With 3 singles already being released, Oklahoma-based troubadour John Moreland is set to release fifth album, LP5 via Thirty Tigers, February 7th. Following on from ‘East October’ and ‘Harder Dreams’, new cut ‘When My Fever Breaks’ deals in an off-kilter Americana sound that offers a perfect insight into the new album’s unexpectedly experimental tendencies, owing to the production magic of Matt Pence (John Grant, The Breeders, Jason Isbell). A masterful display of songwriting by one of today’s best young practitioners of the art form, LP5 follows 2017’s "Big Bad Luv"
A heartfelt and poignant number, even by his usual standards, Moreland wrote ‘When My Fever Breaks’ for his wife. He started the song when the two were dating, then finished it three years later. The track is a tribute to the trust and comfort that come with being loved well. “It took me a long time to write it,” he says. “It was hard to figure out, how do I write the kind of love song that I am comfortable with?” Working with a producer for the first the new album’s ambitious experimentations, seen on full display here, capture an artist whose confidence has grown, all without abandoning the hardy roots rock bed and the lyrics-first approach his work demands.
There was a time, though, when Moreland thought ‘LP5’ may not happen. Wary of expectations and his cemented status as a writer’s writer and critical darling, Moreland found writing difficult at best, and completely undesirable at worst.“One of the ways I got back into liking music again was to let go of the idea that every time I’d go mess around with an instrument, I’d have to be writing a really good song. I just gave myself the freedom to go into my little music room every day and mess around with different instruments and different sounds. It doesn’t have to be anything. It doesn’t have to result in anything,” Moreland points to that liberating rediscovery as a major influence on the sonic choices that shape ‘LP5’.
For Moreland, falling back in love with music also coincided with an even more personal change. “This past year, I’ve been getting into mindfulness and being kinder to myself,” he says. “I was really on that wave when I started writing these songs. I guess it shows.” It does show, beautifully. Moreland’s songs ask tough questions with tender persistence. When pressed about the hard-won wisdom and peace that seem to define ‘LP5’, Moreland is characteristically both direct and humble. “I definitely am wiser than I was five years ago, I guess anybody would hope to be wiser than they were five years ago,” he says with a laugh. “But I do feel more mellow. Settled. I don’t feel as antsy or think I’ve got to prove myself anymore. I feel really comfortable and free to just do what I want to do.” Today, his earthbound poetry remains potent, but in addition to his trademark world-weary candor, Moreland’s music smolders with gentle wisdom, flashes of wit and joy, and compassion–all coursing through the veins of ‘LP5’.
‘LP 5’ TRACK-LIST Harder Dreams A Thought Is Just A Passing Train East October I’m Learning How To Tell Myself The Truth Two Stars Terrestrial In Times Between When My Fever Breaks I Always Let You Burn me to the Ground For Ichiro Let Me Be Understood
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks