and all the colors . . .
Over the past decade, Ian Moore has done everything a young Austin guitarist is supposed to do: he apprenticed in Joe Ely’s band, jammed at Antone’s with Double Trouble, toured with ZZ Top, and closed sets by showboating all over Freddie King’s “Me And My Guitar.” Now, like Charlie Sexton before him, Moore has refocused and dutifully advanced to phase two; his fourth full record, and all the colors… , is driven not by guitar but by song structure and pop aesthetics. Whether the makeover grew out of the loss of his Capricorn Records deal in 1998 or his temporary relocation to Seattle, he wears it well: Moore has never sounded more confident or shown more restraint. Whereas his previous stabs at singer-songwriter fare were too often overwrought, here they’re cinematic and soulful, à la Curtis Mayfield. And while Texas guitar traditionalists could initially lament the absence of anything remotely blues based, there are still half a dozen legitimate rockers, including the wonderfully quirky “Johnny Cash and His Electric Bible.” Sure, there’s also some blatant filler, but it’s all ultimately just minor baggage for such a big, and undeniably promising, transition. by Andy Langer