Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The people that spring out of the songs that Mike Quinn writes seem to have a few things in common with one another. They seem to know their ways around what could be good times. They might not always turn out that way, but they know the general direction to take to find that potential and to suss it out. All of these folks seem to be damaged in a few ways, but none of them should be junked. In fact, they're more compelling and they're more lovable for their quirks and their flaws - all of the things that they know and you know, everybody knows, need to be worked on or fixed completely. The people that the Scranton, Pennsylvanian, writes about are those kinds of people who can't help themselves sometimes and it makes for a lot of great stories. They like their close calls and they like their kind of living, as deprived or as dysfunctional as it might be - even if it's all in pretty standard terms of deprivation and dysfunction. It seems as if these people are always surrounded by their friends and everybody means well enough, sharing in these common ailments, if you'd even want to call them that. It's probably not wise to do so. You hear these friends do well by one another. You hear them laugh off most stuff, finding the amusement in their plights. You hear the help that one fella gets in "What It Wud," where there had been a bad batch of home brew, he needed help off the ground after a spell and he was "sweating bullets and dodging rain." It doesn't sound as if that would have been a particularly good night, but then again, for a while there, it was a great one, before the poisoning kicked in. Quinn sings, "Oh, we've still got our future yet/We'll bring you by the house/A show you the four walls, the ceiling and the floor," and we think about a future like that - one that consists of seeing the house, the floor and some walls and hanging out, maybe looking for chocolate sauce at that place that used to have it, sharing some company is all, as the highlights of it. Those are pretty solid highlights, if you ask most people. They'll take 'em. We'll take 'em on most nights, most days. They're better than kicks in the teeth, that's for sure. Quinn sounds like he's enjoying himself with some of his accounts of the rich details of the tedium that his characters are going through - the ruts and the assemblage of all of the various ribbons of problems and their antidotes. These are people not thinking that they've got anything all that bad. They're able to take nourishment and a little self-punishment, along with whatever else gets dished their way and they typically smile through it. He sings, "For a while there you could make your own bullshit come true," a commonly seen phenomenon, and this is always when things get interesting.