I got turned onto Moot Davis two years ago when he released Man About Town, an album that made me realize I should listen to more country music. His new release, Goin’ In Hot, has plenty of great country, but also mixes in some other influences, including a New Orleans flavor on “Made For Blood.” The album features all original tunes, and all of these songs feature great work on guitar. I also think that overall, this album’s lyrics are better than those of the previous one. In songs like “Love Hangover,” Moot Davis takes his pain and turns it into fun, feel-good music. Nikki Lane adds a wonderful second set of vocals to “Hurtin’ For Real.”
Goin’ In Hot kicks off with the title track, a country rock tune with a good, foot-stomping rhythm and some nice work on electric guitar. This is the kind of song to get you up off your seat straight away. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “And if I told you that I would always be there/Baby, you know me well enough to know that I don’t care/If I win or lose.”
The first lines of “Food Stamps” are “Living on food stamps/And four bottles of two-dollar wine,” lyrics I can totally relate to, and right off I’m on board with this song. Hurrah for poverty. It’s wild how music can make you feel good even about being completely broke. Country and blues are particularly adept at that. I love the way Moot sings “aisle five” in the line “Clean-up down aisle five” – the way he holds onto the words, and plays with them. And I appreciate the pedal steel work by Gary Morse.
“Just Left Home” is one of my favorites, and another about poverty, with its narrator unable to afford the train. This one has a more easy-going, laid-back vibe, but still some wonderful work on electric guitar. In this one, Moot sings, “If I told you that I loved you/You know it would be a lie/But I’m afraid if I don’t say it/Honey, you won’t let me try/Now maybe you’ll forgive me/Or maybe you’ll just shiv me/I just left home/About a week ago.” I also like these lines: “Maybe you can see me/Maybe you see right through me.”
“Made For Blood” has more of a New Orleans feel, and is a groovy, catchy tune. With that beat, you know this song is going to be fun. “When I stroll/On the killing floor/You’d better know/What you’re dying for.”
“Used To Call It Love” is another of this album’s highlights. I love the emotional vocal performance of this one. It’s a more mellow song. It seems the more laid-back songs on this release are the most effective. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Money I made/But I soon found out/That all she desired/I could never/Come to acquire/But we used/To call it love.” “Used To Call It Love” was co-written by Helen V. Estepp and Moot Davis.
Moot Davis dips into some good rock and roll on “Ragman’s Roll.” He cuts loose on this fast-paced little gem, with some good instrumental sections. But again, it’s the mellower tracks that are the most effective, and the thoughtful “Wanna Go Back” is one of this CD’s strongest tracks. It’s sweet and sad, and Moot’s vocal performance is wonderful. He sings, “But I wanna go back/And I wanna see our boy again/And not just for five or ten/I wanna spend the whole day with him/And you.” I love the pause before “And you,” almost like at first he wasn’t going to tell her that, but then couldn’t hold back. It’s a perfect moment. Luella Wood provides harmony vocals on this one, adding to the song’s beauty.
The album concludes with its strangest tune, “25 Lights,” a rock song in which Moot is abducted by aliens and forced to work in their mines on the moon. Kenny Vaughan plays theremin on this track.
CD Track List
- Goin’ In Hot
- Food Stamps
- Just Left Home
- Made For Blood
- Used To Call It Love
- Walk Alone
- Midnight Train
- Hurtin’ For Real
- The Reason
- Love Hangover
- Ragman’s Roll
- Wanna Go Back
- 25 Lights
Musicians appearing on this album include Moot Davis on vocals and electric guitar; Bill Corvino on guitar; Gary Morse on pedal steel guitar and dobro; Kenny Vaughan on acoustic guitar, electric guitar, theremin and harmony vocals; Michael Massimino on electric bass; Joey Mekler on drums and harmony vocals; Chris West on tenor and baritone sax; Micah Hulscher on Wurlitzer; Luella Wood on harmony vocals; and Nikki Lane on vocals.
Goin’ In Hot is scheduled to be released on April 15, 2014 on Crow Town Records.