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Ian Moore Action Company, Via Satellite (Hablador)
Sure, it was released back in 2001, but the world always needs strong blues rock like Ian Moore Action Company's Via Satellite. The Austin-based guitarist has been steadily, if stealthily, in the eight years since his "Muddy Jesus" (off 1995's Modernday Folklore) dented rock radio. Since then, he's been sharpening his lyricism and building on his blues rock influences, adding pop, soul and gospel to albums like Ian Moore's Got the Green Grass and And All the Colors . . .. Via Satellite, recorded live at Houston's Satellite Lounge, proves that Moore's musical vision has been fully synthesized. The expansive "Today" could be "Blue Sky" (from his self-titled 1993 debut) Redux, with Moore's soaring guitar and husky-to-falsetto voice range, and "Johnny Cash" was made to blare while zipping down a dusty highway. Moore, in a good mood in front of his home-state crowd, tosses in "Diabilito", a mash-up of "Muddy Jesus" and Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus". Of course, Moore shows what he's learned lately, as well: a vaguely-Eastern coda wraps up "Coming Around" (and sneaks into "Diabilito"), while "Angelyne", with Paul Brainerd's trumpet flourishes, could pass for a border hymn. An impassioned cover of Sam Cooke's "Wash Away My Troubles" atones for the rest of the album's sins. The music scene is littered with '90s rockers who have failed in their attempts to remain vital; that Via Satellite finds Moore succeeding while keeping his "Ian Moore-ness" intact makes the album that much sweeter.