Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley at Futureappletree Too
Michael Nau, a man who's made his musical name as the singer and songwriter in the band Cotton Jones, marks his writing with composure, stillness, tenderness and exceptional poetry. He obviously takes his time with a pen very seriously, finding the maximum potency in every word that he chooses to dance with.
Nau is a master when it comes to utilizing the natural properties of words, letting them stir memories, imaginations, all of the olfactory senses and then feeling them deliver something new and exquisite. His words and the confident, yet lulling way that he presents them, open up the eyes, signal the ears to pay closer attention to the freckles and beauty marks of the tones, makes the nose and the mouth begin to do their things and they make the skin ripple with cool collection. They are beady, these words, and they have a rapier's precision, giving the attention and the sharpness to Nau's dreamlike world of acres and acres of bushy cattails, wild flowers, native grasses, graveyards, musky porches and basements and men and women (sometimes lovers and sometimes others/leavers) exchanging their very best statements and question marks.
It's his flirtation with these graphic notions of the littlest details, the descriptive words that make Nau's songwriting so different and so full of the kind of life that isn't easily duplicated, for it takes too much care and such a deft responsibility to earnestness that it's often too much for most writers to undertake - for they aren't good enough or they can't be bothered with the effort. He talks about the milky flowers and the velvets that he encounters, or that he feels in his head and we're whisked away into a garden packed with the kinds of lovely people who would walk around wearing wooden panels for eyelids and who could find energy in melancholy.
His words are striking in their themes of loneliness and the very disturbing, but palatable madness that can set in. It's a madness that doesn't turn one mad at all, but just heightens one's senses to all of the goodness or beauty going around, with little of it feeling at all personal or social. It's all outside or from afar and they're simply moving through, passing by.