My history with John Moreland and his music goes way back. His latest album Birds In The Ceiling arrived into the world last Friday and I am excited to stock it, play it in the store, and hopefully introduce more folks to one of the finest songwriters working today. If you’ve never heard John Moreland’s music I highly suggest giving it a listen, we have several of his records in stock.
The first time I met John was in the spring of 2013 when he came to Ft. Collins to play at SS7. His album In The Throes had not yet been released but because I write for Nine Bullets, the music blog, I had heard an advance copy. That night at Surfside John performed his understated, acoustic songs to about 12 people. There weren’t many of us that night but we were all there to listen. After his set I told John who I was and who I wrote for and that his album was amazing. Fast forward a few months and as In The Throes was about to be released I had been tasked with writing a review. I resisted the urge to just type his lyrics in all capital letters and scream out of the internet to listen to John Moreland.
In small corners of the Americana music internet that review and John’s album went viral. Relatively speaking. The next time John came to Ft. Collins he stopped by KRFC for an interview before playing at Surfside. I wasn’t hosting the interview but the DJ who arranged it asked me to come in and participate. Later that night John played for about 40 people, a nice growth from the original 12. What I remember most about that night was how quiet the bar was. Everyone there had heard the album by this point and we were all engrossed in the lyrics, John’s voice and guitar playing. You could hear the ice being stirred in drinks.
Over the next couple of years I wrote about other albums from John Moreland, hosted him for an hour-long radio interview and performance, and saw him perform at a number of places in Ft. Collins, Denver and Little Rock, Arkansas. The audiences got larger and larger and John’s music was written about in places like NPR and Rolling Stone. He has opened for the likes of John Prine, Iron & Wine, and Jason Isbell. He has played at the Newport Folk Festival and across Europe.
It has been a pleasure to hear how his music has grown and evolved. Birds In The Ceiling sounds different from “In The Throes” and that is exciting. As he continues to evolve as an artist what remains constant is a commitment to song craftsmanship and lyrical honesty. I am certain Birds In The Ceiling will show up on my list of favorite albums of 2022.
John Moreland performs at the Armory on August 28th with SG Goodman