As it happened before I even listened to Chicago folk rocker Paul Moody I was already enthralled by his bio. Turns out he wrote the first song off his debut record The Island in “the early dark hours of a frigid January morning, during a particularly restless period of his life.” It gets even better and closer to my heart as the tale goes on to state, “Paul Moody returned home from a night of drinking too much whiskey with an old friend, and wrote and recorded a demo of “Get Drunk or Get Married.”
He promptly forgot about the song, and about a month later, he noticed the file on his computer and opened it. Moved by his past inebriated self, he got to work on a new set of songs that became “The Island.” I can’t make this up, though I could, and I probably have, but spoiler alert I am not Paul Moody.
Any who let’s cue the band and that drunken and reverent forgotten first tune “Get Drunk or get Married” which opens The Island. It is slow and drunkenly soulful and the lyrics drip from the singer’s lips like a drunken savior prophesizing from a kitchen chair in the wee hours of the morning as the remaining party guests huddle around to hear these delicate words. But this is not a drunken song as the horns which sound from on high, angelic and watching add a blue collar beauty that one must hear to believe.
Next up the Dylanesque vocal ramblings continue on “Losing My Mind” which incorporates a skeletal piano which is later fleshed out by horns. But it is the simple melody, the simplest allowances of production which keep the song, which seems at times beautifully taped like a band aid, together.
Moody gets loud and recklessly obtrusive like a day drunk on the folksy and brassy track “Basements.” It provides the record with a proper lift and delves into the eras which stretch between the father and son forces of Tim and Jeff Buckley. This idealism further falls onto the track “Not at all Alone” which brilliantly meanders and ambles into this father and son territory.
A record as good as Paul Moody’s The Island washes up once in a great while. His talent is not of this generation, the one that seeks and begs to be heard. Rather it stems from the old world. It is sacred and true; it is a secret gift which after hearing it one longs to hold onto for a time before letting it out into the world.
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