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Owen Moore Owen Moore
Album: Secret Songs Through An Open Window
Label: PJO
Tracks: 10

It's odd that, when an Americana artist releases an album that is steeped in old time music, they get hailed for keeping the genre alive, likewise those who plough the furrows of traditional English folk. Yet I would suspect most critics would dismiss Moore, a West Country based Irish singer-songwriter of a certain age who trades in the easy rolling sounds of folk-country, as being just easy listening wallpaper. Certainly, he's not going to have much appeal for those who align themselves with the cutting edge of contemporary folk and roots and, yes, his music is more for those of mellow years, but that doesn't diminish its worth.

I first encountered him with "Songs For Passing Strangers", an album of covers, but this, again accompanied by (mostly) just guitar and shuffling drums, is all his own work, delivered in a relaxed style and warm voice that might be best compared to Don Williams, although Irish country legends like Larry Cunningham, Frankie McBride and Johhny McEvoy are (especially on "Home In The Rain" and the jogalong "Queen of the Shoolin Fair") in the mix too.

He sets out the stall and pretty much defines his style with the opening rambling musician track, "An Irish Song & A Spanish Guitar" and the musical temperature remain constant throughout, jogging nicely along with "Voices In My Head", a song about going astray that, in another reality, might have been sung by Glen Campbell. Elsewhere, another song about being a working musician, "I Don't Play My Guitar On A Sunday" is essentially about growing older and slowing things down a bit, couched in a lyric about how his instrument gets the day off, while, introducing soft Tex Mex colours, "All The Time In The World" talks of not letting the moments slip past you. That reflective musing on missed chances is there too on "Afterglow", while the chorus friendly To "Find Someone Like You" is also about letting the right one slip you by, this time taken at a more uptempo spring in its step. Liltingly easy on the ear, certainly, but next time you want to sit back, close your eyes and sip a Bushmills and honey, he'll sound a lot more welcoming on the stereo than this month's boundaries breaking young upstart.

Mike Davies