Allison Moorer


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On Show, singer/songwriter Allison Moorer follows up her stellar Miss Fortune album with a live collection recorded at Music City's famed 12th & Porter. Playing songs drawn from her three previous studio outings, she also includes a tough and trashy version of Neil Young's barroom classic "Don't Cry No Tears." In addition to performing her material with uncompromising honesty and brutal emotional intensity, Moorer gets the most from her backing band and a couple of guests. For those who own the studio records and wonder, the versions of well-known songs here -- such as "Alabama Song," "Easy Place to Fall," "Send Me Down an Angel," "Is Heaven Good Enough for You," or "Day You Said Goodbye" -- along with virtually every other cut here, are wrought with a raw immediacy that's impossible to capture in a recording studio. The balance of ringing acoustic guitars, whinnying pedal steels, and crunching electric guitars juxtaposed with Hammond B3s and honky tonk pianos is stirring. And Moorer's voice, unedited and in its natural state, offers further proof of her originality and rough-hewn grace. In this landscape, her songs stand out individually as mini-epics of burning love, unrequited passion, and an affair's aftermath in the ashes. Whether it's the slow groove of "Steal the Sun," the burning country-rock of "Going Down" (with sister Shelby Lynne on backing vocals), the funky strut of "Bully Jones" (a duet with up-and-coming country crooner Bob Richie [aka Kid Rock]), or the undulating gypsy-ballad-music-meets-Brecht-ian-substance-abuse-tragedy in "Dying Breed," the effect is the same: badass country music delivered with an edgy testiness and musical professionalism. In sum, this is how live records should be made.

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