An audience of campus and community members listened intently to a solo performance by Kentucky native Daniel Martin Moore at Murray State University on April 12. The singer-songwriter’s hour-long show in Pogue Library’s Reading Room marked the beginning of a national tour in support of his seventh album, “Archives Vol. II.”
Moore’s career as a recording artist began in 2008 after sending an unsolicited demo to legendary indie label Sub Pop Records. The resulting record deal saw Moore releasing three albums with the label.
His newest album is put out by OK Recordings and features a collection of eight previously unreleased songs. The album’s title coincided perfectly with the venue, considering Pogue houses the university’s archives, and the room provided the perfect acoustics for Moore’s music. He sung with a quiet confidence, and the softness of his songs was able to shine through in the intimate, nontraditional setting.
“The room sounds so magical,” said Moore. Although Pogue wasn’t the first library he’s ever played, he did say that it may be the most majestic, and it could top his list of favorite places to play.
The artist was invited to Murray State by Department of History Professor Dr. Duane Bolin. In addition to the concert in Pogue, Moore performed songs at Bolin’s book reading in the Curris Center on April 11. The book, entitled “Home and Away: A Professor’s Journal,” features 120 revisions and rewrites of newspaper columns Bolin wrote for Kentucky newspapers, including the Murray Ledger & Times.
The multi-instrumentalist began his show by accompanying himself on electric guitar. Halfway through the set, he completely unplugged to perform a couple of songs on acoustic guitar, one of which was inspired by traditional Appalachian music. He then moved to a grand piano and finally wrapped up the hour with his final song, “How It Fades,” on electric guitar.
Though the show was a solo gig, Moore often tours with a band of fellow Kentuckians. Born in Elizabethtown, Ky. and raised in Cold Spring, Ky., he has worked with a number of commonwealth musicians throughout his career — including Jim James, who is the front man for Louisville-based My Morning Jacket. James co-produced two of Moore’s albums, entitled “Dear Companion” (2010) and “Golden Age” (2015).
“It’s inspiring to work with someone who’s always coming from a different angle and experimenting and innovating and being open to new things. That’s a good lesson to learn as an artist — any kind of artist,” explained Moore. He added that it’s a lot of fun to collaborate with James, who he described as a “wellspring of creative energy.”
Being from Kentucky doesn’t consciously influence Moore’s music, but he did say the commonwealth’s culture and pace of life likely permeates his songwriting in some form. His lyrical inspiration comes from Tang Dynasty Chinese poetry.
Moore’s musical style, which falls into a folk or singer-songwriter genre, was poignant and sounded gorgeous within Pogue Library’s expansive walls. The artist aptly ended the evening with the lyrics, “I know this is how it fades.” The show did indeed come to an end, but the memorable performance will linger on for many.
Learn more about the musician at DanielMartinMoore.com.