FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 29, 2014
MOOT DAVIS FIRES UP NEW ALBUM, GOIN’ IN HOT,
PRODUCED BY KENNY VAUGHAN,
OUT APRIL 15 ON CROW TOWN
RECORDS THROUGH BURNSIDE
Nikki Lane duets on “Hurtin’ for Real”,
Tour of major U.S. cities begins in spring
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Moot Davis http://www.mootdavis.com had to triumph over several trials by fire to create his fourth album Goin’ In Hot, due out April 15, 2014 on Crow Town Records through Burnside. Just days after the song mixes were done, the studio where he recorded the album burned to the ground. Miraculously, engineer Joe McMahan was able to extract the mixes from the hard drive of his melted, water-soaked computer. Besides being thankful no one was hurt in the blaze, the New Jersey born Davis also feels very lucky that the music was saved — “that it was meant to be.”
In a twist of fate, Davis actually had already chosen the album title Goin’ In Hot before the fire happened. In fact the cover art, featuring a burning house, was done months earlier. The artwork also includes a dead crow clutching a wedding band, which refers to the disc’s other “trial by fire” — Davis made this record while recovering from the end of a longtime relationship. “I was so broken up about it just not working that I wrote from there,” Davis admits. The heartache and sorrow he explores on such songs as “Love Hangover,” “Made For Blood” and “Used To Call It Love” results in his more personal set of lyrics.
The emotional turmoil also served as a creative spark for Davis. “It opened me up to taking a lot of chances musically and not really caring about playing it safe.” After three retro country-based albums that drew favorable comparisons to Hank Williams Sr. and Dwight Yoakam, Goin’ In Hot leans more towards the roadhouse rock than the honky-tonk.
Davis, who grew up in New Jersey listening to classic rock, found inspiration for this album in reading Keith Richards’ 2010 autobiography Life. “That turned me onto open G tuning,” Davis reveals. “Most of the album was written on a 5-string open G Telecaster and that changes things.” This influence can be heard in the fiery guitar work that ignites tracks like “Goin’ In Hot,” “Walk Alone,” “Ragman’s Roll” and “Midnight Train,” while the swamp funk of “Made For Blood” has a Little Feat-like vibe.
But Davis doesn’t turn a cold shoulder to country music on the release. The workingman’s lament “Food Stamps” is just one of several tunes enhanced by the pedal steel’s lonesome whine. With “Wanna Go Back,” Davis delivers a regret-filled ballad that could have come from a classic Merle Haggard album. The song, Davis admits, wasn’t an easy one for him to record. “It was emotionally hard to do. I still get a lump in my throat when I hear it.” He also states that the heartache he was experiencing came out in his singing. “I was hurting for real so I just didn’t care to be guarded vocally.”
Although many songs came out of his busted relationship, Goin’ In Hot isn’t strictly a break-up album. Love is cast in a positive light in “The Reason,” a heartfelt song about a son giving thanks to his mother. Davis wrote it over a decade ago when he was a broke, struggling musician in Nashville. He couldn’t afford to buy a Christmas gift for his mom so a friend suggested that he write her a song. The tune provides a nice balance to the disc’s tales of heartache. Davis goes in a totally different direction on the album closer, “25 Lights.” Suggesting Billy Lee Riley’s “Flying Saucer Rock ’n’ Roll” orbiting on acid, this wild, Marfa, Texas-inspired alien tale is the craziest track Davis has recorded to date.
Assisting Davis on this musical and emotional journey was his regular band, The Good Americans featuring bassist Michael Massimino, drummer Joe Mekler and guitarist Bill Corvino. Having road-tested these tunes together, the guys were primed when they got to the studio needing only one or two takes to get everything right. Helming the recordings was guitarist/producer Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams), who produced Moot’s previous album, 2011’s Man About Town. Vaughan’s contributions included playing the otherworldly theremin on “25 Lights.” He brought an “enthusiasm for the songs that really drove the whole process,” according to Davis. “I think he had fun making this album; it was a departure from what he is normally involved in.”
Vaughan was especially instrumental in bringing Nikki Lane to do a “Hurtin' for Real” duet. “Kenny said he just finished working on a great new album by Nikki Lane for New West records. We got in touch with each other and she showed up on the first day of recording for the entire album. We had 45 minutes of fun knocking her part out — the song's title “Hurtin' for Real,” comes from a silly saying 'for real, for real'.
The idea of making an album at all seemed remote to Davis only a few years ago. After recording two albums for Little Dog Records, he found himself in label limbo. He began to seriously consider quitting music and working on a friend’s Madagascar plantation when, out of the blue, he was released from his contract. He celebrated his new-found freedom with Man About Town, which critics hailed as a “gem,” “triumph” and “a beautiful album.” NPR Weekend Edition observed that “Davis plays rockabilly, honky-tonk and what some critics have called ‘thinking man's country’.”
Along with writing and recording the new album, Davis has also joined forces with Executive Producer and band mate Michael Massimino to create a new label, Crow Town Records, through which Goin’ In Hot will be released. “Now I feel great and I like the direction my music is headed in. I have a positive feeling that something good is in the works and the stars are aligning.”
Hear the NPR Weekend Edition interview: <http://n.pr/19QYlz3>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2012
MOOT DAVIS DELIVERS MAN ABOUT TOWN
New Jersey country artist enlists Grand Ole Opry star/Outlaw Country Sirius XM hostElizabeth Cook and Kenny Vaughan as guests on new CD.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — From Auckland to Austin to Nashville, New Jersey-based country musician Moot Davis took quite a journey to make his third CD, Man About Town, but it was certainly worth it. Davis describes his new release as the one he likes the most because “it wasn’t altered to suit anybody’s tastes but mine.”
Moot Davis burst onto the country music scene in the mid-2000s. With his self-titled debut, Davis delivered a set of timeless honky tonk that brought comparisons to Hank Williams Sr. Entertainment Today touted Davis as “primed to be the leader in the new insurgent country music scene.” The kudos continued for his second effort, Already Moved On, which about.com’s Kathy Coleman ranked as the Fourth Best Country Album of the Year, ahead of the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley.
Man About Town fulfills the promise of his earlier efforts while also expanding into new musical territory. Tracks like “Day the World Shook My Hand,” “How Long” and “Only You” should resonate with fans of his earlier, retro honky-tonk sound. “Queensbury Rules,” on the other hand, boasts a harder, rockier sound, while “Rust” mixes country twang with a funky beat. Davis wanted a change with this disc. “I didn’t want to make the same album again and again.”
In a sign of his artistic growth, Davis accomplishes several firsts on Man About Town. “Crazy in Love With You” stands as his first duet, with the delightful Elizabeth Cook serving as his singing partner. He also delivers his first murder ballad with “Black & White Picture,” a highly cinematic tale driven by Mexican-style guitar picking.
Davis populates this CD with a number of vivid character studies. The lead-off track, “Rags to Rhinestones,” is a prime example of his storytelling talents. In this classic honky-tonk number, a musician goes from “rented rooms to mansion homes” only to squander it all and wind up being kicked “out of bars on Lower Broadway.” The tune came together for Davis after his buddy, musician Dave Gleason, told him of a successful country musician whose life and career veered off course. Davis became intrigued by the idea of “someone who rises to a certain level and then just dive-bombs.”
The song’s Nashville references reflect the fact that this album is the first one Davis recorded in Music City. (His first two, released on Little Dog Records, were done with the esteemed producer Pete Anderson in Los Angeles.) The ace players on Man About Town are from Marty Stuart’s band: guitarist Kenny Vaughan, who served as producer; pedal and lap steel player Chris Scruggs; drummer Harry Stinson and bassist Paul Martin. Also featured is fiddler Hank Singer, who plays with George Jones. These guys, according to Davis, are “all serious players but they are all regular guys too.” He describes the sessions as “one of those things where everything comes together. It’s kinda rare.”
Man About Town marks a return to recording after a short hiatus as Davis extricated himself from his Little Dog contract. A bit disillusioned with the music business, he travelled to New Zealand to do some acting. There, he says, “I fell back in love with music” and started writing songs again on an acoustic guitar. He next moved to Austin, bought a Telecaster and continued working on his tunes. The music evolved even more upon his return to New Jersey, where he played with some local guys. “They’d rehearse for hours with me, just kicking songs around. It was kind of like a therapy session.”
Growing up in New Jersey, Davis actually was more into classic rock than country. In fact, he sparked to traditional country from an unusual source: a TV ad. In his early 20s, he heard Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in a Pepsi ad and, in Davis’ words, “it just got my antenna going.” He immersed himself in the music of Hank Sr., Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce and others from the golden era of honky tonk. This music inspired him to learn to play an acoustic guitar and start writing songs.
A major turning point came for him when he wrote the song “Whiskey Town.” When he played it for other people and saw their reactions, Davis recalls, “I knew I was onto something.” Within a year of writing that tune, he had moved to Nashville and a year later he was flying to L.A. to record with Pete Anderson. “Whiskey Town” also landed a spot on the Crash soundtrack — the first of now nearly 20 song placements that Davis has had over the years, from movies like The Hills Have Eyes to TV shows such as Criminal Minds.
Man About Town also is the first album on Davis’ his own record label, Highway Kind Records. He started the label with Paul W. Reed, a Texas businessman who is a huge Davis fan. Davis marvels how this friendship developed and evolved into a business relationship too. “He really had some guts to help get this going,” Davis admits, adding, “I find it’s always better to be in charge of your own destiny.” Davis feels the current music scene has created a leveled playing field that allows the opportunity to achieve the American Dream if you work hard enough and have some talent. “Every success is a victory,” he exclaims — and with this new album, Moot Davis should have many more victories in his future.