Best of 2015: John Moreland – High On Tulsa Heat

With a collection of songs intentionally omitting frills, High On Tulsa Heat is hell-bent on untangling the things John Moreland feels. Straightforward and direct, there is no gimmick to Moreland. His music mirrors his image mainly because his image is exactly what he is. Refusing to hide behind the glitz and glitter that has recently headlined the Nashville scene, Moreland stays true to his Oklahoma roots. As blue-collar and working-class as imaginable, Moreland is simply a straightforward man with a haggard voice and a knack for storytelling.

High On Tulsa Heat’s strongest quality is the emotions it conjures up. Moreland writes about his experiences with a responsibility to vulnerability and integrity.

The album’s finest example comes four songs into the album as Moreland uses “White Flag” to confess:

“I wanna learn a new sickness
and dance around forgiveness
Darling, won’t you be my ache to please?
Or are you bundled up in bar light
clinging to a prettier disease?”

Coupled with songs like “Hang Me In The Tulsa County Stars” and “Cherokee”, which yield some of the most prevalently genuine lyrics about morality and accountability, make High On Tulsa Heat impeccable and irreproachable.

Although his songs paint him as a simple man from Oklahoma, Moreland’s legacy will show that he became one of the most important men in Americana in 2015.

Joshua Hammond

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