When she was younger, Allison Moorer used to believe that she wanted an intellectual existence, a life of the mind. But now, at 42, she sighs, “What I’ve realized that I have is a life of the hands—I’m always just making something, or I’m writing or drawing something, because it makes me feel connected; it makes me feel real. It’s the same way with music—I just want to make it.” Hence, her latest ambitious set, Down To Believing, which documents her recent split from her husband, Steve Earle, and even the motherly guilt she felt when their son John Henry, now four, was diagnosed with autism two years ago. Moorer will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new feature on her.
Moorer: This seminal album took 30 years to sell 500,000 copies. That’s an average of 16-some-odd thousand records per year. And what album could mean more to so many? So many of the heart-broken, anyway. Recorded in 1968 with a cast of jazz musicians in New York City, nothing has sounded more organic, more intentional or more romantic and longing to me. I could listen to “Cypress Avenue,” all day, and some days, I have. “Rainbow ribbons in her hair,” indeed. Van Morrison’s vocal prowess is largely acknowledged, but his lyrical ability, and his vision and commitment to carrying it out is what is impressive to me. Astral Weeks sounds like one song, and only the best albums do that. To create a timeless environment on tape is an accomplishment that I cannot express my appreciation of with words. I only know that when no other record will do, this one always will.