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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.”
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 also 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.”
Man About Town also is the first album on Davis’ own label, Highway Kind Records. 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.
“Man About Town crosses the gulf between the greats of yester-year and the pop-country fluff of today, and fills the void of what is missing: no-fluff, heart-filled songs of yearning, loneliness, love, hope and all the emotions that good country/honky tonk music should evoke.”
– Michael John Estepp
“Moot Davis’ Man About Town is a beautiful album about the power of memory. He borrows from traditional country sounds that serve to highlight the retro themes of the songs. His characters are often lost between the people they were and the people they thought they would become….They often serve only to hold you up as the person you are, usually when you are someone you would rather not be. Towards this end he borrows sounds that remind us of the power of country heartbreak. The fusion of style and substance is impeccable making for a powerful and delicious album that reminds the listener of how good country pop can be when it remembers where it came from.”
– Stormy Lewis