- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Allison Moorer ends her new album in a voice wracked with heartache with the observation that we live in "such a sad, sad world."
But Miss Moorer swears she's not a morose person.
"I'm not bitter," Miss Moorer says. "I'm not cynical. I'm just honest."
Her second CD "The Hardest Part" (MCA) traces the decline of a love affair to a shattering, murderous conclusion on the final song "Cold Cold Earth."
The album is loosely based on the relationship between her parents. When she was 13, her father killed her mother and then committed suicide.
Miss Moorer, 28, says "The Hardest Part" is a love story.
"It's about two people who can't live with or without each other," she says. "And that happens a lot."
In the song that begins the album, Miss Moorer observes: "The hardest part of living is loving/ 'cause loving leads to leaving every time."
That's just the way it is, she says.
"Whatever kind of relationship it is: lover, parent, sibling, friend … it's not going to last forever. And you can get a lot of strength from that if you face it."
In musical styles that vary from almost bluegrass to soul to Bobbie Gentry-inspired swampy country, Miss Moorer questions whether a love affair is worth the energy ("Is It Worth It"), sassily puts down a two-timing man ("Think It Over"), asks for divine intervention ("Send Me Down an Angel"), and considers trying to love again ("Feeling That Feeling Again").
"Cold Cold Earth" is an unlisted 11th song on the CD, following "Feeling That Feeling Again."
" 'Cold Cold Earth' is on the record because that's bad love to the extreme," Miss Moorer says. "It's hidden because that's the actual ending to the story. But if you don't want it to end that way, you can just listen to it through track 10."
There are no plans to release "Cold Cold Earth" as a single.
Chatting in a bookstore's cafe, Miss Moorer is cheerful and upbeat about the album, despite its subject matter. She says the album doesn't reflect her personal life today. Her husband, Butch Primm, is the co-writer on most of her songs and helped produce "The Hardest Part."
The questions regarding the death of her parents, who died in 1986, are painful, but Miss Moorer is accustomed to them. The story became public in 1990 when her older sister Shelby Lynne, also a singer, began her career.
"That's part of who I am," Miss Moorer says. "You write what you know."
She blames her father's alcoholism for the tragedy.
"The thing I want people to know is their lives were much more important to me than their deaths," she says. "Their lives had much more of an effect on me than their deaths did."
Miss Moorer grew up in rural Alabama. After college, she followed her sister to Nashville and became one of her backup singers.
"I met Butch shortly after I moved here," she says. "He heard me singing and said, 'What are you doing? Why do you think you need to be a backup singer?' "
Her debut album was the critically acclaimed "Alabama Song" in 1998. It didn't generate much radio play or sales.
If radio programmers ignore the singles on "The Hardest Part," Miss Moorer may go the way of former MCA artists Steve Earle and Kelly Willis, who are considered leaders of the "alternative country" music movement.
"I would love to have commercial success, but I'm not willing to change myself or what I do in order to have that," she says.

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