First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2004, Volume 11, #9
Written by John Metzger
Allison Moorer took a different tact in recording The Duel, her first album for the Sugar Hill label. Leaving behind the glossier aspects of Nashville, she assembled a new backing band and went into the studio only to emerge less than two weeks later with a completed project. Not surprisingly, thereís a greater sense of urgency to the material, and from the crunchy, Crazy Horse-style rock of I Ainít Giving Up on You to the ominous chug of All Aboard, Moorer turns her previous country-soul sound upside-down. On the title track, she hauntedly relays the tale of a loss of faith following a loved oneís death, and she imbues an alcoholicís desperation for a drink in One on the House. Elsewhere, she conjures the spirit of Laura Nyro on Once upon a Time She Said ó if only Nyro had swapped her piano for a guitar ó and in envisioning her own deathbed, she pleads for a final lullaby on Sing Me to Sleep. Though thereís nothing on The Duel that hasnít been done a thousand times before, Moorerís grand voice and raw, emotional performance make it all worthwhile.
The Duel is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box