by guest columnist Harriett Watkins
Oklahoma based singer-songwriter John Moreland generated a great deal of critical praise after the release of his 2013 sophomore album, In The Throes. After I saw him perform a few months ago, I understood what all the fuss was about. This 29 year old has a lot to say, and says it poignantly, in his recent release, High On Tulsa Heat.
Throughout the ten song journey, personal experiences of love, loss and acceptance are told through lyrics and vocals dripping with so much emotion and raw honesty they are, at times, painful to hear. Perhaps it’s because we can relate to these stories more than it is comfortable for us to admit.
On the opening track, “Hang Me In The Tulsa County Stars,” Moreland sings, “I know this life can leave you cold and make you mad, leave you homesick for a home you never had.” This song is as much about his ability to help someone through a rough time as it is a vehicle to deal with his own.
Reflected in one of the album’s many stand outs, "Cherokee," is the sad acceptance that what you’ve lost is irretrievably gone and even the memories are becoming cloudy and distant. “I still see you shining through the treetops, but I don’t feel you pulling strings anymore. I still use your old alarm clock, but every morning I get further from the mark."
And, as in real life, not every hard time leaves you devastated and searching for answers. “Sad Baptist Rain” and “High On Tulsa Heat” tell stories of conflict, bad decisions and lost love with the perspective of life lessons learned.
Unlike In The Throes, with High On Tulsa Heat the sadness seems to be accompanied by a bit of peacefulness that comes from the acceptance of the demons and faults of yourself, as well as others. Grab this one, sit down with a glass of the best sipping whiskey you can find. Spend some time reacquainting yourself with the pure, simple pleasure of listening to songs that truly make you feel something.
Purchase High On Tulsa Heat here