John Moreland – Big Bad Luv

Saturday 27th, May 2017 / 10:29
By Mike Dunn


John Moreland plays tunes for the Greyhound, full of hard-timer narratives and steady as a prairie highway on Big Bad Luv, kicking off with the passing farms diner shuffle on “Sallisaw Blue,” and with the Americana elegance of “Old Wounds,” “Every Kind Of Wrong,” and “Love Is Not An Answer.” Moreland’s lyrical depth shines and his vocal tone quakes with the workingman’s blues – “Running from the Armageddon jury, born to put your love on trial,” – without resorting to the simplest way to say it. That’s where the poetry lay, “I used to say, ‘I love you, and wonder who I was talking to,” rounding to boulder conclusions:  “If we don’t bleed it don’t feel like a song.”

The distance and subtlety in the production of Big Bad Luv feels like the plains, assured that there won’t be any sharp turns, just wide veers that take you around the next corner, as easy as passing farms. Moreland’s comforting vocal tone, plaintive and masculine, delivers his lines with honesty and avoids cliches. Even as close to The Boss as he arrives a couple of times, Moreland sounds like a man on the tools, framing up in the field to counter the wind.

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