Over the last decade, Ian Moore has quietly redefined himself
Ian Moore is a case study in how easy it is to misjudge a musician. In 1993, when Moore released his self-titled debut album for Capricorn Records, he looked like nothing more than the latest in a tiresome line of aspiring Texas blues-rock guitar heroes. With his label pushing him in the Southern-rock direction, Moore seemed instantly antiquated in the era of grunge. It was easy to write him off.
But over the last decade, the Austin-based Moore has quietly redefined himself, rejecting the baggage of a guitar hero in favor of a career as a poetic singer-songwriter. Along the way, he's made it clear that he feels much more of a kinship with the work of indie eccentrics like Neutral Milk Hotel than the traditional jams of the Allman Brothers.
In a way, Moore has run the same gauntlet as another Austin guitar phenom, Charlie Sexton. While Sexton started out as a failed David Bowie clone before claiming his rightful place as a genius sideman, Moore has been only too eager
Moore's latest album, Luminaria (Yep Roc Records), finds him reaching a new peak of creative command. His first self-produced disc, it was primarily recorded on the road in hotel rooms, houses, and radio stations. It's a rustic, largely unplugged affair that emphasizes Moore's sweet, Jeff Buckley-esque vocals (e.g., the falsettos on the chorus of "Caroline" ) and the melodicism of his self-penned, self-critical ruminations. It's the sound of a confident artist who's learned how to be himself. •