Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Tonight's a night that you don't want to be outside. Put that sentence in your head. Think about what that means for you and then picture it because it's a night that's here if you're listening to this. It's a night of blizzard-like conditions. It's a night of being stuck, trapped inside walls and it's a night that has no compassion. It could be pouring ran - blowing into you sideways. It could be dangerous. It should be dangerous. It could involve a foxhole or a trench, with the air alight with hot buckshot, silently attempting to kill. You want nothing to do with these nights, but there in the back of your mind, you think that you might not be able to ever get safe from them. You very well could be within harm's way, no matter where you are or what you try. A tree could be struck by lightning and drop onto your home, gouging a hole through it, bringing all of the demons in with it. A thief knows how to get by locks and really, windows are scarily easy to break and crawl through. We should be afraid of all nights, but we'll focus on the ones that are most troublesome. We're often incapable of wresting away the paralyzing control that the nights have on us, as the fog twists around our ankles, most of it coming from the chain-smoking and the need to just sort through all of the mice running around in our heads at any given moment. They keep us on edge, upright in bed, always thinking that we're hearing things in our walls. Nate Hegyi, the lead singer for the Missoula, Montana band Wartime Blues, sounds like a man who knows a thing or two about chain-smoking and getting wrapped up in his cold sweats, unable to get through any night without being accosted or startled, petrified with all of his white hot worries - or having light and energy strike down from the heavens to bury a tree bough in his living room, ruining his month. He sounds as if he's always singing as a character who doesn't really need much and the biggest problem there is that, sadly, he doesn't have much, just plenty of shaky and wounded sorrows. These get him through though. They are what he has and he deals with it. He lingers in a "pale Lake Michigan night" and he gives us a feeling of one ghostly church organ holding out holy notes, as they bounce through darkness. There's a desperate stance taken on "Doves & Drums," an album that marks its men as those without easy love, without easy luck, but instead thinking about what bullets could do, about what a do-over could do for them.