SUNDAY, MAR. 15, 2020 | SOUTH ON MAIN [1304 Main St., Little Rock]
7:00 PM—The Oxford American is excited to welcome John Moreland to the South on Main stage, with support by Arkansas-native Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster! Doors open at 5:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. This show is a special addition to our 2019-2020 Concert Series and is made possible in part by Downtown Little Rock Partnership.
Tickets are $30 (General Admission), $34 (Reserved), and $36 (Premium Reserved)—available via Metrotix.com or (800) 293-5949.
Over the last half a dozen years or so, John Moreland’s honesty has stunned––and stung. Today, his earthbound poetry remains potent, but in addition to his world-weary candor, Moreland’s music smolders with gentle wisdom, flashes of wit and joy, and compassion.
Out February 2020, his latest album, LP5, is a masterful display of songwriting by one of today’s best young practitioners of the art form. The album’s experimentations with instrumentation and sounds capture an artist whose confidence has grown, all without abandoning the hardy roots rock bed and the lyrics-first approach Moreland’s work demands.
When pressed about the hard-won wisdom and peace that seem to define LP5, Moreland is characteristically both direct and humble. “I definitely am wiser than I was five years ago––I guess anybody would hope to be wiser than they were five years ago,” he says with a laugh. “But I do feel more mellow. Settled. I don’t feel as antsy or think I’ve got to prove myself anymore. I feel really comfortable and free to just do what I want to do.”
What does a songwriter who has mined darkness do when he finds a measure of contentment?
This was the challenge that faced Fayetteville, AR songwriter Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster when writing his new album Take Heart, Take Care. A songwriter who had success with Water Liars and Marie/Lepanto (his collaboration with Will Johnson of Centro-Matic) and has earned acclaim from NPR, Billboard, NY Times, and Paste Magazine now took time to reassess his writing process. Kinkel-Schuster, who everyone calls Pete, says, “I had, more than anything else, good things to say, and ironically I was unsure of how to say them. I’d spent so long yawping at perceived darkness both real and imagined, internal and external, that I was in a sense starting from scratch, learning to express something good in a way that didn’t feel cheap or silly or disingenuous to me.”
“It took a long time, relatively speaking,” he says, continuing, “It involved a lot more patience and consistency.” He is talking about songwriting but could be talking about the work of showing up for life. He lists the means that helped with the latter, all as if still unfolding: “Learning to stop making the same mistakes over and over. Moving to Arkansas. Meeting my partner. Finding peace and stability at home but being able to keep working. Finding a balance between all of these things. Being sober for a number of years and working on upkeep.”
So what does a songwriter do when he finds contentment? He tries to pass on what he knows in hopes of helping the next person.