Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
There are enough devil towns and evil doers lurching in the veins of the songs of The Builders and the Butchers to build another hell, to have a ground-breaking tomorrow and feel confident as a prospector that there will be no empty units. Someone's going to turn a considerable profit and others are going to unhappily see the competition move in and the neighborhood to shit. The devils that are sprinkled throughout, no, dolloped upon the bitter lines that the Portland band of freak country and bluegrass boys give their hearty venom are not of the pallor or shape that one would normally think. These are the people that you have beside you, the people that you share or shared kisses with, the people whom you trust your deepest and rarest secrets to when no one else is looking, or alive as far as you're concerned. These are the confidantes and lovers that sometimes split off and become thorny and unpredictably rotten.
Nothing's sacred in the God-forsaken town that is sung about in "Way Down In This Hole" - a potential commercial spot for enticing prospective buyers to this new division of hell's lairs. The kids are smoking before they're able to crawl across the ground and for those unclear on child development or the normal order of things, that's a bit early for a pack-a-day habit or more. Those kids are damned and those are just the babies! Imagine what the adults, their supervisors, are like in these rough and tumble (a phrase too soft for the circumstances) situations. It's the true loves - not the misguided ones - that bring the poor saps down to their knees, lash them front ways and back ways and leave them to bleed in the rain. There seems to be a solemn sensation that people will be continuously wronged all over the yard, in and out of the homes and wherever else people can scatter and lights can find them. It's maybe more realistic than we'd give it credit for. There are the staggeringly high statistics for the number of marriages that end in divorce and many of those people probably did something heinous to ruin those vows. They probably don't speak to each other anymore, most of them. They probably still get depressed and cry a bit in the shower - even years later - when they think about some of the long gone good times.
With the Builders and the Butchers, it sounds as if the good times are so tainted by the bad ones that they catch fire and they get nasty. The true loves are to be watched and the heart is to be exposed guardedly, grudgingly. There are to be no sudden movements or chances taken. There will be no going out on limbs because it could end in a situation where "the blood just rolled down your cheeks like tears." The new hell isn't all bad. It provides us with a fine bit of entertainment and The Builders and the Butchers are the house band - the reporters and the orchestra, evidencing the ire.