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Kip Moore, ‘Up All Night’ – Album Review

Up All Night
MCA Nashville

It’s a little early to call any album the best anything of 2012, but it’s no stretch to say Kip Moore‘s debut is the best by a new country artist this year, so far. ‘Up All Night’ introduces the gypsy from south Georgia as an inspiring storyteller, a talented lyricist and a gritty, well-traveled vocalist.

The heart of ‘Up All Night’ comes after the sexy single ‘Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.’ It’s cuts four through eight that prove Moore to be something of a country music Bruce Springsteen. He doesn’t take on social issues like the Boss does, but he waxes nostalgia like the New Jersey rocker used to.

Moore recorded songs like ‘Everything But You’ without a whisper of newcomer hesitation. He sings every lyric like he were reading from the Bible. There’s great urgency in songs like this, as well as the understated and romantic ‘Crazy One More Time.’

Hey I / Can’t see you as nothing but mine / Girl tonight / Let’s go crazy one more time,” he begs a lover from years ago. Moore wrote all 11 songs, but none feel so personal that they’re difficult to fall into. The powerful emotions crafted by masterful production from start to finish clear a path for lyrics that can build you up or strip your confidence naked.

‘Where You Are Tonight’ is a dip before the album’s hallmark track, ‘Hey Pretty Girl.’ Moore tells a story a movie would take 120 minutes to finish. We know where it’s headed before the last verse — the whine of a steel guitar is a wonderful forecaster — but of course one can’t turn off a good sad story.

In the context of such heavy, emotional material, ‘Beer Money’ seems somewhat frivolous, but it — along with the quasi-autobiographical ‘Reckless’ — should make great live moments. Moore’s songs often stray from the standard Nashville structure, but for the most part he’s better for it. They work as cohesive adventures instead of singalongs, with a dollop of narrative in between choruses.

Like Eric Church before him, this singer may struggle to find consistent mainstream success, but it’s not because of a lack of high-quality material.
4 Stars

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