Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Ferraby Lionheart is an interesting juxtaposition of aesthetics. He has the cool hairstyle and the facial bone structure of a Hollywood actor, or a privileged prince. And he's sharply dressed, however, he oftentimes appears as if he's done everything in those buttoned-down shirts of his for the last two weeks. He wears dress slacks, often an inch or so shorter than a preferable length might be and almost assuredly the slacks that someone else's late grandfather must have worn to a church service or an Elks Club meeting not all that long before his demise. These outer characteristics are certainly just part of the wrapping, the dressing that is the young Lionheart, but it's the first thing you notice - this small and thin man with a state of dress and a posture not unlike that of Martin Short's Ed Grimley. Lionheart is not some suave guy who writes songs. He's more of a suave writer and every second of his latest album, "The Jack of Hearts," is a testament to his keen instincts for melody and the pain of romantic dissertation. He is a man versed in the art of the silly old love songs, but these are the love songs of a guy working his way more and more into the realm of classic country and western songwriters of the long ago past. He sings of virtue and of lying and he sings of the fine line between the two different ways to go about it. He speaks of the heart as if it is dedicated to going down the most difficult pathways and valleys it could ever forge and it's a character willing to play the role of the jester, just to spice up the life of the body that surrounds and encases it - unable to rewire it. Even with this said, in Lionheart's songs, the hearts are those who don't stand any chance. The men and the women that they're embedded within are going to find a way to still be moved, to still work around the obstacles of love. For, as Lionheart sings on the lovely, "Drag Me 'Round, "I haven't got much to lose," and it's an overriding theme to his ragged songs of overcoming all of these strong feelings that are required living partners without our asking. The people that Lionheart writes into his songs - as autobiographical or not as they are - are doomed to keep bucking their foolish hearts, willing to send out the clowns and to see how it's all going to turn out because they feel that even a little love - some of that sad, dog-eyed love - is better than no semblance of love at all. It's all manageable and it's all relative. We can be treated for love, but we can't be treated for a lack thereof. He sings, "Well, if this is counterfeit/It's good, you must admit/Cause you sway when I sing and you're sad when I'm mean/And I never want to get over it/You drift into my sleep/Beckoning again to me/So we dance with our eyes and the mental goodbyes/Darlin' how does this get by?" He is able to make us feel the sweet rattle of these hearts that beat in his songs, feel the way that they keep their beats despite sometimes feeling so sickly that it hurts them to even get up in the morning, but then again, they're always awake, always working - until they're done.