Tulsa singer-songwriter John Moreland composes music that is happily all over the place.
In the music world, there are a couple of different kinds of “edge” out there. Most often, the edge is obvious – in your face and cutting – but sometimes you get lucky and stumble across a different, very special kind of edge, the kind of edge that creeps up unexpectedly and resonates in your ears, packing a surprising punch that takes you back a few steps because you didn’t see it coming. This is where Tulsa singer/songwriter John Moreland fits in.
Whether it’s driving rock and roll songs like, “Low,” or solemn acoustic folk in, “God’s Medicine,” he’s naturally raw and unpretentious, with subtly abrasive vocals and gripping, rough, under-the-radar lyrics.
“I don’t write with any kind of agenda. I don’t have a ‘thing’ that I’m trying to say or get people to agree with. I’m not trying to send out a message or anything like that. I just take a loose subject and start writing,” Moreland says.
“If my background has influenced me at all, I guess it would be that maybe I have a lot of middle class guilt, like growing up with a somewhat privileged lifestyle and feeling guilty about it because my grandparents were poor. I haven’t had to struggle much, but I grew up going to their house and got to see both sides of the coin. I think I’m always trying to make sense of that.”
Reflective of an extensive, ongoing artillery of songs, Moreland has released multiple EPs and LPs throughout the past year, including his most recent LP, Everything The Hard Way.
“Every once in a while I get in a mood where I’m just frustrated and angry, and that always makes me want to write loud songs. Over the years, I’d wound up with a bunch of those kinds of songs laying around unused, and they wound up fitting well together on Everything The Hard Way,” he explains.
Having already switched gears, Moreland is headed in a new direction, working on his next record, which he says is set to tap more into the likes of Van Morrison and The Band, where country and R&B meet in the middle.
“I really love that kind of music and I think the next record hopefully will do a better job of representing a broader spectrum of what I’m into, with some loud rock, some solo folk, some country; it’ll be all over the place.”