Chris Moore - Musician, Artist

A conversation with Peter Markus

I’m always on the hunt for other writers and artists to look to as models, men and women who have carved out their own cave in the world and find a way to stick their heads out from time to time to say something about what they see. I turn to their words, mostly, in interviews like this—though of course the real truth and wisdom is best found in the work itself. Beckett, Faulkner, Stein. Jabes, Cormac McCarthy, Gordon Lish, Jack Gilbert. Pollock, Basquiat, Hesse, Maso, Mann. The list is long and continuous. Let me add one more name to the list: Moore. Chris Moore: musician, songwriter, artist. more
Peter Markus
4 STAR Review of Us Fools
Thoughtful folk with incandescent melodies from a punk veteran.

Since quitting the drum stool of Detroit hardcore pioneers Negative Approach in 1983 (save for their recent reunion), Chris Moore has immersed himself in rock's thorny roots, first with '90s group Crossed Wire, and with his subsequent recordings as Moore & Sons. Plotting a similar meditative, meandering course through Americana to Kurt Wagner's (Lambchop alumnus Dennis Cronin plays trumpet and other instruments), Us Fools is a rich set of rustic chamber pop, with Moore's wry, conversational vocal to the fore. Detours into jazz-tinged folk rock (Good For It) and harmony-dappled Californian pop (Clouds On Ground) are highlights of a hearty, satisfying album that seduces listeners into its bucolic, achingly orchestrated world.
Stevie Chick

4 STAR Review of Us Fools
On Us Fools, Chris Moore has a talent for taking the usual thoughtful tales of human interaction and putting them in arrangements not usually associated with singer/songwriters. "See What It Brings Out" adds Latin rhythms without falling into a clichéd "crossover" attempt; multi-instrumentalist Dennis Cronin adds touches of things like trumpet, accordion and melodica to color Moore's tunes in unusual shades. Of course, it's the strength of songs like "My Invisible Companion," "Clouds on Ground" and "Raffle" that makes Us Fools worth giving the multiple listens it deserves.
Michael Toland

Review of Us Fools
Chris Moore is something of a well-kept secret on the music scene, from his hardcore past part of (Negative Approach) to his four previous solo albums and now on his fifth he enlists a full band (his 'Sons') to flesh out his spectral Americana that shares spiritual cousins in Grandaddy, M Ward, Calexico, Neil Young and The Flaming Lips with his bruised brain country melodies.

Ushered in by the waltzing autumnal acoustic vibraphone downbeat Carried Away and downhome vocals that ache and pull on a cello tide this promises to live up to the 'orchestral yet brainy folk-rock' banner it trades under. Lyrics that could be drivel have a strangely accessible poetic approach to natural spirituality with speak of "promise of a new age of a lasting twilight" and "marvel at horizons our world hasn't seen" without sounding trite or 'new-agey'.

The Randy Newman,-esque Linger Here Awhile careers around a bar-room piano blues with its tales of the shrinking natural world and the feeling of a deeper loss shares a musical lineage with the appropriately brief Firefly.

The pace is mainly mid-tempo as instrumentation is unfussy, organic and always tweaking towards some interesting little shapes and noises in the over-arching scheme. Occasionally the vocals stray and wobble in the higher ranges, but it matters not, when the caliber of the tunes and general bonhomie oozing from these tunes casts audio perfection requests aside.

Deep Pools with its delicate circling rhythm of vibes and soft acoustics is like a campfire hymn to the wonder of nature that breathes woodsmoke with close harmonies and a twilight glow that draws you in without trying.

Not to say that Moore is confined to one gear and when he lets rip as on the tribal percussive shaking groove of See What It Brings Out ("you present a flower with a thorny stem")and Good For It they shake the pulse to the surface. Surprise Me even threatens to burst its acoustic banks with guitar flourishes that call to mind The Who before dipping back to more reflective passages.

The space-country of Clouds On The Ground marries a wandering mariachi trumpet to acoustic flourishes and stuttering vocals to create a hybrid calling to mind Calexico doing some stargazing after a tequila session in the desert. Otherworldly and beautiful in its yearning and oblique imagery ("should I close the wound, could have caught it earlier")

Swinging Bridge rolls along to - hey!...a swing rhythm and is one of the many diverse musical influences on show here which show flecks of blues, jazz, pop and even afro-cuban themes without sounding like Paul 'Bastard' Simon once.

Loose Gang ends the journey with some sombre piano chords, muffled trumpet and dragging cello telling of reaching the stage of "it's either bitch or brag" in a struggle of power, be it domestic or on a grander scale. In other hands this would be some clumsy ham-fisted chestbeater, but Moore handles it all sensitively with brains over brawn to create a reflective, inspired album.

Ultimately Us Fools is a precious gem of an album. True it will never set the charts alight with hook-laden anthems; instead it will ease itself into the twilight cherished clutch of albums you will return to over the years to glean some pleasure from its elliptical look at the world and emerge feeling calmly invigorated.
Andy Petch
More Reviews...

Moore is now a multi-instrumentalist and a gifted, subtle songwriter, keeping listeners pleasantly off-balance with meandering tunes that take many unexpected melodic and lyrical turns.
Martin Bandyke
Detroit Free Press

"Constellation" wanders broodingly to its eureka-moment of a chorus, a mysterious hook that manages to conjure something of the inexplicable awe the tunes' namesake might inspire. This is beyond country-rock or folk-pop.
Chuck Zak
Delusions of Adequacy

His cd "Figurines" isnt so much a breath of fresh air as it is a melody heard through the din of cacophony; it is definitely worth a listen.
Michael Diaz
1340 Mag

"Figurines" is a majestic testament to great songwriting.
J. Sin

"Using acoustic arrangements, Moore creates cutting edge ambiance, even on the ornate 'Last Look Around' and 'Custody of Hearts'."
Terrance Flamm
Illinois Entertainer

"Every song hits its mark, and Moore isn't afraid to diversify. Figurines has catchy numbers, rockers and melancholia. An Moore never falls flat once."
Unfinished EZine

"Chris Moore comes out with a record full of lovely subtleties and mature heartfelt songs."
Jon Nolan
The Wire, Portsmouth, NH

"The guitars twinkle like their signal has traveled at light speed from some distant galaxy, and the snare drum and cymbals sound vaguely muted as if they were draped with gauze to keep them from getting too forceful. The whole is beautifully understated. The audience will be right there — almost sharing the stage with him — to soak it all in and enjoy it up close."
John Adamian
Hartford Advocate

"infectious melodies from one of rocks best unheralded songwriters"
Scott Martelle
Detroit Newspapers

"I was blown out by Moore's gritty powerful pop voice but that was nothing compared to the quality of the songs"
Alan Goldsmith
Alternative News Monthly

"A vocalist/writer who's never been concerned with what's hot this week, instead chosing to continually develope his style and it gets better & bolder each outing...fantastic stuff.."
Michael Himes
Record Time Press

"Perhaps the singularly most uninhibited and powerful rock tracks I've heard all year."
Jeffrey Castelaz
Music Journalist

"Moore's greatest talent is crafting interesting and unexpected melodic shifts and turning soulbaring lines into hummable bittersweet pop"
Ethan Covey
Seven Days

"Now calling Brooklyn home, former member of Detroit hardcore quartet Negtive Approach, Moore promotes his Joy & Abandon CD with well, & abandon."
Andrew Aber
Village Voice