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Music Review - 'Kieran Ridge & the Moonrakers' Kieran Ridge (dm)

Kieran Ridge & the Moonrakers

27 Nov 2021


Kieran Ridge is not playing games. On his new album, recorded alongside his energetic and deft band, The Moonrakers, he delivers 11 original compositions with sincerity and urgency. Leading the band and his listeners through a forceful set of rollicking country, he reaches for territory familiar to Steve Earle, Chris Knight, Ryan Bingham, and Dan Baird.

Ridge is armed with an emotive and muscular voice, and a clever turn of phrase. On the latter, he routinely delivers lines like, “She feels good about her bad reputation,” and on the former, he is perfectly at ease rasping and shouting through hard luck tales of love, loss, and life at the bottom of the bottom of the bottle and top of a tough climb.

While Ridge’s vocal is mostly an attribute, there are times when more down tempo material call for less strident delivery. Songs like the opener, “The Last One to Know,” and “Wasted” become the highlights as the band’s performance, and the lyrical content, pair perfectly with Ridge’s hard singing. 

The Moonrakers provide a skillful tour of emotional variety channeled through the aggressive country of Ridge’s composition. The most valuable player is easily Hannah Rose Baker, whose soulful backup vocals and beautiful fiddle, allow the songs to stretch into higher artistic and emotive heights. 

Most impressive about Ridge’s writing is that his tough exterior, while immensely enjoyable in musical form, masks sustained lamentation of loneliness and regret. In creating a complex voice, he joins the best writers of the country tradition.

Despite the solemnity of some of the subject matter, it is a joy to hear Ridge and the Moonrakers play with efficiency and enthusiasm. One won’t need any persuasion when hearing Ridge call out for whiskey to join him and the band in raising a toast.



 David Masciotra



David Masciotra ( is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 


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