Allison Moorer Getting Somewhere

The possessor of an attractive voice and good genes (she’s the sister of the sublime Shelby Lynne), Allison Moorer has long been tipped for stardom, but has never quite broken through. She’s doubtlessly hoping she’ll start Getting Somewhere with this, her sixth album. Moorer is the latest in a long line of Mrs. Steve Earles, so it’s not too surprising to see Steve on board here as producer. He also plays guitar and Moog here, and co-wrote "Fairweather” with Moorer. An excellent musical supporting cast includes drummer Brady Blade (and Emmylou Harris) and Brad Jones (Ron Sexsmith), so the musical and production values here are top-notch. The songwriting is not as consistently strong, however, and the sound sometimes swerves into rather bland, roots-y pop rock. Her vocal style here leans closer to, say, Sheryl Crow than Shelby or Lucinda. The first few mid-tempo tracks are eminently forgettable, but she thankfully hits her stride with the more compelling "Hallelujah” (not the Cohen one), and the grittier album highlight, "New Year’s Day” — a song seemingly reflecting on Moorer/Lynne’s troubled early family life (they lost their parents in a murder/suicide). "Where You Are” is a sweet song dedicated to Shelby, while Earle is the focus of the affecting "If It’s Just For Today.” Then, just as the disc is getting somewhere, it’s over. Even by country music’s standards, the 31-minute album length seems a mite miserly. (Sugar Hill)