John Moreland, who will perform at Stuart’s Opera House on Tuesday, September 18. (Submitted)

Talking Southern Gothic, Songwriting, and ‘Big Bad Luv’ with John Moreland

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Before the release of 2017’s Big Bad Luv (4AD), John Moreland may have been known best as one of those truly rare songwriters who wielded his words like a skillful knife, ruthlessly filleting the heart of any listener.

2013’s In The Throes is deliriously and deliciously cathartic — “I never cared for anyone so much/I was born with a bomb inside my gut/you spend so long looking that you never really see/I need you to tell me what to be,” he sings on the album’s opener, “I Need You to Tell Me Who I Am.”

In that very same tune, Moreland laments that he’s been “worshiping words of weary, worn-out fools,” a category that perhaps some might have mistakenly placed Moreland in.

Yes, his music aches with true sadness.

Yes, he’s managed to articulate the painful state of the human condition in multiple songs.

But have you heard his new record?

Because that man still brandishes his words like a seasoned mixed martial arts practitioner artfully exploits their physical strength to overcome an opponent — it’s just that he’s not so bummed out now. Within the past several years, Moreland has fallen in love and gotten married, and themes of love, (and an understanding that it is not, after all, “a sickness,”) might be considered some of the main themes of Big Bad Luv.

Moreland also employed the assistance of a full band in the making of the album, something that he hasn’t done during his solo career, and something he largely hasn’t done dating all the way back to his hardcore, DIY roots.

“It was fun (recording with a full band,) it almost felt like cheating at times,” said Moreland in an interview with WOUB a few weeks before he’s slated to perform at Stuart’s Opera House on Tuesday, September 18. “I was so used to either working alone or with maybe one  or two other people, building each track up, and it might take all day to do one song. I like doing that too, but for this album, it felt weird to go in and play a song a couple of times, get a good take of it, and be done.”

Listen to WOUB’s entire interview with Moreland embedded above, and check out tickets for his upcoming performance at Stuart’s at this link. Tickets are $19-$27 in advance and $24-$32 at the door.