Allison Moorer Biography
It's hard for Allison Moorer to believe all that's happening to her. A record deal with MCA Records/ Nashville, a spot on the album from the feature film The Horse Whisperer, a cameo appearance in the film and a publishing deal with Windswept Pacific.
"It's luck. You write songs, you sing, you try to prepare yourself for something like this to happen, but it's hard to believe when it does. I know a lot of very talented people, but they haven't been given this kind of opportunity. So it must be luck."
Allison's preparation is paying off, as her first single, "A Soft Place To Fall", introduces her to movie fans as well as country listeners. The song, found on The Horse Whisperer soundtrack, captures the quality that makes Allison's voice so distinctive. She entwines her sultry voice tenderly around the lyrics of the poignant ballad, allowing you to feel every nuance of love and longing the song conveys. It's precisely the type of song she prefers.
"What kills me is a hard-core country ballad - that's what I love the most. They touch me. I learn more about myself as a singer everyday, and I think they're what I sing best. I can't describe my voice, but I don't think I sound like anybody else."
In fact, her one-of-a-kind voice landed the talented "unknown" a spot on the film's music compilation, which is laden with modern day icons of roots and country music. Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, The Hill Country Flatlanders, George Strait and Iris Dement all appear on the soundtrack. When "A Soft Place To Fall", which Allison wrote with Gwil Owen, was pitched for the film, the music supervisor knew immediately it was the ideal choice for a key scene. Fortuitously, the scene required a band and a vocalist, so Allison was invited to sing her song under the auspices of the legendary Robert Redford, director and star of the film.
Music has been second nature to the Alabama native since her early years. "I've always sung, since I was little bitty. I was real tiny when I started singing harmony. I learned from my Mama. If there's one record that influenced me more than any record that exists, it's the Outlaw record that Waylon, Willie, Jessie and Tompall did. It played in my house constantly when I was a kid."
After moving to Nashville in 1993, Allison began her run-ins with luck. While developing a career as a background singer, she met Butch Primm, a singer / songwriter, who encouraged her to step out on her own. He has since become her husband. "Butch convinced me that I should take a different avenue of approach and do my own thing." Allison's songwriting style became finely tuned as she started writing with Butch. Their collaboration encompasses every aspect of music. "We spend a lot of time talking about production and what we want to accomplish. It's more that just going into the studio and cutting some songs and hoping they'll be hits. We have a communication and a way of writing together that works. I think that happens when you know somebody that well. We're able to get to the nut instead of dancing around it."
Her songs clearly have a universal appeal. Again, good luck brought her a publishing deal when a friend was talking to Jonathan Stone of Windswept Pacific in Los Angeles. Stone wanted to know what was going on in Nashville and was told he needed to "check out Allison Moorer."
"Jonathan called me and we had lunch," Allison picks up the story. "Later I played some songs for him on the guitar, and went home. Shortly after that day, they said, 'Okay, we want to sign you to a publishing deal.' It's a great place for me to be."
In June of 1996, Allison was asked to perform a tribute for the late Walter Hyatt, a close friend. Booking agent Bobby Cudd helped put the benefit together. Once he heard Allison sing, he hooked her up with famed producer and President of MCA Records/ Nashville, Tony Brown. In January, after several meetings, Brown asked her to make some demos. When he heard the resulting four songs, he knew he had found something special. Label Chairman Bruce Hinton agreed and they asked Allison to showcase for them. Allison recalls the unforgettable moment. "After I got off the stage, Tony said, 'We've got a deal'."
Allison's debut, "A Soft Place To Fall", paves the way for her first album, slated for release in mid-1 998. She's taking time to make sure the project will truly represent what she's all about. "What I'm trying to do is make music that means something to me. I don't pay too much attention to trends or what's selling. I hope my music reflects the spirit of what we used to call country music, that it comes from a place inside as opposed to an outside influence. That's what I love about George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams, Sr. and Lucinda Williams. When those folks sing you know it's coming from that place."
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