Hometown: Cold Spring
Sounds like: Americana, acoustic singer-songwriter
Latest project: new album "In the Cool of the Day" came out in January
Local musician Daniel Martin Moore is pretty busy these days. He just released his second critically acclaimed solo album (not including his collaborative release with My Morning Jacket’s Ben Sollee) and is about to hit the road on both UK and US tours supporting Iron & Wine and Jessica Lea Mayfield. And when he’s not working on his own compositions or rushing off to a promotional obligation, he’s trying his hand at production.
We talked to him about a childhood raised on music and another of his passions, protecting the Appalachian region from mountaintop removal mining.
What is your first memory of music?
When I was a little child, I can remember my mother singing "You Are My Sunshine."
You and your brother are both musicians, what kind of role did your parents play in fostering your love of music?
I think they recognized how important music is in raising up children, and being music lovers themselves, really took a lot of delight in us being interested in it, too.
I read that you were in your church choir when you were younger. How does performing these gospel songs on your album compare to singing them in church when you were younger?
Now I get to do whatever I want! These songs are more reflections and meditations now, whereas they were very literal when I was younger.
Could you tell me how you see the spiritual nature of music and what spirituality means to you?
Music is intuitive. You can, but don't have to think about it to understand it. The best of it speaks to us directly, just as we might imagine the divine doing. Whether that's for reasons of how our brains are wired, or whether there are more mystical things at work, I think there's a lot of power in that.
Your upcoming show is at The Monastery, where you worked on the album. Can you talk about what it was like to work there?
We mixed the record at The Monastery, and actually recorded it downtown at WVXU/WGUC's studios. But working at The Monastery is really nice. It's a peaceful place and a beautiful place. And Ric (Hordinski) is a wonderful person to collaborate with. He's not only a fine engineer, but an excellent and thoughtful musician as well. That is the best possible combination for a project like mixing. You have to make sure everything coming from the speakers sounds good, yes, but also that everything feels good.
You’ve spoken out against mountaintop removal mining, can you think about a particular moment when the problems caused by the process really struck you? Do you have any advice for other people who are also concerned about this?
It was after I read Erik Reece's book "Lost Mountain" that I fully understood the scope of this disastrous behavior and realized I had to do everything I could to help put an end to MTR. My advice for anyone who is worried about it, which should be everyone who breathes air and drinks water, is to visit ilovemountains.org and to seek out groups who are standing up for clean air and water, and who are opposing those who put profit ahead of people and the environment. I would also recommend the book "Something's Rising" by Silas House and Jason Howard as an excellent place to get a plain and stirring accounting of MTR's impact.
In addition to writing and performing music, you have been doing some production work. Could you talk a little bit about that?
I'm currently producing a new record album for Joan Shelley, a wonderful musician based out of Louisville. We're mixing right now, and it's sounding really great. Joan is a brilliant songwriter and performer, and she'll actually be playing in my band for the show at The Monastery—we'll be doing several of her new songs, too! Cincinnati's own Daniel Joseph Dorff is playing drums on the project. I can't wait for this album to be out in the world. I think it's gonna surprise a lot of folks and become a favorite listen.