Dallas Moore, along with his band, won the Ameripolitan Best Outlaw Group in 2017 and as if any further proof were needed he’s pulled out all the stops for his latest, Mr. Honky Tonk. He’s far from a young gun and he is the true warrior many others may claim to be. Last year he played 327 dates and he released his first album, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, in 1991. This is a guy who has served his apprenticeship and been a qualified Outlaw since before some of the latest arrivals were even born. He’s a badass with an equally badass beard, and whilst I’ve liked him very much for quite a while, this might be his best yet.
The title track is a testament to him not knowing what ‘days off’ are. It’s also a killer honky tonk song that more than lives up to its title. Throughout the album, whether it’s on the Charlie Robisonesque You Know The Rest or the rocking roadhouse boogie of Killing Me Nice And Slow, the quality and the rowdiness shines through. Harmonica legend Mickey Raphael, best known for his work with Willie, and top Nashville session men play on the album and it sounds as if they’re having a ball. In fact, talking of Willie, Home Is Where The Highway Is could have come from his glory days hanging out with Waylon. It’s that good.
Dallas Moore handles the slower material like the waltz Kisses From You equally well and that song in particular most brought home how a) if Chris Stapleton was really deserving of the recognition he’s getting he’d have made this album and b) Dallas Moore ought to be where Chris Stapleton is right now. It’s really refreshing to see so many artists, new and old, waving the Outlaw flag. If there’ s one thing that can save us from country suicide then this is it. This is a proper, proper country/Outlaw album and not only is Dallas Moore the real deal, he’s also Mr. Honky Tonk.