Album Reviews

Daniel Martin Moore: Stray Age [Album Review]

Daniel Martin Moore

Written by Fense

Sub Pop is a continual source of surprise; sure, they’ve had their share of genre-swapping, but the latest add to the roster still comes as a bit of a shock. Daniel Martin Moore (MySpace) is a folk artist in the truest of senses–his songs feature him and a guitar. His vocals are melodic and pleasant–and in combining those two words as I have in the past, I realize that Moore may live up to the statement more than any other artist about whom I’ve made the offhand melodic and pleasant comment.

Of course, not all songs are just Moore and a guitar. The beautifully romantic “It’s You” is the first track on Moore’s debut that features anything else–here you’ll hear the soft brushed percussion, a joint prominence between guitar and piano, and… yes… that sure sounds like an upright bass hiding there in the background! And when a fiddle joins in for a solo, the listener finally realizes what drew Sub Pop to release Moore’s debut, Stray Age. In fact, most songs include a little something extra in regards to instrumentation. A select few, like “The Old Measure”, include backing vocals. But the true standout is “By Dream”.

For a folk artist, one is not surprised to hear references to nature and the country. Nor is one at all shocked to hear that Moore is somewhat of a wanderer, or that his smooth sounds can be related to a folk-pop master like Nick Drake. He lives the way creatives like Kerouak and Utah Phillips lived, on the road and in the rough. While there’s an inherent ruggedness and sporadic element to such a lifestyle, there’s also a bit of mystery and adventure. But these are not the thematic traits Moore draws from–his music is much more peaceful.

There’s something timeless about Moore’s music. Certainly, there’s its melodic folk nature–but these are songs that could have been written and performed in the early 1900s just as well as today–or 100 years in the future for that matter. I’m not necessarily talking lyrics; verbiage tends to change as time passes and what may have been colloquial then may not be so today and what is today surely won’t be tomorrow. But the music is folk in its truest of forms, and the simplicity that Daniel Martin Moore draws out in song is easily his masterpiece.

Daniel Martin Moore: Stray Age [mp3]

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Stray Age by Daniel Martin Moore

Sub Pop Records [CD, 2008]

Stray Age
It’s You
That’ll Be The Plan
In These Hearts
We Know Where The Time Goes
The Old Measure
By Dream
Where We Belong
Restoration Sketches
Every Colour And Kind
The Hour Of Sleep

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