Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The path to self-enlightenment is rife with landmines. It's one of those squirrely endeavors that winds up looking like a disastrous scribble when it's observed from above. It's a mess that we tend to embrace only after the fact, when it can be chuckled at and comments can be made in the margins. It will never cease to be a wonder that we met our future wife or husband in that strange and arbitrary way that we did. It will never cease to amaze us that some random thing led to that significant act or result. It all comes out in the wash, or some of it stays ground into the fabric and we accept both conditions as part of the process that we curse and embrace. It's mostly fine with us that everything is a bit of a task in getting from where we started to some indecipherable end goal.
The Chicago-area-based band of buddies and brothers, The Giving Tree Band, bites into the concept of constant movement, of growing little-by-little and doing everything that one can not to lose sight of the bigger picture of development, of becoming or staying the gold-hearted man or woman that you're pretty sure you started as, want to be or never were. The characters that they use to illustrate these long, hard walks - these soul-seeking indictments - are not stragglers. They're looking and looking, active in their pursuit of more spiritual liberty and breathing room. They're cognizant of the stress in the air, the clenched teeth and the high blood pressure that's been going around. They realize that everyone - themselves included - could "use a drink from a loving cup."
Lead singer Eric Fink, and his harmonious brethren of men sing of these people and of their achings the way that one might of a desire that seems as fuzzy now as it might always be, as if effort should be rewarded, but might not be. Fink sings, "Seems like these days nobody wants to be themselves/And she said/Here's a dollar boy/Won't you lie to me/I said I'm gonna walk away/So I can finally be free/I guess even an honest man could lose his word if he's hungry enough/She said be like the wind don't you let nobody tell when or which way to blow/Cause if you worry too much about how you're gonna get there the get might never go/But it seems like these days there ain't no money in the truth/And it seems like these days ain't nobody know what to do." Damn straight, we don't.