Little Lies and Massive Dreams

My name is Bear. I play in a band called Talking About Commas and live and work in Providence, RI. I like music.
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Dec 17, 2008

Gimme a You, Gimme a Yeah, Gimme a Smokin' Hot

Nathan Moore is perhaps the most underrated songwriter of the last ten years. While lending his talents to ThaMuseMeant and Surprise Me Mr. Davis (his electro-folk band in which avante-rockers The Slip, back him) he still has enough new material to release 2 solo albums in as many years. The latter, You Yeah Smokin' Hot, was released digitally about a month ago. With no physical release yet and little promotion (songs from the album aren't even streaming on his myspace page) YYSH perhaps one of the years best under the radar releases, blending Moore's trademark song craftsmanship with tight, homey arrangements.

I've heard Nathan describe 2008 as his "Gotta Make It" year as he introduced the album's opening track at live shows. The song highlights Moore's studio band's ability to play along masterfully with his dynamics and the tempo change from the verse to chorus. The album weaves between various facets of Moore's life; from new love ("She Made Me Love") to tales of rock excess ("Lost and Found"); acceptance of one's tendencies ("Daydream in the Real World") to searching for a new solutions ("Gotta Be").

"Safe and Sorry" is a perfect example of Moore's ability to put his inner self on display while sounding like he's singing for all of us at the same time. Lyrics like "Still I know these are brighter days, not the kind you just throw away...we already got too much collateral damage nowadays" and "In my heart there is a war, don't know which side I'm fighting for but I'm sure I'm fighting" resonate deeply considering the times we're in.

One of the most melodically soothing songs is the sweet ode to love's little pleasures. Moore's lilting triplet guitar pattern is grounded nicely by his band's steady backbeat. "Tell Me More" is an examination of the mystery of a new love with touching words like "Something 'bout the way you sort of smile and cry at the same time just gets me high" which evoke the feeling of the excitement we get when we love something and don't know why.

Whether or not 2008 is actually the break out year Moore has hoped for remains to be seen. However, with having already toured the country as a solo folkie act or the free wheelin' front man for Surprise Me Mr. Davis, graced the cover of State of Mind Magazine and even won the coveted Telluride Folk Festival's Troubadour Contest (which granted him a main stage slot in front of 10,000 fans on the festival's main stage); the release of his best album since 2002's Sad Songs Make Me Happy is only icing on the cake. As one of his lyrics suggests "I may not be a star but at least I'm not trying", Nathan Moore is out there and doing it the way it should be done, letting the music speak for itself. Now do your part and let that music in to your life – you will not be disappointed.

rating: Home Run

key tracks: "Gotta Make It", "Safe & Sorry", "Tell Me More"

You can find a live review of Nathan Moore I wrote here

"Gotta Make It" Live video from 4/8/08 in Burlington, VT. Video by Cleantone