BACK TO ROOTS
Troubadour finding new inspiration with higher profile
Rising Americana singer-songwriter John Moreland will play a solo show Sunday night at Lafayette’s Music Room. The gig will mark the Tulsa, Oklahoma, tunesmith’s official debut in town — he played a private house show a couple of years back — but he’s well familiar with the Mid-south and its musicians.
“My mom’s side of the family is actually from Coldwater, Mississippi, so I grew up hanging out there, and coming up to Memphis some,” Moreland recalls. “When I was about 20, I saw a documentary on Lucero. They were recording with Jim Dickinson at his farm, and it said ‘Coldwater, Mississippi.’ ... It was a total coincidence that it was all going on not far from me. But I had no idea. So I researched Jim, and have since met Luther Dickinson and the Lucero guys and became buddies with them.”
In fact, Moreland has done several runs opening for Memphis alt-country crew Lucero on the road, including a recent tour in April. It’s one of several factors that have raised Moreland’s profile considerably since the release of his third album, “High on Tulsa Heat,” in 2015.
“I’ve been touring hard, plus the last record was the first one where I could hire a publicist, which got more press. And I played on the ‘Late Show’ — that was the biggest single boost,” he says. Moreland has been bubbling up in the pop culture landscape for a while, having placed several songs in the FX series “Sons of Anarchy.” “I guess if people know me or the music a little more now, it’s been a culmination of all those things.”
Moreland is part of a rich class of roots musicians who have emerged from Tulsa in the last few years: a burgeoning bunch led by JD Mcpherson, John Fulbright and Parker Millsap. It’s the sort of run that has some predicting Tulsa as the country’s next musical hot spot.
“Tulsa has had an active music scene
Americana singer-songwriter John Moreland makes his official Memphis debut with a show at Lafayette’s Music Room Sunday night. 8 p.m. Sunday, July 31 at Lafayette’s Music Room, 2119 Madison Avenue. Tickets: $10. Available at lafayettes.com/memphis