Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The way that things shake out is usually somewhere between good and bad. It's that halfway point where you can find both the graves and the backyards of relationships. People arrive there in many different ways, but there's always a sense that you might not know which way you're headed, even if some of the tells are the same. Most of the time that people decide to get involved with each other, their expectations are moderate, if not mild. They keep themselves with one foot in and one foot out, sparing themselves a little dignity when everything begins heading south.
The exits that Nashville's Taylor Brashears writes and sings about are the kinds that we wake up to over a steaming pot of coffee, during a morning that came around way too soon. When the parts are moving slowly and the eyes still feel a little swollen, we start looking around and start noticing that everything sounds a lot quieter than maybe it should. All of the love that used to be there just kind of slipped away, down a drain, out a window. It caught fire, but the flames hadn't been seen in a while. There is that morning where there's still a whiff of smoke in the air and that somehow hits a soft spot.
Brashears, one of the most promising young voices in country music, writes of these affairs in a way that makes them feel blessed even when they're so obviously doomed. They are people who chase the pain with booze, but not in a destructive way, just in that way that medicates, that soothes them into fond memories. These tough ruts, these unfortunate loves, fade sweetly as time ribbons away thinly and silently.