in my soul there’s music everywhere

On his latest release, In the Cool of the Day, Cold Spring, Kentucky’s Daniel Martin Moore explores his roots, tapping into the sound of the south and the long shadow of religion that informs the culture. Though the lyrics are often explicitly religious, Moore never gets preachy and the beauty of the songs transcends the words, making it highly enjoyable for even those of a non-Christian persuasion.

The instrumental framework of In the Cool of the Day is what you’d expect for a Southern Americana album – acoustic guitar, banjo, piano, strings, drums, voice. What you don’t necessarily expect is the all-star talent putting the instruments to use – Yim Yames, Ben Sollee, and Haley Bonar among them.

The 50s pop-ballad vibe of “Closer Walk With Thee” makes it seem like hanging out with Jesus would be just tops, while the title track is a bit more reverent with its minor chords. “Dark Road” is a lively country rambler, and “Up Above My Head” sounds like something from a front-porch jam session.

My favorite contributions to the album are the songs written by Moore. The a capella open of “All Ye Tenderhearted” is gorgeous, further bolstered by the banjo, mandolin, and guitar that join in. “Lay Down Your Lonesome Burden” is a beautiful instrumental musing, and the humble, bluesy “O My Soul” is a must-hear. Regardless of your spiritual leanings, In the Cool of the Day will make you a believer in Daniel Martin Moore.

In the Cool of the Day drops 01.18.11.
You can download “Dark Road” here.

and if i’ve wounded you, i’m sorry – i had good intentions

A mix of sadness and hope pervades Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore’s Dear Companion, a sentiment that makes sense for a collaboration hoping to draw attention to the destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining that is occurring in and around their Kentucky home. Sollee and Moore recruited fellow Kentuckian Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) to produce and contribute, and a contemplative ode to the region was born.

The songs on Dear Companion range from instrumental interludes (“Wilson Creek”) and sweet meditations appropriate for creekside autumn days (“Flyrock #2) to slow reservation yielding to joy peeking through (“Try”).

Deep cello and thumping banjo dominate “Something, Somewhere, Sometime”, while Sollee’s playing takes a different tack on “Sweet Marie” with beautiful swells that envelop plaintive vocals and lead in horns and haunted, drifting calls. Unique is the mid-album title track, frantic and lurching, slinking along in the velvet black of night.

Dear Companion drops on 02/16/10.
Download “Something, Somewhere, Sometime” here.
A portion of proceeds from Dear Companion will go to Appalachian Voices, dedicated to ending mountaintop removal.