“Loving turns to leaving every time,” she sang on the title track back then.The matching phrase here is “Don’t wanna say goodbye but it’ll set me free.” Allison often acknowledged the inspiration of her parents’ relationship for the song cycle that is her second album.“I started working with Kenny Greenberg again because, in the demo-making process, you have to get things done really quickly.Kenny is just the best guitar player that I know and he has this amazing way of making things sound famous really quickly.She dedicated the song to their 18-month old son John Henry, who was being held on stage (with ear protectors) by Big Daddy Earle at the time.Drummer Will Rigby and the marvellously named bass player Kelly Looney (a Duke since 1988) provided pulsating support throughout and the husband-wife pair Chris Masterson (guitars, vocals) and Eleanor Whitmore (fiddle, guitar, vocals) were scintillating.Fifteen years later she’s sifting eloquently through the ashes of her own bust ups. “Most of my life is about taking care of John Henry,” she says.
She cut “Thunderstorm Hurricane” with a temperature, in the heat of the moment, as it were. “I didn’t even know it was going to be a record,” she says.
At the centre of it all is the one-man force that is Earle. unless you are going through airport security in which case it's best not to call anything a Bouzouki . Now you may say that a man married seven times has had some practise but Earle and Moorer seem very happy and kissed on stage after one emotional duet.
Now 56, and free of drugs, he is never shy of attacking those he sees as wrongdoers. As he picks up a small instrument before playing City Of Immigrants he says: "This is called a Bouzouki . Earle wrote the lovely song Every Part Of Me for Moorer and he revealed that it was written in king's Lynn during a recent tour.
The barest pause, the song and her entire life pivoting around the guitar as she finishes: “who likes all your scratches and scars.” Not settling, nor a come-on. Taken as a body of work those nine records contain some of the bravest, most directly confessional work of any songwriter. Though in polite conversation she now refers to herself as a singer-songwriter, Allison Moorer masqueraded for most of those years as a country singer, aided and abetted by her Alabama accent, an extraordinarily supple voice, and the music she grew up with.
In that guise she has grappled with the murder-suicide of her parents; scenes from the beginning, middle, and end of two marriages; the delight of John Henry’s birth, and the fear, fury and guilt stirred up by her son’s autism.