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Dear Puppeteer

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Album Review

Nathan Moore is the main singer and songwriter for the cryptically named rock band Surprise Me Mr. Davis. Their blend of rock, folk, country, and electronic influences makes them hard to pin down, but Moore's lyrics hold the band's diverse arrangements together with their finely crafted wordplay. On his solo albums, Moore gives free rein to the folksy singer/songwriter side of his personality. There's a bit of electric guitar, bass, and drums on Dear Puppeteer, but the listener's attention is captured by Moore and his voice, and his amazing lyrical talent. The arrangements here are unobtrusive, and while they cover enough ground to keep things musically interesting, it's Moore's masterful wordplay that impresses the most. "The Garden" is a brief, poignant blues tune with guitar and vocals processed to sound like an old Victor cylinder recording, but the lyric is a lot more poetic and existential than anything a '20s Delta singer would have written. Twangy acoustic guitar and ghostly harmonica highlight "Can't Fly to Heaven," a meditation on the fear of mortality that's full of dark humor. "Like a Cartoon" extends the metaphor of being a cartoon character for three verses full of poignant, ironic humor, with Moore's somber vocal adding emotional impact to the lyrics. "In the Basement" is full of the bleak overblown images that Leonard Cohen is so good at, striking the perfect balance between grim reality and extravagant baleful humor. "I'm Good Company" is more musically uptempo, recorded live with a crowd of fans that joins in on the chorus, but lyrically it's just as hopeless and wry as the rest of the tunes on the album. The guitar has a banjo-like tone on "When My Time Comes," another meditation on mortality that sounds like a hundred-year-old Appalachian dirge. The songs on Dear Puppeteer can measure up to the best of Leonard Cohen, Greg Brown, Nick Drake, and Gillian Welch. It's hard to understand why he remains relatively unknown. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews


Congratulations, you have stumbled upon a brillaint artist at the top of his game! Ever been in a giant bookstore or library, and hoped to find that magical book/author?...well you found it here with Nathan Moore. This album is pure genius. I was fotunate to have stumbled upon this musician by chance a number of years ago in a small bar outside of Zions canyon. Over the years I have been fortunate to have followed this artist's path through his other alter ego projects (Thamusemeant, and Surprise Me Mr.Davis), and I would encourage you to as well. If you ever have the chance, check out his live performance..jaw dropping. I hope my enthusiastic review does not call into question my objectivity (this is the one and only review I have ever done for an album on Itunes) but to not comment, and praise this wonderfuly talented invidual would be a sin...lord, lord.

Hear, hear!!!

Excellent album, start to finish. You'll be taken on a tour through many textures & emotions, all of them heartfelt & genuine. Nathan would sometimes speak of the orchestra in his head while playing solo, regretting that the audience couldn't hear it too...congrats on having it come through on Dear Puppeteer, sir. Step one - get this record! Step two - go & see Nathan perform! Truly one of the best singer/songwriters today.
"It's Nathan Season!"

Nathan Moore "Gets it"

Listening to Nathan Moore can be a little creepy. How can this total stranger understand what's in your head as well as you do, maybe even a little better? But that's what he does. He takes the noise, the joys, the screams and the dreams that all part of being human, and turns them into the art of song. Start with the title track and you'll be wanting to write a letter to the puppeteer, too.

Dear Puppeteer, Nathan Moore
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings