Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The tight brows loosen the second a Family of the Year song starts to play. The wrinkle lines iron out and your neck and shoulders suddenly feel as if they've been through an intense, two-hour, deep-tissue massage. You've truly never felt better. You're up there in the clouds. You're looking around and seeing the greenest trees and the most benevolent sunshine you've ever witnessed. Nothing's going to get to you, not now. Everything ugly and depressing that you've been saddled with is now a thing of the past. You've got a new course to travel and you're going to travel it well, in comfortable shoes, in your favorite old shirt, with your best girl or guy beside you, hand-in-hand, smiling directly into that glorious sunshine that you've already identified as your new best friend. You're placed inside a world where you're finding money on the ground, wishes are coming true, the best parking spaces and tables at restaurants are available without reservations, everyone's happy to see you, no one's sick or struggling and you have a hunch that this is only the beginning. You've not seen anything yet. The birds are singing their fucking heads off and the apple trees are loaded down with the juiciest fruit they've ever produced, under any growing conditions.
The songs are filled to the brim with soaring spirit, with the central feeling that emotional sweetness and well-meaning people can overcome tragedy and the mundane problems that always put the clamps on us, without much care or thought. The people in these songs are content to get what they get, even if they're hoping for just a little more, nothing much. They're living on love and whatever drink someone's willing to pour for them that night. They're working to live, "holding down a job to keep my girl around," not living to work and seeing all of those good, younger days of their lives get frittered away. These are the whispered secrets from our dreams, hoping that they'll get attached to our long days and make them shorter and prettier.