Something Else! sneak peek: moe., “Blond Hair and Blue Eyes” from No Guts No Glory (2014)

Only a free-form improvisational group like moe. could start out with the aim of a barn-recorded acoustic album and somehow end up working with a producer who made his name in hip hop-circles. Of course Dave Aron has, since rising to fame alongside 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Snoop, since worked with U2 and Prince. So, in a way — in a moe. kind of way, that is — it works.

There’s always been a deep-seated sense of freedom to their music, this underlying potluck theme. They’ll make a gumbo with whatever is at hand, and somehow — no matter how weird the base ingredients are — it works on the palette. Same with “Blond Hair and Blue Eyes,” the lead track from their forthcoming No Guts, No Glory. Part of a project meant to echo the oaken joys of moe.’s bonus disc for 2012′s What Happened to the LA LAs, instead it starts with a muscular, brassy riff before opening up into a hippified paean for lasting love — made complete with a cadence as loose as its front-porchy sing-along chorus.

Aron, it turns out, is a fan — someone who, when not working with the likes of Biggie Smalls or Sublime, faithfully attended their West Coast shows. His approach here was strikingly simpatico, and yet it draws new shadings, new flavors, out of what moe. has always done. More interesting still, moe. hadn’t worked everything out on the road beforehand, their typical approach.

As such, “Blond Hair and Blue Eyes,” with its rangy, Bourbon Street-meets-Haight Street feel, is the result of a true in-the-moment collaboration, with everybody grabbing a spoon to stir the spot. The 11-track No Guts, No Glory, recorded with Aron at Stamford’s Carriage House Studios in Connecticut, is due via Sugar Hill Records on May 27, 2014. There will also a deluxe and vinyl edition with three additional songs.

[amazon_enhanced asin="B006K4XXDG" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B003IMERWE" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00004S7ZZ" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00000AG6O" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B0016GLZOM" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /]

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.