Riley Moore

Album Review: Riley Moore Bares His Soul on 'Vagrant'

Riley Moore knows what you need. You need a songwriter who's going to charm the shirt write off your back. On his debut album Vagrant, Moore's bares his soul in a way that truly provides a window into his mind. At times quirky, at others earnest and sincere, Moore will win you over. As strange as it sounds, many of his songs come from lived experience. Moore is the first modern musician to complete a tour on foot with The Walking Guys, snaking down from Portland, Maine to his home in Nashville. The song "Wandering Man," then, takes on extra dimension as Moore describes his adventures —at times scary, at others thrilling — on the road. "Sitting on a Boat," a masterful catalogue of nautical puns and double entendres, which Wide Open Country's Jeremy Burchard compared to a Weezer song. The song most likely chronicles a lazy day on Moore's houseboat, docked on a lake in Nashville.

But these aren't even the most interesting factoids about Moore. The best songs on the new album are when Moore slows down the tempo, revealing himself to be an effective storyteller. "Pancakes and M&Ms" gets me every time, from its recreation of childhood memories to its depiction of one of those many moments when childhood abruptly shifts toward adulthood. Similarly, "Crook," tells a familiar story of heartbreak set against a backdrop of ghostly doo-wop. When Moore sings "The wolves will eat you like a bunny" on "Amish Annie," it isn't for laughs. You get the sense that Moore brings every ounce of himself to his work — his playfulness, his sincerity, his commitment to the truth. Vagrant is fun, but it also gives us a gift: the ability to see into another person's inner workings.

'Vagrant' Track Listing:

1. "Wandering Man"
2. "Pancakes and M&Ms"
3. "The Wildest Thing"
4. "Crook"
5. "Sitting on a Boat"
6. "Amish Annie"
7. "Wax Museum"
8. "I Love You"

Learn more about Moore here. Vagrant will be out on July 6.

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