Originally from Kansas City but now based in Hong Kong, Todd Warner Moore makes folk music that has tints of 70s pop and Americana where he captures our ever-changing growth as individuals. His latest album Path Overgrown is what you can call an existential inventory of all the things that Todd is shuffling through to move forward.
The title track, “Path Overgrown,” is an optimistic anthem where Todd pays a form of homage to our past that has led to our present. There is a sense of nostalgia and familiarity within the track as Todd chants “Oh once more to return again.” The same kind of vibe is felt in “Empty Page” where through notebook metaphors we are taken to the past. “Alone / In her room / She sees the slideshow / Of her life.”
Along with the reflection of the past, Todd also ponders over alternative lives. In “Fish or Bird” and “Little Cobra,” he uses animal metaphors to tap into the unknown and unnoticed lives of creatures whose paths have crossed with ours at some point. In the slow-burning “On,” Todd further continues using nature as a comparison to the breakneck pace of life that humans engage. “If you were a butterfly / Looking down at you / You’d be mollified / What to do” he chants.
While in some parts Todd embraces change, in other parts he accepts the feeling of loss that come with it. The gliding strings and heavy-heartedness is felt in “Buildings” where he uses architectural imageries to channel the void we feel when nothing seems to be the same. “Ways” further taps into the uncertainties we experience when we have to make choices that will bring change into our lives. But Todd also balances these haunting moments of doubts with faith-filled instances such as “Gratitude” and “Book Of Sky.”
Nature is undoubtedly omnipresent throughout the record. In “The Day They,” Todd boxes us into a slo-mo moment of observing the natural cycle of our environment as he captures the flowers blooming after the rain. The glimmering riffs alongside the imageries capture the beauty of natural cycle and implicitly comfort us with the knowledge that our lives – like nature – are cyclical. In “Book Of Sea,” we’re given a moment to reflect back on old sad memories that no longer affect us.
Path Overgrown ends with a lighthearted track “And They’d Sing” where we are taken into a moment of mindfulness. At times the track feels like a distant memory of childhood where you can’t remember the words, but the feelings associated with it. “And they’d laugh but did not speak” he chants. With this final track, Todd reminds us that while change is inevitable, there are bits of our past that are always worth visiting.
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