There was no turning back. We’d find new members and make the band better than ever. Bingham left and I stayed up all night writing “At Midnight.” A year later we would be in the studio recording How We Handle Our Midnights and the second life of the band would begin.
Next week, Last Chance Records will release Glossary’s 2003 album, How We Handle Our Midnights, on glorious vinyl. While it’s technically a reissue, it’s never been issued in this format, so it’s a great opportunity to revisit an important record in their development.
If you’ve been reading The Adios Lounge for any length of time, you might know that I have an affinity for the Glossaries. Rootsy rock ‘n’ roll wrapped around a southern country heart … what’s not to like? Midnights was the band’s third album and unique in their canon because it was where they set their future course both stylistically and in terms of personnel. Original members, Joey Kneiser (vocals, guitar), Bingham Barnes (bass), and Jason Manley (drums), were joined for the first time by current members, Kelly Smith (harmony vocals, percussion) and Todd Beene (electric guitar, pedal steel), as well as third guitarist, Greg Jacks, a holdover from the previous record.
Where Glossary’s first two full-lengths — Southern By The Grace Of Location (1998) and This Is All We’ve Learned About Living (2000) — showed a band figuring itself out, I think Midnights was where the Glossary sound really came together. To be fair, Living was the skeletal version of what I hear fleshed out on Midnights: The rootsy indie rock of Slobberbone and Whiskeytown, the story songs of Springsteen and classic country, and the melodic guitar crunch of Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk. All these elements congealed into the peculiar Glossary alchemy I know and love and I’m sure having 4/5 of the current lineup was as big an influence on the band’s evolution as these disparate musical influences. Granted, the band tightened up over the next few years and Joey’s songwriting hit its stride by the next record, For What I Don’t Become (2006), but that process really starts here.
Of course, there was a moment when that evolutionary process was in question. In 2001, a year before Midnights was recorded, the band was falling apart and its future was up for grabs. Here’s Joey explaining this critical juncture:
Glossary — How We Handle Our Midnights trailer
And thus, Glossary 2.0 was born. Below are links to preview the album and buy the vinyl. And should your home not be vinyl-compliant, there are always old fashioned compact discs and new fashioned mp3s to purchase. The main thing is to strap on the How We Handle Our Midnights jetpack and take off. Your ears and heart will thank you.
- Listen to How We Handle Our Midnights [Spotify]
- Buy How We Handle Our Midnights on vinyl – $20 [Available Nov 18th from Last Chance Records]
- Buy How We Handle Our Midnights on CD – $6ish [Amazon]
- Listen to/download How We Handle Our Midnights – $5 [Bandcamp]
Finally, here’s acoustic duets of three Midnight tracks recorded to promote Last Chance’s vinyl reissue. Please enjoy Joey and Kelly working their harmonic magic.
Joey Kneiser & Kelly Smith of Glossary – Hold Me Down
I wish I had wings so I could fly over this city
And back to the town where we were raised
So we could remind ourselves who we were
Before we grew up and changed
Joey Kneiser & Kelly Smith of Glossary – These City Lights Shine
I’ve been living in the glory of a memory
Set to east Tennessee
And narrated by highway signs
Joey Kneiser & Kelly Smith of Glossary – The Rutherford County Line
On the ground you can draw a map of how you hope your life turns out
But tomorrow that’ll be just a pile of dirt
So tonight it’s you and me and the car-lit earth