Aug 10, 2015

John Moreland – High On Tulsa Heat (2015)

The Oklahoma folk singer John Moreland has a beautifully abraded voice, full of potholes and gravel. Rarely does he wield it with power — instead, his soft hallow scrape is marked by flexibility and candor. At the beginning of “Cherokee,” one of the many fine songs on High on Tulsa Heat, his third full-length solo album, he sings, “I guess I’ve got a taste for poison/ I’ve given up on ever being well,” and it sounds as if he’s singing from the sickbed somewhere, with no visitors on the horizon.
Before he was working the shadowy corners of folk-country, Mr. Moreland played in metalcore and hardcore bands. The lasting effect of that is perhaps in his music’s admirable lack of sentimentality. It’s not that he doesn’t feel deeply — he certainly does — but he’s no passive canvas.

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