I witnessed Katie Moore live last September in Canada during the Emerging Music Festival. While going through my music collection recently I stumbled on her latest release, Montebello. Moore told me that the self-funded album took four years to produce with her friends and fellow Canadian musicians from rock band Plants and Animals. With emotive vocals showcasing her heartbreaking, yet relatable lyrics, Moore blends old country, folk, bluegrass and rock influences for a standout release.
Songs like album opener “Something On Your Mind” captivate the listener with her wavering vibrato and whispered vocals. Alongside impressive guitar licks, striking piano and fitting percussion, the song strikes a chord.
When she’s not performing her own music, Moore tours with friend and rapper Socalled.
“We were neighbors in Montreal and we shared a back alley. He lived in this basement apartment that everyone would go into through the kitchen window and hang out,” she said. “He knew that I sang and thought that it was country music. I like country music, I just feel like if you were into country music you wouldn’t call it that. It’s folky and rootsy. It’s a bit similar to rock country from the 60s with some organs and keys, but it’s nothing like today’s country music which is sort of like pop music.”
While she doesn’t classify herself as country, it didn’t stop Socalled from collaborating with Moore. He found the sample, “There is nothing so unusual about being a Jewish cowboy” and decided to make a Jewish cowboy song and enlisted Moore’s help.
“I wrote the words and I sang. That was the first thing we did together. The song is called “You Are Never Alone” and it became a hit in France because he’s on a French label and then he asked me to tour with him. I don’t know how it got to where it is today where I do most of the singing, but it’s pretty fun.”
Socalled later contributed to Moore’s release, playing piano on many of the tracks.
Moore says she gets inspired by things that people say. One song in particular she contributes to her guitarist.
“If someone will say something I’ll write it down. Our guitar player came over my house for rehearsal once and he’s known for his great expressions. He was really hung over and he said, ‘I can’t wake up every day like this, Katie.’ And I was like, “Wake Up Like This!” And I wrote a song for it.”
While she has her guitarist to thank for the song’s inspiration, Moore’s songwriting chops earned her the SOCAN ECHO Songwriting Prize, beating out nominees Arcade Fire, Austra, Handsome Furs, and PS I Love You.
“Wake Up Like This” showcases her country roots with slowed, raspy vocals, and title track “Montebello” has more of a R&B feel with distinct drum and organ elements, further exhibiting her versatility.
Never afraid to reveal too much in a song, Moore says music is therapy.
“If I don’t feel really strongly about a song it’s painful to play it again and again because it feels like a fraud. Sometimes if you’re missing a line somewhere and if I were to try to put in anything because it sounds good, I know that it’s not real.”
Having beat out Arcade Fire and continuing to tour, Moore isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
“I’m working on songwriting. I feel like in 15 years I’ll be pretty good. I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
For more on Katie Moore, visit her Website.