After a stint playing guitar for Joe Ely, Ian Moore made a name for himself two years ago with his self-titled debut Capricorn album.
The reviews nationwide were dazzling and flattering, often citing his soul-bearing voice and rapid-fire guitar, but through it all, Moore fought hard to maintain his sanity.
So far, he’s winning that battle.
“I live in Austin, Texas, and it’s a really small town, when you think about it,” Moore said recently. “Austin’s a really good example of a town where a lot of times great musicians don’t get their due. Not that I consider myself to be lesser a musician than anyone else in town.
“Some people get the breaks and some people don’t. These are my peers and my friends. It’s really difficult.”
In the beginning, it’s fun to be the “next big thing,” on par with other noteworthy musicians, Moore said, but then reality strikes back.
“It’s a whole other thing when you go into a record store and there’s a bunch of guitar players you’ve known for years working there and they’ve maybe given up on the fact of going without a day job. It’s hard really. … You don’t know how to communicate with them. I end up a lot of times of being meek because I don’t want to come across as arrogant.”
Chances are, Austin is quite proud of Moore. His second full-length Capricorn album, “Modernday Folklore,” was released June 27 to immediate critical praise. Unlike his debut album, which was deeply personal, Moore touches on a wide variety of societal topics (blind conformity, male sexuality, religion) and takes them down a diverse path.
“Production-wise,” Moore said, “I wanted to do more like Sly Stone’s style of production, which is very soulful and interactive, and create an environment that’s really emotional, but not be afraid to make any mistakes.
“I was inspired by the (Rolling) Stones’ ‘Exile on Main St.,’ in terms of that album being so varied, on so many different tangents. They weren’t afraid to shift thematically from one thing to another.”
Moore dabbles in blues, hard rock, psychedelia and a heart full of soul, of which the best example is the track “Lie.” On it, he laments the drug-induced fall of Sly Stone in the 1970s, and even throws in a few lines from Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher” at the end.
“What’s funny is, I met him in L.A. once and didn’t even know it was him,” Moore said. “I had just played a set, and he was in this corner and he goes ‘Hey, man, I like your stuff.’ I said thanks, and then he disappears.
“And later, my manager goes ‘Did you know Sly Stone was here tonight?’ And it slowly seeps into my brain, ‘Oh, man, that’s who I was talking to.’ ” Moore knows he won’t succumb to the vices that ruined Stone, but he does have a fear of falling.
“The more successful you are, the more people want you to fall at some point,” he said. “But I’m enjoying what I’m doing too much to let that ever happen to me.”