Working hard for the money

By PAULETTE FLOWERS Published:

"I got a lotta work to do."

These are the first words Allison Moorer sings on her new album, "Getting Somewhere." They could also be Allison's theme for the entire album. Of the first song, "Work to Do," Allison says: "I wrote this song for everyone that's ever been told they couldn't do something especially for the girls! It's about trying to do one of the hardest things in the world: get rid of negative thoughts about yourself."

The next two songs follow that theme. Allison wrote "You'll Never Know" on a long airplane trip without an instrument or a tape recorder. "This one grew out of a real-life argument," she said. "I was having trouble expressing myself." The next tune, "Hallelujah," is all about being oneself.

But it's the center of the album where Allison did her hardest and most personal work, and it shines through the songs. The album's midsection finds her dealing with ghosts and taking the reins of her own creative process. "None of these songs are made up out of nothing; they all came from something I was experiencing at that moment or had experienced earlier," she says. New Year's Day' is about my childhood, a glimpse into how I grew up. ('Black-eyed peas in a plastic bowl on New Year's Day/sittin' in my swing-set swing to get away/ Sissy says, Don't worry, it'll be OK/so we do what we always do and stay out of the way.') That really happened."

Moorer's childhood has cast a long, notorious shadow over her life. When she was only 14, her parents died in a murder-suicide. In the song "How She Does It," Moorer revisits this defining event. "I wrote that song for my mother," she says. "It's me rewriting history. It was the first time I really realized my power as a writer. It hit me that I don't have to tell it as it is, I can tell it as I want it to be. (This time) she gets away."

The album's title track is also its closing song, in which Allison sings, "I close my eyes and whisper a prayer/I have to believe I'm getting somewhere." Sounds to me like Allison Moorer already has gotten somewhere great.

QUIBBLES 'N BITS

Housewarming Dept.: As has already been reported, Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees bought the Hendersonville, Tenn., home of the late Johnny and June Carter Cash. Barry says he'll spend the summer there to begin a yearlong renovation of the house. Luckily, it didn't suffer in the recent tornadoes that destroyed many homes in the area. But, since so many country stars live in those parts, Barry got a chance to meet all his new neighbors at a benefit concert on May 1. Lorrie Morgan, the Del McCoury Band, the Oak Ridge Boys and many others, including Barry himself, put on a stellar free show for all the folks in the area. The stars came out both to help get people's minds off their troubles and to raise money for tornado relief. Oh, by the way, Barry is reportedly thinking about making a country album soon.

Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter Dept.: At a late-April Music Row get-together to honor the late Roy Orbison, Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn said, "(He) influenced a lot of us who sing high." Apparently, several folks in the crowd put their own spin on the comment, and some laughter broke out. Ronnie looked over the top of his sunglasses and gave the crowd a stern look. "I mean high voices," he chided. The ceremonies, which took place in RCA's historic Studio B where Orbison cut many of his hits included a tribute proclamation for Roy to his widow.

Rough Cuts Quote of the Week: "I can jump up on the piano now, but that's all I can do." Former Brookville High School (Lynchburg, Va.) star athlete Phil Vassar. Phil was the headliner for the concert after the recent Country Music Marathon, and the occasion caused him to remember his days as a track-and-field star with school records in hurdles, high jump and long jump.

I'd love to hear from you, so please write me at P.O. Box 121438, Nashville, TN 37212.

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