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Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

SHS alumnus visits and performs for area schools

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Hunter Moore performs for Nora Fuch's choir class at Sikeston High School Wednesday.
SIKESTON -- Sitting around, in a jam-session type atmosphere, Sikeston Senior High students of Nora Fuch's choir class listen as SHS alumnus Hunter Moore sings about life near the Mississippi River, love and everyday conversations.

"He's very inspiring," said junior Julie Annesser about the songwriter-performer. "He's definitely worth seeing. I think everyone really enjoyed his music."

Moore will also perform for students at Charleston on Thursday and New Madrid on Friday. In addition to performing in his hometown, Moore has taken his music on the road, performing in coffeehouses and concert halls across the U.S. as well as touring in Europe.

But on Wednesday, Moore was singing the songs he's written -- something he prefers to do since many of his songs are written about life in Southeast Missouri.

For example, Moore mentions growing up on Bonus Hill and the cotton seed oil mill in Sikeston in some of his songs. "Some may not remember, but there are people here who will know where these places were," Moore said.

When Moore mentions the Mississippi River to people in Southeast Missouri, they can relate in a stronger way to his songs, he said.

"When I sing 'I've got the Mississippi mud in my blood,' and 'the mosquitoes are big enough to carry you home,' people here know what I'm talking about, whereas an audience in Vermont or Connecticut laugh at those lyrics -- they like them, but they can't relate to them. It's like a foreign experience for them," Moore said.

Prior to performing each song, Moore tells a little story of the origin of the song he's about to play. "The material in stories I tell are definitely common to people and places here," Moore said.

Take for instance Moore's concert scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at Malone Avenue Grill in Sikeston.

"This is an excellent opportunity for people in the area to experience what I do," Moore pointed out.

Moore's passion for performing music began in junior high and high school when he was in a local band. After high school, Moore attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. From Vanderbilt, Moore went on to a music school in Boston, Mass, where attended school for a year and then stayed at Boston for a couple years, playing in bars and clubs, he said.

He then moved back to Sikeston for a year, and wound up in Nashville again in 1980.

"There was this songwriting business that people aren't aware of," Moore said. "I was hired as a staff writer for a couple different song publishers."

As a songwriter, Moore's songs were recorded by Ricky Skaggs, Alabama, Kathy Mattea and others.

Moore later began performing his music and released his first album, "Departure" in 1992. His two other albums, "Delta Moon" and "Conversations," were released later, and each album received air play throughout the U.S. and abroad. Currently, Moore is working on his fourth album, which he hopes to release by Christmas.

"The songs will be more of my of voice and guitar -- basically the way I perform live," Moore explained. "There will be some old and some new songs."

Moore said today he's doing what he wants to do, but more artistically. He'd like as many people possible to hear his music.

Described as "country/folk with a groove," Moore's music borrows from country, folk and blues to create a contemporary sound driven by his rhythmical approach on acoustic guitar.

"It's (Moore's songwriting) never gonna be traditional, but I'd like it to be more of a timeless feeling than a fad or flavor the month," Moore said.

Due to his unique style of music, Moore said it's difficult to get radio exposure. It's mostly college and public radio stations that pick up his music so his exposure is limited.

"It's not like the 1,500 country radio stations. For this 'niche-type' of jazz, blues and folk, newsprint and live performances are the ways for people to learn about my music," Moore said.

For now, Nashville is home for Moore, his wife and their two teenage sons -- and it has been for the past 30 years.

But Moore admitted there's nothing like coming back to his roots to perform.

Moore said: "Nashville is a good place to live. It has a small-town feel, but it's always a pleasure to come back and see my friends and family here."

Residents will have the opportunity to buy signed copies of Moore's CDs and hear him play following Saturday's Cotton Carnival Parade when he is at the SEMO Music Center on Front Street beginning at 3 p.m.

Moore's concert will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Malone Street Grill's conference room. There is a $5 charge with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about Moore and his music, his Web site is www.huntermoore.com.