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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Allison Moorer's voice carries the night

Paradise, Boston, Sept. 19, 2002

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - After two albums - "The Hardest Part" and "Alabama Song" - received a good deal of critical acclaim, but not a whole lot of sales, Allison Moorer changed directions with her recent disc, "Miss Fortune."

For starters, Moorer isn't strictly a country singer any more, expanding into different genres like rock.

And the same could be said for Moorer in concert. In fact, she rocked a bit to much for those who like their country. Too much drums was the primary problem sonically.

But even when the music was too loud and too rocking for the unfortunately tiny crowd of maybe 75 people, Moorer's voice soared big time. Moorer has one powerful voice, which shines especially well on the slower country songs she would perform during the 75-minute set with about half the songs from "Miss Fortune." She can infuse a song with the required emotion, while not drowning it in bathos either.

Moorer has a few songs that are gems like the opener "Think It Over," "Alabama Song" and "A Soft Place to Fall," which first gained her notoriety as part of the "The Horse Whisperer." Others worked well enough, though some did not prove overly exceptional.

While Moorer has a slew of sad songs, she presented a good stage presence. She certainly is attractive, but good looks do not make for a good performance.

Moorer could be witty on stage. For example, she told the crowd of how she almost got booted out of the fancy shmantzy Ritz Carlton Hotel in the Back Bay after making a fool of herself and getting into an argument with her husband.

Whether Moorer's musical shift pays off remains to be seen, of course, but through it all, Moorer's voice proved that it was well up to the task on this night.

Iowa resident David Zollo opened with a good set of bluesy laced songs played solo. Zollo had an even smaller crowd to work, but did not let it get him down.