PAD 260-2
With a drum and strum kickstart, David Andrews launches ‘Get Me Out of
This Place’ with the thrusting, trotting Runnin’ Away Again. Andrews’
guitars strum with windshield-wiper casual cadence as he croons his
restlessness ‘I can’t say goodbye but you know I can’t stay…’ in,
I’m guessing, the aftermath of some failed love. Lap steel (Chris Funk)
and fiddle (Chris Murphy) careen across the steady pace, intoning
heartache with each prolonged note. The song is more about the flight
than the trauma fled, making no mention beyond tears and ‘the words you
said’ of what propels him, but with plenty of the running itself, the
urge to hide, and a refrain about running away again.
The opener sets the tone for the album, hinting of well-worn clothes,
empty spaces and wearisome struggles — with lovers, against one’s self,
the quest to find something worthwhile in the turmoils of shared
existence. And flight. Get Me Out of This Place, the second track,
continues these escapist blues. ‘Give me the wings of an angel, so I
can fly away,’ moans the end of the refrain.
Though Andrews sings that ‘this is not part of a pre-conceived text,’
on the track before the train-paced and folky 2000 Miles,
makes one sense a theme here. Again and again the running is vague,
with little about the why or where to. Vague references allude to
things troubling or intense that must be left behind. But the music is
not quite dark and doesn’t dwell on the things that make one run;
instead they providing the soundtrack to the escape, the pace of the
running away, the bittersweet exhilaration of the escape.
One might speculate that the vast distances and modern, highway-defined
ambiguities of the American West (Andrews seems to be from Oregon) are
being reflected in this often slightly – never overwhelmingly – melancholy music of separation and passage. One might wonder if this is
a man who is constantly running from the trials of life, opting for the
blues of flight over the challenge of staying to fight for resolution.
No resolutions seem to be at hand or nearby for the singer of these
songs — not even love itself, mysterious and potent, as celebrated in
The Little Things, one of the more openly positive tracks on the
disc. And if love is the singer’s tonic, it only draws and then
befuddles him, condemning he and his lovers to these cycles of
attraction and escape.
While the beauty may lie in the small details, lyrical sketches of
skies and dreams and eyes and wine, the music and the lyrics and
Andrews’ steady delivery form a comforting familiarity from track to
track that would make this music hard to date from the last three
decades, and which don’t place the troubles of the heart to youth, old
age, or any certain circumstance. One could call this sameness, if one
were of a mind to be critical. Fortunately, in my case, the disc also
recalled rainy days and highway miles, and I was less inclined to find
fault — more moved to gaze out the window at the passing world of
people attracting and running away from themselves over and over and
‘Make me happy to be the one that you want…’ Andrews croons on a late
track, hinting at some yearning for settling or satisfaction, capping
verses of worldly blues and yearning. What might have been a more
powerful song nearly reaches for a revelation en turns and nearly
shrugs in an uninspired return to the same dusty, sturdy rhythmic
floorboards. And one is left to keep wondering, vaguely, staring out
the window, with that unsettled feeling creeping in.