Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Jon Ashley at Echo Mountain, Asheville, North Carolina
Welcome to the courtship. Welcome to a place that is without preservatives and artificial coloring. Welcome to a place that will forever hold your memories should you ever choose to leave it behind. It will be a place that everything following will be stacked against, compared to and undermined by. It's a meadow without spiders or biting flies, without stagnant water or decay. The trees are healthy bucks and the trickles of breezes roaming through the branches are just the right touch. The light - the yellow that passes down through the vein-y leaves hanging as a natural canopy and is transformed into a softer shade of its original self - is the exact kind that enhances everyone's roughest features, irons out the scars and wrinkles and bathes them in exactly what they need to become attributes instead of blemishes. It oozes the kind of beauty that men and women prattle on and on about when they choose to get that way, when they're being the most sincere with themselves.
It's this courtship, not of Daniel Martin Moore, but by Daniel Martin Moore, that is so lovely it almost hurts. It seems to be of some forbidden beauty, that which is so light and unassuming that it makes itself known in ways that are never boastful or loquacious, just earnest and stunning. There are those who would hear a Martin Moore song off of any of the Cold Spring, Kentucky native's albums and believe in the deepest part of their heart that they've felt this before, that they've heard something like this before, but really what it is most simply is a connection that Moore's music makes with the elms and plumage of each specific soul.
It feels as if this method should be enacted or performed behind closed doors, much the same way anything remotely personal or tender would be, but it's played out in the open and it might even assume greater degrees of personality that way. Moore has a voice that's been picked by the heavens to be like a milkshake and to make everything that it holds and lets out sound like the extension of a swoon or the rapid, yet hummable flapping of a hummingbird - something that could cool a sweaty brow or put you down into a most satisfying slumber. It's gentle and calm and it seems to be expressing such convicted love and such convicted passions that it's beyond reproach. We just digest it and let it fill us.
He takes us on these scenic kite flights, where we might as well be stringed up onto the paper wings and soft wooden skeleton, taking on the currents and just bumping high above, but far below the towering clouds. He sings, "A familiar voice and a flutter of silver leaves," on "It's You," wondering if this is the same sycamore-ed spot that he's always known and loved. It's a blushing demonstration of the right way to flatter a woman - whether it's one you're used to flattering or one who's getting the treatment for the very first time. He's won her over within the first few seconds and from then on, he can just keep piling it all, making her weaker and unable to help herself. The movements and the metered feelings of Moore's singing is so pleasant and hypnotizing that it feels like the same sensation of lazing on a raft out there on the calmest lake, hanging one leg off the side and splashing lightly. The shades are on, the skin's getting it's healthy tan, a drink is in one hand, a head is free of all cares and the day is wide open so we just sink in and get taken away to this mystical place where very everyday feelings happen, made to be stunning.
* Essay originally published in June, 2009
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