Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saying Grace - Geoff Moore


Moore continues his solo career with some of his best work.

Saying Grace
Artist: Geoff Moore (http://www.geoffmoore.com)
Label: Simpleville Music 
Length: 10 tracks/41:43 minutes

I never knew Geoff Moore during his days of fronting The Distance, but I am glad to know him now. Aside from appreciating the music, my fondness for verse is rewarded on Saying Grace. As on his last outing, Speak to Me (2007), he offers seasoned perspectives on life. On “The Story of Love,” he wonders about his legacy, recognizing that his best moments are beyond his control, “Cause the sweetest moments of my life appear unexpectedly / And the reason they take my breath away have nothing to do with me.” Gentle wisdom like this is sprinkled throughout these ten songs.

This perspective is hard won, coming with age and the unexpected. But far from being morbid, Moore looks with hope toward that day when it will be over: “And when the sun finally sets / May I be free of all regrets.” He then emphasizes, “No regrets.” He may be reminding himself, but it is also something that he wants listeners to get. He reminds us too on “Loved” that God’s love for us never changes. It is constant, whether we rise up or fall down. Not even our worse days can separate us from it.  

Moore’s sentiments are alternately adorned with folk/pop styles and rock; the latter hearkening back to the days of his former band. A case of the latter is “The Long Way,” where the music complements the sense of abandon. It opens with, “How ’bout we empty out our pockets / How ’bout we cut a few strings / I think a lighter load might be what this journey needs.” The verses on this track are consistently good, one of my favorites being, “But I’ve discovered when I am honest / That’s when my faith is most alive.”

Whether he rocks or sings like a lone troubadour, the execution is excellent. I find him most compelling when he leans toward Americana. This is where his musings run the deepest. Plus, there are lovely accents like mandolin and pedal steel. Don’t be put off by thought of the latter. The twang is absent, and when employed it is beautifully blended. In general, this release has a judicious mix of electric and acoustic elements.    

“The Wonder of Kindness” is one of the most intriguing tracks. Is Moore singing of human or divine kindness or both? Is the care of others reflective or an extension of God’s consolation? Regardless, it is Moore at his most tender and delicate. Once again the mood is expertly conveyed not only in the words but the music.

Moore ends quietly with “Made to Love,” a song of worship. The keyboard-driven, pensive melody frames the chorus: “I was made to love You / I know this for sure / And as surely as I love You / I know this is what I was created for.”

Seasoned artists like Moore are often not at the height of their popularity, which is unfortunate, since they have the maturity that comes with experience. Here he is reflective, but also energetic. Moore is a songwriter and musician who should not be overlooked. Saying Grace is time well-spent. 

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