Mossy keen to test Saraton's acoustics
IAN Moss had just spent the weekend playing alongside friends like Jimmy Barnes and Kate Cebrano in Sydney, all there to showcase the immortal works of American song writing legend Jimmy Webb who is responsible for some the 20th century's finest offerings, Galveston, MacArthur Park, Wichita Lineman, you get the picture.
Moss's stirring rendition of By the Time I Get to Phoenix is something those who attended Sydney's State Theatre won't forget for sometime according to the reviews.
"Jimmy Webb is a fantastic lyricist. It was a beautiful thing to get into those lyrics and deliver the story behind the music,” Moss said.
So it's with much anticipation Ian Moss will soon be venturing into similar territory, this time telling his own musical story, when arrives at Grafton's Saraton Theatre on August 31.
Moss said he couldn't remember the last time he had performed in the city that claims his other band's hit Flame Trees as its unofficial anthem.
"It's been a while since I've played Grafton, a long, long while. And yeah, there's a version of that in my show.”
So now Grafton has been won over, what else can the people of the Clarence expect to see and hear from one of the country's finest guitarists (and the less trumpeted but just as sublime soulful voices) in the game.
A big sound according to Moss who said being alone on stage with his tools of the trade was just as powerful as playing with a full band.
"It's still a nice big fat sound because I don't renege on the system I use. It's a full sounding performance yet there's a lot of space because it's just me, one voice, one guitar, one stomp box, so I can control the mood. I can take it up and decide that line needs to be screamed to the world. Then another night I might get to the same line and go you know what, no it doesn't. It needs to be whispered tonight.”
Moss has just embarked on his solo acoustic Theatre Tour which sees him travel extensively through regional centres over the next few months bringing him to Grafton's Saraton at the end of this month.
Upon hearing about the theatre's generous proportions, he was quickly impressed with the sound space that seemed to be on offer. "Yeah good, well I'm going to fill it.”
Moss said the beauty of the show he had planned for the Saraton was that it offered audiences a "bit of everything.”
"Beside playing the songs, it's also a good chance to talk a bit about them. I've found that people really appreciate knowing where a song comes from. They might have their own interpretation of the lyrics but they enjoy hearing about the background from its source. I don't do it with every song but certain songs lend themselves to that kind of thing.”
Moss said the show was well-rounded musically featuring songs from every facet of his career from his classic solo album Matchbook (Tucker's Daughter, Such a Beautiful Thing, Telephone Booth) through to his recently released self-titled album which has already spawned its own emerging hits.
"I also do my own version of some Chisel songs, Choirgirl, Saturday Night to name a few (Bow River has been a popular finale) plus I've also got my brand new album which came out in March so there will be some songs from that... Hold On, A Girl Like You (Don Walker accompanied Moss on his album) and particularly Broadway (about missing his son when touring). That's the one that seems to be stopping people in their tracks.
"Of course I do have a thing for the jazz-blues too so you are going to hear Georgia on My Mind and Cry Me A River and songs like that as well.”
Moss knows it's been a long time between albums - his last one nine years ago and his last solo release 22 years ago (Matchbook).
He said he wasn't too fazed by the "hiatus” admitting he's had a "fair bit going on and writing songs takes a fair bit of work”.
"Once you've written them there's a thing called arrangements that can absolutely kill, make or break a song. Getting that right can take time otherwise I guess we would all be writing hit album after hit album if it was that easy.”
He's also been "flat out” with his other band, Cold Chisel. "They're still rocking along and when that behemoth gets up and rolling it's all consuming.”
He said there had been two Chisel albums since his last solo release and demanding tours with the band as well as getting out regularly touring his back catalogue.
"I didn't really start writing songs seriously for the new album until 2014. I had a lot of ideas in my head and it was a matter of finding time to take them over the finishing line. Bits and pieces all finally came together towards the release date in March this year. You can't rush that process. The songs and the whole album has only benefited from me taking the time to get it right.”
While he is reluctant to call it his definitive release he does admit it is certainly an important one for him.
"It's the first time I've written the lion's share of the songs, and even though there's a great variety of songs on the album, there's a very strong connecting personal thread. People tell me they are really hearing me with this album, from beginning to end, not just bits and pieces, it's all connected, all the dots have joined up and the picture is complete,” he laughs as he own revelation.
But the proof is in the pudding or the much anticipated solo album it seems. With sold out metro shows and fantastic reviews, Moss said it augured well for a good solo acoustic tour for the rest of year.
"I'm very excited to get it out the regional centres. They can be left behind a bit so I'm really looking forward to it. I've never played this Grafton venue before and it sounds amazing so keen to get there and do it.
"I'm a country lad myself (born in Alice Springs) so I know what it's like to live out in those areas and look at what all those people on the coast and in the cities get and hang out for it wishing they'd come your way.”
Don't miss Ian Moss on his national theatre tour when it arrives at Grafton's Saraton Theatre on August 31. Tickets on sale at the theatre or through its website.