Allison Moorer

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Allison Moorer
Allison Moorer.jpg
Moorer performing in 2011 in California
Background information
Birth name Allison Moorer
Born (1972-06-21) June 21, 1972 (age 44)
Origin Monroeville, Alabama, United States
Genres Americana, Alt Country, Folk, Rock, Roots Pop
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1998–present
Labels MCA Nashville Records
Universal South
Sugar Hill
New Line
Associated acts Shelby Lynne, Steve Earle

Allison Moorer (born June 21, 1972) is an American alternative country singer and the younger sister of Shelby Lynne.[1] She signed to MCA Nashville in 1998 and made her debut on the U.S. Billboard country charts with the release of her debut single "A Soft Place to Fall", which reached No. 73.

Since the release of her debut album Alabama Song, she released seven albums and 11 singles, five of which reached positions on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.


Early years[edit]

Moorer was raised in Monroeville, Alabama, just north of Mobile. Raised on George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, she sang harmonies as a toddler, eventually thinking she'd make a career of it. Following the murder-suicide of her parents (perpetrated by her father) in 1986, she moved into her aunt and uncle's home.

Musical career[edit]

Not long afterwards, sister Shelby Lynne moved to Nashville for a career in music, and after her high school graduation, Moorer followed. She sang harmonies with her sister for a while but returned to Alabama to earn a degree in public relations. She skipped the graduation ceremony to move back to Nashville.

There, she met Doyle "Butch" Primm, an Oklahoma-reared musician who soon became her husband and frequent songwriting partner. In June 1996, she took part in a series of tributes to her songwriter friend, the late Walter Hyatt, singing his "Tell Me Baby" at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Nashville agent Bobby Cudd was sufficiently impressed to introduce her to producer Tony Brown. After a few meetings, Brown asked her to cut some demos, from which two tracks—"Pardon Me" and "Call My Name"—ended up on her first MCA album, Alabama Song.

Moorer and Steve Earle in 2008.

Her song "A Soft Place to Fall" was tapped for Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer in 1998, and she also appeared in the movie. Because the ballad earned her an Academy Award nomination,[2] she performed it on the 1999 Oscars ceremony. However, none of her singles from Alabama Song or its follow-up The Hardest Part got much radio play, though both projects were highly praised by critics.

Moorer's version of the traditional folk song "Moonshiner" was featured in the 2000 film Songcatcher.

When Brown moved from MCA to sister label Universal South, Moorer followed. Her 2002 album Miss Fortune earned more raves, but didn't meet sales expectations. She almost got another big break by recording the duet "Picture" with Kid Rock after Sheryl Crow had bowed out. However, Crow changed her mind, and the Rock/Crow-version became a huge radio hit. Yet, the song was credited on the charts to both Crow and Moorer. In addition, the CD single featuring Moorer sold 500,000 copies and is certified Gold by the RIAA.

Her ballad "Tumbling Down" (from Miss Fortune) was featured on the soundtrack of the popular 2002 film The Rookie.

Her album Show was recorded in one night (two performances) at the 12th and Porter in Nashville and despite popular belief, it features the first recorded collaboration by both Moorer sisters.

After releasing Show and a DVD on Universal South, Moorer moved to independent label Sugar Hill Records. With a slightly rougher edge than past efforts, The Duel was released in April 2004.

A year after The Duel, Moorer divorced Primm and married Steve Earle, after serving as his opening act on a European tour. Earle produced her 2006 album, Getting Somewhere. Moorer wrote all the songs, with the exception of one co-written with Earle. She and Earle were nominated for a Grammy award in the category Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, for the song "Days Aren't Long Enough" from Earle's "Washington Square Serenade." Moorer gave birth to the couple's first child, John Henry Earle, on April 5, 2010. In March 2014, Earle announced that he and Moorer had separated.[3]

Moorer released the Buddy Miller-produced Mockingbird in February 2008;[4] an album mainly of covers of songs by female singer/songwriters including her sister, Shelby Lynne.

In 2009, Moorer performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States”.[5]

Also, in 2009, she appeared on the BBC series Transatlantic Sessions, Series 4, Episodes 4 and 5, performing a version of the Irish folk song, "Carrickfergus".

In 2015, Moorer released Down To Believing. The album marked a return to collaborating with Kenny Greenberg. Moorer said in an interview,"He produced my first two albums and I just felt like the time was right. for us to work together again. He’s simply one of my most favorite guitar players. He’s probably my favorite guitar player and he’s definitely the guitar player that I know the best. I’m very comfortable with him as a producer. He’s someone that I trust implicitly as a human being and a musician. And I think the time was right for us to do it."[6]

On August 18 2017, Moorer will release a collaborative record with her sister Shelby Lynne titled "Not Dark Yet". Produced by British folk singer Teddy Thompson, it will feature covers of songs by Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Nirvana and The Killers as well as an original recording.[7].


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Country



Alabama Song 68
The Hardest Part
  • Release date: September 26, 2000
  • Label: MCA Nashville
26 26
Miss Fortune 35 34
  • Release date: June 24, 2003
  • Label: Universal South
The Duel 55 41
Getting Somewhere
  • Release date: June 13, 2006
  • Label: Sugar Hill Records
Mockingbird 18 44
  • Release date: February 9, 2010
  • Label: Rykodisc
18 11
Down to Believing 26 8 36 15
Not Dark Yet (with Shelby Lynne)
  • Release date: August 18, 2017
  • Label: TBA
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details
The Definitive Collection
  • Release date: June 7, 2005
  • Label: MCA Nashville
The Ultimate Collection


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
1998 "A Soft Place to Fall" 73 Alabama Song
"Set You Free" 72
"Alabama Song"A
1999 "Pardon Me"
2000 "Send Down an Angel" 66 The Hardest Part
2001 "Think It Over" 57
2002 "Cold In California" Miss Fortune
"Up This High"
"Tumbling Down"
2003 "Going Down" (with Shelby Lynne) Show
2004 "All Aboard" The Duel
2006 "Fairweather" Getting Somewhere
2007 "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl" Mockingbird
2008 "Dancing Barefoot"
2009 "The Broken Girl" Crows
2010 "Just Another Fool"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  • A "Alabama Song" reached number 73 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart.

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Peak chart positions Album
2002 "Picture"A Kid Rock 21 4 17 2 N/A
2008 "Days Aren't Long Enough" Steve Earle Washington Square Serenade
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  • A Song was credited on the charts to Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow or Allison Moorer.

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1998 "A Soft Place to Fall" Robert Redford
"Set You Free" Thom Oliphant
"Alabama Song" Morgan Lawley
2000 "Send Down an Angel" Trey Fanjoy
2002 "Tumbling Down" Adolfo Doring
2004 "Going Down" Stephen Shepherd
2006 "Fairweather" Nicholas Poe
2015 "Like It Used to Be"[13] Coleman Saunders
"Tear Me Apart"[14]


Awards and Nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result
1998 Academy of Country Music Awards Top New Female Vocalist Herself Nominated
1999 Academy Awards Best Original Song A Soft Place To Fall Nominated
2004 Americana Music Honors & Awards Artist of the Year Herself Nominated
2008 Grammy Awards Best Country Collaboration with Vocals "Days Aren't Long Enough" with Steve Earle Nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Session Timeout - Academy Awards® Database - AMPAS". Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  3. ^ "Steve Earle On Staying Clean Through Personal Hardship ♫ Latest news at". Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  4. ^ Morningstar, Mary (March 11, 2008). "Allison Moorer Pays Tribute to Artists Who Inspired Her with 'Mockingbird'". VOA News. Voice of America. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  5. ^ [1] Archived May 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ from an interview on Americana Music Show #240, published on April 7, 2015.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Allison Moorer Album & Song Chart History – Country Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Allison Moorer Album & Song Chart History – Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Allison Moorer Album & Song Chart History – Independent Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Allison Moorer Album & Song Chart History – Folk Albums". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Allison Moorer Album & Song Chart History – Country Songs". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2010. 
  13. ^ "CMT : Videos : Allison Moorer : Like It Used to Be". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ "CMT : Videos : Allison Moorer : Tear Me Apart". Country Music Television. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 

External links[edit]