Nathan Moore is a folk singer. For that, he makes no apologies. Some would run from the connotations that such a label might convey, but on his forthcoming EP, entitled Folk Singer, Moore quite matter-of-factly calls it as he sees it.
"When I first began performing alone I would say, 'Hey, you're listening to a folk singer,' sort of marking the contrast in my own light of being without a band, but also teasing the crowd because I know so many of them would never think of themselves as liking folk singers," explains Moore. "But, the truth be told, if a folk singer is a lone soul pining and rejoicing in the magic of life with his own songs to the beat of his own invisible drummer, then I'm a folk singer sure as I'm here."
Scheduled for release August 18 on The Royal Potato Family, the eight-song collection was written and recorded by Moore as winter turned to spring at his home in the Shenandoah Valley. Folk Singer features Moore unaccompanied on vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica.
"Every song I've ever written started with just me and my guitar. It's the point of origin and, in that sense, the purest form of my songs. My reality is, these days, I'm mostly touring alone and it's great to have an album that represents this side of me," says Moore, who when not performing as a solo artist can be found fronting the fully electric rock band Surprise Me Mr. Davis.
Opening with gentle fingerpicked "Tombstone," Moore's switched-on spirit shines bright as he gracefully sings his own epitaph. The winsome "Travelin' On" proves an instant addition to the canon of classic road songs, extolling the virtues of a life spent in motion. "Everybody Dreams," a minor key lament, was inspired by "a reaction to the tendency to hope something big is gonna swoop down and save us, like the lottery, when would it be simpler to just be satisfied." And just when the existential weight grows too heavy, Moore spins a magically endearing love song like "I Can Make You Smile."
On Folk Singer, Nathan Moore writes songs about everyday people, himself included, trying to find their way through life. His empathy and honesty proving, unmistakably, the value of folk songs in modern times. As he sings on the album's gritty centerpiece, "Hard Times": "Hard times ain't just some old folk song, well no, hard times, they're still going on." And with one simple lyric, he goes straight to the heart of the timeless tradition that runs from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Sam Beam to Conor Oberst. As long as there's trouble in the world, the world needs folk singers, like Nathan Moore, to sing folks through it.