Allison Moorer   (from the album Down to Believing) - Allison Moorer has released Down to Believing, her ninth studio album. “Thunderstorm and Hurricane” rumbles with the thunder of bass drums and the quiver of cellos, a bombastic confessional, big and bold and aching with pain and strife. Allison Moorer cashes in her crystal ball for a wrecking ball on “I Lost My Crystal Ball,” an 80s-style cowboy rocker that crashes again the wall with tons of guilty Telecasters, another blazing Greenberg solo and gorgeous harmonies (which appear from the liner notes to be Moorer’s own overdubs).

Leaving or staying, whether we do or we don’t -- the prospect of living without someone -- is the central theme of the three-quarter time ballad title track, gorgeously proffered here with lonesome pedal steel guitars and beautiful piano lines. Moorer takes the album in a down and dirty direction on “Mama Let The Wolf In,” a brash and ballsy blend of Creedence Clearwater’s groove and Bobbie Gentry’s badass attitude. Allison’s not whistling in the dark when she says “I’m Doing Fine,” a woman-powered anthem that’ll likely be covered within the next twenty minutes by the next contemporary country starlet to come down the road.

The one song on the record that didn’t come from Moorer’s pen, a cover of CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” is nice enough but, given the remarkable intimacy of this record, it seems slightly shallow and out of place. For it is the remarkable depth of Moorer’s intimate lyrics and the power of her voice -- with no small help from a great band and stellar production -- that make this album tick. It’s a good one, that gets better with every listening session.

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