The Upshot: Erstwhile punk switches, unsurprisingly, to Americana and displays stunning songcraft.
BY JOHN B. MOORE
Oklahoma native John Moreland is just the latest in a longline of wildly talented songwriters chasing the ghost of fellow Okie Leon Russell. Like many of his equally talented peers (Scott H. Biram, Cory Branan, Chuck Ragan, etc.) Moreland started out playing in punk rock and hardcore bands, before eventually unplugging and helping redefine folk and Americana.
On Big Bad Luv, his fourth solo effort, Moreland continues his knack for writing impeccably perfect lyrics (“They got silver spoons for American gods/I wanna be stoned, thrown American rods”) on some of the best heartbreak songs since John Prine. Acoustic guitars are at the forefront of most of the tracks here, but it’s the piano and organ on songs like “Amen, So Be It” and “Ain’t We Gold” that really serve the album well. That sentiment aside, however, “No Glory in Regret,” which features just Moreland’s vocals over a lone guitar, just rips your heart apart.
I love punk rock, but let’s raise a glass to the punks out there that have taken their genius to Americana.
DOWNLOAD: “Sallisaw Blue,” “Love Is Not An Answer” and “Amen, So Be It”