John Moreland – Big Bad Luv (album review)

by Woody on May 8, 2017


A couple of years ago, I left off High On Tulsa Heat of our year end Top 50 and caught some heat from my loyal readers. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with his music, catching him at Newport and here in Chicago at Space. The tunes on High on Tulsa Heat and In The Throes were beautiful in a heartbreaking way.

Fast forward and Moreland has signed to 4AD which feels like a weird fit, but hey good music is good music. While his previous efforts were primarily solo acoustic efforts that Moreland would flesh out in the studio. For Big Bad Luv, Moreland enlisted a number of musicians from his home town of Tulsa to produce an album to shed the sad guy persona.

Not wanting to be known as just a sad guy, Moreland has really broadened his sound and that starts with the bluesy rocker, Salisaw Blue that sounds more like Springsteen than Isbell, Later on the album, Ain’t We Gold has a nice boogie to it, which is not something I’d normally associate with Moreland.

But that’s not to say everything is sunshine and puppies. Moreland has a couple of tunes that sound like vintage Moreland. The closer Latchkey Kid will get some dust in your eyes. Lies I Choose To Believe has some tasty piano by Lucero’s Rick Steff. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how good Old Wounds and No Glory In Regret are.

The theme that Big Bad Luv conveys is that life can throw some shitty things at you. But if you have someone you love, it makes those times tolerable and easier to fight through.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

John Moreland is here

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