|Artist: Allison Moorer|
She made her live debut, singing "A Softer Place to Fall" from the Horse Whisperer soundtrack, on the 1999 Academy Awards telecast. Since then, Allison Moorer, with her gloriously husky voice and brilliantly blunt songwriting, has quickly taken a place alongside such celebrated anti-Nashville stalwarts as Steve Earle, Kelly Willis, The Mavericks, Emmylou Harris, and Lyle Lovett.
|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.
"This is the bravest country album of the year. music-critic.com
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|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.|
Producer: The Primms; R.S. Field
Engineer: Richard McLaurin
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Associated Artists and Works
|Release Date : 04/13/2004|
|Original Release Date : 2004|
|Catalog ID : SHCD 3984|
|Label : Sugar Hill|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00015891398426|
- 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..."
- "[A] jagged, Neil Young-influenced album..." - Rating: B
- 3 stars out of 5 - "Her voice is very effective in the lovelorn stretch of the emotional-band-width..."