Nathan Moore
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Nathan Moore

Staunton, Virginia, United States | INDIE

Staunton, Virginia, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Nathan Moore: You Yeah Smokin' Hot"

Usually I'm head over heels for anything that pours from Nathan Moore's quill, so it was surprising how long it took You Yeah Smokin' Hot (Reapandsow Music) to open up to me. This is even more odd when one considers that Smokin' Hot is far and away Moore's most readily accessible, modern radio friendly set to date. However, if like me, your taste in Moore runs closer to "Fat King of Gods," "Unprotected" and "So Close To Dreams" then his latest takes some getting used to. That said, once you just put your feet up and crank this album you'll find a warm, enjoyable collection given to breezy skipping, big-eyed love pronouncements and sly funereal subtleties.

Nathan swings with a contemporized Hot Club verve here, shuffling snare drums and girly backing vocals adding sugar to his strawberries. There's a sheen to the production and even the internal tone of many cuts that lines up well with Jack Johnson, John Mayer and other populist fare, but the songwriting – the words, melodies, etc. – remains head and shoulders above those common denominator chaps. Still, Moore seems to have consciously trimmed back his vast, spiritually charged intellect a bit, seeking the good in simpler constructs often built around easily sung choruses.

It's a pleasure to hear his studio take on "Safe And Sorry," track that's become a staple with pals Big Light, and like every Moore release, there's shiny pleasures buried within every track if you're willing to dig a bit. "Lost And Found" is a real killer, a face-in-the-mirror bit o' dark truthfulness that understands not all clowns are funny, and closer "Don't Go" shimmers like a beautiful U2 outtake from the Joshua Tree period. Nothing could make me happier than to see Nathan Moore's name in big lights, slipping past the mainstream's mediocre force field and snapping up some of the gold still waiting at the end of rainbows. You Yeah Smokin' Hot points him in this direction, and while somewhat lighter fare than his past work it's no less excellent if one can slip free of their expectations for this massively talented artist.

- JamBase

"Flynn Space Show Review--Nov. 2008"

Marco Benevento & Friends | Nathan Moore | The Flynn Space
Written by Stites McDaniel
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 04:07

Many aspects of last Monday night's show at The Flynn Space in downtown Burlington, Vermont felt as if they had been transplanted from past eras, even different locales. Nathan Moore, the opener of the festivities, was channeling the bravado and freedom of a Greenwich Village bohemian from 1962 and Marco Benevento, the band leader of the night's all-star headlining troupe, seemed to have an uncanny resemblance in the mind's eye to a young Miles Davis, breaking free from The Gil Evans Band in 1959 and forging his own musical path. And just like that jazz pioneer who has a stronghold on everyone's CD collection, Marco has begun to blaze a trail all his own and, on this night, all of the musicians around him were in for a treat, just like the rest of us.

I have heard of Nathan Moore, but before this live baptism into his music, I only knew him through what I have read. He is the front man of The Slip's side project Surprise Me Mr. Davis, so I always assumed that he was a pop singer. I am not intentionally taking anything away from The Slip in saying this, although I know I inadvertently have. What I mean is that, I assumed they would unite with one of their own. And they are, after all, at the front of the jam/emo/poet/pop scene. As a matter of fact, they define it- its only occupants. But this review should not be starting out with a rambling about the progressive nature of The Slip. It should be tantalizingly describing the soothing vocal styling of Nathan Moore. Lyrics that define him more as a poet and a prophet than a singer and a songwriter. Words that are comfortable and enveloping like a hearth and a blanket on a crisp winter night. So lets get back to it, shall we?

Nathan took the stage looking like a wealthy hobo. His suit was well worn but clean. His beard was thick but manicured. His voice was raspy, but strong. He greeted the crowd with what many folk singers are thinking about in this new age of hope. "I am Nathan Moore from the recently blue state of Virginia and I'm wondering what I'm going to do with all of the songs I wrote over the last eight years." Such a rumination, although jovial, cut to the heart of what many young people in this crowd, this town and this nation were thinking just then. And as the set of modern Appalachian folk music began to take shape, I realized that this is what a voice of the people- a true folk singer- can do. He took the thoughts right out of my head. He wasn't trying to give me an answer. That is not what folk music is about. He was simply making sense of all of the questions I have.

The message of the folk singer in the heyday of folk was concrete. Racism was a problem. The government does not represent the common man. Times are changing. These problems were on the tips of many people's tongues and the front of their minds. But today's problems, although as agonizing as those of yesteryear, exist in a much more abstract space. It is often hard to pinpoint individual reasons for uprising- but, we all feel revolutionary. Nathan recognizes this and tells the stories of people wanting more, not knowing exactly what more might be. It is the plight of what many see as an aimless generation- the semi-nomadic children of the late 20th century. And yet, he is not just a troubadour, he is a showman, interspersing in his set was the occasional tale from the road, sit in from Brad Barr, duet with a looped African chant and magic trick. He was a one man traveling show, even making his own novelty pins. At times I felt like I was watching a snake-oil salesman, and, if Nathan was reading this article right now, he would probably be smiling, because that's the image he wants us to see.

- Grateful Web

"The Many Worlds of Nathan Moore"

By: Dennis Cook
Published on: 10/23/07]
Nathan Moore
One way to gauge a man's worth is to see how he measures up with those around him. While he is undeniably one of the finest songwriters of the modern age, I've also never heard anyone who knows Nathan Moore speak an unkind word about the man. In fact, spend even a little time with the consistently stubbly, forever tousled blond fella with sad, smiling eyes and you'll likely walk away feeling you've met somebody who knows a lot about a lot of things. And he gives a good hug, too.

"He'll be the pastor at my wedding. He always knows the right thing to say," says Andrew Barr of The Slip. "He's got a gift. I'll be going through some problem and the next thing you know he's written a song that totally deals with it."

"With Nathan, there's so little effort involved. It's revelatory," says Brad Barr. "Surprise Me Mr. Davis (the pop savvy quartet comprised of The Slip and Moore) is a scenario where everyone's part is very clear. There's no struggle. For me, it's the happy role of lead guitar player and occasional singer. The Slip is comfortable and well balanced and a lot of paying serious attention to everything going on. Having Nathan up there deflates some of that pressure. He reminds us how fun it is to be up there with people you love."

And from the unpublished liner notes this writer composed for Moore's brilliant new solo album, In His Own Worlds (released June 27 on Frogville Records):

Nathan does a soft shoe with the Cosmic Be All And End All, the tunesmith's Stephen Hawking sussing out a theory of everything. He uses ecclesiastical ideas but never in a way that's cloying or familiar. Instead, Jung's invisible world unfurls in his songs, God smiling at us behind the trees. Moore's willingness to engage big ideas - knowing full well he's in a bear-wrestling match - emboldens us. If Jacob wrestled an angel then maybe so can we.

Rare is the time Moore's music hasn't filled my eyes with tears. Like Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith, he's continually fearless in the face of dark, truthful mirrors. His metaphysical striptease dresses the listener down, and naked together we're born anew in trembling laughter.

In His Own Worlds is Moore at his finest, which is saying something. Whether rockin' like Warren Zevon fronting Badfinger in Mr. Davis or plying a more subtle acoustic trajectory with ThaMuseMeant - a four-piece that swings like the Hot Club of France if Joni Mitchell had led them – Moore rarely fails to differentiate himself from the herd. On Worlds, the man many of us have come to genuinely love, both because of his art and his heart, is fully in the foreground. He's backed by a tight, lustrous band with a primo '70s singer-songwriter feel akin to Jackson Browne's For Everyman or Jesse Winchester's divine Robbie Robertson-produced 1970 debut. His sad men in jam bands and angels of delight long for peace, home and the blooming delight of another's touch. Moore tells their tales in a way that lifts us from the malaise of the everyday. You hear it in the sudden skyward swoop on "O New Day" or the bittersweet lilt of "When A Woman." Everywhere what was hidden is laid bare, cleaned by the light in his music.

We had the great fortune to sit down with Moore over locally brewed ales on a sweet, temperate San Francisco evening not long ago. What transpired over that happy hour touched on Jesus, Mr. Davis, ThaMuseMeant, fame and so much more. Again and again, Moore turned up faith and softness hiding in the shallows of this hard world. If you've been looking for a few new reasons to believe in the future, you've come to the right place.

JamBase: How did you pick the title In His Own Worlds, which seemed to go through several incarnations before settling on that one?

Nathan Moore: It had to be a bad decision [laughs]. There were a few good decisions on the board for a while but they were all too good and we needed a bad, bad title. So, we stayed up burning the candle and came up with In His Own Worlds, thinking, 'Yeah, that's the opposite of good!' [laughs]. It does seem to be the thing that's haunted me. I love wordplay and it doesn't seem to be the best marketing angle in America. It can be, of course, but people are already misspelling In His Own Worlds and it's not spoon-fed as much as it probably should be.

JamBase: It's subtle and that's not ever a good thing in terms of American marketing. I think it has be one of the hardest parts of the recording process to take that last step and decide what is the umbrella you're going to throw over this thing. Have you always had that battle with titles?

Nathan Moore: It's usually a struggle. Sometimes it just falls right into place. Once or twice I've made a recording where we knew what it was before we started, and that's a gift. Single Wide (1999) was sorta made that way. We knew what it was, the vibe of it. But, on most of the records we put down the songs that were hot at the time and then tried to come up with the umbrella. With In His Own Worlds, ultimately it fits in some way or another.

JamBase: When you were working on the new record did you know these songs would be solo stuff? How do you compartmentalize things as you write so you know which ones go to ThaMuseMeant, which to Surprise Me and which ones are just for you? Or is the material malleable enough that it can fit anywhere?

It amazes me how songs do tend to fall into the different camps. I knew I was going to make this record with a few months advance notice, so my whole being went into crafting this thing. It's the same way if I know there's a Davis or ThaMuseMeant tour coming up. The songs that come out of that time point in that direction. That's even without much conscious effort. Once the seed is planted particular seeds bring particular plants.

You do take the fruits of different plants and taste them with different configurations. How does it change for you where they start in one band and end up in another? "Rubberball" is a good example of this.

Nathan Moore
That is the one song that I still don't think any of the bands have really tapped into the novelty pleasure that song is designed to offer. But, it is the one song every band has their own version of and people respond very strongly to. Whereas, a lot of songs will shine in Davis but ThaMuseMeant wouldn't know what to do with them or vice-versa. A lot of songs in my solo act don't cater to other settings.

There's a number of tunes on the new one I can't imagine making the leap to these other settings, like I can't see say "The Tanks" working elsewhere because it's just so you.

I wrote that song on Slip tour and it was first debuted with The Slip at Stanford [University] but it went to sleep for a few years and woke up on this record.

I like that you speak to power but you don't do so in the traditional Woody Guthrie way. This very gifted songwriter I know once said, "It's hard to write a protest song" [from ThaMuseMeant's "Protest Song']. It's tough to avoid getting up on a soapbox these days, to avoid preaching to people, but at the same time you have to say something.

Right, right. I think living at home in Virginia has really changed a lot of things for me, and I even see it now that I'm out touring the West. I'm doing rants on this last tour that I would never do at home. This record was definitely made in the light of being back home. When I'm there I have my grandmother and mother in the audience. I have my high school teachers and 16-year-old kids. It's the community holistically represented. In that sense, when I was making this record I couldn't really live with myself if I didn't speak against the injustices or for the evolution we all like to feel a part of as often as possible. But, I wanted to do it in such a way that it wouldn't put anybody off or my grandmother wouldn't feel uncomfortable giving the record to her friends at church [laughs]. It was a pretty daunting task for someone used to waging a war on drugs with a million friends. I wanted to find a more backdoor approach to these topics. I think Jesus is mentioned on the record three or four times. A lot of it was definitely in the hometown light.

I think there's a value in putting conscious restraints on yourself, not the ones other people put on you but ones where you go, "I'm going to put this wall up here and operate within that boundary because I see value in it."

Anybody who's ever worked with a rhyme scheme knows how brilliant that kind of restraint can be. So much magic can come from that restraint. People think, "Oh I don't want to be tied down. I don't want there to be rules." But, it's pretty amazing when you have to rhyme one line with the next. The most perfect thing you would never have thought to say comes from being forced to find that rhyme. That's just always amazed me. I used to say, "My limits are my wings," and that was sort of in praise of the form I was sticking to – not free verse, not abstraction – but trying to find beauty in such formulas.

Songwriting, at its best, is a form of poetry, and poetry is all about structure and leaps between the stanzas, but leaps that make sense, not just random words that sound pretty. Even if it seems that way, I don't think any poet ever did it randomly.

I agree. I don't have anything to add to that [laughs].

As you say, you bring up Jesus a few times on this record. That's a hard subject, especially in 2007 America. God has been so co-opted for so many stupid, ugly, even barbaric things. I guess it's really all around the world. You can't limit it to America. There's tremendous stupidity involving God happening all over the place. And it's almost as if God has dropped out of the discourse with rock and folk songwriting. I guess it's easier for most people in that world to not deal with God at all.

I don't personally have much issue with the language of religion. Saying that Christ is not my savior is like saying Jim Morrison is not my Lizard King [laughs]. I just don't have that big an issue with the language. I was raised by it, found beauty within it and made it make sense to me. It took a lot of work, and maybe that work wasn't necessary. It could have come from other kinds of work but I worked with that language, that story and found truth within it. After I'd done all that work I didn't want to throw it all away. I know so many people, especially where I come from, that still go to church every Sunday and are still speaking that language. So, I don't mind throwing my interpretation of the story back at 'em using the same language. At the same time, I completely understand why someone would throw that language away and start anew. For me, it's part of how I was raised, what I went through, and I happily refer to that story. I still believe Jesus said and did all the right things. It's the perfect story that we need today.

The other point I wanted to make is for a while there, the zealots - be they Christians or Islamic fascists or whatever side of the spectrum – really looked like they were taking over and we were going to live in their world for a while. What I've seen in the past few years is the majority of the societies on all ends are not accepting that, not letting them have their way. I don't think religion in this country has been co-opted by the Right. They tried and it seemed like they had for a few really frightening months, maybe even a few frightening years, but I don't think they've ultimately been successful.
If you love words you cut yourself off from such amazing imagery, language and touchstones if you totally reject religious subject matter. What would the Grateful Dead be without songs like "Sampson and Delilah"? These are bedrock stories, and they're in the air whether you want to believe them or not. Even our cartoons are informed by these stories. So why would you want to cut yourself off from them?

As a writer, the idea of a story that's traveled so many years to your ears, you just have to have some reverence for a story that's shaped so much, done so many things, come so far, to me, this little boy in Virginia.

Being Americans, I think it's impossible to not have the Judeo-Christian tradition be the one you tap into on some level. I know plenty of people who've converted to Buddhism or Hindu paths but that doesn't diminish the impact these stories had on them as little boys or girls. They grew up within the same meta-structure we did. It's sort of funny, this conscious rejection of it when it's impossible to really get away from it.

We all know Jesus studied Buddhism during his missing years. He traveled the Orient and picked up on the mystic ways.

The number of congruencies in all the big religions, which were birthed largely around the same time, far outnumbers the places they don't sync up. That tells you they were all listening to each other.

They all serve a different purpose. Buddhism really represents the inner struggle towards enlightenment, and Christ energy relates to a more social realization of the enlightened state. Buddhism's internal action is really the same thing as the external Christ action. To me, religion isn't that important, but there's a part of me that sees the wars we're in, the caretaking of the environment and other issues. There's hypocrisy with the religious community waging these wars and damaging the environment that made me want to pull the Jesus I knew up. The Jesus I know is completely against these wars and the use of fossil fuels. The Jesus I know would never be in favor of these things. On [In His Own Worlds] I wanted him to be there in the room, to invite Jesus into the conversation, hopefully as tactfully as possible [laughs].

It's an expressly hopeful record. It's striking. I like the wit and cynicism in your earlier work a lot, maybe because it plays to my own cynical tendencies, but when I really dug into this record – and it didn't take very long – there was a sense of a light being held up, no matter how small it may be, that says, "It's not all darkness out there."

A lot of times I tend to do that for myself. I write myself advice. I write things I wish people would say to me like "It's all going to be okay." I'm not even necessarily saying that to you, I'm reminding myself. In some way, I was trying to put a light up there for myself.

It carries over to the listener but it makes sense that it would start with you. You have to figure out what advice you need before you start giving it to others. That's actually pretty enlightened, dude.

[laughs hard] It is a little weird though, huh?

What does playing in a number of different settings like Davis or ThaMuseMeant do for you?

I think it helps in a lot of different ways. One is individually. Playing with a lot of different people expands my playing and the perception of the same song. Just playing with The Slip guys, just spending an afternoon with them making music, I can tangibly feel the growth in my own playing just being exposed to the way they hear music and the way it comes through their bodies. It's just such an insight in perception. I start playing a song and then all of the sudden they take it somewhere else, and I didn't even know it could be seen in that light. Once you've seen it in that light you have an expanded perception of what it can be. The other thing that's cool is say I go from Davis to ThaMuseMeant, all of the sudden the strengths of those projects are so glowing to me. High Sierra this year is a great example, where I went from the nighttime Davis set to the ThaMuseMeant in the morning. It was night and day in such a beautiful way. It just makes me love everybody so much more when I can contrast their uniqueness.

It's got to be a kick being the one who brings these fantastic musicians the songs, the springboards of your craft, so much of the time.

I feel really lucky. I don't know any other way to put it. I have no idea what I've done to deserve such a royal slot. I feel I benefit a lot from having these great people willing to play with me and do my songs. I just scored big time.

Don't think I've ever asked you this but where the hell did Percy Boyd (Moore's demo spewing alter ego) come from?

It came from Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy that includes The Manticore. Percy Boyd Stanton is one of the key characters and I'm from Stanton. I was reading that trilogy when my dad came up one night. We'd been drinking all day and he tells me I need an alter ego. I had a lot of trouble playing in the Shenandoah Valley because I came from the West, where I was a ranter, a political spokesman of sorts and I liked my stump, but I'd get out there and I'd shut down. I'd be playing at a gazebo in the park or something and there'd be all these normal people in front of me and I wouldn't know what to say because it wasn't a bunch of radicals or hippies or revolutionaries. I like preaching to the choir. I like being a cheerleader for the counter-culture. That's just really comfortable for me. Talking to the mainstream I just shut down, so my dad suggested I come up with this other identity. He said, "They'd love your voice and playing. Just be this other guy who doesn't have to represent everything you are." So, I came up with Percy Boyd, who's a sort of Everyman but still ambiguous. He's not necessarily this innocent guy that everybody would know and love. He's just as complicated as me but maybe a little more fun [laughs].

You're a mix of that, where you'll write a long, gorgeous love ode and then say "Rubberball," which is a ditty in its way. You value toe-tappers as much as weepies.

No doubt, no doubt.

I was really frustrated at the lack of response to the last ThaMuseMeant record [Never Settle For Less released 2006 on Frogville Records]. I felt like everything you folks had been trying to do for a few years gelled on that record. Even the cover photo of all of you dressed to the nines, looking good, seemed to suggest that your four-way conversation was in great shape. Is it hard to pour yourself into something like this and have it not get the reaction you hope it will?

It hasn't even really been put out in the world in any significant way. The band isn't touring. What you expressed about us all being together and looking good is true but it's also a bit of an illusion. We're not out there working it like we did when we were younger. The label, Frogville, as awesome as they are and for all they've done for us, there's not a big budget for distribution and publicity. It's as grassroots as it's ever been except the band isn't touring much. So, it doesn't surprise me at all. On the other hand, we were in Nederland, Colorado the other week and this great musician comes up to us and said, "Do you all realize you've made one of the best records in years?" He actually made it sound bigger and better than that. He just wondered if we had any awareness that we'd made a great piece of art. So, you're right, it hasn't had that much fanfare and we haven't been there to see people get it or enjoy it. So, it is a bit like tossing a penny in a well.

I can only tell you that it makes me crazy. The biggest reason I write about music is to tell people about this kind beautiful, wonderful music that they shouldn't miss. If it moves me there's a decent chance it might move others. Never Settle For Less is one of those rare records I can put on every few months and it gets to bowl me over all over again. That's such a grand surprise that only the best records possess. Most albums don't give you that jolt every time you listen to them.

The good news is ThaMuseMeant just came off two weeks from Santa Fe to High Sierra, and I've never heard the quartet sound better or more excited. We had a couple new songs to boot, and it felt like we're about ready to make another record. It's sorta like Davis, where somebody came up after High Sierra and said, "You have to do this! You're our generation's band. You're singing our song." On the one hand, I thought she was right but the reason she was so excited was she'd just heard Surprise Me Mr. Davis. There it was. It exists. It's not like this sad thing that never happened. It just happened and that's why she was so pumped. That's a cool thing we're finding with all these bands. It's not like we're out there hitting the pavement trying to make some big deal. We're coming together to make this music because we love it, and in that these bands are stronger than they've ever been.

That's it! Even though the mechanism of radio and traditional publicity can't seem to get a handle on what you do, if people actually hear this music it seems to do the job.

Almost every time. The batting average is definitely respectable [laughs].

No doubt about it!

The other thing about not getting out there and hitting the pavement is we're not getting rejected. We're not getting jaded, and we don't have that same 'jade' that a lot of bands who push it but don't break have. We're not pushing. We're just making the music whenever we get a chance to do it. That adds levity to it. So many musicians my age are SO jaded at this point. It's understandable in this changing music business but luckily the bands I'm part of come together to make music and the rest is just not our game right now. Maybe someday it will be. I know each band would maybe like to try to break but it's just not what's going on right now.

I think you love music too much to play a lot of the games necessary to reach that next level of fiscal and fame success.

Either that or I'm just really lazy.

[laughs until out of breath] Oh lord...

I think, "Not today, just not today. Maybe tomorrow [laughs]."


"Cover Story--State of Mind 2/08"

Read the entire 8 page article at: - State of Mind Music

"High Sierra Music Festival Review 2009"

"Slice down some of the more daring instrumental passages and let Moore take over on vocals for Brad and Davis seems primed to break through to the masses. Songs like "I Hate Love," "Sisyphus," "Sleepy Head," "One Sick Knave" and "Summer Of My Fall" (featuring the line: "I opened the door, I opened the window/ she came through the wall/ it was the winter of my spring, the summer of my fall") are genuinely some of the best songs written this decade."

View the entire article here: - JamBase

"Musings from Boston-Sep. 09"

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Nathan Moore. He ambled out with acoustic guitar and harmonica to a simple stage set that included a beat-up suitcase, adding to the Vaudeville-like vibe of his performance. He started by apologizing for not having things better organized beforehand, and was speaking with a garbled voice. He then says “excuse me”, and takes a large ball (?) out of his mouth. And then does it again. And again. And yet again. WTF?? I’m sure that some in the audience were familiar with Nathan Moore’s schtick, but I wasn’t whatsoever, so when several minutes went by and he hadn’t actually played anything, I was knocked off balance (which I realize now is probably the intention), maybe a little annoyed (possibly also the intention), but by the end of his engaging set, delighted and intrigued with his unique take on the folk-singing tradition – a mix of honest, heartfelt ballads, amusing Arlo Guthrie-style raps to introduce each song, and… wait for it… magic tricks. Yes, magic tricks.

His set included “Rubber Ball” (from his folk/psychedelic band, ThaMuseMeant), “Tombstone” (from his new EP just out, Folk Singer), a song with the line “filling out an application, praying for redemption”, and another “waging a war against the war on drugs”, which followed a funny/serious rap about the government’s drug policy and Massachusetts’ recent decriminalization of marijuana, for which we were duly congratulated and praised.

Wedged in-between some lovely guitar picking and harmonica accompanying smart and introspective songs, a very impressive trick which consisted of tearing a newspaper into many small pieces and then, in a blink of an eye, producing the completely untorn and unmangled paper from which it came. Man, this guy is good. And he can sing (and play) some lovely songs as well. I should also mention that he’s in another band called Surprise Me Mr. Davis.

His solo tour continues in Fall River and Northampton, MA; Montpelier and Burlington, VT; Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virgina; and then on to San Francisco and Groveland CA; finishing in Live Oak, Florida. I highly recommend seeing him, if you can. --Julie Stoller
- The Boston Survival Guide

"Nathan Moore: Tip of the Iceberg- JamBase Feature Sep. 09"

Everything about singer/songwriter Nathan Moore is befitting of a modern-day troubadour. Whether it's his background, his nomadic lifestyle, his onstage persona or his speech patterns, Moore comes off as a man who was born for his craft. His latest release, Folk Singer (released August 18 on The Royal Potato Family - see our review here), is a bare-bones collection of old-school folk songs that is void of any "studio magic," and leaves the listener with a naked picture of Nathan Moore, the songwriter. But Moore's views on music - folk or otherwise - share a lot with his views on life, and when you get him talking, he's not afraid to go deep.

"I think [folk] goes back to the poets before [singers like Joe Hill and Bob Dylan], who were troubadours themselves, in the way that their poetry was received. I don't look at something and say, 'I want to try to be that,' but I definitely gravitate towards things I feel I could become, which I've always thought was interesting," says Moore. "I always thought the things I liked the most are the things I thought I could possibly do. I like Led Zeppelin, but in terms of my table of heroes with all the Townes Van Zandts and John Prines and Tom Waits, it struck me as strange that I like things, I think on some level, I could pull off like Leonard Cohen. I'll hear that and say, 'Wow that's amazing,' but deep down, I'm thinking, 'I could do that.'"

During a phone conversation with Moore following the release of Folk Singer, he discussed music, politics, life on the road, and life at home, but what stood out most about him was his degree of engagement. Moore will take any question you give him, analyze it and answer, piece by piece, often using his own answer as a platform to discuss a whole array of subjects that he somehow manages to fit within the specific context of the original question.

When asked about the current state of political songwriting, Moore used the opportunity to not only answer the question, but to analyze the political activity of his generation at large.

"I'd say that when Obama was running, we all went for it for a little while. Before [the election], and even before that, Bush brought out the fighting spirit in us, but one of the regretful things about Obama winning is a lot of people said, 'Alright! It's alright for us to pull the Hawaiian shirt out of the closet and get back to drinking piña coladas [laughs].' That's sort of a shame because we still need to be seeking the truth with a passion that doesn't seem to be that common place these days," Moore says. "I think there still is [a silence within the artistic community]. I think Bush was a good opportunity and a lot of people seized on it, but I think there's a certain depth of idealism that contemporary culture has created. We all saw the '60s come and go, even if it was through the lens of history. We know that time period. It's a new day and a different, interesting time. It stills my heart that there are young idealists. There always have been and there always will be. My generation was a terrible example in terms of activism or taking those ideals and making them glorious."

Aside from the perceived ideological failures of his generation, Moore seemed to feel as though the role of a folk singer is the same as it ever was. Both articulate and concise, Moore spoke in stream-of-consciousness-like sentences, breaking to breath, but ever-ready to continue vocalizing his train of thought.

"I think there's a timeless roll [to being a folk singer]," he says. "I was wondering whether it's the same as it's always been, but ultimately it's the folk singer's roll to mark in time stories of our day, and sort of [be] a historian encapsulating pictures of the world around us, and then preserve those stories for everybody. And in terms of performance and singing, it's giving people a chance to... feel."

"I guess with the new album there's a picture of hard times, of the recession that we're involved in, and there's a little bit of the traveling vibe [incorporated] but from the perspective of a traveling troubadour, so there are Walmarts instead of boxcars," Moore says. "This really is an EP, in the sense that it's an introduction, a beginning of a new relationship with a label, so this is more of a half guitar/travel/calling card thing that we've made. If I was making an album, I'd be sure I was making a well-rounded expression, but with this, the thought process was a little different. It's a little more utilitarian, and a little less conceptual. When I make an album, everything complements each other and makes a story. This wasn't a storytelling album."
Moore seems to feel the role of a folk singer is to tell tales of the world around him. But, the world starts at home, and this concept is far from lost on Nathan Moore.

"I'm getting a little older and I've found that the balance that home brings to my life, in terms of going out and having fun and getting loose on the road, but then coming home to a stable community and a beautiful home life, is pretty ideal for me. It keeps me balanced, as opposed to when I was in my twenties and entirely nomadic. Now I'm more balanced." With pride in his roots, Moore built upon his connection to his community, saying, "You go downtown and you see so many people that you know. I went to the same high school my grandmother went to. It's a tight community with a lot of history."

Even in describing his life on the road, Moore emphasized his connection to his hometown.

"When I left home I felt like a pioneer, but what was Columbus without Spain? I got to discover new worlds, but in my community's name and behalf. I always had a sense of that with what I was doing, way more than my community. I always felt like a pioneer for my home town," he says. "I had a revelation recently where I realized how important it is to me where I come from. 'Remember where I'm from.' It's a stabilizing mantra for me. It brings me back to what I have to offer."

The authenticity Moore radiates in conversation is just as apparent, if not more so, in his songwriting. When asked about his creative process, he describes his songwriting as being nothing but from the heart. "I can't just sit down and say, 'I need a song that's marketable or danceable like that, or catchy like this.' If it doesn't come through my heart then it doesn't happen," he says. "I write as a means of survival. It's like the air that I breathe, so in that sense, I'm not trying to sell anything really. I'm just trying to exist."
Although he said very little about Surprise Me Mr. Davis, his rock project alongside the three members of The Slip, Moore did comment that although for now he's promoting Folk Singer, "We have 2010, [and] we're going to take over the world."

When talking about the big picture, be it past, present, or future, Moore has a way of making things seem specific. When asked what his future holds, he dabbled in metaphors that beat around the bush, yet managed to give a very clear answer anyway. "I've been feeling good about things," he says. "We're dealing with a lot with Folk Singer and Davis, [but] I feel like we're still at the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot about to come from me into the world, so people should stay tuned."
- JamBase

"Conversations with Nathan Moore--Oct. 09"

A week after I spoke with Nathan Moore from his home in Staunton, Virginia, he arrived in Vermont for a couple of shows. His thoughts and ideas conveyed in our conversation rang loud and clear during his captivating performances. He's a musician that is in a constant state of becoming, always in the present with wide-eyed curiosity.
Every time I see him play, he never rests on his laurels. He takes risks, trying new magic tricks and telling stories to see how far and loose he can get with the audience. But it's always a new song that seems to set the tone and keep you on your toes. This time around it was a song called "In the Basement." I mentioned to him how that song went straight to that deep spot -- chills and tingles caused by hearing something as vulnerable as the truth -- and he said, "Yeah, I trembled when I finished writing that one." That's Nathan -- he wears it all on his sleeve, in his one-of-a-kind way.
His latest release, called Folk Singer, is fitting for how he's been spending a lot of his time during the past two years: developing his solo show. After releasing two gems, 2007's In His Own Worlds and 2008's You Yeah Smoking Hot, with full bands that showcased diversity both sonically and in his songwriting, Folk Singer is a refreshing change a pace that features just Nathan with his guitar, voice, and harmonica. And with Nathan, it's all about the songs. Folk Singer has vibrant storytelling with high ideals and beautiful observations, shrewdness on human behavior, and many of those unguarded, intimate moments are captured with delicate and crushing honesty. He just keeps getting better with age.
(Editorial Note: Nathan is also one of the world's finest bakerball players.)

I actually fell asleep singing one of your songs last night.
[laughs] Oh really? Which one?

"Yea Yeahy." My friend Paul was playing it on guitar‚ and I was lying in bed. We sang it together and I think we sounded pretty good. I think it fell apart about halfway through…
That happens to me too.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE: - State of Mind Magazine

"Valley Native Takes First Prize at Telluride Festival"

Valley native takes first prize at Telluride festival
By Maria Longley/staff • • July 21, 2008

Much about Nathan Moore might lead one to believe the singer/ songwriter lacks ambition: his bohemian lifestyle, the decade he spent street performing across the country with his bandmates, the tranquil cadence of his voice.

One couldn't be more wrong. The 37-year-old musician is unapologetic about his aspirations; he wants it all — fame, accolades and a very comfortable life.

"I think it's a little sad when people deny their dreams," Moore said. "I guess growing up in Staunton, I got used to everyone knowing who I was, which may be part of the drive for recognition."

Lately and throughout his younger life, the alt-folk rocker has been working hard toward that end, and it looks to be paying off. Last month he won the title of 2008 Telluride Troubadour at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, an event that featured performers Arlo Guthrie, Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby.

Sweat equity
Moore was among nearly 500 entries in the troubadour competition. A panel selected the top 10 to perform at the festival, and as the winner, Moore took home a custom Shanti guitar and played on the main stage to an estimated 10,000 people.

"I could get addicted to that," he said. "It felt great. It was perfect."

Moore knows he has a long way to go before he achieves the kind of fame he's working toward, but it's also a far cry from the night he walked into an Austin, Texas, nightclub not long after dropping out of the University of Mary Washington and leaving Virginia.

"(College) didn't last long," he said. "I played with college bands and it consumed me. I bought a one-way ticket to the live music capitol of the world."

Inside the nightclub, Moore said he was approached by a man who asked him if he was looking for work.

Encouraged, Moore said, "Yes. I'm a musician."

The man then brusquely examined Moore's left hand and noted the lack of calluses.

"He said, 'You don't play very much,' and dropped my hand," Moore said. "He just dismissed me. Then he said, 'You want a job mopping floors?'"

The moment hit home for the naive young man.

"Suddenly, I was laying eyes on a goal that was far, far away," he said. "In Staunton, it was still in the dream stages. But in Austin, it was time to get to work."

It helped that Moore's family, especially his parents, Steve Moore and Gloria Dove, were supportive.

Moore said his mom and dad — a beloved retired Robert E. Lee High School teacher — instilled in him a respect for community involvement. They're the sort of folks who encouraged him to speak out when he was 16 years old after complaining that there was no place in town for him and his friends to skateboard without being shooed away by adults.

"There are articles about us back in the day in The News Leader fighting for a skate park," he said.

He remains close to both his parents, who divorced when Moore was a toddler.

Moore did get to work in Austin. He almost gave up after seven months in the city, but one night, wandering down 6th Street in the heart of Austin's music community, he hooked up with a bunch of street performers. Two of the performers happened to be Virginia natives, and Moore started a band with them called ThaMuseMent.

Moore then spent his 20s "couch surfing" with the band and playing anywhere anyone would let them.

The band's main source of income often was busking, something he loved for its artistic purity and instrinsic disregard for musical gatekeepers.

"It's great to catch people outside a club," he said. "On the street they have no expectations. I felt like a real gypsy back then. We didn't need any permission from anyone to play. People think street performers aren't any good, and that's why they're on the street. That's not true. You can make a lot of money busking, but you won't last if you're not good."

Break from the road

By 2000, Moore was growing tired of the gypsy life. ThaMuseMent broke up, and for the next several years he stayed busy starting the New Mexico-based Frogville Records label with a friend and touring with a string quartet he formed with some former members of ThaMuseMent.

In 2006, he moved in with his two younger brothers in their family home in Swoope. One can imagine how Moore's yearlong sabbatical in the old farmhouse — set deep in the country, the Middle River flowing peacefully along a generous yard — helped rejuvenate his spirit.

The house remains his base camp as he continues to tour and record music.

Last year, Moore released his solo album, "In His Own Worlds," a collection of songs he wrote during his year off from touring. The album spent 21 weeks on the Roots Music Radio Charts.

Although touring these days means sleeping on a hotel bed rather than a couch, deep-rooted wanderlust still grips Moore, and he's felt back in his element promoting "Worlds."

"Making that record was a huge confidence booster," he said. "I've had a lot of good feedback from it."

Ambition Moore has, but a plan? That's where he gives his manager, Karen Lawrence, all the credit. Lawrence entered Moore in the competition at the Telluride Festival (something he said he never would have thought to do himself) and also submitted him in the Folks Festival in Lyons, Colo. Once again he was selected — this time out of 800-plus entries — as a top 10 finalist and will perform there in mid August.

Moore also was featured on the cover of State of Mind music magazine earlier this year.

He has finished recording two albums, including one called "You Yeah Smokin' Hot," which were recorded at the Frogville studio in Santa Fe, N.M.

It's hard to doubt that Moore could accomplish his goals given his talent and drive; peel back the layers of that easy way about him and you hit a surprising steely resolve.

"I want it all on so many levels," he said. "I want the artistic challenge, to meet the expectations of people. And yeah, I'd love for travel to be easier and luxurious."

Now and then Moore still thinks of the dismissive nightclub manager, especially after a long gig, his fingers bleeding.

"I'm grateful to him," he said. "It motivated me. There were guys like that all along the way. But I'm proud. It just made me push harder. It showed me that I was going to have to earn everything I wanted."

But he never did take that job mopping floors.

"(Expletive) that guy."

- The News-Leader, Staunton, VA



Live at the Mineshaft Tavern- ThaMuseMeant- 1995.

Breakfast Epihanies- ThaMuseMeant- 1997.

Sweet Things- ThaMuseMeant- 1998.

Single Wide- Nathan Moore- 1999.

Grow Your Own- ThaMuseMeant- 2000.

Nudes- ThaMuseMeant- 2002.

Surprise Me Mr. Davis- Surprise Me Mr. Davis- 2002.

Beggars Must Be Choosers-Nathan Moore-2002.

Percy Boyd's Lost Tracks - Nathan Moore- 2002.

Live at The Blackfriars Playhouse- Nathan Moore- 2002.

Sad Songs Make Me Happy- Nathan Moore- 2002.

Silver Seed- ThaMuseMeant- 2003.

Other Wise Blue Skies - Nathan Moore- 2003.

Cans n Cants- Nathan Moore- 2003.

Back in 15 Minutes-Nathan Moore-2003.

Only in Montreal- Surprise Me Mr. Davis- 2005.

Never Settle for Less- ThaMuseMeant- 2006.

In His Own Worlds –Nathan Moore-2007.

You Yeah Smokin' Hot- Nathan Moore-2008.

Folk Singer - Nathan Moore - Royal Potato Family label-2009.

Dear Puppeteer - Nathan Moore - Royal Potato Family - 2010



As singer/songwriters go, Nathan Moore is a specialist. He's that rare musician that wants to shake your hand, look you in the eye and know who you are. He's a regular Joe, an astonishing friend and an insightful anti-Svengali-quite the valuable commodity in today's over-hyped, calculating entertainment world. Nathan can't help it. He is compelled to wrap everyone he meets in his musical arms and rock them through whatever ails them and jump with joy at their successes. Equipped with an arsenal of lyrics and onstage antics that can carry an audience from cradle to grave, laughter to tears and cynicism to hope all in the span of a set, Nathan Moore's music touches people.

His evocative indie-folk one-man shows are punctuated with magic tricks and banter. He's described “…as proficient as Ryan Adams, as lyrical as Jeff Tweedy and as charming as a deadbeat cartoon character that wakes up, rubs his belly and leans into the day." (Relix Magazine)

The versatility of Moore's prolific songwriting and performing skills is sometimes unfathomable. He's been in a jam band, a string band, a rock band and now tours the festival circuit as a folk singer. He's recorded twenty albums and shared the stage with an impressive list of talented artists at legendary venues and festivals all over the country. Moore's 2007 solo album, In His Own Worlds, spent 21 weeks on the Roots Music Radio Charts. He has pumped out two more critically-acclaimed albums since and is about to release his latest which called on the musical talents of both his friends and fans.

In 2009, Nathan won the coveted Telluride Troubadour award. In 2011 Nathan released his 20th album, Dear Puppeteer. His rock band, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, a super-group made up of the members of The Slip, Marco Benevento and Moore, have been traveling both coasts and the south for dates at prestigious festivals and venues. He broadcast his entire tour from April to July live via and started a movement that has caught on and continued throughout the spring and summer of 2012. Along his travels over the past two summers, Nathan performed to the audiences of Jam Cruise, Suwannee Springfest, DelFest, Mountain Jam, High Sierra, Strawberry Festival, Yonder Mountain's Harvest Festival, Yarmony Grass and in homes and venues across this great country.