Never Look Away, the 9th album from Daniel Martin Moore, finds the artist expanding, experimenting, and having fun in the studio. Co-produced by multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman, the recordings are candid, unfussed-over, and full of energy and light. “Seth is a wonder. I’ve admired his work for years, and it was a joy to bring this batch of songs to life with him,” said DMM. Kauffman is best-known for being the man-behind-the-band Floating Action, playing nearly all of the instruments, producing, recording, and mixing the albums himself. (In his spare time, he plays on the albums and in the touring bands of Jim James, Ray Lamontagne, and many others.)
The two artists convened at Kauffman’s home studio in Black Mountain, NC and set about to build the framework for the songs. Working from the rhythm up, they then added DMM’s guitar or piano, and a scratch vocal as a road map. From there, Kauffman added percussion, bass, and other supporting instruments.
At that point, DMM took the tracks back to his home studio in Kentucky, enlisting a trusty team of long-time collaborators to complete the record: Dan Dorff, Jr. on piano; Alexis Marsh on flute, clarinet, and saxophone; Scott Moore on violin; Charlie Patton on cello; with Sarah Teeple adding harmonies on the title track. The end result is a richly-layered, rhythmically-driven, vocal-centered, incredibly enjoyable album – the strongest of DMM’s career.
The artwork is also the result of a meeting of creative minds. The cover is by artist Ruth Speer. DMM said, “I came across some of Ruth’s paintings online, and I thought they were great, so I reached out to see if she’d be interested in working on something together. During our correspondence, she mentioned that she has synethsesia, and experiences colors associated with sounds. I sent her a recording of my favorite chord, Ebmaj7, with A=432hz, and that is the color palette for the painting she made.”
There’s profound beauty to be found all throughout the 10 songs of this record. The lyrics touch on loss, acceptance, admiration, love, peace, and a need for quiet and open spaces and times in our hurried, ever-more-digital lives. Immersing ourselves in the sonic environment of Never Look Away would be a good place to start.