Tonight's the night to be drinking, nice and slow. Sit back in your favorite chair. Hopefully, it's winter where you are, or getting close to it. If you must, go with the heat coming out of the vents and that big, boxy furnace in the basement. If you have the option, bring in some of those logs from the pile back near the aptly named woodshed and through them into the fireplace for a great burner. Get it going and poke them a few times, just to make sure that they roar, and then sit back and enjoy their company, take in all that they want to give you. They'll give you that unmistakable smell, that sound of wood being dried and consumed and the invisible warmth. It's all that you've been hoping for since Charlie Faye started singing. The Texan just might have a list of her favorite fires, ones that stick out in her memory. She remembers who started them, where they took place, how they were able to last for so long, who tended to them the most and who extinguished them. She has her pick of wines and maybe a favorite glass to drink them out of. Tonight is one of those nights that you wouldn't dare leave the comfort of your own home because you wouldn't really know where to go or who to spend the time with anyway. Faye writes a song that gets you to believe in the tragedy of most love the way you hadn't really thought about for a while. She can make you feel sad and hopeless, all the while still not making it sound like something that you should shun and just do without. She never makes it seem like it should be left behind or ignored. It is still - despite everything - still worth seeking out. She sings about, "Always conspiring for a sad song," and it could be an indication of where her head wants to lead her heart as a writer - into those places that give her the deepest feelings, those sentiments that are alive with ache. For some, it's the only way to feel, where you allow yourself to dig into some piping hot misery and see what you can do with it. It's the heartaches and old pains - which Faye sings about in a song with the same name - that leave behind the kinds of notches in a back like age rings and a timeline. The road is always a long and winding one, but Faye makes is very evident how quickly one can return to the sad dots on those timelines, given the right evening of thought. The pains never seem to shrink, they just get louder and they make you feel older. Aren't these the very things that make us drink most of the time? So, tonight, we drink with Charlie and this fire.
*Essay originally published December, 2011