It's been quite a while - almost five years - since we heard from Moot Davis. His new release finds him moving from making records on the west coast with Pete Anderson to hooking up with Kenny Vaughan and the rest of the Nashvillians in Marty Stuart's aptly named band, the Fabulous Superlatives, along with Superlative associates such as fiddler Hank Singer and steel player Chris Scruggs.
The Superlatives - no surprise - bring Davis's songs to vivid life here, his expressive quaver (often reminiscent of the late, great Gary Stewart) remains in fine form, and other ringers pitch in to provide additional highlights (Elizabeth Cook on the country rhumba duet Crazy in Love With You, George "the Tone Chaparone" Bradfute with some piercing slide guitar work on the title track).
Davis's musical world continues to revolve around two poles. On the one hand, songs such as Fade to Gold, Memory Lane, and Man About Town all display an intense west coast sound reminiscent of Dwight Yoakam or Gary Allan. On the other, Davis hearkens back to an earlier-vintage, Hank-infused honky tonk with Day the World Shook My Hand, Only You and Everybody's Gal, and he even throws a little Cash boom-chick into the mix on How Long. Those songs at times fall short on the lyrical side (one egregious example: building a song (Rust) on the notion that "Rust can grow on anything/Especially a golden ring"), but those lapses notwithstanding, "Man About Town" is another enjoyable serving of unvarnished honky tonk.