The calendar turns for the second time this year and once again we're going to do something special with Verse Chorus Verse. Blue Bella Records, one of my favorite independent labels, will release four new records on March 16. I've gotten advances of all four records and they are brilliant. Leading up to release day when I'll have full reviews of all four published, I'm going to highlight songs from each album. We begin with label co-founder Nick Moss and the lead cut from his eighth album, Privileged.
"Born Leader" is a feisty opening salvo that hits like a clenched fist. Everything about it is ferocious and that's not an accident. Moss is serving notice, lyrically and musically. "Born Leader" is a statement of purpose.
He isn't changing his sound so much as he is expanding it. The Chicago blues sound at the core of his career even before forming The Flip Tops can still be felt but the confines of that idiom are quickly cast aside. The searing squall and grit of Moss's lead guitar feel familiar but it's now surrounded by a sleek, slinky rhythm and dirty, funky clavinet and organ fermenting just below the surface. "Born Leader" plays like a cagey middleweight fighter, quick on its feet but with devastating knockout power.
He isn't pulling any punches lyrically or musically. He's Nick Moss and he approves of this message. No names are mentioned nor party affiliations declared but he's clearly had it with the politics of the empty suit willing to say anything to get ahead. It's a message both timely and timeless. The sad truth is songs of war and crooked politicians never really go out of style. If history has taught us anything it is that there will always be another. So what's an artist to do? What's a man to do? You speak out and ring the bell of discontent. You remind the "Born Leader" they govern only with the consent of the governed and hold their feet to the fire by unmasking them in a torrid inferno of guitar and contempt.
"Born Leader" is scathing, unflinching, and uncompromising. Moss is calling his shot; the charlatans might want to duck.