Among the video’s cameos (say that five times fast) are Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, and the song’s premise brought me face-to-face with a very heavy and very real possibility: What if Rawlings and Welch stopped making music together? I hated even typing that just now. I would be heartbroken. The music they make means a great deal to me, but what may matter even more is the sense of goodness I feel radiating out from my computer/iPhone screen whenever they’re both on it.
In truth, that goodness isn’t grounded in firsthand knowledge. They could be monsters in their personal lives, though I suspect they, ya know, aren’t. It’s mostly based on they way they support each other — how it seems like they’re both willing to play second fiddle whenever it’s appropriate. The whole thing seems so healthy and nourishing. Why can’t I be so even-keeled and selfless? Maybe I can! (I can’t.)
The gaps in this logic (I’ve never actually met these people, no one is perfect, etc.) are filled in with belief — the kind I don’t allow myself often. I want their goodness to be real so badly that I’d rather not read extensively about them or talk about this stuff too much. I have tickets to see them live for the first time in November, and I’m even nervous about that — like they’ll say something that changes this impression I have. And while this impression asks a lot of them, it’s what being a fan is all about. Believing in something that makes the rest of the world seem like a bigger, better place, and being sustained by that belief.
That’s why I think Dawes’ “I hope all your favorite bands stay together” line rises above mere sentiment. It may be idealistic, but for those of us who pepper reality with idealized versions of the people we admire, attrition really sucks, and it’s nice to know that someone on the other side of that understands.