Living the life of a travelling troubadour has been Steve Moakler’s existence for a while now. With a handful of albums and EP’s under his belt, his hard-working ethics and positive attitude have helped to organically grow his career in a country music market that is increasingly over-saturated by artists with big-money backing for their pop hits. Steve Moakler is a songwriter at heart, he cuts his own songs and has had his songs cut by others (most notably Dierks Bentley’s Riser, written by Steve and Travis Meadows) but most importantly of all, he’s a well-travelled musician. It probably comes as no surprise then that much of this new album, Born Ready, is inspired by the road.
Whether it’s the opening title-track, a song written for a Mack Trucks advertising campaign, or Slow Down, where Steve sings about living life on the road but finally finding someone to make him stop his running for a moment and take stock of the things that matter, there is a strong theme running throughout the record. Moakler turns thirty this year and this feels like a record that reflects his thoughtfulness on the life that he’s living, this isn’t to say that he’s thinking of changing it however, Born Ready screams of the pride he feels at being on the road. Speaking of hitting thirty, the song of the same name is a wonderful musing on how things change as we grow older and how we have to finally give up that dream of being an astronaut!
With a career that looks to be taking a turn for bigger things after the success of his last album, Steel Town, in particular the single Suitcase, Steve sings of how hard work is the making of him in Breaking New Ground. This metaphor-laden song oozes with Steve’s positivity and drive as he sings “that bed rock baby it don’t just fall apart”. These are the words of a man who isn’t going to stop pushing until he gets where he deserves to be! As much as he may be working hard, there is plenty of time on the record for Steve to reflect on how he’s living the dream. Hard Not To Love It is a foot-tapping, upbeat tune that’ll put a smile on your face. It’s about how the hard times and the strife all lead us to where we’re meant to be and how you should live in the moment. It’s a real favourite of mine on the record. One More Troubadour touches on a similar theme, with Steve singing about being just one drop in an ocean of singer-songwriters but living every minute of it.
The album has its fair share of good time songs to get you up and dancing. Nightlife is a feel-good anthem about hitting the town and having a good time. I wouldn’t call it filler but it certainly doesn’t have the depth that the other tracks on the album do. Much more of the heart is captured in songs like Crazy Does, a tune where Steve gets you into that mind-set where you feel like you’re losing your mind at the end of a relationship. This big, anthemic song is one that should be a real crowd pleaser at live shows, it’s got the sing-a-long chorus and a relatability that fans should feel. Lines such as “you swear she’s lying there next to you but it’s just the cold hard ground” convey the desperate sadness over chugging chords.
The album fittingly closes out with The Last Word. This thoughtful song sounds almost One Republic-esque with its organ led intro. This brooding song feels like Steve’s response to the world that we’re living in. As he sings “love’s gonna get the last word before the curtain closes” you believe that you’re listening to a man who believes in love, happiness and hard work. Steve Moakler is a beacon of positivity in troubled times. This is what this whole album is about, it’s about the world changing, our lives changing, the scenery around us changing and it’s about growing with it, embracing it and working hard to make life work for you.
Steve Moakler is the type of character that you want to see succeed, his songwriting style is developing over time and we are now presented with an artist who, at 30 years old, is reaching the peak of his powers. It leaves me begging for Steve to make a trip to the UK, as many American songwriters have found, we are here to listen and take in songs and stories and boy does Steve have a lot of those.
- Born Ready
- Crazy Does
- Breaking New Ground
- One of the Boys
- Hard Not To Love It
- Slow Down
- One More Troubadour
- The Last Word
Crazy Does, Hard Not To Love It, Slow Down, The Last Word
Six Shooter Rating
9 out of 10