Ian Moore’s social commentary stings like his Strat on Modernday Folklore

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 28, 1995

On the cover of Ian Moore’s 1993 self-titled debut, he is pictured hugging his worn Stratocaster, perched on a beat-up Fender amp, a drum kit and large speaker cabinet looming in the background. That simple shot of the longhaired, cowboy-booted dude set the impression of Moore as a guitar-oriented, no-frills blues-rocker from Texas. No problem there—that’s what he is.

The cover of his new Modernday Folklore disc, however, isn’t nearly as cut-and-dried. It’s a colour photo of a bronze statue of a skirt-wearing woman bent over with her head encased in a rock, surrounded by a bunch of sheep. It’s unusual enough that I base my first remark on it when Moore dials in from L.A.

“Well, you have to look at the cover and then the back of the CD as well,” he says, referring to a shot of a bronze statue of a headless man in a suit, his pants down around his ankles. “Both the statues kinda go together. They’re done by Terry Allen, who’s our keyboardist Bukka’s father, and he’s a pretty renowned artist in his own right. He does sort of social-commentary bronzes, that’s his forte, and those two are up in a sheep range in northern California.

“I think it really summarizes a lot of what the record is about,” adds Moore of the cover, “which is kind of social denial, and the way people try to exist outside of who we really are. Businessmen tryin’ to be businessmen, and putting on all the layers of costume to be that way, and women being objectified. They’re not inherently sexual metaphors, they’re more like talking about just how ridiculous society can be sometimes.”

The stinging social-commentary tunes of Modernday Folklore will be the main attraction when Moore brings his quartet to town for a show at the Town Pump on Sunday (October 1), backed by Victoria’s powerhouse blues-rock act Seventh Stone. The album was coproduced by perennial Daniel Lanois engineer Mark Howard, who also coproduced the latest Tragically Hip CD.

“It’s quite a bit different [from the last CD],” says Moore, “just because I had a lot more of a hand in the production. The song structures are different, and there’s a lot more experimentation on the record. It’s not as inherently bluesy, but there are some points on the record that are bluesier than anything on the first record, so it’s an interesting record, a lot more unique and original.”

The last time the Georgia Straight chatted with Moore, he was touring behind his Barry Beckett–produced debut, which garnered much critical acclaim for the former Joe Ely sideman. He had no desire to hire Beckett for the sophomore release, though.

“Barry Beckett’s producing country music now,” says Moore, “and not good country at that. He’s in Nashville churning out hit after hit after hit, and pretty much his main prerogative is to buy himself new cars. It’s not about music.”

Although Moore may not think much of Beckett’s production artistry these days, the music they worked on together two years ago certainly helped establish Moore as a soulful blues-rocker to watch for. It also led to some high-profile concert appearances, which included 20 gigs with ZZ Top and half a dozen dates on the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge tour.

“The Stones shows were pretty amazing,” says Moore, “as you can probably imagine. I mean, we played in front of a lot of people; a lot of people think we’re real cool now. And, you know, I got to meet Keith.”

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