Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's a Sunday today and it's one of those days where we went to bed too damned late and were forced up and out of bed too damned early. It was raining - really coming down - for much of the morning and there's no escaping the way that the body feels right now, like it's pulling a plow, like we've got anchors hanging from our sagging, darkened eyelids. It feels like it's midnight already, but it's nowhere near. We haven't even had to start thinking about dinner preparation, but it feels like we should be retiring, pulling those covers up over our shoulders, to our necks and letting out one last full-bodied sigh. As wrong as our bodies are right now, they're right to have these feelings. They're right to want to doze off, to get the check, pay at the front counter, grab a toothpick and leave. It's that grogginess, however, that still tends to feel like heightened awareness, as if the fading daylight is complemented by the weariness and adds to some welcomed reflection. Pieta Brown takes us there - to a twilight that passes quickly, that maybe never was, that could feel like a week. She likely felt the same day, the same morning that we did here, living just down the highway from us, in the middle of nowhere Iowa - as she affectionately calls her home turf - and she may have felt the time drag, but rush by in an instant. She may have listened to her body and taken a nap. It's something we needed, but refused to give in to. Brown has a way of singing about the world that is expressive and melancholy, that comes from a young woman who's worn her life in already. She's accepted the wear marks, even encouraged them to form. She has holes in her clothing where her elbows and knees have rubbed and she refuses to throw those pieces out.
The songs on her latest fantastic record, "One And All," as well as the great release previous to that, "Shimmer," Brown writes with a tone of longing that doesn't focus on what's gone or out of reach, but more so the kind of longing that still wouldn't change a thing. It's a form of longing that acts like an appreciation - for the people, the places and the feelings associated with them that will never, ever again be anything like they were originally. It's a feeling that allows you to feel the weight of just how long and how short days and nights really are. Soon enough, here we are, parents and staring at the scary possibility of someone throwing us a surprise 40th birthday party - maybe one of our kids - in less than a decade. It's this form of a blur that's nothing like a blur that we exist with, that Brown pretties up every time she opens her mouth and lets one of her honeysuckle songs free from her throat. She sings on "Out Of The Blue," "Here it is today, but I could swear it's years ago/I see that wind blow across the field slow/And I get this feeling/When I think of you/I get this feeling/Out of the blue," giving us an image of a gorgeous lady out on a porch with weakened floorboards, staring out over the countryside - with the faint light bleeding out of the windows, the remnant smell of the finished off dinner still in the air - realizing that there's no getting out of our own context. We are in this - with all of our air and love recycled back to us, over and over. She's all in, as tiring as it's going to be, forever.