Ian Moore
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Ian Moore

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
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"...punchy, propulsive barnburners leveled with unapologetic enthusiasm. They make an emphatic impression straight from the start, as expressed in the relentless rocker "Secondhand Store," the finger-snapping dynamic of "Tap the Till" and ever-dynamic surge of "Birds of Prey." The energy is infused throughout, maintaining the momentum all the way through to the finish, and given the insistent stomp of "The Levees" and the boogie-like shuffle driving "Let Me Out," success is assured. The result becomes a riveting rollercoaster ride that's as captivating as it is consistent."
- Blurt


Anyone expecting Ian Moore to whip out his guitar for a display of masterful six-string pyrotechnics on To Be Loved will be disappointed. His move to Seattle 10 years ago was liberation from the Texas guitar-slinger label mantled on his shoulders as a local youngster, a formidable honor but a rough standard. With To Be Loved, Moore has turned his attention to melody and lyrics with gratifying results. His vocals have a Bowie-esque quality ("To Be Loved," "Literary Kind," "Walk on By"), as does his melodic pop-rock, which connect the disc the way Tom Waits' songs do, maybe not thematically but spiritually and cyclically. If no one expected Moore to dabble in Britpop, so much the better. He comes through not just with flying colors but with killer tracks such as "Civil Light." At 39, Ian Moore's no kid anymore, but his music feels like the neighbor you've lived by all these year and just discovered as a great friend to know. - Margaret Moser - Austin Chronicle


With To Be Loved, Ian Moore has fashioned his most challenging and experimental album yet, moving toward moody soundscapes, haunting beauty, and nervy energy. The title track makes mesmerizing and surprising shifts, from mellow to abrasive and back again, coming off like a John Lennon composition re-imagined in a post-Wilco world. And it truly is Wilco that Moore evokes here, perhaps not directly in sound, but in that group's free ranging, limitless tendencies to marry abrasion and beauty and noise and song--and to not be held back by genre preconceptions. "Literary Kind" has a power-pop-like storming energy that calls to mind early Elvis Costello or Nick Lowe, while "Civil Light" sounds like the soundtrack to a Southern Gothic murder noir--if it were rendered by David Bowie in Berlin. "30 Days" finds Moore landing straight back in the land of ear-pleasing power pop, a pose he strikes quite well. It might be hard to remember that a decade before this album's release Moore was known as a guitar prodigy in the blues-rock vein of Stevie Ray Vaughan and as a guitar slinging sideman for such folks as Joe Ely. 2004's Luminaria found the transformation from hired guitar to master songwriter and sometimes experimental pop auteur complete. To Be Loved exceeds that mark; Moore has created a brand of challenging yet highly melodic new-millennium pop-rock that establishes him as an audacious songwriter and player. He has struck that rare balance between astute complexity and utter pop appeal.
~ Erik Hage, All Music Guide (4 1/2 Stars out of 5) - All Music Guide


Nearly a decade and a half ago, guitarist Ian Moore managed to distinguish himself from the other skadillion six-stringers in Austin, Tex., scoring a plum deal with Capricorn and spending the next few years making rootsy Rock albums that generated good reviews and earned Moore opening slots with The Rolling Stones and ZZ Top. Most guys would have gratefully kissed fate's ass and called that a career, turning the familiar crank every two years to produce more of the pretty-damn-good same-old-thing. Somewhere along the line, Moore tapped into an inner reservoir of invention and ambition and created the stunning Pop sprawl of 2004's Luminaria, expanding his sonic range tenfold into territory that suggested Wilco with a Sgt. Pepper obsession. Moore's latest, To Be Loved, raises the stakes even higher, crafting a baroque Soul/Pop gem that connects the dots between the rootsy Folk of Grant Lee Phillips, the ethereal chamber hymns of Jeff Buckley, the psychedelic Pop of The Beatles, the sunny bounce of The Beach Boys and the expansive vision of Jeff Lynne, with exquisitely delicious dollops of Todd Rundgren, Jellyfish, Sparks and Bryan Ferry. They might not be actual influences on Moore or intentional reference points, but you'll hear them all and probably a few of your own as well. With To Be Loved, Ian Moore has created the sonic equivalent of a magically universal Willy Wonka gumball; almost any listener will hear traces of their own personal musical exposure in Moore's fascinating Pop architecture. (Brian Baker) Grade: A - Cincinnati City Beat


The burden of the contemporary singer/ songwriter is in formulating a sound that is completely unique. With "Luminaria," Ian Moore accomplishes just that. Lyrically, the album is filled with shadowy, deep imagery, like a mysterious black-and-white photograph. From opening track "What I've Done," Moore puts the listener in the passenger seat right beside him, and he drives down real-life roads. He doesn't fly with angels: He dances with devils. Instrumentally, the record is equally intelligent—filled with dark subtleties, recalling a time when the Beatles experimented with the moodier side of pop. Moore's low, melodic voice is the perfect accomplice to the musical conundrum he has created.—MDS - Billboard


Because Austin transplant Ian Moore is equipped with the sort of effortless guitar-playing skills only obtained after a decade of relentless touring, and a voice that's consistently pitch-perfect and appealing, he runs the inherent risk of sounding technically impressive but spiritually neutral. Luckily, Moore is wise enough to challenge himself consistently, absorbing seemingly disparate influences like Neutral Milk Hotel and Townes Van Zandt and assigning himself full production duties on his forthcoming record, Luminaria. The highly successful result is an intricately layered, soulful pop record that should quadruple his audience size in Seattle (Moore has a legion of passionately devoted fans on a national level, but this town hasn't quite caught on yet). Fans of Jeff Buckley's vocal grandeur, Nick Drake's somber reflections, or Richard Buckner's elegant storytelling should take note--your new favorite artist has arrived. HANNAH LEVIN
- The Stranger


Seattle-based singer/songwriter Ian Moore has crafted an album free of other people's rules, evolved and intensely personal. Producing the effort himself, his rich and soulful tunes break through on Luminaria. A diverse variety of influences - Appalachian, Indian, gospel and roots music among them - lend themselves to a tapestry of sounds that Moore terms "Goth-spel". His smoky, sensual voice sweeps sweetly from soul-drenched depths to soul-stirring heights. With thought-provoking lyrics, he confronts and explores his characters intimately. Amplifier's John Holcomb describes Moore as "A texturist, an artist who is never afraid to explore the more exotic colors on his musical palette." Indeed, his heartfelt assemblage of lush textures and bittersweet melodies is entrancing. (Yep Roc) - Miles of Music


By Miss Michael

Seattle-by-way-of-Austin singer-songwriter Ian Moore has managed to successfully produce and write one of the most quietly beautiful albums of 2004. Moore’s overtly emotional voice channels Jeff Buckley, Townes Van Sandt and Big Star, while the layers of southern gothic and pure pop bliss he adds assure that he still sounds quite unique. Despite dipping his toes into the waters of 70’s folk, the resulting Luminara is a completely evergreen album, creating an atmosphere where you can sit back, close your eyes and complete forget that it is 2004, or any year for that matter. This album is timeless, which is incredibly rare these days amongst all the newfangled trends that popular music spits out.

Like many independent artists, Ian Moore tours almost constantly. Luminara reflects that, having been recorded over the course of several months — some tracks recorded at friends’ houses, some on the road — yet they all snap together like a well-constructed puzzle or collage. One of my favorite tracks, "Caroline," showcases this puzzle-esque recording process: the song originated at an apartment in San Francisco. Moore began recording while his friends were sleeping (hence the quiet vocals in the beginning); the drum tracks were recorded with Chris Searles in Tucson, Arizona, while Moore was in town for a radio interview. The structure of the song also follows the aforementioned aesthetic, weaving through beautiful, slightly dark melodic folk for most of the song and then breaking out in pure early-Beatles style pop glory. The structure of the album not only showcases Moore's talents, but has a wonderfully schizophrenic quality in that you hear and feel the variety of different musicians' (including Chris Searles and Bukka Allen) influences interwoven with the unique Americana Moore creates.

What is astonishing about Luminara is that Moore is able to capture all aspects of Americana: folk, blues, honky tonk, Appalachian and Southern Gothic. Yet at the same time, because of his versatility as an artist, he transcends genres in a way that reveals his emotional connection to his work. He leaves the listener aware of the feeling of being alone, but not being lonely. From the beginning of the album, Moore creates an atmosphere of bittersweet comfort, combining all aspects of what makes American music stellar.
- Three Imaginary Girls


IAN MOORE
Luminaria
(Yep Roc)
****

With his melodic songs that burst with unabashedly lush orchestration, Ian Moore conjures parallels to the Flaming Lips. But where the Lips ooze a cynical silliness that makes them hard to take seriously, Moore isn't fucking around. "So your body is blushing like blood from a rose / it's zipless and perfect like obsidian stone," he moans somberly on "Cinnamon," one of Luminaria's sweaty, breathy tracks about misguided love and/or heartbreak. Moore isn't just another heartbroken crooner, however; his powerful, vibrating voice and effortless lyrics conjure a desolation a man his age shouldn't have access to. "It gets so dark down there, in your basement room," he sings to the title character in "April." " And you get so tired, and your bed fits like a womb." This is a majestic record, as heartfelt and poignant as it is well executed. JUSTIN W. SANDERS
- The Mercury


PopMatters

IAN MOORE
Luminaria
(Yep Roc)
US release date: 24 August 2004
UK release date: 27 September 2004

by Stephen Haag


Back in the mid- to late '90s the music landscaped was littered with hotshot blues-rock guitarists who, despite badass guit-chops and their otherwise best efforts, were more or less interchangeable: Chris Duarte, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, a few other guys I'm forgetting, and Ian Moore. Moore's guitar heroics fueled a few hit-or-miss albums (1993's self-titled debut and 1995's Modernday Folklore, both for Capricorn) that no one would mistake for the second coming of Stevie Ray Vaughan. A decade later, though, he's shed the Texas axeslinger mantle for good and lets his rich, soulful voice and remarkable songwriting abilities shine through on his newest album, and first for Yep Roc records, Luminaria.

It's as hazy a term as there is in music, but Ian Moore now operates under the Americana flag. On Luminaria, Moore synthesizes soul, country, pop, blues, and whatever other sounds he can grasp and mold into his own coherent vision. Comparisons to Wilco abound, but a more accurate reference point would be Grant-Lee Phillips or Jeff Buckley. Phillips, Buckley, and Moore are all great singers (they can coo, then howl, on the turn of a dime), keen lyricists, masters of several musical styles and all share a Southern Goth influence (Moore calls his new sound "Goth-spel" -- no stuttering jokes, please). To wit, on the epic "Caroline", Moore ties a dusty backporch pedal steel to the new fangled "mellowtron" and "omnichord", and although the two styles couldn't be more different, under Moore's watchful eye (he also produced the album) they sound like a perfect match. Ditto for "New Day", which careens from lullaby to rocker and back without ever inducing dizziness. Luminaria is the sound of a man working at the peak of his abilities.

Despite having been written and recorded on the road by a rotating cast of 13 musicians who capture a breathtaking expanse of music (to say nothing of Moore's lyrical wanderlust, namechecking Portland, California, Alabama, Bellingham (wherever that is), and Abilene, Texas), Luminaria is a remarkably intimate record. On the opener "What I've Done", Moore nails the little details of a road trip -- "the world through dirty windows", "the road is a black ribbon through a pretty woman's hair"; on the smoky, jazzy "Cinnamon", he evokes a Jeff Buckley-esque sensuality and grown-up sexiness when he whispers to the woman lying next to him, "Your body is blushing like blood from a rose." Luminaria is a "headphones record" that sounds just as vital coming out of regular speakers.

And that's a good thing, because Moore hasn't forgotten how to rock. "Abilene" and "April", with help from Paul Brainard's pedal steel guitar, will please less-introspective "No Depression" fans, as will the cowpunky "Bastards", where Moore tries -- and succeeds at! -- his own "Subterranean Homesick Blues".

Who knows what prompted Moore's move out of the blues-rock ghetto, but it's shaping up to be one of the sharpest career moves for any artist in recent memory. Luminaria burns bright.

— 24 September 2004

- Pop Matters


Discography

Nationwide & International airplay
3 Top 10 Billboard Singles

Ian Moore (Capricorn 1993)
Ian Moore Live in Austin EP (Capricorn)
Modernday Folklore (Capricorn)
Ian Moore's Got the Green Grass (1998 Hablador)
And All the Colors ( Koch 2000)
Ian Moore Action Company Via Satellite (Live - Hablador Records 2001)
Luminaria (Yep Roc 2004)
To Be Loved (Justice Records 2007)
Uno - EP (Spark & Shine 2010)
Dos - EP ( Spark & Shine 2010)
Tres - EP ( Spark & Shine 2010)
El Sonido Nuevo (Spark & Shine 2011)

DVD:
Live From The Cactus Cafe (Hablador/MVD 2003 )

Photos

Bio

El Sonido Nuevo, the new studio record from Austin-raised, Seattle-based singer-songwriter Ian Moore, his seventh, bridges the gap between the stylistic offshoots of his past few records and the guitar-slinging bravado that characterized his earlier, often bluesier, output. “The album is a retrenching in the face of a diffuse pop culture landscape,” says Moore. “Every band has ten members, every movie is a sequel, there are 500 channels and nothing’s on.”

That sentiment rings through loud and clear on opening track “Secondhand Store,” co-written like much of the album with bass player and confidant Matt Harris, who is also in power-pop stylists the Posies and the Bay Area noise pop act Oranger, and has played with Roky Erikson and Pavement’s Spiral Stairs. “We wrote it after SXSW when we were dealing with that onslaught of hipsters — everybody has an angle and nobody seems to be actually doing anything,” says Moore. “I also threw in the hipsters taking over the East Side of Austin. It’s a mish-mash of jaded feelings in a dark moment.”

That darkness is a presence on the record, but not an overpowering one. It’s reflected in songwriting that runs deeper than the often-shallow power pop genre. “Tap the Till” is characteristic of this approach: “Matt and I wanted to write that song as an answer to all the ‘girl’ songs — especially ‘Southern Girls’ by Cheap Trick,” explains Moore. “Everybody sort of wrote those songs as a nod to ‘California Girls’ — and I wanted to write that song about a specific girl. Although it didn’t really find a voice until I put it in a minor key.”

Moore has built a career following his artistic instincts, which hasn’t always worked from a business perspective. But his records are always driven by Moore’s uncompromising vision, informed by a broad knowledge of, and passion for, music history. Still, he’s been steadily accruing fans by staying on the road doing everything from solo acoustic shows to full band gigs in the U.S. and abroad. Moore’s skilled musicianship has been requested by many of his stylistic forefathers. Milestones include playing “Like a Rolling Stone” on the road with Bob Dylan, drinking wine and trading guitar riffs with Keith Richards on tour with the Rolling Stones, exchanging mix tapes with Paul Weller, performing “Whisky River” with Willie Nelson, singing a duet with Emmylou Harris, and backing artists as divergent as Roky Erikson and Jason Mraz.

The album hits its stride with three songs that embrace this stylistic diversity while firmly seated in Moore’s rootsy history. At times he plays with the authority and tone of David Gilmour, though Moore clearly has his own personal style and voice. “Birds of Prey” has the rich sonic rewards of the kind of song you play in the car with the radio blaring, while Moore describes the lyrics “are really about being peeled away like carrion — getting rid of all that fat. But it’s not a linear narrative; it’s a feeling.”

More topical are “Belle, My Butterfly” and “Hillary Step,” although the choruses on both are epic in scope and hard to resist. “‘Belle, My Butterfly’ is [heavyweight boxing champion] Jack Johnson speaking to Belle Schreiber after she turned state’s witness on him,” says Moore. “He’s talking about the betrayal, the feeling that they had something that was stronger than it appeared to be. The gist of the story behind the song is to think about a man like Jack Johnson and how deep seated the anger must be to be the greatest boxer in the world, and this vulnerability at his core that he builds a shell around.”

“‘Hillary Step’ started out about the story of Beck Weathers, who was left behind on Mt. Everest by his climbing partners, and managed to survive,” explains Moore. “I was really inspired about what he wrote, about that feeling of just letting go, and it evolved into this analogy about that final part of the ascent of Everest — the Hillary Step — and that moment when you are on the verge of pushing yourself to do something that’s serious and life changing and the bottleneck you have to get past.”

Moore’s band on the record was a purposeful step into stripping away artifice and décor. With the band pared back to a three-piece — Moore, Harris and drummer Kyle Schneider — the songs are simple and direct; previously Moore might have been inclined to layer sonics and complex arrangements, here the record is straightforward, the songs clean and without ornamentation. Moore returns to the boundaries of what he can do with six strings and his largely unsung, soulful voice.

Born in Berkeley, Moore grew up in Austin, Texas, and made his mark there in the early ’90s as a blues guitar virtuoso. Early sideman duty for Texas roots legend Joe Ely led to a 1993 self-titled solo record on Capricorn that propelled him to those critical opening gigs for the Stones and Dylan, as well as a notable appearance in Billy Bob Thornton’s indie hit Slingblade. Moore’s broad palette of influences and interests