Allison Moorer

At a time when it seems as if scores of musicians who live and work in Nashville are attempting to distance themselves from traditional country, Allison Moorer embraces it while embellishing on its foundation, dabbling in roots rock and folk. The title track to her latest album, The Hardest Part, pairs twangy blues with fiery mandolin and fiddle solos, but its true power comes from Moorer’s words and delivery. She sings such lines as The hardest part of living is loving/’Cuz loving turns to leaving every time with conviction, expertly communicating her sense of betrayal. The album’s most moving track, untitled and unlisted, addresses a harrowing incident from Moorer’s childhood. (When she was 14, Moorer witnessed her father kill her mother and then himself.) Accompanied only by a buzzing cello and an acoustic guitar, Moorer’s voice simmers with emotion. It’s a stark but brilliant finale on an album that confirms how rewarding Moorer’s ventures far out onto country’s limbs can be.

Categories: Music