Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Sam Quinn let's us tag along to all of his most discomforting moments. Although it's time-delayed, we get to experience - it feels - all of the wrongs that he's made and all of the unhappiness that it's caused him. The Tennessean, formerly of The Everybodyfields, sounds as if he's primarily made out of sorrows and some kind of cascading, sun-setting light that gives every part of his language and melody an auburn glow that gives off a mewling whimper, something much different than howling at a moon, though the sentiment is almost the same. Quinn seems to be bound to his struggles and to all of the poor choices that he's made through the years and certainly not blinded by them. We're guessing that he doesn't budget for too many sorries happening or needing to happen, but it does lead to the kinds of heartaches that the man puts into his songs - these brilliantly weeping scenes of one guy trying to get through this life independently, but still having way too many run-ins with love to be very successful with the approach. On the song "Fanboy," from Quinn's excellent solo debut, "The Fake That Sunk A Thousand Ships," "I woke up dreaming that I was asleep/That's the first time in so very long/There was fire in my veins and today I'm gonna use it all/The heart it was beatin/My fingers were feelin/They're playin Wings on the radio/Sometimes you don't know why you just know that you know/I never needed anyone except myself/Now I'm using the things I have left/The things I know that I'll forget." In this song and many others, his character comes off as being saddled with the reputation of being without, of just getting gutted and gutted until there's a casual numbness to it. It's at this point where Quinn can then convey the hurt into these glorious tapestries and yarns that just keep spinning from his mouth - the unabridged and nearly one-sided tales of what all went awry and where everything stands now, and that's in kind of a crappy place. It's a place where the walk down to the convenience store, with his lighter slipped into his pocket so that the second he gets out of the door, he can tear the cellophane wrapping from the new pack of smokes and inhale that friendly drug, is so sweet and meaningful. It needs to be told, sung about, because it's become an important part of his day. "Oceans," a new song recorded here for the first time, is a narrative that rambles in a precise manner - every piece and every second needed - until we get to the part where this trip to the Quik Trip happens and those cigarettes are purchased, likely with some crumbled up bills that took some serious scrounging to come across. Quinn sings, "Back to my room, turn on the TV/Sit on the foot of the bed…/I know what I said on the telephone/This door is not open for the view/Too many buildings in the way/Still the salt, it finds my wounds," and we're staring directly into the eyes of his sorrows, as the song ends seconds after this final utterance. When Quinn's done with us, we feel as gutted as he is, as if we've done things to contribute to these sad outcomes. This was a group effort.