I met a friend of mine for drinks at Red Door East (Nashville) a few months back. We had a great time, but grew weary of the atmosphere, and a bit hungry. He suggested an “authentic” Mexican joint, El Jalicience. I reluctantly agreed, as there’s no authentic Mexican in Nashville.
On the way there, he says “You need to hear my friend John’s new record. It’s called ‘In The Throes’, and holy shit!”
Honestly? I was born and raised in Nashville, to a musical family. I’m as jaded as they come. Nothing blows me away. I won’t even listen to Haggard past 1983, and I adore Merle.
So, I say “Okay. Put it on.” First song is I Need You To Tell Me Who I Am. WOW. It ends. “Who is this again?”
“John Moreland. Good buddy of mine from Oklahoma.”
“Okay. Keep it going.”
The next track comes on, Nobody Gives A Damn About Songs Anymore. It’s okay. Not the greatest thing I’ve ever heard, but you can tell John has a LOT of soul and knows how to write a song.
Up next was Blacklist. I wasn’t sure what I had just heard. Two or three different lines just brought me to tears. Listen to him sing “I swallowed my pride and I cried, cause we didn’t exist,” and try not to shed a few.
We’re in the restaurant’s parking lot at this point, and have been for a while. “Will you play that one more time?… Okay, one more?…” Three replays later, and we finally go in.
I’ve never eaten so fast in my life. (By the way, the food was amazing. If you’re in town, you should go there!) “Okay! I’m done! I need to hear the rest of that album. NEEEEED!”
The next seven songs would have brought me to my knees, had I not been sitting down. There were multiple track replays. We probably sat in that parking lot for two hours, for one forty minute record. I was hooked.
“Seriously, who IS this guy? Why have I never heard of him before?”
“I told you. My pal John Moreland from Oklahoma. He just put this record out independently. He doesn’t tour a lot, but I’m gonna try to get him to come on with me for a few dates here in the next couple months.”
Long story short, I’ve now seen John play in Nashville twice in the last four months. (Doesn’t tour my ass…)
I don’t know how to describe John’s music. It’s not Country, it’s not Americana, it’s not R&B. It’s real. It makes me FEEL. Things I want to, things that I don’t. And it’s amazing and cathartic and…. Just fantastic.
Here are some focus tracks for “In The Throes”:
–Blacklist: “I’m still trying to figure out forgiveness, and keep track of all my sins, just tell me you don’t love me and I promise I won’t darken your doorstep again”
–Your Spell: “Well you know I used to love you, but now I don’t think I can, and it ain’t you, it’s just that feeling’s more than I can stand”
–Oh Julia: “We washed the shame from our faces, left from last night’s sins, your mama told me she prayed for me, I think that I understood, she must have seen something in me, I just doubt it was something good”
–God’s Medicine: “I know you’re gonna leave me, and there’s nothing I can do, it’s times like these I forget why I quit loving you”
Seriously. Go buy this record. If you don’t like it, you can blame me. I have a funny feeling it’s going to end up in your regular rotation, though.
~ Whitney Holmes
Whitney Holmes is a music industry professional living in Nashville, TN. She loves Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Paycheck and Raising Arizona. She likes to two-step with pretty boys at the honky tonks on Lower Broadway. Buy her a pack of Camels and a Coors Original, and she’ll be your friend forever or the weekend, whichever comes first.
Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.