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Allison Moorer - Blood

  by Lisa Torem

published: 17 / 3 / 2020

Allison Moorer - Blood
Label: Autotelic Records
Format: CD


Honest and brave new album from Nashville-based singer-songwriter Allison Moorer, released to coincide with her memoir of the same name, which tells of her father's murder of her mother and suicide

With ten albums already in her back pocket prior to ‘Blood,’ and with the new memoir by the same name, in which this Nashville, multi-award artist unveiled her tragic back story of her father's murder of her mother followed by his immediate suicide, honestly becomes the ultimate weapon. On her ten-track album, Allison Moorer contends with residual pain from a damaged childhood with a rare and indisputable resilience. With ‘Bad Weather’ becoming a fitting metaphor for grief, she relays: “If the porch swings swinging, does it get lonely?” As she belts out, “The sky looks like bad weather,” harmonies glisten. The gentle strumming on ‘Cold, Cold Earth’ gives way to a powerful ballad about her father. “Regretting that he’d thrown away the only love he’d ever had…” she begins. A burr of fiddle follows, as the tale continues: “Overwhelmed with sadness, he reached for the gun.” According to her memoir, her father would beat up her mother, particularly when drunk, and when she would threaten to leave, he would beg for forgiveness. The cycle of abuse comes through loud and clear, both in the vocals and plaintive guitar. For the next number, Moorer focuses on her mother’s probable perspective, and at the same time, her musical style undergoes a radical transformation. You can feel the intense, uphill climb in the palpable phrasing, as ‘The Rock and the Hill’ is about her mother’s exhausting struggle and commitment to survive the work-a-day world, despite her then lot-in-life. Moorer’s vocal performance is raw and unforgettable. “Gotta make it work on a shoestring/Can’t exactly say we’re on an upswing,” she laments. The transcendental beauty of ‘Night Light’ comes across quickly as Moorer’s clear, upper register steals the stage. Lovely touches include a horn solo. The memorable line, “You’re the first light, last light” stars as the leitmotif in this utterly tender love ballad. The wistful ‘I’m the One to Blame’ recalls bluesy Bonnie Raitt’s early ‘Love Has No Pride.’ “Jealously and pride drove me home,” Moorer reflects. On an equally evocative song, ‘Set My Soul Free,’ Moorer observes, “It’s dark here; so dark/I can’t see the beauty…” Getting right to the heart of the matter, by relying on her insightful gift for lyricism and natural voice, this song speaks volumes about her natural gifts. “Can I take the good and leave the rest behind?” she wonders, in ‘The Ties That Bind.’ In this mesmerising ballad, vocals are offset by chug-a-lug guitar and reverberating pedal steel. ‘All I Wanted’ is another gut-wrenching experience. “Candles on the windowsill burning bright,” Moorer recalls on ‘Blood,’ the title-song. “You don’t have to explain/I got your blood running through my veins,” being a mighty line, in and of itself. The confessional ‘Heal,’ featuring psalm-like piano, is a divine and fitting closer to this moving collection. Moorer concludes, vis a vis the chain of touching verses, “I grew hard because I had to.” That said, if we listen hard, too, we’re bound to get a great deal back from ‘Blood.’

Track Listing:-
1 Bad Weather
2 Cold Cold Earth
3 Nightlight
4 The Rock and the Hill
5 I'm the One to Blame
6 Set My Soul Free
7 The Ties That Bind
8 All I Wanted (Thanks Anyway)
9 Blood
10 Heal

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Interview (2020)
Allison Moorer - Interview
Singer-songwriter, Alabama-born Allison Moorer talks to Lisa Torem about her new album ‘Blood’ and her memoir of the same title.

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