Melancholic Contemplations of Our Shared Isolation

As the earth continues to turn outside our bubble of isolation, Jeff Hulett and Jacob Church’s new music reminds us that we’ll be all right.

By Sherrie Lemons, for Sound Board

It’s an expression of nostalgia for the present.

Safe @ Home, in seven tracks, makes the most of a life in quarantine by taking the time to notice and appreciate the myriad of mundane details around us that make life beautiful, and how we may not have the opportunity for such intentional reflection if it were not placed upon us.

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Jeff Hulett and Jacob Church’s new album, which was written and recorded entirely at home, is eager, melancholic, curious, and somber. We can all relate to these emotions existing simultaneously as we haphazardly navigate the uncharted waters of isolation, while trying to remember that we are experiencing isolation together. The box that contains our lives has been shaken vigorously and dumped out onto the floor to be reassessed and reorganized, with urgency and without warning.

And yet, with no end date in sight, we are left to wonder what the rush is for. Time moves on and it ends, as “Pints & Quarts” reflects, even if the ending of time as we know it is the close of another day in quarantine.

The first question that came to mind as I was about halfway through listening was about entertainment.

With no shows to go to, happy hours, or face-to-face interactions that used to permeate our days, how do we entertain ourselves? Netflix, despite our best efforts to maintain morale, can only provide so much stimulation after two months of watching. We take a more simplistic approach to our plans by giving time to things that would otherwise lose out to more essential tasks and commitments: we bake, we redecorate, we purge, we go outside to watch bugs crawl through the grass, unaware of the plight of the rest of the world. Safe @ Home is a fifteen-minute love song for the simplicity of this experience, of existing in a bubble as the earth continues to turn.

I must admit, it usually takes me about three rotations to decide how I feel about a new album, to have an idea of how it gels in my brain. I sank comfortably into Safe @ Home by the end of the first track as if I were settling onto the couch in my own home, done with work for the day and armed with a good book or tv show, at peace with knowing there is nowhere else I need to be for a while (whether or not there is somewhere else I’d rather be is a different question, but we’ll get there eventually). In the back of my mind, I know the same will be true for tomorrow.

The focus of Safe @ Home is the guitar strumming to accompany simplistic lyrics reflecting day to day priorities, redefined for our current era. The bigger picture is frightening, with a larger-than-life sense of wonder for what is yet to come before this period is over. With no end date in sight, it’s impossible to anticipate how to prepare, what to celebrate, and what to take with us from one day to the next.

I hear all of that in Safe @ Home, and it brings me comfort to remember that I’m not alone. As we continue to exist in this seemingly impossible dichotomy of distrust for the outside world and the need to protect one another, Jeff and Jacob are here to remind us that we’ll be all right. <>

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Released April 28, 2020

This album is a collaboration between two Memphis musicians sheltering in place at their respective midtown homes. Jacob Church and Jeff Hulett are both multi-instrumentalists who play in a multitude of different groups in Memphis, Tennessee including Snowglobe, The Ammunition, Me & Leah and more. All proceeds from the sale of this album will benefit Music Export Memphis (MEM) and their COVID 19 Fund for musicians.

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