Snakefarm Records [Release date 29.05.20]
Country rock singer/songwriter, Kip Moore is now on his fourth studio album in ten years. Each of the previous three were US Billboard Top Ten entries, so like many country artists, he knows how to ride the wave of popularity.
There are plenty of well worn country tropes trailing through “Wild World”. It’s full of blue collar sentiments and the vagaries of personal relationships – and Moore uses that familiarity to draw us in, then hooks us with his songs, his music and his emotion.
A fair chunk of change has been spent on the production. It’s got polish, it’s got gloss.
It resonates, it resounds. It expertly merges rock, pop and country into a discrete, identifiable sub genre with a wide demographic appeal.
Along with his regular co-writers, Josh Miller and Westin Davis, Moore has a narrative discipline that makes most of the songs fully formed stories. There’s an almost palpable sense of yearning as he escapes into the myth of the Wild West, in ‘Southpaw’, then switches to the personal on the minimalist melancholy of ‘She’s Mine’. They couldn’t be more different, but share a romantic, emotional connection.
Moore’s voice, a keenly worn down country rasp, frequently seems to rise up through his body and emerge from within – he’s “on my way to heaven” on the chiming, shimmering ‘Fire And Flame’. And it takes on a moving tone of resignation on ‘Jani Blue’, despite his snarling challenge: “so you think you’ll find redemption in a stranger’s touch”. The marriage of guitars, piano and widescreen production creates a soft rock, crowd pleasing wall of sound, making these two tracks probably the most accessible tracks on the album.
Then there’s the equally satisfying low key stuff. The simply framed, but hookily tuneful ‘Hey Old Lover’, and magnificently apposite, microcosmic closer, ‘Payin Hard’, a powerful evocation of the trade off between career decisions and personal relationships. Few songs propose the sentiment that the grass is greener on this side.
Say no more. ****
Review by Brian McGowan
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits
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