Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Trapped in an overcast evening, a drizzly rain starts coming down. There is silver splitting through one of those gray marshmallows every so often, pouncing on the ground despondently, but brilliantly, between showers. It blasts white into the puddles before turning black again, even more despondent.
It's the setting for a night of reflection, where there's no thought of going outside, of exploring any further. It's just one of those nights that you want to flush down the toilet, but it's one that gives you pause and a chance to think about what's been transpiring, what's been eating you up. Too often, it just compiles and it never gets tended to, but these rare moments of stagnancy, where there's no choice but to remain where you are, with what you have, when we're able to do some inner bookkeeping. Natalie Prass, a songwriter from Virginia Beach, Virginia, speaks a language that comes from these kinds of nights of incisiveness, of figuring out what's been breaking, what's been holding up and what's been shorting out. She throws us into these late night bull sessions with herself, with the memories that are starting to smolder again, kicking up some flames and creating a chattering mess. She'd rather not be thinking about these things any longer. She'd rather they were just swept under the carpet or the rugs, but they storm back slowly, like ants sneaking in under the doorway, trying to get in from the cold, closer to something to eat.
The stories that Prass is drawn to are those that are gravelly and poisoned. They are those with scabs, those that have gone belly-up or are looking peaked. They are hurting some, but they carry a sense of being somewhat aged, not all that fresh any longer. They might not be hurting as much any more. The people could be rebounding a little from the initial slashing. She sings, "I think of what I live without," and you get the feeling that knowing what all those things are might be comforting. It could bring on the hurt, but more likely, it's knowing all of this that makes them feel stronger. It's like knowing how to live and to survive on little money that gives a person the steeled outlook of never having to worry again about money. These are the stories that might make you never worry about love again. These whispery takes on the snags that people find themselves in are exquisite examples of rainy beauty. They make you believe that everything is as it is for a reason. Prass sings, "There's nothing to say, when there's nothing to say." It's that simple. It's what we're all left with, when things simmer.