Alabama Song

Allison Moorer

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Alabama Song Review

by Thom Jurek

Alabama Song is country singer and songwriter Allison Moorer's debut album. She attracted the attention of the general public when her song "A Soft Place to Fall" was one of the tracks picked for airplay from the Horse Whisperer soundtrack; it struck a chord with country radio listeners. That cut, along with nine others, were written or co-written by Moorer; "The One That Got Away" was additionally composed with cigar-chomping, chart-topping songwriter Kostas. As a first offering on a major label, writing virtually all of your own material is no mean feat. Producer Kenny Greenberg and executive producer and label boss of MCA Nash Vegas Tony Brown were firm believers in Moorer's promise. What's more compelling is that the set is a near perfect balance between classically styled country tunes and modern Nashville's more pop-oriented approach. With elder statesmen like Glen D. Hardin as arranger, and Justin Niebank as engineer, Greenberg brought in a slew of performers not always associated with country chart success including Ashley Cleveland, Buddy Miller, Russ Taff, and Louise Red. They perform alongside studio aces like guitarist Richard Bennett, Dan Dugmore, Larry Marrs, and Greg Morrow, and, of course, Greenberg, a stellar guitarist. While the aforementioned cuts scored the airplay, making the album a modest success, other tracks, such as the rootsy folk of "Call My Name," the high lonesome honky tonk in the title song, "I Found a Letter," "Easier to Forget," and the late-night Patsy Cline-esque swing of "Set Me Free" resonate with the alt country crowd who made her a minor patron saint. Either way, it was an auspicious beginning, but MCA cut her loose to Island after just one record. That's no reflection on the album, but on the fact that Moorer was just a little bit ahead of her time. Alabama Song has dated well and continues to be a signpost for contemporary country producers, artists, and fans.

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