In “A Line In the Dirt” we are invited to witness the couple’s final argument, which ends with our hero driving away, unsure if he’ll ever return. Subsequently, in “Paradise Blues” he equates himself with a suicide bomber yearning for a quick out (for himself and his ex) — an easy way to claim some distant reward.
Then, in “Unhinged,” we are made to wonder if he is the one hitting bottom — or his ex? This isn’t made clear but like any good story the plot isn’t all cut and dry; the listener needs to occasionally decide things for himself. Finally breaking down, E confesses in “Mother” that he needs a mother. He yearns to be cared for.
As the final two tracks play through, we are given some hope for our troubled friend’s emotional survival. In “Little Bird,” he confides to a feathered friend on his porch about how much he still “misses that girl.” Yet in “On My Feet,” he tells us assuredly that “I’m sure I’ve been through worse” and that “One sweet day I’ll be back on my feet.” The music is heartfelt and simple, and we find ourselves rooting for him, holding our breath until the song fades, only then daring to rejoice.
In less capable hands, an album dealing with heartache and healing might turn into a maudlin mess. But E’s songs are short, beautiful and spare and he relates his story with simple, heartfelt eloquence. The rasp in his voice is a product of life experience and his story rings true.
End Times is a heartbreaking journey but well worth the ride. It will be released January 19th on Vagrant Records.