When we’re children, we just want to run. Through the forest, through the grass, through the days as they tick by. We can’t get where we’re going fast enough, be it to the playground or the school dance or the simple embrace of a best friend, who can run alongside us as we skip rocks and think about the future. We count down days on Advent calendars. We are endlessly impatient. We don’t quite understand nostalgia, because we’re not interested in looking back. We want to get there, and now.
“I’d do anything to find that feeling again,” sings Will Stewart on “Sipsey,” the opening track off his new LP, County Seat. If childhood is running forward, then adulthood is, as Joni Mitchell sang, all about dragging our feet to slow the circles down. “Sipsey” — a lush, locomotive song from the Alabama-based Stewart — encapsulates not only the desire to slow time, but to reclaim it … though he’s smart enough to realize that no matter how many times we retrace the steps we once walked, the path will never feel the same again. “Sipsey” manages to be beautiful yet uneasy, a document of longing not for a place, or a person, but a feeling — a feeling of freedom, of nature, of agelessness before we were wise enough and old enough to know better. We can’t go back. But songs like this can help, a little.