John Moreland makes his words count. His bluesy folk rock with a country twang resonates in the chests of listeners, partly because of his deep, raw voice, and partly because of his highly personal, honest lyrics.
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“If that really has any effect on the music you hear, it’s purely intuitive. It’s not something I’ve consciously ever thought about,” says Moreland. “Yeah, I don’t know. Sorry if that’s a boring answer.”
This to-the-point Midwestern honesty is also found in Moreland’s blues-heavy folk songs. Moreland says it comes from playing hardcore punk in high school.
“The thing in hardcore is to be really concise. You, know, short songs with no extra bullshit. You just say what you’re gonna say and get out. That’s the same thing I try to do with my songs now. They’re a little longer — three or four minutes instead of one minute — but I still try to keep all the essential stuff in there and nothing extra.”
As Moreland shifted to his current sound, that approach came in handy, especially playing among other talented Oklahoma singer-songwriters like John Fullbright and Evan Felker.
“There happen to be a lot of really good songwriters from this area,” says Moreland. “So coming up in the same scene as the rest of them was always kind of a challenge. You had to really bring your best material.”
Another factor in Moreland’s songwriting is his diverse array of musical influences, which range…
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