Katy Moffatt

Walkin' on the Moon

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By the time Katy Moffatt had recorded this debut acoustic record for Rounder's Philo label with guitarist Andrew Hardin in 1989, she had issued two albums of trailblazing country-rock on Columbia, a handful of singles for Permian, and backup vocal gigs for everyone from Jimmy Buffett to Tanya Tucker. Away from the production slickness of Billy Sherrill, Moffatt strips down her sound; she asserts herself as a songwriter. The tracks "Carnival Man," "Fire in Your Eyes," and "I'm Sorry Darlin'" prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Moffatt is more than just a pretty voice. Her writing cuts to the bone; the songs come from the heart of emotion more than just clever ideas. In addition, the songs she wrote with Tom Russell, which include the titles "If Anything Comes to Mind" and "I'll Take the Blame," transcend country altogether and become storyteller's songs that would work in any genre. Given Hardin's aesthetically beautiful guitar playing and Moffatt's restraint, the essence of these songs just bubbles up and out of the grooves. But the true evidence of Moffatt's mastery of a lyric and her ability to convey the grain of truth in its construction is on "Mr. Banker," by members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Their harsh guitar-driven blues becomes a country plea with the Delta blues framing the entire proceeding and accented by Hardin's tasty runs. For all those who came to the game late with Moffatt, Walkin' on the Moon, which boasts one of the most tender title tracks in country music's long history, is a way of diving headlong into the mystery that is Katy Moffatt.

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