The announcement last week that singer-songwriter Allison Moorer has signed a deal with Ryko Records and will be releasing Crows, her seventh studio album, on February 9, 2010 (almost two years after Mockingbird, her most recent release), was more than welcome news.
It will include 13 tracks and was produced by R.S. Field, who has worked with Moorer on several other projects in the past, including the fabulous Show, a CD/DVD combo recorded live at 12th & Porter, in Nashville, in 2003, and The Duel, her exceptional 2004 album that, like Crows was recorded at Nashville's House of David.
Here's what Ruby Marchand, head of A&R for Ryko, said about the of Moorer, who is blessed with one of the best voices of her generation, whether she's singing folk, country or rockl:
"Ryko is enormously proud to welcome Allison Moorer to our family of artists. Allison's extraordinarily evocative songs and vocal style capture her unique signature in the singer/songwriter community. With the February 2010 release of Crows, Ryko celebrates the beginning of a worldwide relationship with Allison through an album of astonishing breadth and scope."
Moorer, who primarily covered some incredible female singers such as Nina Simone, Patti Smith and her sister Shelby Lynne on Mockingbird, reportedly has written most of the songs for the new album on the piano, a departure from the past. Here's what she told Billboard: "Guitar is a very mysterious instrument; you can work and work and work for years and never learn how to play it, and God knows I'm still struggling with that. Piano is my first instrument; I started playing when I was teeny. There's an openness to it for me; I can see all the notes and reach every note in the octave with one hand. It's not like you have to make some strange finger formation to come up with a chord."
Moorer, who has been splitting time between New York City and Fairview, Tenn., while making the album, also doesn't plan to launch a full tour until the summer, Billboard reported. However, she will keep busy promoting the new album and is scheduled to join her husband, Steve Earle (who is touring Europe through December 10), on the Cayamo cruise from February 21-26, 2010. The stellar lineup also includes Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Emmylou Harris and Brandi Carlile, among many others.
Moorer will also be seen on The History Channel at 8 p.m. EST on December 13 in The People Speak. The film will include dramatic and musical performances of letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history.
It is based on two best-selling books by Howard Zinn, whose play, Rebel Voices at the Culture Project in New York City, included performances by Moorer in 2007. Among the other artists and actors scheduled to be featured in The People Speak are Bob Dylan, Morgan Freeman, Bruce Springsteen, Danny Glover, Matt Damon, John Legend, Rosario Dawson, Josh Brolin and Benjamin Bratt.
If you are unfamiliar with Moorer's work, check out these two recent performances on the BBC's Transatlantic Sessions. You won't be disappointed (even if they misspelled her first name on one of the clips).