New Jersey-based Moot Davis is a country singer, pure and simple. His first two releases, his self-titled debut (2004) and Already Moved On (2007) found his powerful voice and sophisticated songwriting coalescing into an old-time country honky-tonk style and sound.
His new release, Man About Town, finds him expanding his horizons as he moves into some new musical territory. While the honky-tonk basics are still present, there is some harder edged material and even a funky beat or two every now and then.
Above all, Davis is a master storyteller. He is able to present rich short stories with memorable characters set to music. The album’s first track, “Rags To Rhinestones,” tells the tale of a musician’s rise to fame, followed by a fall from grace. Another song that tells a cinematic story is the seven-minute murder ballad, “Black & White Picture.” Both songs are perfect for the smoke-filled bars where true country music finds a home. Other tracks that will satisfy his retro honky-tonk fan base are “Day The World Shook My Hand,” “How Long,” and “Only You.”
“Queensberry Rules” finds him moving in a rock ‘n’ roll direction, while “Crazy In Love With You” features a duet with Elizabeth Cook. Elsewhere, “Rust” has some smooth rhythms hidden among the country beats.
He has surrounded himself with a stellar cast of musicians. Marty Stuart band guitarist Kenny Vaughan, who also serves as the producer, pedal and lap steel guitarist Chris Scruggs, drummer Harry Stinson, and bassist Paul Martin are the core of his backing band. They are joined by fiddler Hank Singer, who plays with George Jones.
This is the first album released on Davis’ own label, Highway Kind Records. Man About Time< is an excellent album from a developing old style country artist. If you are a fan of the Grand Ole Opry style of country music, you may want to give this album a listen.