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Abi Moore - Amoeba and Stone (Honest Records)
I suppose there are many and varied ways of being introduced to a new artist on the scene but none as immediately satisfying as discovering that the girl sitting right next to you in the pub, patiently awaiting her turn to sing, just happens to be pretty damn good and in possession of something rather special. A few years have passed since that evening at the Old School Inn in Epworth, when Abi Moore picked up her guitar and started to sing one of her own songs before a quiet and appreciative audience, yet for some reason that moment has stayed with me. Since then Abi has gone on to release a couple of fine self-produced albums, made some impressive promo videos and has marketed herself in a professional manner, whilst at the same time demonstrating a much more focused approach to her musical career than I had first assumed.
So let's fast forward a good half a decade to the present, to a time when the fiercely independent singer/songwriter breaks all her own rules and takes on a collaborator in the shape of like-minded musician David Booth, not only in the role of co-producer but also sharing writing credits on a couple of the songs, including the radio friendly All Outta Sympathy. For an artist who by her own admission doesn't quite fit into the category of folk, nor pop, nor rock, Abi Moore does in fact manage to fit into all three quite comfortably, as well as one or two other genres to boot, exemplified both in the final verse of Return to Oz, with its nod to Billie Holiday and in the country-inflected Nickajack Cave for instance, which is one of the album's highlights; but there again, Abi and singing do go together like bread and butter.
Joined by one or two familiar names on the acoustic roots scene including Tristan Tsume on guitars, Nick Zala on pedal steel and Andy Trill on guitar and bass, Abi is also joined by Paul Liddell, duetting on the atmospheric and utterly convincing Wishful Thinking. Maybe AMOEBA AND STONE will prove to be the album that takes her beyond the steadily growing and loyal following of her native Lincolnshire.