By Martin Halo

Nathan Moore is a folk-singer cut from a block of wood 1,000 years old, in the figurative sense. Rising out of humble Shenandoah Valley roots, he has told stories ranging from folk-singers long gone to the pirates in the AIG, but under the musical skin Moore is an entertainer with easy American fables. Preparing to release his 9th studio effort, Dear Puppeteer, on February 1, Moore is again teaming with the Brooklyn based label The Royal Potato Family.

Free from Marco Benevento and the Barr brothers in Surprise Me Mr. Davis, Nathan Moore completely sheds his loosely veiled jam-band mold to pen a conscious letter to a sarcastically ironic puppet master. Moore’s primary weapon: melody. The album’s title track alongside “From the Basement” and “I’m the Same” showcase comfort-style ear grabbers, while “The Garden” harnesses the mysticism of hillbilly string plucks.

Sweet harmonica, fiddles and a versatile vocal approaches litter the release. “Hollow” is heavily reminiscent of Dave Matthews’ “Gravedigger,” and “Can’t Fly Me to Heaven” serves as a late foot-stomper with groaning kazoo. Dear Puppeteer’s middle section caps with the funeral hymnal, “When My Time Comes.”

The LP draws to a close with a live recording of an old-fashioned drunken sing-a-long, “I’m Good Company.” Nathan Moore has embraced his Appalachian roots with melodic sensibility to turn in what is living up to be Moore’s finest work to date.

Nathan Moore
“Dear Puppeteer”
Royal Potato Family
© February 1, 2011 | RPF