In the fall, I ordered a vinyl copy of Iron & Wine’s The Shepherd’s Dog. After three weeks and still not having received it, I realized it wasn’t coming, lost in a vast expanse that also has two World Beard and Mustache Championship mugs floating around in it, wasted because the address listed on my checks was outdated. I eventually got my mug and my vinyl (because I contacted Sub Pop), and with the record came the accompanying Sub Pop promo stickers, mine including Blitzen Trapper, Chad VanGaalen, and Daniel Martin Moore. Sub Pop’s stalwart promotion of its own artists is the roundabout way in which I was first introduced to Daniel Martin Moore. Shortly thereafter, I would secure a copy of his debut record, Stray Age.
Moore is a singer/songwriter from Cold Spring, Kentucky, a Peace Corps dropout, and a one-time drifter. He was signed to Sub Pop on the strength of an unsolicited demo he sent, something that certainly never happens and is a testament to his talents. His style follows that of recent folk breakout bands, like Iron & Wine and Fleet Foxes, which Sub Pop has thrust to the forefront of their roster.
As purposely unfrilly as any record I’ve ever heard, Stray Age is the outlet for Moore’s acoustic plucking and intimate singing. Though it was recorded in Los Angeles (in late 2007/early 2008) and produced by Joe Chiccarelli, who has worked with The White Stripes and U2, Stray Age preserves a rootsy feel. The songs are simplistic and introspective. Tracks like “Stray Age” and “That’ll be the Plan” easily stick out from the rest even though they, like the rest of the songs, offer a collective calmness reflective of Moore’s demeanor. Moore admittedly has never been part of any niche in music, only desiring to play what comes natural from within. That seems to be evident as Stray Age is fed by a diet of soft-singing and traditional folk strums without being overly complicated, which is at worst memorable and at best stunning.