Last winter, when poet/songwriter Nathan Moore was visiting The Slip in Boston, the largest snowstorm since '78 descended on the city. Moore and the band were trapped. With little more than food from the convenience store on the corner to survive on, they began playing with the new recording software on The Slip's home computer. "Surprise me" became a catchphrase that week whenever someone would get that glimmer in the eye and disappear into the headphones. If anyone asked, "What should I play?" the inevitable answer was "Surprise me!" Toward the end of the week, Nathan received a message on his cell phone from the enchanting voice of a sweet older lady with a thick accent saying, "Oh, you're having fun with that recording! Well I guess you guys are snowed in, I bet you're drinking a lot of hot chocolate... Have a nice day." It was a wrong number. She had called someone named Mister Davis. The result of those snowed-in days of friendship and artistic collaboration was the album Surprise Me Mr. Davis. This will be the ensemble's first tour.

Image by Pat Creyts
The Slip, one year shy of a decade of musical exploration, sound like one mind with twelve limbs. Their ability to create an atmosphere and a journey through song and show has awarded them a large audience and taken them around the world. Each member is a contributing multi-instrumentalist and songwriter who brings unique colors to The Slip's canvas. Their music is characterized by combining intriguing and familiar songwriting with the ability to improvise freely; deep and steady grooves giving way to deconstructionist polyrhythmic cacophony; sophisticated harmony breeding simple release; and simple lyrical images taking on new meaning in front of a variety of musical backdrops. All are effortlessly married under The Slip's umbrella.

As troubadours go, they don't come much truer than Nathan Moore. Nathan has a genuine communion with the lyric and craft of song, and an emotive and experienced voice influenced largely by Dylan, Tom Waits, Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, and years of travel. Whether he's singing about the many cards of love, a state of the world blues, a lament to the everyday hero, or just howling at the moon, one can't help but smile and agree. He got his start in Staunton, Virginia, and went on to help form the ThaMuseMeant, a folk/rock/burlesque band that has made six albums, toured the country, and played the H.O.R.D.E tour. Some nights he's a preacher... others, a trickster. He plays no one particular style of music, but he can't rap (although he's tried). Nathan has written over a thousand songs and continues, with fervor, to chase down that line.

The Surprise Me Mr. Davis Tour will combine the songwriting team and musical visions of Nathan Moore and The Slip into one haphazard, rolling and tumbling dice game of a vaudeville rock band gone mad, but with enough charm to win the farmer's daughter. Songwriter and poet extraordinaire Leslie Helpert (aka Serpentfly) will join them, appearing as the opening act as well as contributing her exquisite voice and kinetic stage antics throughout the evening.

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Stream songs from Surprise Me Mr. Davis here.

[Published on: 2/11/04]

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