Album Review: Allison Moorer – Down to Believing

Down To BelievingSometimes the best songs are written out of hard times and going on the quality of what is on offer on Alison Moorer’s latest release ‘Down to Believing’, this songstress has had a difficult few years! Although my heart goes out to her, the reward is for the listener – as this album is dripping in raw powerful emotion.

Kicking off is the country rock anthem ‘Like it Used to Be’, a song about looking to the future with a rip roaring full bloodied guitar solo. The gentler ‘Thunderstorm/Hurricane’ starts with acoustic guitar and strings and slowly builds, adding drums and an emotive guitar solo – and then Alison’s vocals let rip. The only problem is that this potentially epic song is too short at just under 3 minutes and could have easily gone on a lot longer.

‘I lost my Crystal Ball’ has great lyrics about destroying what is closest to you with the chorus “I lost my crystal ball found me a wrecking ball”. This very radio friendly song could easily be a hit. The next track ‘Down to Believing’ is a beautifully personal song written about Alison’s dissolution of her marriage to singer songwriter Steve Earle. ‘Tear me Apart’ has a nice mixture of bluegrass banjo with a heavy metal guitar riff which strangely works, proving that Alison Moorer when she wants to can rock with the best of them.

‘Tear me Apart’ and the following track ‘If I was Stronger’ Alison admits are companion pieces. The first asking the question Why?, the latter is about What?. ‘Blood’ is about Alison’s sister, singer songwriter Shelby Lynne, and is about loving someone unconditionally – with beautiful vocal harmonies and a very nice steel guitar backing. ‘Mama Let the Wolf In’ is probably the most personal track on the album as it is about her son’s diagnosis with autism and how she felt responsible, and the frustration as a parent of not being able to protect him.

The only gripe I have is the inclusion of ‘Have you Ever Seen the Rain’ as a token cover version, which adds nothing to the original and when Alison’s own songs on show are so good I really don’t see the point – in the end it comes across as some sort of karaoke, which if I wanted to hear I could tune into most TV channels on a Saturday night. Best described as country rock this 13 track album is packed with excellent songs backed by superb musicians with Alison’s strong powerful vocals, for me the stand out aspect is the song writing which goes to show you really can’t beat writing about personal experiences.

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Review by Graham Steel

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