The most intriguing thing that you hear in Stephen Kellogg's voice is this dual appreciation for how short life is and for how long all the roads are that pass through the damned, magnificent thing. It's never going to be lost on the singer and songwriter from Western Massachusetts, that there are blessings and curses in nearly everything. You're choosing the lesser of two evils more times than you'd ever like to know and sometimes those choices are unnecessary because you're going to wind up at the other end of it anyway, chipped, scratched and banged up to a point where you're still recognizable and all, but you can find sympathy everywhere you turn. The old-timers feel like they're looking in the mirror, at themselves from years back, when their knees worked, when they hadn't buried a wife or a child and when they were still teeming with spirit and fever, when they were still ready for anything, but starting to understand that tempering those mighty expectations wasn't such a despicable thing.
A Stephen Kellogg song is a celebration of nothing more than forgetting about the shortness of life and the pocked travels that stretch on and on. What that amounts to are appreciations of all the things that make enduring the grind and the whiplash of living all worthwhile. It's about dancing and it's about finding a place where you can feel home. It's about the loving and non-judgmental arms of a mother or a father. It's about forgetting that there's anything more than the next minute or the next hour to deal with and anything that's going to come after that is just going to have to wait a little. It's going to have to be patient, even when we're not, or even when we're being told that being patient is not going to get us anywhere.
*Essay originally published May, 2012