On Saturday 27 May, singer-songwriter Abi Moore celebrates the launch of her new album with a full band show at The Chapel. Phil Taylor spoke with her and found out why she made Nottingham home, how the album came about, and what she hopes the show will achieve...
It’s been ten years since Abi Moore released an album, and in that time she has found her perfect home - and outlet for her talents - in Nottingham.
Her move here followed a tough period during which she had spent a full year touring her third album internationally, without a permanent UK home to return to, instead living temporarily with friends and in her producer’s studio in Suffolk. She also performed frequently on the local live circuit and wrote and recorded her last album. Understandably, Abi felt burned out from that process and decided to take some time out travelling and recharging in Canada. It was there that she began looking for her new start.
“I basically went on the internet and looked for a ‘Montreal in the UK’. I narrowed it down to Edinburgh, Nottingham and Liverpool as arty cities with a good music scene, and ended up picking Nottingham. I don’t regret it all - I was really pleased with moving here - it’s been so welcoming,” she says. “I’ve been here eight years now, and it’s actually the first time I’ve stayed anywhere more than three years.
“Between then and now I’ve been concentrating on putting a roof over my head, and I’ve done that entirely through music - a mixture of teaching and performing."
She threw herself into the Nottingham scene, getting involved in choir leading, teaching, the actors’ workshop, the writers’ network - and flamenco dancing. After some time putting down roots, she felt ready to get back to her main love: writing and performing original music.
“I missed it - it’s something you can’t ever get rid of,” she says.
For Abi, the process of creating her new album, No More Chasing came naturally and as a product of the songwriting she says she is always doing. But she was keen to make this record stand out from what had come before: something more visceral and rock-based, which would free her from the female acoustic folk songwriter pigeonhole.
“I felt that I had enough songs and had the incentive - I was in a good enough place to get a batch of songs together,” she says. “I had a bunch of new ideas, and I wrote this album in a totally different way to every other album I’ve ever written. With every track, I started differently.”
Abi is one of those songwriters who finds inspirations from literally all around her.
“I wrote one song over the cooker hood! There was this drone note, I started tapping a rhythm to go along with it, and then laid down some vocals,” she explains.
In contrast, another track, Livin Underground began with zero instruments as she lay awake in bed at 3am. “It was just vocals and percussion and I kept repeating it in my head so I wouldn’t forget it, and then recorded it when I got up in the morning.”
The product of Abi’s prolific and varied writing was a ten-track record which she returned to Suffolk to record with previous bandmates. Bringing these ideas together into a coherent whole involved many conversations with her fellow musicians, and a keen focus on her target genre, which she describes as “Americana roots rock."
The process of making the album also involved Abi moving out of her comfort zone in a number of ways, including writing and playing electric guitar riffs for the first time, and making use of a cello to replace that cooker-hood drone. “I didn’t play all of the instruments on the album, but I played more than I thought I could play!” she says.
For the live album launch show, Abi will be joined by members of a band she set up locally, as well as backing singers. She has clearly thought hard about what will work best for the venue, The Chapel. Her goal is to show Nottingham what she does now in contrast to what she has been known for in the past, as a solo performer.
“I love what I’ve created with this album and the band, so I’m excited to show that and have a really great night. It will be very different and I’m keen for people to see that,” she says. “It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work over the past two-and-a-half years.” To make the most of the event, it will be recorded and filmed, and Abi hopes to release a Live At The Chapel album and video in future.
Once the launch show is under her belt, Abi has a busy schedule of gigs planned for the rest of the year, including a support slot at Metronome in Nottingham, and Cambridge Rock Festival in August. Abi will also be appearing at Jam Cafe as part of Dot To Dot Festival on 28 May.
A few tickets for the Abi Moore Band show (with support from Dusty 4 Track) at The Chapel @ Angel Microbrewery are still available at here
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