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Owen Moore Owen Moore
Album: Hand-Painted Songs
Label: PJO
Tracks: 10

Nothing if not prolific, over the past eight or so years, Bournemouth-based Irish singer Moore has officially released 11 studio albums (apparently others are available on request) and two live ones, a feat that puts many an established name to shame. More impressively, there's nothing slapdash about then. Sure, they're the sort of easy listening folk and country you'd find on the jukeboxes of your typical Irish pub alongside the likes of Brendan Shine, but there's nothing disparaging in that. Lyrically, he may rarely stray far from songs about home, relationships and the passing of the years, but within that framework he's gifted writer and, again while not given to expansive arrangements, an accomplished guitar player who can also turn his hand to squeezebox and drums.

As such, his latest slots comfortably along the rest of his catalogue, opening with the frisky tempo of 'The Road Leading Home' before easing into the lazing along strum of 'Watching As It All Rolls By', a song I could hear George Formby singing.

I've likened him before to Don Williams and the comparison stands here, though the Texicali country chug of 'The Runaround' nods more to The Mavericks or, a couple of generations back, Marty Robbins by way of the classic Irish Showbands, an influence that also pervades 'Big, Big City'.

Expanding the musical horizons, the eight minute closer racetrack tragic storysong 'Cousin Lil' (a Greyhound) opens with moody klezmer sounding guitar work before the tempo picks up with a shuffling beat snare and border country acoustic guitar picking, closing with a troubadour guitar pattern and folksy martial beat lope outro; it's like Townes Van Zandt transposed to Limerick.

Elsewhere 'Pencil & Paper' has a vague samba rhythm, break-up number 'Taking Photographs' is a lively dancefloor waltzer, the bittersweet 'Cruel Imaginations' more of a lullabying sway. My favourite, though, has to be 'A Song From '68', with its tinted reminiscences of happier times and memories of youth, fixing motorbikes, short-lived forever romances, unobtainable girls and rock n roll, which sets a reggae rhythm to a melody partly absorbed, in a case of musical osmosis, from Albert Hammond' s 'Down by The River', which he'd been singing before writing it. Moore may never be 'cool' in a contemporary sense, but he's consistently enjoyable listening.

Mike Davies