By Crystal Harrell
With a voice that rings of a nostalgic past in roots music and a guitar to accompany somber yet heartfelt melodies, John Moreland is equipped with all the right tools for a successful path in the music industry. The singer played at the Stagecoach Festival on April 25 at the Palomino stage to an eager audience.
“It’s very cool being at Stagecoach. You get to talk to fans and hang out with people like I’ve done at other shows. I’ve played at a couple smaller local music festivals before, but Stagecoach is my first real festival,” stated Moreland. “I really like the rural, relaxed vibe of the desert. It’s not something I’ve come across at other venues I played in California.”
With six studio album releases, three of which being collaborative records, John Moreland is no stranger to the language of music. He has consistently tried to stretch the boundaries of his sound into an artful combination of folk harmonies with a Southern twang.
“The first song I can think of that was a turning point for me was a song called ‘Sweat & Cigarettes.’ I kind of felt that I hid something that I hadn’t before, just on accident. Now I’m learning how to do that on purpose now,” said Moreland.
As far as what Moreland considers to be his genre of music, the singer prefers not to group it into a single category. “I like to keep my genre simple; I’d call it folk or rock, but I kind of do just whatever I like, and that encompasses many different kinds of American music,” admitted Moreland.
Among his musical influences, John Moreland cites Steve Earle, Jason Molina, and David Bazan as major sources of inspiration. “They’re kind of like the reason why I started writing hardcore songs, and through listening to Steve Earle, I found other artists like Guy Clark, so those were definitely influences.”
The singer-songwriter, who interestingly enough began his professional career in the punk genre of music, has an admiration for other artists who played at this year’s Stagecoach as well. “I’m a big fan of Lydia Loveless, who played on Friday, and my buddy Parker Millsap also played that day. I played right after Daniel Romano, and I love his stuff, so I was glad to see him,” shared Moreland.
John Moreland has a lyrical command and instrumental finesse that have garnered him many great opportunities in the business. “I don’t know if I have a single favorite moment of my career, but one that comes to mind right now is when I got to meet David Rawlings a week ago in Nashville. He’s a huge influence and I’m a big fan of his,” said Moreland.