There’s nothing quite like a global pandemic to highlight the bubbles that each of us exists within, unable or unwilling to see past its boundaries. We so easily forget or ignore the fact that not everyone shares our resources, privileges, interests, or values. That holds true for non-crisis moments and topics, as well, including music, which may be why an album made outside the bubbles of New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Austin feels so refreshingly pure and real in this particular crisis moment.
So thank you, Dave Simonett, for having some sort of weird foresight to make the un-hurried and un-harried collection of songs that is Red Tail. With this set, Simonett steps out from his Trampled by Turtles and Dead Man Winter projects to put his songs center stage, while also letting them be just what they are without trying to prove anything to anyone.
As a writer, Simonett sketches out just enough details to set a scene, but leaves the rest open to interpretation. The mesmerizing album opener “Revoked,” with its gently hypnotic guitar howl, foreshadows what’s to come, and the sparse, laid-back lull of “Pisces, Queen of Hearts” keeps that unpatronizing promise.
Simonett doesn’t rest there, though, poking his head out and kicking it all up several notches with the spry “Silhouette” before ducking back into his acoustic-wrapped cocoon. The mid-section of Red Tail— from “By the Light of the Moon” through “It Comes and Goes” — stays comfortably and captivatingly ensconced there, as Simonett looks at life and love from from his poet’s perspective.
The moral of the Red Tail story might well be the mantra of a well-lived life, especially in the face of a global pandemic: This, too, shall pass. Or, as Simonett sings in the opening lines of “It Comes and Goes,” “I like the view out your window. I like the coming cold. And I hope we remember that we might be getting old. So let’s shake off the sadness and all of the hell we made … Oh, it comes and goes.”