Burly singer/songwriter John Moreland has been writing music for more than half his life. As a teen, the 29-year-old Okalahoman fronted local punk and hardcore bands before eventually transitioning to twang-infused Americana. Third full-length “High on Tulsa Heat” is Moreland’s best offering to date and by all rights should take his career to the next level.
“I’d just overexposed myself to punk and hardcore to the point that it just didn’t do anything for me anymore,” Moreland says of his post-high school musical transformation. “I think what appealed to me about (the singer/songwriter craft) was lyrics. In hardcore, there might be great lyrics in a song but you have to read them off a piece of paper to know it.”
Moreland’s real gift is as a writer and “High on Tulsa Heat” underscores that at every turn. Things get off to a terrific start with “Hang Me in the Tulsa County Stars” and “Heart’s Too Heavy,” and Moreland later shines on “Sad Baptist Rain,” “Losing Sleep Tonight,” “You Don’t Care for Me Enough to Cry” and the set-closing title track. Fact is, you won’t find a misfire on the 10-track, 41-minute platter. Highly recommended. (Jeffrey Sisk)