Breaking Down To 3

Dave Moore

Red House Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


While it's hard to find pure folk music in this day and age, it is very easy to find forms of folk that have taken on characteristics of other genres. When I first heard David Wilcox some years ago, I was blown away - but Wilcox is more of a folk-A/C blend, not pure folk. Loudon Wainwright III may be the closest thing we have to a pure folk artist that I can think of off the top of my head.

Dave Moore reminds me a lot of Wilcox, only there's less of an adult-contemporary vein and more of a country feel to his music. His latest album, Breaking Down To 3, shows off an artist who seems to pull his punches when it comes to delivering a killer album. He gives us just enough to prove that he's well on his way to becoming a legend, but doesn't seem to go past that level enough.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sounds like a bash against Moore? Believe me, it's not. Moore's down-home delivery and songwriting show that he's got his finger on the pulse of this genre, and he knows how to work his songs into something wonderful. The album's opening track, "Mr. Music," starts to lead the listener down this path, but stops short of taking them on the full journey. He saves that magic for tracks like "Big Drafty House," "Let's Take Our Time And Do It Right" and "Magic Dust". If you find yourself going back to these tracks a lot, you're not alone.

What makes some of Moore's music so magical is that he paints a picture with words that allows you to see in your mind the scene he's singing about. When he describes the setting in "Big Drafty House," you can almost see Moore walking through its rooms as he sings about his memories of them. (In a way, I wish that he had gone into even more detail than he did; I like having a vivid picture in my mind.)

The problem is that Moore doesn't always take this road on Breaking Down To 3. Often, the music he creates is passable, but not awe-inspiring. And when you release an album that's only about 36 minutes long, you would like to make sure you keep your audience captivated. Unfortunately, he lost me on tracks like "Midnight" and "Big Fool For You" - not that they're bad numbers, but that they just don't have any magic.

"Down To The River," the disc's closer, plays the cruelest trick of them all. Moore once again captures your attention and uses the words as oils to allow you to paint the action in your mind. Just when you really get into the track and are ready for the next musical canvas, the disc ends. I'll give him this: he saved the best for last.

Breaking Down To 3 is not pure folk, and it's far from pure country, but it does create an interesting (if not a bit spotty) texture that listeners will find moments of pleasure in. What Moore needs to do now is to create an album that will eliminate the moments of distraction, and create a disc that will allow the listener to paint a virtual Louvré in their heads.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Red House Records, and is used for informational purposes only.