Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
There are those years when we didn't know a thing.
There are those years when we knew a little more than that.
There are those years when it felt like we weren't just floundering around so much.
Then there are those years when you feel like you're really getting somewhere, before you realize that you are wrong.
Most everyone goes through this same kind of progression before either determining that they're there or determining that they're never going to get there. It's a reconciliation made between ambition and dwindling days. One man can only do so much. The Wood Brothers - Chris and Oliver Wood - write songs that seem to take us into the lives of men who have gotten to that point where things don't feel futile, they've just changed. The songs are swimming in memories of people gone by and of emotions that may never be replicated again. The first song on this session - "Liza Jane" - begins with a reminiscence of how the main character used to have a one-track mind for going swimming and now all he wants to do is hang out with girls. This guy isn't at the point in his life yet when wisdom has found him, but he's getting nearer to that point, where he'll be able to see the forest for the trees, or some approximation. He's certainly older. He's certainly moving into less innocence and still - because it feels so natural - it feels right.
The rockiness of where it might all be headed for a while can't be spotted just yet, but the sense is that this is as it should be. This person is no longer a boy. This is someone who has started thinking about who he's going to be for the rest of his life, not just the kind of man that he's going to be for the next few years. There's a huge difference there. He's a man who's thinking about having his own farm so he can "grow me some beans and corn/Have a few pigs and cows." It sounds like a silly little dream, but there's that notion of someone wanting to become self-reliant, of wanting to know or believe that they've got their own fate in their own hands and no one else's.
The Woods sing, "And yeah, they say/Running is useless/Fighting is foolish/You're not gonna win but still you're the luckiest man/You're up against/Too many horses/And mysterious forces/What you don't know is you're the luckiest man," on "Luckiest Man," and you're let in on the refining of a mindset. These people can either want for things or they can try to be happy with where they are and with what they have.