Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
Allison Moorer seems like the kind of person who couldn't think of anything she'd rather do than to spend a quiet morning, in a comfortable chair, in a sunny room, with a book or a piano and a nice cup of coffee. It's what she'd do with all of her mornings, if she could, and if the morning went alright, she'd let it bleed right into the afternoon and on through dinner and past, when the desserts and more coffee might be offered. She'd prefer such a thing, if the world were calm enough to allow such comfort. It's not though so she has to get up. She can't just sit around and enjoy the solitude, because it only extends so far. The din and the chaos can't only be blocked out for so long before it has to be dealt with, like the dog whimpering and scratching at the door to be let out for a walk or a piss. There's just too much to be concerned with and complacency just wouldn't be for her. She couldn't sit still while knowing that too many sad things were happening around her. She'd feel the need to do something, to enact some affect.
This session, recorded recently in San Francisco, when Moorer was appearing at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, feature Moorer performing a stunningly subdued rendition of Sam Cooke's classic "A Change Is Gonna Come," and a line such as, "It's been too hard livin' but I'm afraid to die cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky," speaks to the unsettled way of living that we should all respect. The change in Cooke's song is a long time coming, but that still doesn't make it imminent. It's still gonna need effort. The effort scares many off and it's always easier to tuck away into our own safe havens, begging the bogeymen and the acidic parts of society to come get us. It's always going to take longer to find us, if we keep to ourselves.
"Getting Somewhere" is a song about witnessing the horrors of the world - natural disasters and the never-ending ire of people - on television. There's a sense of safety, but a realization that you're not at all untouchable and that everything's ultimately connected. Most everything's out of our control too, making our burrowing into the couch all the more temporary feeling. It would be nice if we were able to attach to the easiness of summertime, as Moorer describes here - when "watermelon tastes so good," when "it don't get dark til after eight" and when everyone's walking barefoot over the cool hardwood - and live in it for eternity, but it's only possible until we start paying attention to the tells once again. She receives another in "Crows," when she sings, "The crow in the yard is trying to tell me something/I see him out there, trying to catch my eye." At that point, the break is over.