It was Valentine’s Day and I had nobody in town to smooch on, so I went up to Shake It Records to hear in-store performances by Frontier Folk Nebraska and Daniel Martin Moore. Both musicians have local ties, but that’s about all they have in common. Frontier Folk Nebraska plays a brand of alt-country reminiscent of Richmond Fontaine or Uncle Tupelo, while Daniel Martin Moore sounds like Nick Drake performing Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music.
The in-store was in celebration of the vinyl release of Daniel Martin Moore’s debut record, Stray Age (released by Shake It in conjunction with Sub Pop). To be honest, I’d never even heard of the singer until a couple weeks ago when I heard his version of “I Hear Music” on Starbucks’ Sweetheart 2009. That song was inspired enough to make me think it would be worth my time to check him out. I’m glad I went; I ended up liking both performers.
Frontier Folk Nebraska started off the night with a six song set of your standard alt-country fare (with songs about depression, dead people, and broken hearts). There’s nothing innovative or even slightly original about these guys, but I liked them anyway. They made me wish I hadn’t worn a J. Crew sweater over my flannel shirt. They made me proud of my 75 day beard. They were right up my alley.
And then Daniel Martin Moore came out and I was happy to have my sweater again. I forgot all about flannel shirts and beards and alleys. Daniel Martin Moore was so cute and clean-shaven and quiet and fragile-looking that I sort of wished I was a girl so he could be my Valentine’s crush. I would make an ugly girl, so I soon dropped that fantasy and concentrated more on the music…which was a quiet, acoustic folk that was simply a pleasure to hear.
Daniel Martin Moore performed two songs from Stray Age along with a selection of his favorite love songs to help celebrate the holiday. The originals were impressive, but the highlights for me were his versions of Tom Waits’ “Picture in a Frame” and the old standard “You Belong to Me” (recorded by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Bob Dylan). Daniel Martin Moore ended the show with his third original of the night, a brief French song called “Tu dors bien”.
As always, here’s the setlist:
Setlist: Stray Age/Picture in a Frame (Tom Waits)/Pretty Fair Miss in a Garden/It’s You/Jack-a-Roe/You Belong to Me/Lord Bateman/Tu dors bien