Duel CD (2004)

Artist: Allison Moorer

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Blunt and Beautiful

by Judy on 4/14/2004

Although this album is very different from Moorer’s last album, I feel that “The Duel” is a real breakout album for her that shows her versatility and true artistry. I feel that is only the exceptionally talented that have the ability to find their own voice and own style in different genres of music, and Moorer falls into this category of the exceptionally talented. This album is a little less country and a little more rock but all Allison Moorer. Her smoky vocals and blunt songwriting blend in perfectly with the gritty roots rock sound (with a hint of twang). Her powerful and complex lyrics back by the rawness of her voice makes for one explosive song after another. My personal favorite is the gut wrenching “Believe You Me”. Her voice is so penetrating and the guitar sound in this song is so powerful that it forces you to take the song in with your entire being. Moorer’s songwriting is complex and questioning, and what songwriting should be. An incredible album by an incredible artist. Read More

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Product Overview

Where Allison Moorer's last studio album was an elegant, sophisticated update on classic southern country soul, her Sugar Hill Records debut The Duel is heedless and blunt, and a little bit rough around the edges. The opening guitar figure on "I Ain't Giving Up On You," for example, isn't exactly studio house-broken. This is intentional.

Allison and her husband/co-producer/songwriting partner Doyle "Butch" Primm and co-producer R.S Field took a new, thoroughly unrehearsed band into the studio and cut eleven songs in a dozen days. Butch even lured Field into picking up his drumsticks for the first time in 18 years. And the rest of the core ensemble--Adam Landry (Stateside, The Sways), John Davis (Superdrag)--are hardly your first-call Nashville session dudes.

But The Duel isn't exactly a rock record. It's simply the newest installment in the series of deeply personal and profoundly beautiful albums Moorer has made. It's a wee bit louder, that's all.


Label Sugarhill Records
SKU 60629093
UPC 015891398426
UPC 14 00015891398426
Format CD
Release Date 4/13/2004
Author Allison Moorer
Compilation Appearance Songcatcher
Compilation Appearance Just Because I'm A Woman-Songs Of Dolly Parton
Compilation Appearance Washington Square Serenade
Compilation Appearance Washington Square Serenade(w/ Bonus DVD)
Compilation Appearance Let Us In Americana:music/paul Mccart
Compilation Appearance Sex And The City Vol 2
Associated Artist/Work Kid Rock
Associated Artist/Work Rock, Kid
Artist Influence Bobbie Gentry
Artist Influence Bonnie Raitt
Artist Influence Emmylou Harris
Artist Influence John Hiatt
Artist Influence John Prine
Artist Influence Levon Helm
Artist Influence Loretta Lynn
Artist Influence Patty Loveless
Artist Influence Reba McEntire
Artist Influence Rosanne Cash
Artist Influence Trisha Yearwood
Artist Contemporary Alison Krauss
Artist Contemporary Amanda Shaw
Artist Contemporary Amy Helm
Artist Contemporary Ashley Ray
Artist Contemporary Carrie Rodriguez
Artist Contemporary Dar Williams
Artist Contemporary Dixie Chicks
Artist Contemporary Elizabeth Cook (Singer)
Artist Contemporary Gillian Welch
Artist Contemporary Grace Potter
Artist Contemporary Holly Williams
Artist Contemporary Iris DeMent
Artist Contemporary Jace Everett
Artist Contemporary Jo Dee Messina
Artist Contemporary Julie Roberts
Artist Contemporary Kathleen Edwards
Artist Contemporary Kelly Willis
Artist Contemporary Kim Richey
Artist Contemporary Lucinda Williams
Artist Contemporary Mandy Barnett
Artist Contemporary Martina McBride
Artist Contemporary Natalie Maines
Artist Contemporary Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
Artist Contemporary Patty Griffin
Artist Contemporary Pieta Brown
Artist Contemporary Sarah Harmer
Artist Contemporary Shelby Lynne
Artist Contemporary Sonia Leigh
Artist Contemporary The Pierces
Artist Contemporary The SteelDrivers
Artist Contemporary Tift Merritt
Artist Contemporary Whiskeytown
Technical Info
Engineer Richard McLaurin
Producer The Primms; R.S. Field
CatalogID SHCD 3984
Lable Name Sugar Hill
Released 04/13/2004
Original Release 2004
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Length 43m : 51s
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00015891398426
Album Notes and Credits
This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel includes: Allison Moorer (vocals); Adam Landry, John Davis.
Recorded at House Of David, Nashville, Tennessee.
Personnel: Allison Moorer (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, background vocals); John Davis (electric guitar, steel guitar, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, background vocals); Sonny Red (harmonica); Steve Conn (piano, organ); R.S. Field (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Richard McLaurin.
Recording information: House Of David, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Marina Chavez.
Once upon a time, Allison Moorer was a country artist who sang for a major record label. It might be easy then, to see her switch to Sugar Hill as a back-to-the-basics move, a reconnection with her country roots. Moorer, however, isn't that predictable, and The Duel -- while many things -- isn't country. In fact, the opening cut -- "I Ain't Giving Up on You" -- sounds a lot like classic rock and most of the album follows this course. This is interesting, in that Moorer's a strong writer, and it would've been easy to fall back on a tasteful country-folk production and become a fairly typical singer/songwriter. Instead, Moorer's plucky vocals, along with Adam Landry's electric guitar work and R.S. Field's steady backbeat, turn a song like "Melancholy Polly" into an easy-rolling romp. Another factor that makes the songs on The Duel so effective is that Moorer, besides being good at penning lyrics, is smart enough to write catchy hooks. This means that the listener doesn't have to be into the lyrics of "When Will You Ever Come Down" to enjoy the intriguing chord progressions. Even when country elements enter the picture, like John Davis' steel on "One on the House," one is reminded of Neil Young's Harvest more than country. Moorer seems to have found a comfortable spot to express her artistic whim at her new label, and The Duel is the happy result. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr.
Artist Overview
Like big sister Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer deals in a brand of country that pays heed to a rich history of music from Nashville and beyond, while forging her own patent voice. Moorer's impassioned, gin-soaked vocals hit a haunting note on her 1998 debut single, "A Soft Place to Fall," a minor country hit that led into the critically lauded ALABAMA SONG. A frequent collaborator with husband Steve Earle, Moorer gained a wider audience as the original duet partner on Kid Rock's "Picture." Her 2008 album, MOCKINGBIRD, an impressively diverse collection of covers, elegantly illustrated the breadth of her talent.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.72) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[T]he singer stalks the beat, just behind raggedly rocking guitars....The deep undertow of her voice evokes bad-ass old boys such as George Jones..."
Entertainment Weekly (4/16/04, p.77) - "[A] jagged, Neil Young-influenced album..." - Rating: B
Mojo (Publisher) (p.110) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Her voice is very effective in the lovelorn stretch of the emotional-band-width..."
Disc 1
1 I Ain't Giving Up On You
2 Baby Dreamer
3 Melancholy Polly
4 Believe You Me
5 One On The House
6 All Aboard
7 Duel, The
8 When Will You Ever Come Down
9 Louise Is In The Blue Moon
10 Once Upon A Time She Said
11 Sing Me To Sleep
ReviewSource The Guardian
Review The Duel finds her reversing, inexplicably, into a ponderous version of early-1970s country r
Reviewer Adam Sweeting
ReviewRating 6
Product Attributes
Artist Moorer,Allison
Label Sugarhill Records
Music Format Compact Disc
Logo By far her best yet.
music-critic.com This is the bravest country album of the year.

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Blunt and Beautiful by Judy on Apr 14, 2004