Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's really interesting how we can wander and wander and wander around, aimlessly trying to find our place, trying to find our voice and catch our breaks, but then we often find that our most important attributes or the building blocks for who we wind up becoming someday have formed our core forever. Last night, at a Lissie show back here in her hometown, the soulful singer was surrounded by a sell-out crowd of family members and friends, drinking plenty of wine or staying up well past their bedtimes, sometimes depending on their ages and sometimes not. She took great pains to address her newfound appreciation for having grown up here, along the Mississippi. We're not quite sure if she made great arguments or if she really needed to, but as she talked about Hollywood and being around people she didn't see as being good people, it became obvious that escaping where she essentially ran away from the second she graduated from high school was impossible. She insists that she is atoning for her error in judgment and couldn't be prouder claiming this place as her place. You hear it all the time or you find yourself discovering how similar you are to your parents. You stop yourself and laugh because you did something or said something that you never thought you'd do or ever thought would come out of your mouth. Your face, your hair and your gut transforms into that of your father's. You have the same peccadilloes as your mother. Those apples didn't fall far from the trees, you concede. Orange County band Voxhaul Broadcast is probably wondering where this is going, but also likely nodding right now. In reading what I wrote about them a few years ago and in immersing myself in their latest material for this essay, it's plain to see and hear that there's no getting away from these ideas for them either. They can commiserate. Lead singer David Dennis leads this assumption through his telling lyrics of rampant loneliness all due to a propensity to shuffle from here to there and refuse to put down anything but surface roots, anywhere. It's like living out of a suitcase, though much more serious and much more affecting. It feels more like a windy night, with some bare branches clicking together or scraping across the outside surface of your windows. It feels like a chilly and desolate place, but then again, it feels as if we are right where we are, safe from the wind, inside these walls, with the personable company of a great blaze snapping in the fireplace. Voxhaul Broadcast writes songs that feel uplifting in their inclusiveness of all things and people excluded. It's uplifting in that there are so many of us journeying to and fro, leaving so much behind in hopes of finding so much more out there, closer to the carrot at the end of the stick and string. It's about leaving loved ones behind, knowing that they can't really go anywhere. All of your being believes that things will transpire in a circle - a conclusion at three-hundred and sixty degrees. Dennis sings of beautiful days as they feel to a broken-hearted man, to a man who knows not what he's done, but is aware that it is still happening and, given enough time, it will all be unwound and he'll find himself beaming a good shine again - back where he belongs. It's his only hope.