Wise Old Moon “Don’t Take Off” Album Review

IMG_3100Wise Old Moon has been a band all about transformation over the past few years and it seems to be a thematic mainstay both in the band’s line up and the progression of their sound. Lead singer/songwriter and guitarist Connor Millican recently told me that it was a goal of the band to be adaptive. To be able to show up to any venue blind and alter and bend their set of songs to fit the room, the crowd, the vibe of the place. Whether that’s playing in front of 800 people with their raucous blend of roots Americana and rock n’ roll music or stripping things down to all acoustic instruments in the most intimate of listening rooms, the band prides themselves on being able to see and then react. The latest release from the band sees them doing just that.

The record leads off fairly strong with it’s driving acoustic rhythm guitar and ever present steel guitar crying out in the canyon of sound projected by the band. The landscapes that they are traveling are surely dusty and lined with interesting characters and stories, two things I have come to expect from the group no matter what the line up, but now with a steady group of players Millican has really locked down the group that he has been searching for,

The band also shows their adaptability by tossing in the timeless and classic sounding “When It Rains It Pours” but holds it in the present day with Connor’s ability to take what he knows and spin it in a way that is real, genuine, but also humorous in the self inflicted sort of way. The horn/wind section really gives that throwback kind of feel and man, it just works.

I think life’s pretty funny with a stomach full of pills

But then I’m stumbling down and the pain is never healed

“Separate Lives” takes on a Mexican standoff kind of a vibe with it’s pick dragged over the strings guitar line, and the energy is there. By comparison “Kid With A Camera” has a very tender and delicate feel to it. It’s a tear jerker, but further displaying how the band can bend its sound to create different landscapes for your emotions to travel to. Really something special.

What I think is most evident through the record’s 11 tracks is that this is a band with a whole lot of different abilities and talents. Molding its sound from a diverse set of influences and creating something very unique from all of those places. The pinnacle of that sound being Connor Millican’s voice. I really love this gent’s style of singing and the tone of his vocal. Genuine, never put on, just real and although ‘real’ can sometimes elicit feelings of sadness or heartbreak, he makes no apologies for it. One of the stronger records to make a late 2015 appearance and in digging deeper, I think it deserves a place on my own favorites list as well as many others.