One Track Mind: Gary Moore, “If the Devil Made Whiskey” from Live at Bush Hall (2014)

Gary Moore catches a ferocious groove on this opening track from the forthcoming Live at Bush Hall, exploring a suitably dangerous theme on the Almighty’s creation of all things — both good and assuredly bad. It’s a dichotomy not uncommon in the blues, but still one in which the troubled late guitarist finds new depths of meaning, as evidenced within his skin-crawlingly angry solo.

Moore, to be sure, had his demons, and this scalding take on “If the Devil Made Whiskey” explores them, it seems, definitively — not with its lyrical content so much as the way he attacks his instrument. Sadly, that genius, that ability to convey stirring emotional sweeps through the machinery of music, occasionally comes with a heavy price.

You get, on the one hand, instinctual moments like this, times when Moore makes his case all over again (after some admittedly less interesting forays into fusion) as one of modern blues’ more original voices — and certainly one of its most visceral. But then you’ve got his sad end, and the knowledge that these passions and problems ultimately consumed him.

Those two things have been ever intertwined, and not just with Moore. Some fight it off, some learn to live with it, some end up like Moore — who, Live at Bush Hall (due September 23, 2014, via Eagle Rock) reminds, scorched across the night sky like a comet. He was just as quickly gone, but also just as memorably bright.

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