House of Blues
February 01, 2005
BY JASON SONGE
Allison Moorer wished the crowd a happy Mardi Gras and then said the next song was about why she stopped drinking. She got everyone's attention with that comment. I guess it is always interesting and a bit voyeuristic if someone is willing to tell you how they beat temptation. The room got quiet, and Moorer sang a song about how alcohol dragged her down and sabotaged one of her relationships.
The majority of Country singer/songwriter Moorer's songs at The House of Blues Tuesday night were about broken hearts and simple hardship. She opened up for Steve Earle with no accompaniment. Her acoustic guitar's strings had a cutting, golden tone that competed well with her majestic voice when plucked.
Moorer is the sister of singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne. After "A Soft Place to Fall" was included on the movie The Horse Whisperer, it set the stage for a debut album in 1998. "The Duel" was released in 2004.
Moorer's plaintive and slow-paced songs were well-written, but her voice was the strong suit. She was a master of her astonishing, soulful talent. She carried it, put tremolo to it, and morphed it to convey lyrical emotion. Moorer's challenge was to combine the sadness of the songs with her knee-trembling sweetness. Luckily, Moorer had traditional Country whine and twang to go along with her Pop voice.
There was one heart-wrenching song where her voice and guitar worked together perfectly. A moment. Some magic. The floor was hushed and transfixed on Moorer as she sang a slow, sad song about love lost. Whatever way Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson tapped into the human experience--in that moment she did it as well.
Earle introduced Moorer, which I think was the reason everyone clamored to the floor right afterward. Earle also joined Moorer on mandolin for a song. The crowd was into Moorer. Excluding those by the bar talking, they gave her respect.
I wished she could have played longer. Thankfully, she came back to play and sing on a few of Earle's songs.