It's all about time and place. And state-of-mind ... and whether or not you have the time, or the willingness, to spare the bit of your heart that's needed for moments like these. It's a tender balance sometimes. When it's not the right time and place, my instincts usually know when something is good enough to keep around - and that's why I was able to listen to the John Moreland album last night.
It was late. I'd finished all my "business", such as that is these days. The plan was to listen to a newish Keb' Mo' album while I sorted through the files still littering my desktop. When the Keb' was done I double-clicked the 'High On Tulsa Heat' cover, remembering the minor chord it struck in me the only time I'd listened to it.
'Hang Me In the Tulsa County Stars' dropped comfortably into the melancholy back room of my consciousness. Sadness ignored is still sadness. I have a lamp with a red shade. The other lights were off. Moreland is emotional. I try to decide if it's *too* emotional and haven't before the next song; 'Heart's Too Heavy' kicks in. This feels like a new record by an old favourite. I think Steve Earle, then not really. I piss myself off noticing the Springsteen in his voice. Because this is not that. Although the commitment and honesty is there, there is not the slightest whiff of self-consciousness in theses songs, this singing. It's dark, the lights are low and Mr Moreland has my number.
Halfway through the third song I haven't heard or felt a cliche. The playing is deft, the arrangements sound like they are creating themselves, around the words in realtime, as they come. And the words are right up my alley at this time and in this place. From 'Cherokee":
And don't I hear you speakin' in the noises in this house
Airplanes flyin' over, shakin' all my secrets out
Darlin' tell me somethin' that I don't already know
I'm aware of where to find ya, it hurts too bad to go
And the music stops somewhere in the "I'm aware ..." in that last line. And my heart quivers a little. Or the chorus for 'Losing Sleep Tonight':
Are you busy serving sentences
To prodigals and priests
Drowning in the sea of tears you're crying
Are you worried that you're happier At war than at peace
Baby are you losing sleep tonight like I am
Oh are you losing sleep tonight like I am
It's all about time and place. And state-of-mind ... and whether or not you have the time, or the willingness, to spare the bit of your heart that's needed for moments like these.