by Michael Andrew Garcia
In an era where a professionally made song, which needed an experience engineer to produce fully, can be concocted in the ones and zeroes of computerised programs like GarageBand or ProTools, it is easy to get swayed by such convenient tools and forget about organic analog instruments that built the roots of modern music.
The genre of Americana is one that keeps alive that fundamental type of music, and Virginia native, MoeDeLL, is one of those modern guys staying true to their country’s music roots. Though he ventured into rock and funk earlier in his career, he found his way back to bluegrass and old country music, which he pulls off very suitably with apt vocals, energetic guitar work and decent lyric writing. It’s not revolutionary stuff from the guy, but neither is the genre. It’s all about simplicity and more importantly; the truth.
I realised when listening to new folk music, it always translate to me better when I absorb it from a live performance, rather than recorded studio versions. So, after viewing some of his live performances on YouTube, I can safely say that MoeDeLL sings from the heart and recounts his real-life experience about his loved ones and about growing up, perfectly conveying his own truths through his intelligible playing and singing.
After a few albums and EPs, MoeDeLL released his album this 2016 title “Local”, which kind of speaks volumes about how down-to-America he was going for here. “Local” is full of upbeat snare driven rhythms, old westerny acoustic guitars and that easily recognisable seesaw bass groove. It kind off gives a cowboy story vibe. Especially in the standout song “Stranger Than Fiction” which is where the 9-song album draws its energy. The little guitar fills give flavor to the song while MoeDeLL’s spirited vocals shows us some of the passion that flows through his music.
I’m not Americana’s biggest fan, granted I’m not from the country, in fact far away from the continent. But I can appreciate any good songwriting when my ears come across some. The story driven “Better Days” has this one particular line that caught my eye, or ear, in this case. And I thought it was a brilliant little moment that showed MoeDell’s songwriting ability. I always love when lyrics get misleading, and the line “You came out smelling like a rose, I fell down flat on my face”. I was so expecting him to end that line with “nose” that my longing for the rhyme section of my brain to be satisfied went away as soon as I realised how unexpectedly I was intrigued. I know, it’s a classic songwriting trick, but the fact that it still caught me off guard in a simple song like this folk tune just told me that MoeDeLL was a pretty decent singer-songwriter.
MoeDeLL is a befitting source of modern Americana music if any kid growing into music wants to explore the genre. But how does an Americana singer-songwriter “make it” in this day and age? Again, I’m not from the country, but I would say they would have already made it if their music touches any American, and MoeDeLL certainly has a decent following, so as long as he stays true to his art expression, he’s found success in my book.
For more, visit www.moedell.net
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