize it, whole pieces of them are being chomped out and they're bleeding badly. They just want to right the ship.
The men and women that Sexton writes about are all in a continual flux of unsettled comfort. They're eating the same meals and they're listening to the same people tell them about their days, as they all bring their forks sluggishly to their lips for the next bite. They're wondering if someone else is feeding them a line or if it's just them feeding the lines to themselves, which they know they'll attempt at, bite down on and then get pulled into another boat. Sexton gives the background of his stories something of an uplifting feel, as if these conundrums were just more waves on the ocean, easily floated over, easily knifed through. But they're much harder than that. There's the story of the man and the woman in "Boom Sh-Boom," who wait and wait for one another, crossing paths at various times over the years, always at the wrong time, always unavailable, until finally they aren't.
Many of Sexton's characters have something in their heads that's as innocent as the narrator in "Found," when he sings, "Last night I had that dream again/Where I'm only eight years old/Running through the woods chasing dragonflies/Climbing trees and digging holes/On the edge of a cliff I'm standingin/Staring into the clear blue sky/And I feel the wind take hold of me/And I just take off and fly/To be a man found." For some, it all stays bottled, strictly as a dream, never to unfold and for others - like the couple that eventually connects, makes a family and finds that they still love to kiss, even in their older ages - it unfolds.