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Kip Moore

Room To Spare: The Acoustic Sessions – 2018 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Kip Moore

Kip Moore's greatest musical selling point is his raspy singing voice. Much like Bob Seger long before him, his is a vocal tone that gets your immediate attention every time you hear it. This EP-length project presents Moore in a quieter setting than usual. That distinctive voice is unavoidable, though, whether revved up or tamped down.

The song that stands out most is "It Ain't California," which is introduced with a beautifully twangy electric guitar riff. Even though "the sun still shines all the time," it's just not California without that special girl. Moore even paraphrases a famous California transplant, Tom Petty, when he sings how "Hell, even the losers get lucky sometimes." It's a heartbreaking lyric. The golden state loses some of its luster without that special girl living there. "Growing Up" is another notable track. "I used to crave ice cold Coke in the summertime/It was so good in that hot sun/But these days I'd rather drink beer and catch a buzz/I guess that's part of growing up." With just these few blunt lines, Moore sums up 'adulting' succinctly. Also among the top tier, "Wish It Was Me," with its low-key lyric about a breakup, may end up growing on you.

The only song that doesn't really work is "To The Moon." With it, Moore attempts to compare 'loving to the moon and back,' with space travel. It includes awkward lyrics like, "We're stuck together like a zodiac." It has the sound and lyrical immaturity of early John Cougar music, before he learned how to write great songs. It's a shame, though, because the tune's semi-African guitar riff is so sweet. It's just not attached to a good song.

With so much today's country music, where pounding beats and loud volume are mindlessly substituted for subtler dynamics, Kip Moore's acoustic release is a welcome arrival. Moore sings these seven songs wonderfully, as he always does with most any song, and he's mostly given himself quality songs to sing.