Working with producer and acclaimed roots artist Buddy Miller on this release, Moorer has conjured a rich pastiche of the phases of women's hearts, lives, needs, and yearnings on this recording of other peoples' songs. It's about honoring the women who inspired her. "Mockingbird" is an album of subtlety, sensuality, and grace. Moorer is a 2008 Grammy Award nominee for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (Steve Earle & Allison Moorer).
One of the most technically gifted vocalists in contemporary country, Allison Moorer sharpens her interpretive chops through this selection of songs from other female artists. After setting the tone with her self-composed, bittersweet title track, framed by chamber strings and punctuated with a saxophone solo, she and ace producer-guitarist Buddy Miller find revelatory dimensions in material by artists ranging from Nina Simone (the sultry, torchy "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl") to Joni Mitchell (an older-and-wiser "Both Sides Now") to June Carter Cash ("Ring of Fire," which she wrote for her husband, Johnny, and which here features a languid vocal over a rhythm loop). Youd expect Moorer to do fine by her sister Shelby Lynne ("She Knows Where She Goes"), Gillian Welch ("Revelator"), and Julie Miller ("Orphan Train"), but its a real surprise to hear her connecting from the inside out with Patti Smiths hypnotic "Dancing Barefoot" or channeling the blues of Ma Rainey ("Daddy, Goodbye Blues," featuring Moorers husband Steve Earle). Moorer shouldnt give up writing, but she obviously doesnt need to write much to make inspired music that sounds very much her own. --Don McLeese