John Moreland’s In The Throes is Essential Listening. I’ve been writing for Nine Bullets for about two years and in that time I’ve written thirty or so album reviews and listened to countless other records. In The Throes isn’t just the best record released so far this year, it’s the best record I’ve heard since I began with Nine Bullets and I don’t know how many years before that. That was the easy part of the review, everything after this is the hard part.

Moreland’s last several records have continuously rocked less and less but the songwriting keeps improving. There are drums and electric guitars on In The Throes but the focus is on these ten songs. And these ten songs are gigantic. A Twitter friend of mine tweeted out several weeks ago that “everyone he knows who writes songs is crazy about the new John Moreland.” Obviously, that’s not the exact quote and I can’t remember who it was. But the point was made: John Moreland is a songwriter’s songwriter.

So what makes these ten songs so great? I’ve had the record over a month, listened to it dozens and dozens of times and I don’t have an answer. There are incredible lines throughout and I considered listing a bunch here but thought it would be cooler if people listed one or two of their favorites in the comments.

There is no doubt that there is sadness and pain in these songs. And I don’t know if there is redemption here or not, but there is redemption and comfort in sad songs. There is solidarity in the fact that someone else has felt the emotions I’ve felt alone in my home and that someone was able to write about it and share. That’s one of the reasons I find so much joy in sad songs.

There’s been times in my life that things have been really shitty and one of the things that saved me was the music of Townes Van Zandt. I know that sounds melodramatic and all, but so be it. I only said it so you would appreciate what I’m about to say. With the ten songs on In The Throes, John Moreland has shown himself to be the closest thing to the ghost of Townes Van Zandt walking the earth.

If you read Nine Bullets every day, or once a week, or once a month you need to own this album. It is a monumental work in our little corner of the musical universe. Period.

John Moreland – 3:59AM
John Moreland – Oh Julia
John Moreland – Blues & Kudzu

Official Site, John Moreland on Facebook, Buy In The Throes

27 thoughts on “JOHN MORELAND – IN THE THROES:”

  1. I would say that “Everything the Hard Way” is more of a rocking record than “Earthbound Blues,” but yes, he seems to be trending towards less rock songs. Still trying to decide if I like this more than “Earthbound Blues” or not. Love them both, but I think “Earthbound Blues” is a little more diverse.

  2. For my ears, the man never does wrong. “Nobody Gives A Damn About Songs Anymore” is pure gospel.

  3. Earthbound Blues is more diverse but this feels like a tighter record. Either way they’re both insanely good records. I’ve discovered some great music from this site but he’s at the top of that list.

    Travis, I hope he’s booked for December 😀

  4. “…and with or without any reason we did rebellion what justice we could.”

  5. I want him to come to NYC so bad.

    “I worshipped at the alter of losing everything”

  6. Dylan – I’ll be at that NYC show if it happens.

    My favorite song by far is “Gospel”, but my favorite line is “We get turned around, our spirits break down, we just lie and say we’re OK.” from “Blacklist”.

  7. “I’m chasing death or glory whichever comes first…”
    “…Don’t give yourself away to settle someone else’s score”

    1. Your second quote is a pearl of wisdom I plan to share with my daughter as she gets older.

      Best album I’ve bought in a long time. I’m anxiously awaiting the vinyl copy to show up in my mailbox.

  8. This review led me to discover JM, who, sadly, I wasn’t aware of before. This record is nigh on perfect, and a lesson to songwriters everywhere. I, for one, am taking notes..

  9. I agree, John’s writing on this album is incredible I’m a singer-songwriter and have wandered in and out of the mess of the music industry. I posted something to the effect that ‘this guy makes you want to quit, sell your guitar, and start all over again. I liken this album to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska album with a band on half of it. And I hope nobody reads into that as anything other than a 100% compliment. John’s lyrics are so densely powerful that you get something new every few times you hear the songs. I’ve encouraged everyone I know to buy this album. To me it will be a classic. This album has turned a jaded asshole musician into a legitimate fan-boy. I feel like a 9 year old girl waiting for NSync to come to town circa 1999. John… if you tour anywhere near Charleston SC and see a 30 year old beared man in a flannel shirt holding up a sign that says I (heart) Blues and Kudzu, it’s all your fault. Damn you John for these amazing songs.

  10. This is one of the great singer-songwriter albums of all-time. Just brilliant. I have the distinct honor of getting to open for john here in October and I can’t wait for it. I’ve introduced him to all my songwriter friends and they’re as blown away as I am.

  11. We had the honor of meeting John a few nights ago at the Circle Bar in New Orleans….He is an incredibly kind man and a brilliant musician. His songs are perfection and highly addictive… and his personality is infectious… What an outstanding person. Perfect.

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