Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Damn it all if everything Tim Bluhm (of the Mother Hips) and his wife Nicki write isn't some kind of a love note to love and dust and all kinds of things that you can give your love to but never get anything back from them. Sometimes, this can be that wife or that husband - the women or men of no connected value, turned cold, not responding any longer to the love received or offered, like a bag of chips. Sometimes, it's the state of California, its countryside, its sun, its water, its bridges, its roads and its grapes. Usually, it's that glimmer in an eye, some of that pure sugar transferred between one person and another that the Bluhms fixate on. It's what they have themselves and they sing about it in such swooning, but romantic and poetic measures that you feel that you're getting thrown into the middle of something that you'd like to have yourself. Most of the time, when you're hearing about two people, and what they go through, what they put each other through, how they love each other, it sounds like nothing that you would want to be apart of - there being plenty of misery tucked into the narrative. Even love that sounds as if it could be good, is so full of yearning and burning that getting to a place where it feels anything like they have would take far too long.
The Bluhms make what they have sound like a real treasure, like something that you can open up every day and be surprised and happy anew about it. There's no such thing as perpetual happiness, but the love that these two believe in is just as much about appreciation and general liking too. Love is one thing that can be tough to grasp, for it's almost not as important as liking and songs such as "Pack Up Your Sorrows" and "Think About The Two Of Us," bring us into the lives of two people who REALLY care about one another, two people who we wouldn't be alarmed to hear that, as old and gray seniors, died hours or mere days apart because they were so heartbroken. These are people willing to absorb the sorrows of the other, just so they won't have to feel those pains. These are people who stay up to all hours, just so that they can spend more time with one another, talk with one another, see one another. They reminisce about how their normal days must behave. They dream up new ways to cuss. They sing about laughing so hard that "someone's gut's gonna bust." It's a sweet spot, where we find them. It's as if we can hear their laughter from far off places, echoing lightly from the other side of the lake. It's as if we can sense them holding hands right now, naturally, instinctively and flashing each other those smiles that are saved for the luckiest. Their happy ending is being together, in any of those situations set forth in the customary vows - in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer - and "getting long in the tooth, but staying ahead of the rust." If we're to hear them at face value, they'll take the rusty years too, as long as they can still curse together and accept daybreaks and sunsets.