Ian Moore And All the Colors... (Koch)

SXSW Records

Record Reviews

Ian Moore

And All the Colors... (Koch)

Ian Moore has come so far that the place he left behind exists only in the future. The landmarks are unmistakable, sticking up out of the sand like the Austin of thousands of years ago: Joe Ely hatchet man circa Live at Liberty Lunch, "Ian Is God" guitar hero of the Steamboat set, last in a long line of local axemen (along with Doyle Bramhall II) left in the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Ancient history. Today, Moore's long, blond hair has been replaced by a buzzcut, his ego usurped by parenthood, and his guitar playing second fiddle to his singing. It's a good day, too, aching with feeling and longing for answers. Reaching out for a connection. And All the Colors... . Moore's fourth full-length since his self-titled 1993 debut for Capricorn, And All the Colors... is without question the 31-year-old's masterpiece. Whereas Ian Moore was more soul than SRV -- Phil Walden's Allman Bros.-built label intent on molding him into the latter -- its 1994 follow-up EP, Live From Austin, was his best guitar moment, and yet still upstaged by his singing. Possessed of a polished tenor that dwells on the border of his delicate falsetto, Moore's voice was defined both by his own lovingly evocative "Blue Sky" and Dion's moving "Abraham, Martin & John," which unmasked the then-longtime local's unmistakable blue-eyed soul. Modernday Folklore ('95) slumped hard, the artist at odds with the label, but by the time 1998's Ian Moore's Got the Green Grass came out on his own Hablador imprint, almost all vestiges of his guitar icon days had been mowed. More adventurous than cohesive, Grass... was a nice buzz nonetheless, Moore and local producer Mark Addison using all forms of exotic instrumentation to incense their Maharishi rock. With And All the Colors..., due out Tuesday, the Washington State dweller blends all the oils on his palette and paints a lovely piece. Opener "Float Away" rides a pulsing riff straight into Moore's always-deepening vox and comes away with a sound that might one day move a lot of albums. Actually, it's the ballads Moore has always polished just right; And All the Colors... has a trio of highlights: "Magdelena," the album's best song and centerpiece, "Oceansize," and the ingratiating closer "Fickle." The disc only jells during the second half, three top-heavy tunes ("Room 229," "Retablo," and "Rollercoaster") easily omitted, but after "Oceansize," there's no looking back. The surging Hendrix-cum-Pearl Jam ebb and flow of "Leary's Gate," which could've gone longer than its six, solid minutes, segues right into the sitar-tinged "Closer," a Sixties carnival of psychedelia and one of the album's gems. Middle-Eastern sounds define "Time of Dying" and lend the whole album a nice glow, important since Moore's pen tends to run dry halfway through an LP. "Johnny Cash and his Electric Bible" is a keeper, though, along with the rest of the colors. Moore's masterpiece, yes -- up till this point. He'll only get better. (La Zona Rosa, Wednesday, Mar 15, Midnight)

****

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