Artist: Dallas Moore
Album: Mr Honky Tonk
Label: Sol Records
Giving up on the radio and buying a subscription to Spotify was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Without it, I’d probably still be cussing country radio and streaming the oldies on 181.FM’s dodgy website like I did back in high school. The good old days. Where I really refined my taste in country music and lived happily alongside country music’s greatest in my own little bubble. For years I was convinced that they just didn’t make ‘em like that anymore, but I was wrong. They sure do, they just don’t play ‘em on the radio anymore. It’s a shame really, because if you don’t have a subscription to a streaming service and a whole lotta patience to dig around, you don’t get to hear ‘em. That’s where I come in, and boy do I ever have one for you this week!
Let me introduce you to Dallas Moore, an outlaw singing, Cincinnati boy I recently stumbled upon. Mr Honky Tonk was released in early March of this year, and I’m so glad I found it when I did! Right off the bat, Dallas hooks you with his gravelly vocals in a song that has you longing for a life on the road. He comes by it honestly too, debuting back in 1991 with his LP My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys and sharing stages and studios with his heroes throughout his 20-year career. Dallas regularly performs over 300 shows a year, performing an impressive 327 last year alone with no album to promote.
Dallas found himself working closely with producer/songwriter Dean Miller—Roger Miller’s (a personal favourite of mine) son—on this album. Initially, they had only planned to record a five-song EP. “The EP turned album after its barnstorming title track—a song Moore actually wrote 20 years prior—gained serious traction on Sirius XM satellite radio’s Outlaw Country channel. The album’s other tunes came more recently, all of them written in the past year and a half, making them clearer snapshots of how sharing stages (and rounds of shots) with his country-music idols has impacted his songwriting,” as stated on Dallas Moore’s website.
Before knowing the title track was written twenty years ago, I had still pegged it as feeling what I’d consider 90s outlaw. The entire album actually has hints of the past, and that’s one of the reasons I like it so much. It’s brand-spankin’ new, but it’s also very nostalgic. Two qualities I look very hard for in modern country music. While I honestly, thoroughly enjoy every single song on the album, I keep finding myself drawn to “Kisses From You,” due to the fact that Dallas’ voice on this track is eerily reminiscent of another personal favourite artist of mine, Conway Twitty. I’d love to hear Dallas cover one of his hits at some point.
After hearing how undeniably country he sounds, I was very surprised to find, when doing my research, that Dallas went to Northern Kentucky University to study jazz and classical guitar. Seems like he may have strayed just a little bit off the beaten path with that one, which is definitely not a bad thing in my books. I’m actually rather glad that he ultimately chose to stick to the country scene because Mr Honky Tonk has certainly become an album I’ll be listening to in regular rotation. I also just might have to nab myself a copy of it on vinyl as well!
If you’re a fan of Chris Stapleton or Hank Jr., then Dallas Moore is definitely for you.
Favourite songs: Mr Honky Tonk, You Know The Rest, Somewhere Between Bridges, Kisses From You