The Forest That Never Sleeps
Gig Seeker Pro

The Forest That Never Sleeps

Anchorage, AK | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Anchorage, AK
Established on Jan, 2017
Solo Alternative Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The Culture Trip: The 50 [Female] Musicians You Need To Know From Each State In The 50 U.S."

In A Knight’s Tale, it is joked that Heath Ledger’s William Thatcher, while visiting Greece, “spent a year in silence just to better understand the sound of a whisper.” While Kathryn Moore of the alt-folk/gypsy outfit The Super Saturated Sugar Strings didn’t go a full 365 days, she did endure a five-and-a-half-week stretch of complete silence to save her voice, and you better believe that level of dedication comes through the band’s music. -

"Super Saturated Sugar Strings Singer Takes a Vow of Silence"

A loud presence in Alaska's musical community has been keeping very quiet lately. And around Anchorage it's become just a little harder to catch a really good show.

Kathryn Moore, 33, has been sitting in a room outside Philadelphia wondering where words begin.

"Do they start when your mouth creates their shape, even if you say nothing?" she writes by email. "Or do they begin with the thought of the word?"

Moore recently ended a five-and-a-half-week stretch of complete silence.

It's the result of a conversation last spring, when Moore's Super Saturated Sugar Strings bandmates sat down in a Fairbanks hotel room to have a serious talk. The time had come for Moore to deal with her voice.

Even though she was sleeping longer to let her body heal after performances and hiding backstage during set breaks to avoid conversations, she was losing her voice. The nodules that had developed on Moore's vocal cords were an issue that couldn't be ignored any longer.

"It was essentially a vocal intervention, in my mind. But thank goodness they did," Moore writes.

Moore, who grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia, remembers being teased in seventh grade when her voice changed and she moved from soprano to tenor in her school's choir, where she had to stand among the boys.

She began studying voice and piano at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2009, teaching private lessons on the side. Even then, she struggled with frequently losing her voice -- one semester she had to take an incomplete in singing lessons because her laryngitis had gotten so bad.

Her instructor recommended she "get scoped" by an ear, nose and throat specialist. The doctor found nodules on her vocal folds, which form when the tissue thickens and becomes callused due to irritation, usually through overuse.

The condition can radically impact a person's voice and, in rare cases, requires surgery. It's a problem that can affect not only professional singers, but people who work as teachers, preachers or telemarketers and in other professions.

Moore's singing, teaching and effusive personality had pushed her to the tipping point. But rather than slow down, she says, she took on more and more, playing solo sets up to four hours long, hosting open mics, constantly jamming with other musicians, on top of holding her own with the gypsy/folk band Super Saturated Sugar Strings.

"I think I'm a person motivated so much by passion and stubbornness that I'd become a fool. I sang until I couldn't," she writes.

A bedroom back east

With her short-cropped brown hair and an almost constant smile, Moore is a familiar sight at local shows, sitting behind her Roland keyboard with a bell in one hand and her foot on a tambourine, jumping up to throw on a guitar or grab a drink, all at a frenetic pace.

For the Sugar Strings, the lives of its four founding members have been dramatically altered by the band's steady rise and appetite for live performances -- with a three-month Lower 48 tour, shows across distant parts of Alaska and two records under their belt.

When the band packed Anchorage's Tap Root Public House late last June for a raucous "Heart-Shaped Leaves" CD release party, few probably would have guessed a hiatus was imminent.

The plan had materialized months earlier, shortly after the Fairbanks intervention, for Moore to take an actual rest. But it would need to be far away from Anchorage.

"I worried about my finances, my ability and willpower to stay silent in the community of people with whom I love to communicate so, so much," she writes.

Her last show was a "Let the Kat Sing" benefit concert thrown by the Sugar Strings to help her through being out of a job and a voice. She ended up playing in four bands at the Tap Root that night. "It felt like the best birthday party ever," says Moore.

She flew to her sister's home in Philadelphia last September, where doctors prescribed three weeks of silence -- no talking and no singing (whistling, however, was permitted). After finding recurring symptoms later on, they ordered an additional five to six weeks of silence.

Since her period of isolation began, Moore has spent a lot of time sitting at her computer late into the night on weekends, glued to Tap Root's live webcam. Fellow musicians would give her shout-outs when they knew she was watching the stage from a bedroom back east.

Moore says she has learned to be more comfortable with silence than ever before.

"It's been interesting to note how beautiful and fluid language is, whether in the small, inferred words that create flowing sentences in spoken language or in hands signing shapes into ideas in American Sign Language," she writes.

She's observed the way people assume that if you can't talk, you can't hear either, and how even when people know you can hear, they can still be patronizing.

"I think it's a testament to the fact that, whatever disability someone suffers, it doesn't always affect their intellect and that should not be assumed," she writes.

Public silence has been tricky, like when Moore would bump into an old man and blurt out "sorry" involuntarily or when strangers talked to her in passing and she could only gesture in return.

"Everyone keeps saying, 'Ah, I bet you'll think about what's important to say now, eh?'" she writes. "No, not really. Every word I spoke before to those I loved, every story I've ever told was as articulate as it needed to be, for me.

"You can take the gal outta the conversation, but you can't take the conversation outta the gal," she quips.

At a cost

Moore said she would take a "metaphorical bullet" for music, and she wonders if this might be that bullet.

Moore was steeling herself for a three-week Pacific Northwest tour with the Sugar Strings starting this week. On Dec. 28, she came out of her silence with some minor vocal warmups.

Then, on New Year's Eve, another ENT specialist found a pre-nodule on her vocal cords.

There was much more than just vocal strain working against her, he said. Moore's vocal cords were rigid from dehydration and scarred by acid reflux.

The doctor prescribed permanent lifestyle changes -- no alcohol whatsoever; four hours between eating and sleep; vocal exercises; and adopting a new method of breathing -- or she wouldn't be able to perform and teach professionally like she used to. He advised against singing on the tour.

The future is uncertain, but Moore says she is ready for the sacrifices ahead. She has already made compromises, including calling off a solo recording session in Portland, and on the upcoming tour, she's prepared to hold back from singing with the band, for now.

"I am not healed, but I'm not hopeless," Moore wrote on Facebook. "I am so thankful to eventually be able to share the gift that makes me feel the most alive."

She hopes that shows won't have to be canceled as the Sugar Strings come out of dormancy, and make their way north. If Moore has her way, just before Alaskans forget what they're missing, the whole band will make their triumphant return.

"It was here I learned to sing and here that I have come to love my newfound bandmates as deep as family; a bond that is incredibly special," she writes. "Alaska is my musical family." - Alaska Dispatch News

"Kat Moore emerges from silence with solo project The Forest That Never Sleeps"

After months of stark silence, Kathryn "Kat" Moore's musical existence hung precariously on the first few bars of a 150-year-old Christian hymn.

Moore, singer and pianist for the Super Saturated Sugar Strings, had completed a course of treatment for vocal nodules that included more than two months of rest, during which she spoke for only a few days and was silent the remaining time.

Her proving ground was a fitting tune, "How Can I Keep From Singing?," a gospel song revived by Pete Seeger in the middle of the last century and adopted into the Quaker musical tradition.

Moore's uncertainty was apparent as she tentatively hummed the melody at her mother's house in Phoenix.

"The anticipation was fierce because, through all that time, I was never really able to imagine singing," she said.

But the result was decisive – she would be able to sing – allowing a return to her career in music.

And when she returned a little over a year ago, Moore experienced an unprecedented burst of creativity. The Sugar Strings, one of Alaska's most popular and inventive bands, were on hiatus while husband-wife duo Carlyle and Theresa Watt had a child and violin player Miriah Phelps traveled in Asia.

So Moore established The Forest That Never Sleeps, a solo ballads project.

"After that vocal rest, everything came out on piano," she said. "I started playing solo out of necessity. I didn't realize I loved performing until I started playing with the Sugar Strings. When two members of the band were pregnant, it pared down our performance schedule. I found I was performing a lot less. I had to get those ants out of my pants."

The Forest That Never Sleeps started as an outpouring of ideas and experiences from her vocal break, featuring Moore's most frequent and reliable theme – love.

"It started as a piano project," Moore said. "A majority of the songs I was composing were ballads, slow songs. They were rich harmonic songs with strange melodies. (That sound) lends itself to mostly ballad writing, love songs. When I put them on piano, I could get a darker sound."

While sonically the songs Moore created are lush, the themes are often bare and autobiographical.

"I was dating someone when I left," she said. "It was from the distance and the silence. That relationship ended, but I found I'd become closer in some relationships. The songs reflected a lot of tumult from changes that happened over the silence, including falling for a friend, but it was not mutual."

The songs gain power from Moore's unflinching personal narratives. She said her love songs have transformed from romantic to realistic.

"From a writing perspective, I share really intimate things," she said. "The songs are autobiographical. I've tried to write some fiction. It just didn't take. It was so inauthentic. You could hear my heart wasn't in it."

Moore said the songs are confessional, but at the same time conversational – addressing topics she feels are universal.

"I love to share with people and I'm very comfortable with expressing vulnerability," she said. "I'm confident with all my assets and all my flaws. I'm not a perfect person. I write a lot out of a needing to decompress and have some catharsis. If there's a situation where I'm happy or sad, I need to get that out. There's a way that connects with people. We all go through the same experiences – joy, longing, happiness, pain, regret. For me, the only way I can share them is honestly."

A vocal hiatus

"I started playing piano by ear when I was 5 or 6," she said. "Outside of your meat and potatoes, I never really took off with the reading."

She came to Alaska in her late 20s with the idea she would devote herself to a passion – music.

But that meant expanding her base of knowledge past her self-taught methods. At University of Alaska Anchorage, Moore studied piano with Dr. Timothy Smith and jazz under Karen Strid-Chadwick.

"(Smith) was great," Moore said. "I learned a lot of classical technique stuff. He was my first piano teacher ever. (Strid-Chadwick) was one of the main reasons I stayed in college. She was very practical and reassuring."

Dr. Mari Hahn started working with Moore on vocal training.

"She was really helpful to get me to understand my voice," Moore said. "I still meet with her to work things out and expand my voice."

But there were already signs that maintaining her voice would be an ongoing and possibly, a losing battle.

Moore found out she had vocal nodes about four years ago. "I started singing at UAA and I was losing my voice all the time. I had just started teaching music for a living and they told me I had nodes."

Vocal rest was recommended, but between her teaching and studying at UAA, Moore said it wasn't feasible and quit after a week of silence.

"I disregarded it then," she said. "I started teaching more, singing more and it just escalated."

Finally in the spring on 2014, her band members helped convince Moore that her vocal issues would only get worse if left unattended. After working through the summer, she headed to Philadelphia to stay with her sister, where she spent more than two months without speaking.

"It was a weird time," she said. "If I was going to persevere in music, my voice was really one of the assets that could help get me work."

While she wasn't able to sing, Moore planned on piano and songwriting. But she soon found improving her musical repertoire almost impossible.

"Without trying to use my voice, even playing songs I'd written, I couldn't play," she said. "I wasn't doing the vocal motion. My hands fell apart. I spent all that time in silence, working on technique. But every time I sat down to play a song, it was crumbling. It affected the way I tried to write music. I started writing poetry and drawing. The creative juices had to come out some way."

Since she completed the vocal rest, she's also had to make changes to maintain her voice.

"I've changed my diet considerably," she said. "I've also had to pare down my social life. I'm an extrovert, but sometimes I don't go out because I know how much I'll talk."

From necessity

After the break, the Sugar Strings have started to work on new material, recently completing a residency at the Bunnell Gallery in Homer.

"To be all together and have this creative time is incredible," Moore said.

But she has plans for The Forest That Never Sleeps, including an album with instrumentalist/producer Chad Reynvaan tentatively titled "TOIL (The Ones I Love). Moore will take the project on the road in the Lower 48, opening for and performing with

Portland-based Small Souls, a collaboration of Bryan Daste and Brian Rozendal.

"The project will continue," Moore said. "It started out of necessity It's allowed me to not only perform when we aren't able to play as much, but to travel more. It's allowed me to get to some different places and to travel." - Alaska Dispatch News


T.O.I.L. (2017)

The Duchess of Comfort
Little Bird
The Library
Coldest Hour
I Sail



       Kat Moore has been playing piano as long as she can remember. Born and raised in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kat was a true ear musician from the start. Her zeal for all things musical followed her across her lifetime and across the country, leading her to pursue music professionally in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2012 with the band, The Super Saturated Sugar Strings ( After finding success in the Alaskan music scene as a member of the sextet, Kat began performing solo in 2015 as The Forest That Never Sleeps in order to satisfy her insatiable urge for performance. 
    Affectionately named The Forest That Never Sleeps by her sister, the project's title assimilated Kat's simultaneous love for nature and affinity for long nights given to writing, composing, and piano practice. The Forest That Never Sleeps catalog is as musically diverse as it is vast, featuring everything from original piano, guitar, Celtic harp, and a cappella arrangements. 

     The Forest That Never Sleeps has traveled to the reaches of Alaska, and toured the Pacific Northwest as both a soloist and keyboardist for the experimental folk duo, Small Souls ( 

    Compared to the likes of Regina Spektor and Jade Castrinos (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) Kat was recently named one of Culture Trips "50 [Female] Musicians You Should Know From Each State In The U.S." (
    When not performing as The Forest That Never Sleeps, Kat can found be singing and playing with her trio, Wonderbar Radio (, tickling the ivories with the ever-charming Emma Hill (, rocking out on organ for The Chromies (, or sitting in as a vocalist with the Alex Cruver Trio (


Band Members