Review Summary: "I just wanna let you know, I think I’m finally free, tell the congregation not to waste their grace on me"
Not enough can be said about the importance of sincerity in music. Many artists, especially acoustic, have died by not having the ability to relate to listeners. That ability to write in a way that connects with a listener so intimately that it transcends the music is a unique thing, something that can’t be faked. Someone can bulls
hit people into thinking that they have a better voice than they actually do with a few studio tricks, but to truly reach out and grab people with what is being said is not a ruse that can be pulled. Most listeners can tell if lyrics are coming from a personal place, which immediately makes that portion of the songwriting more important. There are an infinite amount of acoustic artist that think they can succeed in doing this, but in reality it is very few. John Moreland is one of the few. Making a southern tinged acoustic style the backdrop, he shares his pain, doubts, and triumphs with the listener, giving them a glimpse into his experiences.
John Moreland keeps his compositions simple, instead wringing emotion from his guitar lines. Using the country band sound to great effect in “Nobody Gives A Damn About Songs Anymore”, Moreland is able to take a largely contrived sound and make it his own throughout one of the highlights of In The Throes
. On other tracks his stories are backed only by his acoustic guitar, such as “Blacklist”, where he creates a contemplative and heart-wrenching mood to accompany his story of longing for home the way it used to be. His smoky voice is able to push his lyrics to another level, creating an intimate atmosphere in which his lyrics can soar. He doesn’t have a ton of range, but it doesn’t matter because he fills each line with such candor and openness. Lyrics such as ” I was never scared of nothing, I thought I had a home/Life went and broke me open, cause I carried it alone”
(from “Break My Heart Sweetly”) carry such weight, coming from a place of regret.
Moreland’s songwriting capabilities are to be lauded; it takes quite a lot to rise above the genre that he chooses to play in. In The Throes
spotlights a man who has a lot of pain, and it fuels him to create affecting songs. He understands how to write so that it is both personal and incredibly easy to relate to, striking a perfect songwriting balance. As of now Moreland is far from a household name, but from In The Throes
it stands to reason that it won’t be for long. Everyone has doubts, shame, regret; Moreland lets them know that they aren’t alone. Allowing his pain to be cathartic for the listener, Moreland has created a genuine and exceptional record.