There is a saying that goes, ‘Honesty and authenticity. If you can fake those you’ve got it made!’. Well, there is no need for fakery on the latest album from Tom Moriarty. Recorded live in a tiny chapel in France, the ten songs on The Shore are raw and open in the way that only a single voice and guitar can be.
Moriarty’s voice could never be described as ‘beautiful’ but there is a noble intensity held within his rough-hewn vocals. There are echoes of some of the great British folk songwriters of the 60s and 70s in both the singing and the playing.
Bert Jansch and John Martyn both shared distinctive characteristics with Moriarty – whisky-soaked voices with the texture of gravel; lyrics which laid bare the pain of love, loss and life; guitar playing that is so intricately sparse that it allows the words room to breathe and the meaning to hang in the air.
While he has been caricatured as a protest singer, he is so much more than such a lazy definition. If his songs are protest songs they come not from a political agenda but rather from very human emotions, railing against the injustices around us.