Kansas City native, and pop/folk singer-songwriter, Todd Warner Moore has released Love and Change. The new record is a follow up to his critically acclaimed release, Spark, from last year. The geographic backdrop to his music continues to expand as well. Warner Moore first relocated to Hungary where he led Tea Thieves, and then onto Hong Kong.
True to form, Love and Change is full of acoustic tunes with complex vocal harmonies, threads, and melodies. The level of variation and fluidity throughout each song’s vocal performances speak of an established and confident voice. All without taking away from the melodic heart in any song. This is an example of Warner Moore developing a unique character, an essential component of any great singer-songwriter. Of course, also vitally important to make one stand out in a saturated field.
‘Song Universal’ introduces us to Warner Moore’s newfound lyrical focus, taking on more poetic and literary influences throughout the album. The choral harmonies are majestic, complementing a resolve in the face of change that Warner Moore expresses underneath.
Irish overtones abound on ‘Wide Open’, an energetic yet melancholic affair delivered with gusto. The fiddle work soaks the atmosphere in vibrant emotion, while Warner Moore waxes lyrical about bucolic imagery and lost love.
Americana dominates overall, however, and the excellent ballad ‘Right on Time’ follows. The band graces us with swooning slide guitars and Warner Moore powerfully delivers hook after hook. A peak in lyrical quality arrives with ‘When Stones Float’. A simple ¾ backdrop paves the way for Warner Moore’s poetic messages about adapting to devastating change.
In a subtle nod to Bob Dylan, Warner Moore appropriates the chord progression from the classic ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ for ‘Kiss Each Day’. There’s more than enough of a personal spin to warrant the new name, but what’s notable about this number is the modernised lyrical twist with an eternal theme.
‘Right as Rain’ acts as a strong closer to the album. It’s a tightly-wound duet, clearly well-rehearsed and given a lot of focus. The detail with the accents of particular words in relation to the melody are especially well-done.
Although the album suffers due to significant filler, Warner Moore has heaps of memorable, beautiful tracks to offer on Love and Change. His voice as a writer continues to evolve, and it’s a joy to watch the overall quality of his work rise alongside it.