Insightful, Touching and Brave Alt. Nu-Country
I only read the Press Release after playing the album a couple of times; so to not prejudice my thoughts; and 9 times out of 10 this works perfectly well. Occasionally; and this is one of those times, I’m left to look and feel a fool.
Just as I was opening the Press Release I was actually thinking “this kid has something special about him and could go far.”
Kip Moore already has a Double Platinum album to his name; and has a zillion plays on the Spottyfi thing!
Any hoot …… I like it and here’s my musings anyway.
Opening track Janie Blu took me by surprise; what a voice Moore has! Raspy, expressive and even ‘world weary’ for one so young (and good looking!). The story is actually quite harrowing; as it’s about a man’s love for a deeply troubled girl and err’s more towards East Nashville rather than the sparkly Music Row end.
With hindsight it was probably the next song Southpaw, that hooked me into this album as it’s a ‘Cowboy Song’ and a cleverly articulate one at that.
In typical Nashville fashion there are often more writers than musicians on the songs; but I’m pleased to see that Moore has had a hand in all but one of the songs here; all of which are interesting, powerful and memorable.
There’s a couple of nods to the modern ethos with some nifty electronica in the mix on Fire and Flame; but the rest of the album is made up from proper musicians and a singer with a voice that sounds like his vocal chords are rusting over.
Moore and band can delve into the Rocker end of the Country spectrum a couple of times; with She’s Mine and Grow On You certainly being the best of a very good bunch; but It’s the ballads that I tend to like best.
The title track Wild World is tragically beautiful and Payin’ Hard, which closes the record shows that Kip Moore has listened carefully to the songs of his forefathers; but is still prepared to go out on a limb with his own take.
I’m so far out of touch with Country Music these days it’s frightening ……. I genuinely don’t recognise 70% of the acts at Awards ceremonies; and as for Country Hits Radio in the UK ……. what chart is that designates this tosh as hits? Answers on a postcard please?
So it’s been a joy beyond belief to hear Kip Moore singing Sweet Virginia, South as if his very life depended on it …… and all three are intrinsically different, gliding between all out Rockers through to the gently brooding Crazy For You Tonight.
Then, there’s the song that made me sigh when I first saw the title on the album cover; but halfway through I did a ‘Yee Haw’ …….. Red, White and Blue American Dream covers many bases; and like a few of my other favourites down the years can and will be interpreted in several ways. I’m pretty sure the Good Ole Boys and Gals will drunkenly belt out the chorus without a care in the world; but listen carefully and you will hear a very clever use of words, melody and context; the type of which we normally associate with Earle and Springsteen!
“Dylan went to New York
Cash went to Nashville
Mark Twain floated on the Mississippi Queen
Daddy planted roots in Dixon county
Mommas, Momma never left the front porch swing
We can climb the Eiffel tower in Paris, Texas
Rock Rock City in Tennessee
Rollin down the road, you and me
Just chasin’ that red white blue jean American dream“
Many will only hear that last line; but dig deeper and there’s a brilliant song in there …….. congratulations all concerned.
In some ways this is a brave album for Kip Moore; as it’s got a lot of Alt. bite in the storytelling than you would expect; while the melodies and song constructions are primarily Radio Friendly ……… I hope and pray it’s a huge success and these songs get their due reward on radio and the Awards Ceremonies in 2021.
Released May 27th 2020