.JOE Moore is nobody’s fool.
The 24-year-old singer-songwriter has not let his experience on the amped-up national TV talent show The Voice turn him into an overconfident punk. Rather, after seven years of busking in Sydney, it has made him even more street-wise and aware of his own musical strengths.
Moore’s debut album, A Thousand Lifetimes, was released last week, featuring 10 tightly carved love songs with lush production values. It’s a long way from playing half of a cover of Wonderwall to an approaching couple in Sydney’s Hyde Park in the hope of making a bit of coin.
But, as he demonstrated in a 20-minute busking session in Newcastle Mall on Monday during his visit to the city, the essence of Joe Moore is a young guy with a great voice and the ability to dramatically tell stories simply with an acoustic guitar.
‘‘That’s still my thing,’’ Moore says of his busking lifestyle. ‘‘I would never give that up. I love playing acoustic. It’s such a nice thing to do. It’s great playing with a band – awesome. But for me, nothing beats the raw sound. I’ve never done anything but guitar and voice into a speaker.’’
His top busking song is Heroes or Ghosts, by Irish indie rockers The Coronas. ‘‘That’s been my favourite song for four years,’’ Moore says. ‘‘I play it almost every set.
‘‘The song is about making it in the music industry and carries a line ‘it’s gonna take a lot of time and a little bit of luck’. It’s a good line but it should be ‘a lot of time and a lot of luck’.’’
From the outside, it looks like Moore has enjoyed a damned good run of luck. Raised in West Sussex, in England, Moore was brought up listening to classic blues rock, from the likes of Gary Moore. It was Joe’s dad, Steve, who had a great voice and sang in bands. The family moved to Australia eight years ago, and Moore’s parents Steve and Annie live in Valentine on Lake Macquarie.
Moore began busking in Hyde Park in downtown Sydney, toying with songs like Wonderwall and American Pie, playing bits as passersby approached. He could easily see them coming down the long promenade of the park, and he’d fire up so he was playing one of those famous chorus lines by the time they walked by, increasing his chances of getting a tip.
When he moved his action to Pitt Street it became more like a job, getting up at 3am, toting the acoustic guitar his dad had first bought him for £100. Eventually he began to write songs, and those songs have proved to be winners – most of them making it onto the debut album. Four of the five songs from his first EP are on the new album.
After his great run on The Voice this year, making the final four, the opportunity to make an album came into play. ‘‘The original idea was to do a ‘journey’ album, it’s the norm,’’ Moore says of the well-worn path of reality TV stars. ‘‘We worked on it for about two weeks. All the way along I was feeding songs along to the table. Then there was the golden meeting, and my manager called and said ‘they want to do an original album’.
‘‘It’s just incredible,’’ Moore says. ‘‘I will stand and fall on myself. It is exactly right, the old-fashioned way.’’