Bart Moore’s unique voice, rapid-fire strumming and surrealistic lyrics separate him from other folk and Americana artists. After playing for various new wave, alternative folk and grunge bands in San Francisco, California for 10-12 years, Moore got married and moved out to the Lansing, Michigan countryside. There, he recorded and released his debut, Curse of Los Lunas, in compact disc (CD) format. However, it wasn’t until this new release, entitled Graveyards Wind & War, that Moore sought to promote his new music. After generating a fair amount of buzz and garnering praise from numerous sources, including Pitch Perfect and The Austin Chronicle, Moore saw significant airplay on Dan Murphy’s Acoustic Outpost radio station.
Graveyards Wind & War begins with bluegrass-flavored “The Third Day,” a vivid retelling of the American Civil War. By including tons of colorful images, references and allusions in his work, Moore makes it clear that he is an adept storyteller, which is evident in this song. This style of storytelling continues on “I Will Go Where the Wind Blows,” a smooth-as-silk acoustic tribute to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band.
“Fly in the Ointment” is the shortest actual song on this LP, but it is still one worth seeking out if you like busy, fast-paced guitar picking. “Graveyard” tells vignettes of various people who have lived and died, only to eventually be buried in a graveyard. Moore’s delivery is clearly aping that of Bob Dylan’s, but he makes it work.
My favorite song, at least lyrically speaking, is the centerpiece of this nine-song effort, “Fire in the Rain.” This one is obviously about the suicide of legendary Soundgarden vocalist, Chris Cornell. I was proud of myself that I was able to pick up on the references to some of their biggest songs like “Rusty Cage,” “My Wave” and “Fell on Black Days.” In many ways, it is a response to Cornell’s tragic passing. Interestingly enough, both this track and “Marcelena” are the ones on the album that stick out to me the most. “Marcelena” is “about an old witch woman,” who “killed her prey and ate it from a bowl.” Really, the words to this are pretty gruesome, and Moore’s delivery here will send chills down your spine.
After a brief intermission of rapidly strummed acoustics (“Oak Street- Rush Hour”), we dive back into the lyrics with “Back to the Bad Old Days.” On this track, Moore sings in his lower register, which is rather interesting. I was not expecting that, but then again, it fits the somber mood of this elegantly composed piece. Last up is “Pterodactyl (Color Wild the Sky),” which is just as exuberant as the rest of Graveyards Wind & War. I have to say, I thought this was a cute song to end such a gloomy, almost dystopian album with. This one is sure to lift spirits with how fun and light-hearted it is.
Moore captures the spirit of Americana as well as non-indie folk very well on his sophomore album, Graveyards Wind & War. What makes this record so enjoyable is the energy that Moore brings to the table, vocally, lyrically and instrumentally. Highly recommended!