Skip to main content

INDEPENDENT ALBUM RELEASE: Todd Warner Moore, "Spark"


“Spark” is Hong Kong-resident, folk/pop singer-songwriter Todd Warner Moore’s second full length album. It begins with an odd, 19-second spoken word prologue in a Reading Rainbow-like voice, which tells us: “Every garden wants a wasteland. Every ending was the start of something new…” It seems a pretentious sort of start for such an understated collection of songs. Fortunately the strumming of the opening guitar and Moore’s soulful voice on the title track erase any concerns that we’re in for any eye-rolling.

The prologue was merely a preamble to the first song’s chorus, complimented by Leah Hart’s softer vocals: “It was the spark that settled the ocean in her brain…” Moore is a talented songwriter, writing lyrics that veer awfully close to poetry.

The next track, “Gift,” is a mellower song with even better writing: “Moon in a dream, upon through the trees, a mirror reflecting your eyes under ripples of soft luminous blue…” The next song is “Noodles,” which is a goofy ode to, well, noodles, accompanied by the slide-twang of a dobro guitar and lyrics that read like a homemade recipe. It would be ridiculous if it weren’t so catchy. “Do You Really Know” is, for me, the standout track. It’s a string-infused tune, asking the big questions, such as…what do anyone of us really know about anything. “And do you really know yourself that well, enough to contemplate another’s Hell?”

“Drift Awake” features more steel guitar and strings and an emotional chorus, sung in harmony with Leah Hart again. The next two songs that stick out to me are “In the Water” (included below), a homage to the power of nature, and “Already There,” which seems to speak to Moore’s world weariness.

Hailing from Kansas, Moore’s previous songwriting has wandered all over the map its own self. During the 90’s, he co-wrote and toured with the husband and wife duo Acoustic Juice through the Midwest. Later, he found himself in Budapest where he played in tea houses, and soon formed the band Tea Thieves, which released three albums. Before leaving Hungary for Hong Kong, however, Moore put together his first full-length album called “Long Days.” Then came this album.

“’Spark’ is, both lyrically and musically, a celebration of the canon of magnificent music and sublime songwriting I have heard over the years,” says Moore. “I have painstakingly sculpted these songs with exceptionally talented and intuitive musicians, creating an album that follows its own self-contained universe of tales, confessional tones, and ebullience. I feel that it is the album I have always been striving to create."

Like what you've read? Please comment and share!

Want to listen? Please buy here:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Ethos, “V: Parents”

Ethos is the stage name for Alex Hlavna, a 19-year veteran of the Cleveland, Ohio music scene where he played guitar , bass, and drums on numerous recordings. He has now released his own song entitled “V: Parents” from his new album Ten Commandments. The V is the Roman numeral for 5, as in the 5th Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother.”  Each track on the album is titled this way, named after a commandment. Is this some type of “religious rap” or is Ethos being metaphoric? The actual definition of “ethos” is “the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.” Judging from such a moniker and from statements he’s made in interviews, it seems his goal is more about making observations, rather than instructing us that “thou shalt not whatever.” It’s a more provocative approach. The song is a funk-bassline over an electronic beat and soft synths. Meanwhile Ethos ’ voice is anything but soft as he raps about honoring your

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Elise Hayes, “Giving Up”

“You never wanted me to get that tattoo,” sings Nashville recording artist Elise Hayes . “I’m going to get that tattoo.” This the start to her new single “Giving Up,” (co-written with Johnny Mo ) which is about not giving up, an ode to post-relationship defiance. There is freedom in being your own person again, even if you were the one dumped. The music itself is a tapestry of sorts: sonic styles patchworked together into a compact yet pleasing mix. Pounding drums and sitar give way to softer guitar, then back to drums, which sometimes beat rapidly as a door knock. A wake up call. The song often stops and starts as if her thoughts are coming to her in jagged fits as she’s singing them. “You never wanted me to have that haircut / Well, now I do…”   It’s a hard style to pull off but Hayes does it effortlessly. She is a strong singer/songwriter, doubtlessly helped in her confidence from being featured in TV shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” MTV ’s “Siesta Key,” and other

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Micheal Bruner, "Midst of a Mistake"

By Michael Bruner Getting tendinitis was surely a setback, but it also proved to be a positive constraint, an evolution in my approach to music. Instead of contorting my hand into a tense, fleshy spider, I did what felt best: Forcing my head and body to meet halfway. I kept writing. I finished the song “Midst of a Mistake,” inspired by a thieving taxi driver in China. I wanted to start producing this song, but I knew the audio production and editing would prove too strenuous to pull off single-handedly.  Just a few weeks after returning from China, I received a message from Rodrigo Cotelo. I’d met him at the first installment of a house show I performed at (shortly after the onset of my tendinitis). He accompanied a handful of talented Jacob’s students who had backed me up on a set of my original songs. I knew Rod and I would click with each other from the moment I found him sitting at a table, pouring a gourd of yerba maté. Rod’s lively spirit, carefree attitude, and co