Riley Moore is a folk singer-songwriter living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he once lived in a sailboat on a nearby lake. (Old Hickory? Percy Priest? We may never know)
But living out of a sailboat wasn’t the only quirky misadventure Moore has had during his career, however. He became the first modern artist to walk the entire distance of a 1600-mile tour from Portland, Maine, all the way back to Nashville. (here’s to hoping he had supportive footwear) And at the seasoned age of 18, he moved to Sydney, Australia, where he tested his fate Down Under. And now, Riley Moore can add an accomplished second album to his list of eclectic credentials.
sweet boy is Riley Moore’s sophomore album, an acoustic record with handfuls of folk-influenced moments. Throughout the record, Moore carefully crafts the story of a previous relationship via lyrical metaphors and personal anecdotes. Its stripped-back production allows for plenty of space to soak in the artist’s songwriting style and appreciate his gentle vocal melodies.
The opening track is the lead single, “a hundred and fifty”, a Sufjan Stevens-esque love song highlighted by the delicate strums of Moore’s acoustic guitar. According to him, the song is about “when you meet someone and feel such a connection with them, it almost seems you’ve met them 150 times before.” It’s a pleasant and easy listen, paving way for the songs to come.
The second single, “gold,” is next on the lineup, a somber peek into a relationship where Moore is constantly being hurt. Starting with the lines “you drown me in tar / you wrap me in feathers/You teach me to fly/And hold me together”, Moore proves he’s equally capable of writing a bitter comeback as he is a love song.The instrumentation is accentuated with a harmonica, giving the tune a delightfully folk-inspired twang.
“Mansion” is a song reminiscent of a relationship gone sour. Moore creates a narrative where he’s not over the love he has for a romantic partner. He wonders what his former partner is up to now, as well as recounts some of the fond memories they had back when they were still together. He ends the song with a heartbreaking last line: “You keep getting better/Honey I keep getting worse”.
Moore’s conversational songwriting paints stories in an intimate and matter-of-fact way. Simple anecdotes like recounting a time he bought a shirt at a thrift store for a former partner, or reminiscing on framed photographs on the wall both allow a tiny glimpse into his personal life and serve as metaphors in an overarching narrative. sweet boy excels in its ability to showcase Riley Moore’s capabilities as both a songwriter and a storyteller.