This feature appeared in Amplifier Magazine, June 2006
"I tend to be short, sweet, and to the point. There's no sense in being long and drawn out about things. If you can say something in two sentences, why use six? Besides, I don't think I'm talented enough to hold someone's attention for much more that that."
The last bit of Allison Moorer's declaration is somewhat debatable. However her sixth and latest release, aptly titled Getting Somewhere (release date 6/13/06 on Sugar Hill Records) harkens back to the golden age of vinyl wherein artists had ten songs and thirty minutes to make their case and step aside. Moorer’s new album clocks in at 31:01. "That's exactly how I designed it," the 33-year old singer -songwriter-guitarist boasts with confidence aplenty. "I trusted my instincts on how I put this record together." Breaking news: for the first time in her career Alison Moorer has written all the songs on an album.
Recorded in just ten days and produced by her new husband, Americana icon Steve Earle, Moorer rocks rougher and harder than she ever has, kicking off her half hour of ragged glory with the down 'n' dirty "Work To Do," which wouldn't sound out of place on side three of Exile On Main Street. Though Earle renders guitar on two tracks and Moog on another cut, the majority of this effort is primarily Allison and her razor sharp posse. "Steve chose the band. Luckily we got all the players we wanted. Bassist Brad Jones sounds like Paul McCartney on this record and as for drummer Brady Blade; well, you can't get any better than that."
Opting for first takes in many instances, Moorer plows through her tales of personal struggle and revelation with a decidedly jagged edge. "I was in the booth singing and playing at the same time so that's why you hear the 'good' bleed on the vocals from my guitar." Her phrasing and timbre on the rambling "You'll Never Know," the mournful "Hallelujah" and the plodding "New Year's Day" are all eerily similar to her celebrity sister Shelby Lynne, whom Moore maintains a close relationship with. "My sister and I try to write letters to each other once a week. I love her and think she's fantastic. We can get on the phone and talk about nothing and laugh for hours." The track "Where Are You" was written for Lynne, and features a regal string arrangement by long-time collaborator / band member Chris Carmichael along with Moorer's sultry double-tracked harmonies.
Moorer and Earle, who split their time between Manhattan's chic West Village and Nashville, thrived in the studio. "Sure there were some rough spots," she laughs, "but we're still married! Moorer elaborates "the way I describe music is foreign to some people. I'll say something like 'make that guitar more red,' and I get a look like I've gone crazy. But that would happen with anybody because creating music is a very hard thing to do. It's tough to get your brain on the same page as another person."
"If It's Just For Today" is Moorer's song to her husband, noting "I aspire to live and love this way every day - as if it's my last one. I suck at it most of the time, but like I said - I aspire." Old (and young) Beatle fans take note of Jim Hoke's multi-layered horns and the band's four-to-the-bar backbeat which sounds like a working demo to "Got To Get You Into My Life."
"I like records that hang together as records" states Moorer regarding the personal themes which underpin Getting Somewhere. "The one thing artists like myself have going for them is that it's still really, really difficult to make a good living in this business. So it keeps you honest to a certain extent. Yeah, there are worse jobs than going out on the road every night and making music -but it's still tough work." And though the long-player may be on the endangered species list to some, Moorer will hear none of that. "Real artists will not allow it! I like a body of music that takes me somewhere and has a beginning, middle and end - just like a great book. I love short stories, but I want to read the novel sometimes."