Ian Moore, the Seattle-based, Austin, TX-born guitar player, singer and songwriter, has been busy.
Coming on the heels of his most successful record, Strange Days, since his first album, the self-titled Ian Moore LP, and despite a never-ending cycle of touring, Moore offers a new record of bright, blazing rock-n-roll that combines his legendary guitar prowess with radio-friendly singles.
Meanwhile, he’s founded the artists’ healthcare alliance SMASH (Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare) and has joined the board of NARAS for the Pacific Northwest as governor and head of the advocacy committee.
As always, Ian has his eyes on the challenges faced by musicians of every stripe, having experienced the spectrum of artist successes and tribulations himself over a nearly 30 year career. “Its a very different climate right now. When we hit a city, it doesn’t matter that i have 14 records, radio hits, etc. The only thing that matters is if we can really show up and leave the people feeling they saw something amazing. Its keeps me hungry, and i like the challenge” says Moore.
You might have been surprised to hear Moore’s voice as well popping up on major network shows on prime time television this past year, after several selections prominently being featured as performances on both American Idol and The Voice (“Satisfied” and “Blue Sky”).
Moore’s story is often told and probably familiar to most critics; his initial record on Capricorn propelled him to national tours with the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top and Bob Dylan, acting in the acclaimed indie feature “Sling Blade,” and having Ice Cube direct the video for his track “Harlem.”
Moore deviated from his initial blues-oriented guitar sound on subsequent records, touching on graceful pop songs to psychedelia, to British pub rock and deep Americana. The Toronto record and its 6 tracks represents those influences in such a way that they have informed his songwriting, but is likely more recognizable as a strong collection of the kind of guitar rock his core fanbase would respond to immediately.
New discoveries of Moore’s live shows and last few records are coming on board every day, as his live shows have graduated once again from barrooms to bigger stages and warmer rooms, despite a blustery big stage headlining appearance this past New Years Eve at Auditorium Shores in Austin. Moore delivered in gloves and muffler, despite snow and 27 degrees (In Texas!)
On the triumphant “You Gotta Know My Name,” Moore lampoons rich, entitled hipster kids. “They get their marching orders from Pitchfork and fill their brains with coke and MDMA, looking for soul and depth,” Moore explains. “The chorus is a way of claiming my space as a person that has been slogging it out, in and out of fashion for most of my career, with a deeper sense of music, style and substance than the people that might quickly write me off.”
The anthemic Lords of the Levee is a contemporary, relevant take on the atmosphere of the US right now. “It’s an attack on group thought,” Moore says, “which is most typically shrouded in God and country, that allows people to do some really terrible things. I wrote it about the Alabama voters rights act, and how the people that opposed it used both God and country to justify their abhorrent behavior.”
And it captures Ian’s blistering live sound probably better than any recording he’s released in recent memory.
The catchy, propulsive “Looking for the Sound” is a play on the record title “El Sonido Nuevo,” which he wrote with his last group, the Lossy Coils. “It comes from a Mighty Boosh skit, but the gist of the song is about what it is to be a touring musician, trying to build soul and culture, still believing the same things I believed when I was 18, and looking for open hearts and minds to feel it.”
On other tracks on the record, “Satellite” and the slightly outrageous “Rock N Roll,” Moore explores the underbelly of rock, the bright side and the dangers of living your life in the magic of midnight.
Toronto releases May 25, 2018, on Last Chance Records in the US and on Rough Trade in Europe. Moore will be touring in support of the record in the U.S. and Europe for all of 2018.