The Excitement of Maybe
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Throughout the album is Exene’s characteristic blend of folk, deep country and poppy, wide open spaces. The album brings together the potential and innocence of young love, the gravity of departure, and the symbolic changing of seasons.
Life has its own built-in forms of emotional and creative inertia. And while some people experience a gradual falling off of whatever it is that makes them unique and vibrant, that doesn’t seem to be the case with Exene Cervenka. The singer/songwriter’s life work has been all about constructing, deconstructing, persevering, and building back up again with new creative adjustments. Sometimes a broken bone leads to a strengthening of the rest of the body.
The Excitement of Maybe is the next chapter. Maybe it’s the one that follows the run-in with an unexpected adventure, where the simplicity of real life seems more attractive than even the most exotic of circumstances. Throughout the album is Exene’s characteristic blend of folk, deep country and poppy, wide open spaces. Tracks like “Already In Love” swell with an uplifting punch of horn lines, Dave Alvin (The Blasters, X) on electric guitar, and the soulful undertone of a Hammond Organ. Other players on the album include oft-used jazz bassist Christian McBride (Diana Krall, Chick Corea, Sting) and Maggie Björklund.
The album brings together the potential and innocence of young love, the gravity of departure, and the symbolic changing of seasons. “Dirty Snow” draws comparison to the “dirty snow of Oklahoma” to a leaving lover, as Exene coos, “wait until I can forget/baby please don’t leave me yet.” Björklund’s swooning pedal steel guitar and Jessy Greene’s mournful violin arrangement of “Beyond You” emote two individuals holding on while crossing their fingers for better luck ahead. And really, who hasn’t teetered in a relationship thinking: Will this work?...should I stay?...I know there’s better times around the corner.
“I listened to love songs on the AM radio in our old 1959 Dodge,” Exene recalls. “In the early sixties I heard great song after great song. Ray Price, The Shirelles, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Brenda Lee, Ray Charles. And almost all of them love songs. Sad ones, happy ones, funny ones, tragic ones. That’s what five year-old Exene figured out. But love, on the other hand, I can’t ever seem to figure out.”