Nathan Moore: Folk Singer

By: Dennis Cook

Folk Singer (released August 18 by The Royal Potato Family) finds 21st troubadour Nathan Moore lacing his nimble fingers into the strong hands of Phil Ochs, Ramblin' Jack and other deservedly adored folk giants. Where he's always flirted with tradition, here he embraces and transmutes a more orthodox vein in the singer-songwriter genre. Where much of Moore's work feels quite contemporary, this one slips the bonds of time. While it could easily have emerged from a particularly gifted Greenwich Village picker in the heyday of Zimmerman, Baez, et al its simple, clean approach also make it feel fairly timeless. "Hard Times" and "Travelin' On" both pay homage to and play with folk tropes, equal parts busker energy and high-think craftsmanship. It's an exposed setting, with just Moore's voice accompanied by his own acoustic guitar, banjo and harmonica. However, given the spotlight, one is struck anew by the rich timbre of his pipes (a voice every bit as individual, rugged and true as his '50s/60s forebears) and the depth and complexity of his playing. His compositions are always memorable but this EP's assortment could slot in next to any revered folkie classic out there, music full of sweet 'n' sour understanding of the human condition. As Moore continues his evolution as a solo performer one can only hope he keeps heaping it on like Folk Singer, a standout effort, even from an artist who impresses so reliably.

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[Published on: 9/11/09]

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