When a kid from New Jersey sings country music as if he had been born in the back of a pickup truck on brown-paper chicken-feed sacks as Mom waited for Dad to come out of the tavern, you know that times have changed. Moot Davis serves up honky-tonk music like someone who's been spoonfed bad whiskey by worse women while sitting in the corner of the little log cabin down the lane. Yes, the days of having to grow up a hillbilly before you can sing like one are long gone. You don't have to be an urbanite to rap or a black sharecropper to sing the blues anymore. The complete accessibility of recorded music has taken the necessity of location out of the education of a musician. Sure, it might help to be surrounded by and absorbed in not only the recorded versions of a style but also the actual lifestyle in which the sound originated, but it isn't necessary. So, Moot, you go right ahead and sing country music as if you were a redneck from Montgomery with hole in your bucket so you can't buy beer. Or as if you were an Okie from Muskogee, proud that white lightning is the biggest thrill of all. Moot -- and this goes for the rest of you, too -- if you like it and it sounds good to you, it is good.
Moot, who latched onto country music in high school, cites Johnny Cash and Hank Williams the First as his greatest inspirations. After a stint in theater acting, he kicked around Nashville for a while, then sent a demo recording to Little Dog Records. Soon he was headed for Burbank, Calif., to record an album with Grammy Award-winning producer Pete Anderson, owner of Little Dog Records. The resultant CD, christened Moot Davis, has become a honky-tonk favorite among alt-country and classic-country fans alike. Be forewarned that the aforementioned Anderson, responsible for producing and playing lead guitar on Dwight Yoakam's many albums, will be picking and plucking six steel strings, live with Moot.
Moot Davis and the Cool Deal (featuring Pete Anderson on lead guitar) perform Wednesday, Oct. 13, at the Underground City Tavern, Hilton Springfield. Tickets are available at Recycled Records, or call 522-5122. Special guests Lucky Patterson and the Wolf Crick Boys open the show at 9 p.m.