As euphoric and transcendent as love can be, as dewy-eyed and splendiferous, lost love, or nega-love, can leave you as high-lonesome as a lost pup–sort of the same feeling you get listening to Hank Williams Sr. wailing about Audrey (Bocephus’ Ma) on bawlers like “Cold Cold Heart.” A feeling of being almost impossibly alone.
Hence our Valentine’s Day “love and heartbreak” issue of Volume. Musician and graphic artist Ron Liberti gives us the stunned androgyne on the cover: A love-tormented Everyman, his shattered, anatomically correct heart and “this can’t be happening to me” expression achingly familiar to anyone who’s been squashed by Big Bad Love.
Music and its practitioners have always excited the passions and loosened the heartstrings. The idea of a “rock star” is hardly new: No doubt lusty wenches crowded the local inn and ale house when a particularly toothsome lute player wandered through, and Lizst and Chopin, with their flowing rock-star locks, had a stable o’ aristocratic ladies swooning at their recitals. Take the sentimentality out of love and you have lust: You don’t honestly think Elmore James wanted some hot-blooded young thang to dust his broom, did you?
Whether you’re celebrating love or mourning its loss, the key to enjoying these affaires de coeur is in choosing the right soundtrack. But love takes many forms, such as passion for one’s art, or dedication to an ideal. In this issue you’ll meet DJs, country artists, struggling musicians, club-owners and musical archivists. Just remember, they’re doing it for love.