The younger sister of Shelby Lynne and Mrs Steve Earle (wife VII), Allison Moorer has flirted with the mainstream for over a decade without ever becoming a household name, despite serving up quality slabs of country, pop and rock at various times. She was born today in 1972.
Singer songwriter Allison Moorer was born near Mobile, Alabama, USA. First following Shelby Lynne Moorer to Nashville in the late 1980s, Allison supplied backing vocals for her big sister for a while, before returning to Mobile and gaining a degree in public relations.
Back in Nashville and still with the musical bug, she met and married singer-songwriter Doyle “Butch” Primm and after appearing in a tribute show at the Ryman Auditorium in June 1996 was encouraged to record some demos.
Those would lead to the release of Moorer’s debut album “Alabama Song” in 1998, including the track “A Soft Place to Fall” which was included on the “The Horse Whisperer” film soundtrack and earned her an Academy Award nomination.
However that failed to translate into record sales or radio plays and 2000 follow-up “The Hardest Part” fared no better, much of the material recounting her failing marriage and addressing parental loss in “Cold, Cold Earth” (recounting the horror of her teens when her father shot her mother before turning the gun on himself).
Moorer’s third album“Miss Fortune” emerged in 2002 and despite a raising of her profile caused by collaborating with Kid Rock on his single “Picture”, a breakthrough still eluded her (the Kid Rock record came about when contractual issues meant that the original version of his duet with Sheryl Crow couldn’t be issued and a hasty remake was required).
What proved to be the fourth and last record with her soon-to-be-ex husband was “The Duel”, an album Allison admitted was “cathartic” and earned favourable comparisons with Emmylou Harris, but failed to shift units. Thankfully an upsurge in her personal and profession fortunes came soon after, as a result of her relationship with Steve Earle.
Opening for Earle then joining him and his band on stage, the pair were soon married, relocated to New York and began recording“Getting Somewhere” in 2006 a far more, joyful and upbeat effort produced by Earle. Returning in 2008 with “Mockingbird”, she served up a so-so collection of covers by everyone from Ma Rainey to Joni Mitchell and Cat Power that - although the majestic title track was a Moorer original.
Subsequent to that there’s been a Grammy nomination for “Days Aren’t Long Enough” (co-written with Earle), a rolee in the theatrical production “Rebel Voices”, trying her hand at clothes design – and giving birth to her first child. She also released another album, “Crows”, which echoed some of sister Shelby’s output (the pair toured together soon after) and in the track, “Easy in the Summertime” revisited the tragedy of her mother’s death in a more positive light.
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And here’s some footage of Allison in action: