Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Harris at Futureappletree Too
One of the worst feelings that a person can have is the feeling of being a long way from home, or wherever it is that they feel like they need to be, and having no way of getting there quickly. It's a torturous sensation and it makes you feel like you're losing all parts of your sanity. It could be that you're one of these traveling musicians and the lure of the road, its necessary component to your livelihood, drags you away from your loved ones regularly. Though they understand the necessity of it all, the toll that it takes on them over time hardly ever ends well. It puts a big and mocking hole right in the bottom of the boat and when the runs of dates out playing shows gets longer and longer and continues on into an infinite period of time, where there's no way out, something has to give or it all just gives out.
What's left, when it all gives out is something very similar to the feelings that Sarah Jaffe has been writing into her songs for years. It's that painful feeling of having your hands tied, everyone you know - including yourself - suffering through the uncomfortable conditions and there not being a good goddamned thing anyone can do about it. It's the life that was chosen and it's the life that has to be seen through. There's always more thickness in the thin times that come out in Jaffe songs. The Texan is so masterful with the wonderful complexities of interpersonal relationships. Those that she seems to be most enamored with are the ones that sound as if they'd be healthy and golden if they were just tended to more closely, if the two people were just together more. The longing and the need could just about kill you when it's coming out of her mouth. It tugs at you with puppy dog eyes and it pulls you under so easily.
Her latest record, "Don't Disconnect" is another stunning addition to the canon, giving us more storylines like the one on "Slow Pour," where we hear Jaffe singing about an internalized winter and needing someone to get her out of the bar. The way it all sounds, however, is that the stool she's sitting on or the booth she's sitting in there at the bar is terribly warm and it's going to take some doing. There's so much pleasure in the pain here, but there's an exhaustive need to not have the two be so twisted together forever. There's still that feeling that people are lost, or never close enough to the arms they must have enveloping them, sharing heat.