Ian Moore

Texas platters

Phases & Stages

Ian Moore

Luminaria (Yep Roc) Since vacating Joe Ely's hotshot guitar slot a decade ago, Ian Moore has released six albums on nearly as many labels. Typically, this could be an omen of declining popularity, or rudderless creativity. Not so with Moore, whose former imprints are maps of his journey from blues-rock sharpshooter to textural troubadour. Luminaria showcases selected cuts from last year's Live From the Cactus DVD, but the recorded versions here come from various contexts, and this unhurried pace permits songs to unfold like a well-written play. The key to the musical arts, kids, isn't volume or speed – it's tension, and how to ride it. Energy, subtlety. And touring veteran Moore is a master of the trade. His superstrummer history still causes some to overlook his vocal talents, but that's hard to do here, because they shine, from lyrical cadence to silken falsetto. Adding depth to it all are such rock & roll tools as the omnichord, trumpet, accordion, and cello. The result is a lush, melodic, and bittersweet collection of songs about transitions, of which Moore is keenly aware, having recently lost his father and gained a son. Yep Roc records – home to other individual artists like Nick Lowe, Robyn Hitchcock, and Paul Weller – should be happy they got Luminaria. It's Moore's best album to date.

***.5 

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