Sunday, February 9, 2003

Major labels listen to Dallas Moore's sound



By Larry Nager
The Cincinnati Enquirer

With 10 Cammy Awards and two nominations for 2003, the Dallas Moore Band is the all-time Cammy champ. Today, Moore lead guitarist Chuck Morpurgo, bassist Bob Rutherford and drummer Bobby Lee will be part of the Nominee Showcase at Jillian's, trying to convince judges they should give them another Country Band Cammy and another Country Instrumentalist statuette (for Morpurgo).

IF YOU GO
  • What: Cammy Nominee Showcase
• Where: Jillian's (522 W. 12th St., Covington; 859-491-5388)
• When: 2-11 p.m. today
• Tickets: $3
• Performing: 2 p.m. Carol Walker Project; 2:30, Semi-Automatic; 3, Sonny Moorman Group; 3:30, Deceiving Ralph; 4, Pavilion Music Co.; 4:30, Wild Blue Yonder; 5, Messerly & Ewing; 5:30, Amy McFarland & the Gamut; 6, Venus Mission; 6:30, Prizoner; 7, Abiyah; 7:30, Premium; 8, P. Ann Everson-Price; 8:30, Dallas Moore Band; 9, Triage; 9:30 Andrew Geonetta; 10, Dave Purcell.
cammy Lately, they have been playing for higher stakes. The band has been meeting with legendary Muscle Shoals producer Barry Beckett (Bob Dylan, Dire Straits, Hank Williams Jr., Etta James, Phish) concerning a production deal at Beckett's expense.

The group also is talking to several major Nashville labels on the strength of its latest CD, High on the Hog. "It's cool," says Moore, the high-energy singer/guitarist. "We've been doin' our own thing for a long time, and usually, (from the major labels), right off the bat we'd get `Oh, this is too hard.'"

One reason for the majors' confidence is what the band has been doing with its hard-edged, good-time country rock. Playing about five shows a week, the band has sold more than 12,000 copies of its new CD.

"I think the biggest thing it comes down to is we're selling so much and we've already got a big tour base," Moore says. "I think they've just got to find something they can get on modern country radio with us. Our stuff is so much farther over the edge than most of that."

Last year, the band did its biggest crossover, taking part in the Inclusion Network's Hidden Treasures King Records tribute with a duet with Sweet Alice Hoskins on the R&B/rockabilly raveup, "Good Rockin' Tonight."

This year, the band again will tour with one of Nashville's edgier country-rock bands, Montgomery Gentry, and has shows planned with country outlaw David Allan Coe.

Despite that workaholic schedule and his hell-raising reputation, Moore has found time to write 14 new songs, some of which the band will debut at the Showcase.

While he and the band - together since 1999 - revel in the local acclaim, they're excited about all the national interest, which Moore chalks up to the band's resilience. "We've continued to grow and just kinda done it old school and grassroots, just getting out and playin' our (butts) off ... whether it's local or on the road, just tryin' to really work hard."

Should the major-label deals fall through, the guys have a fall back: panties. "They're a hot item," Moore says about the one-size-fits-all black thongs, emblazoned with the band's name in hot pink ($10).

He says the panties will be at their merchandise table today at Jillian's. "The cool thing about it is, it was my wife, Mary's, idea," he adds. (She said) `As many chicks follow y'all around, you need to sell panties; they would buy 'em like crazy.' Now, they can't keep them in stock."

E-mail lnager@enquirer.com

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