Listen Up: Wednesday, July 30, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Allison Moorer

Show (Universal South Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

If we must have New Country, I’d rather hear it from a fine specimen of American womanhood like Allison Moorer than some guy named Kenny (a name that still reminds me of a kid dressed in a Catholic school uniform with egg salad between his braces sitting on my chest — but I digress), singing to his pickup truck.

Moorer’s got a husky, sultry voice, the kind that can cause grown men to collapse into pathetically quivering masses of ectoplasm at 50 paces. Not only that, she writes good songs that pack an emotional punch while stroking soulful-rock synapses as well as country ones. It’s not her fault that while listening to her new live c.d.-cum-DVD Show, I was reminded of nothing so much as an Alabama-bred simulacrum of the recently retired (dare we hope?) Cher fronting a steel guitar-augmented version of one of those bands of Crow(e)s — either Counting or The Black.

Her thang actually works a little better on the DVD, where you can appreciate the full magnificence of Moorer’s, um, shoulders, as well as the fact that her drummer Paul Griffith looks for all the world like that guy who got thrown out of Wilco (except he doesn’t smoke as many cigarettes, at least on stage). And guitarist Joe McMahan splinters the notes nicely.

But Moorer’s at her best when she lowers the rock quotient in her music and sings a slow one, like the straight country weeper “A Soft Place to Fall” or the lovely “Let Go.” Hearing these sounds, I could easily forget every pickup truck I’ve ever seen and dream of peace and plenty forever. It makes the guest cameos by her sister, Shelby Lynne, and (groan) Kid Rock seem like unnecessary fillips.


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