Music Matters Review
John Moreland—Big Bad Luv
2017, 4AD

Pain induced art and wisdom, with a heartland accent, this is roots music grown in the grit and manure life throws at you. His rugged voice can’t hide the raw power of a heart that knows how to break. Musical brother to Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen, John Moreland is convincing fronting a rock band on the first few tracks, but the quiet tracks really let you know who you are listening to. When someone titles a song “Lies I Chose to Believe” and starts it with “Well I’ve gone and lost my faith in photographs,” you stick around to hear what he has to say. Similarly, “Amen, So Be It” gets going with “So your heart is not a souvenir/Singing from behind a sad veneer.” Just when you begin to expect kick-ass kick-offs to his songs he takes it to another level in “No Glory In Regret” with “Did you hear the devil laughing/ From the ambulance passing?/ Or was that just my troubled mind?” Once you hear John Moreland, you’ll never be satisfied with rock that doesn’t care and doesn’t craft.—Michael Devlin