By Matthew Martin
There's something comforting about hard hitting country music. It feels like comfort. It feels like the songs are oddly specific to you or about you. Maybe I'm just projecting but, for me that's how it feels. It reminds me of home, of hearing someone like Hank Jr. or Marshall Tucker Band blasting from the pick-up trucks of either my high school or my Granddad's farm. Dallas Moore picks up the reigns from those 80s/90s artists who so deftly mixed honky-tonk country with just enough rock and roll to get the blood pumping.
Dallas Moore's lyrical abilities are on display on The Rain. Sure there are the same old country tropes of drinking and having a good time, but this album is so specific to this time and place we are in that it really feels brand new. On the title track, Moore uses water and rain to signify rebirth and starting over. It's a hell of a catchy tune and sets the tone of the rest of the album. It feels like after the year we've all had, a rebirth is necessary. We're going to return to normal hopefully very soon and it's going to really be something else.
Where I think Moore's songwriting prowess truly shines are on the back to back songs "Better Days" and "Locked Down and Loaded." "Better Days" shines a light on the rather interesting people that we all have in our lives- the doom and gloom people, the conspiracy theorists, and the eternal optimists. Moore stares down these folks and recognizes there's room in the middle and there's always reason to keep pushing forward. Again, it feels like this song comes from a place of longing to be back to normal after the past year. This rolls into the next song, "Locked Down and Loaded." This is probably my favorite song on this album. The anxiety and fear of the unknown are all over the song. Not knowing exactly what is happening and the constant change in tone and medical advice near the beginning of the pandemic really had an effect on everyone. Moore paints his picture of being locked-down in Las Vegas vividly. I can't stop listening to this song.
Moore also sings about not having an exact place in this world, of being a drifter so to speak. I think "California Highway" and "Ain't No Place In The Sun" are songs that Moore uses to celebrate his status of not being part of the in-crowd. These are songs you can't help but believe are going to sound better on a hot, Summer day with the windows down.
Lastly, on "In My Last Days" Moore really tugs at the heartstrings with a song from the point of view of a man who is on his deathbed and is trying to live out his last days as best he can, telling everyone how he feels and doing things he may have missed out on in the past. It is an incredibly effective song and it's hard to not get a little choked up on this one. We've all lost something or someone in the past year and the song just ties everything together in a beautiful melody of peace and acceptance.
I think the best thing about music is that we can all interpret it in many different ways. Maybe The Rain isn't so much steeped in the pandemic world we live in right now. But, it certainly feels like it to me. And I can't help but feel comforted by that. By knowing that we're all affected in one way or another, but we're all going to figure out a way through because that's just what we do.
The Rain is available today everywhere you purchase or stream music.