Monday, June 15, 2015

Alison Moorer-Down To Believing

Perhaps the bigger story of this year was not of the new Steve Earle Terra-plane album which had the Earlster putting out a blues album but rather his new ex wife's album Down To Believing which came after she filed for divorce after 7 years of being with him.  In some ways it's not a answer record in the matter of Richard And Linda Thompson's 1982 farewell Shoot Out The Lights.  Moorer's is more subduded and not as venomous.    She can rock out like Miranda Lambert on lead off track Like It Used To Be, to which Moorer sangs Don't want to say goodbye but it will set me free.  I think the key track is the 2 and half minute next song Thunderstorm/Hurricane which probably a more read between the lines of washing herself away from the strains of her marriage.

Overall, Moorer has recorded off and on for various labels of varying degree.  Like Shelby Lynne, it's hard to pin Moorer as a straight country act or Americana one.  She employs the usual Nashville session folk on this record (Kenny Greenburg who produces, Fred Effingham, Chad Cromwell, Dan Dugmore, Michael Rhodes all play on this record, Ray Kennedy and Justin Niebank record and mix parts of this album as well).  Unlike her previous albums, Down To Believing is a bit more darker as Moorer, who has stayed very silent talking about her breakup in the press, chooses to express them in the songs at hand (Tear Me Apart, Blood, I Wish).  While the songs are fairly good, the Nashville Session hires don't exactly bring the anger into music, it's rather more passive then aggressive.  Her cover of CCR's Have You Ever Seen The Rain is like the original, note for note and not that all bad.  It does pick up better towards the end with perhaps the best song is I'm Doing Fine, to which throughout it all, she's getting on her life as best as she could be.  Second best song is probably Gonna Get It Wrong, which could describe our lives as well; as much as we all try to do our best, we all going to get it wrong somehow. 

Certainly Down To Believing might be Alison's most  emotional album to date although the jury is still out if it's her best overall (Alabama Song is considered her best).  But while her ex continues to play live and host his own XM radio show and still remains the ultimate outlaw singer songwriter, Down To Believing is Moorer's answer to it all, while she continues to live her life and bring her autistic son up in the world and make a new album that won't get noticed in the country world, this record has more brains than the average Luke Bryan song.  And I give it an extra point for being raw and emotionally honest.   She's keeping quiet on the social media set but the words and music on Down To Believing indicates she's speaking her mind.

Grade B+

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