Mike Moore: the man, the guitar player, the singer. Stepping out into his first solo album, Vices and Virtues, Moore confronts the big questions and emotions of life. In a time when people are feeling more alone, more alienated than ever, and struggling with daily life, Moore takes those moments and sings them out loud so we can hear that we are not alone. He hopes his inspirational album will reach the youth and young adults growing up in the time of COVID. This world has jobs on hold, limitations on socialization, and distanced interactions that have become the new norm. Isolation, lack of independence, and a struggle to find their way lead to increased numbers of depression cases. “… overall, this record is for those who are struggling with finding their way. Part of the proceeds from this album will be donated to mental wellness and mental awareness. Too often, these things are overlooked when it comes to our overall health."
“Vices and Virtues really just sums up life in a lot of ways, I think. On a daily basis, we all have to make choices between what's right and wrong. Most of the time, it's small matters, but sometimes it comes in the form of a far bigger decision that can truly change the direction of our lives. For most people, life is a tug-a-war with right and wrong and good and evil. It's inevitable and imperative to have at least one rough patch in our life with many of these decisions. It shows us who we really are. It's for personal growth, inner strength, and to build true character. This record revisits a few darker places from my past while also showing me the person I have become. Reflecting on both elements is essential in continuing forth on this journey of life."
Vices and Virtues kick off with Moore's favorite song of the album, “Fortitude." This punk-style song sets the tone and vision for the rest of the album. The album will make you tap your toe and rock your head to the rhythmic beats of hope, realism, and vulnerability. Later on in the album, Moore will catch your breath with a dose of honesty in “Never Easy". “If what's in the mirror is something that you fear, then it's time to start seeing clearer and get back to how you want your life." Moore admits, “it's not easy to find your way back. You must decide to leave behind what's gotten you off track…Growing is never easy, but it's what we need."
While writing “Never Easy," Moore was inspired to record the track “Head Voice." This last-minute addition was one of the most inspirational parts of the album. The music fades to a rhythmic guitar background, and Moore's calm voice directly speaks to every individual listening. “I just needed to speak exactly what I was thinking at that moment and just record it with my voice recorder while sitting in my backyard." While Moore embraced the outdoors, the words came out in a stream of consciousness. “I figure," he states, “since this record is really about vulnerability, why not just be completely vulnerable on this track. I didn't want the music to overpower the message. I wanted a track that was very black and white so that the message would be fully understood."
Outside of releasing his own music, he teams up with girlfriend Kyzandrha Zarate on their duo Gypsy & Me. “Fans can expect more from us in 2021. After this solo record drops, I'll be writing music for a full-length feature film called “Rosebud Lane," tentative to be released in 2022." This will include new songs as well as an instrumental score. Moreover, Moore and Zarate will be completing a Johnny and June Carter Cash cover album. In addition, the duo will be re-releasing their single “Road Sweet Home" with bonus tracks. “Lastly we'll be attempting something big. Something that an unsigned band would never usually do, but we'll leave that a secret for now."
When Moore is not writing for himself or Gypsy and Me he enjoys hiking among his travels and does photography. With limited trips these days, he has spent that time creating a new waterfall book. “Brevard, NC, where I live, is called the Land of Waterfalls." He affirms, “with more than 250 registered waterfalls in our county alone, there's a lot to explore. My book “Waterfalls of Western North Carolina' should be out and for sale this Spring. Part of the proceeds from this book will be going back into funding small businesses in Brevard." Through travel, Moore's music is inspiring, but COVID has brought about inspiration in new ways. “So, although I'm eager to travel again and to have life get back closer to how it used to be, I'm also grateful. Grateful that this threw us for a bit of a loop and helped us expand. It helped us appreciate what we've been so blessed to be able to do in our lives. It also helped listeners of music understand how much they need it and how much music can change the world for good. Things come full circle when we least expect it."
Moore advises his younger self, “…expect the unexpected and that if you continue to do things in life for the right reasons, then they'll all make sense when you least expect them to. I would say to keep being true to myself and that the picture we play a part in is far bigger than we can ever imagine." That is exactly what Moore has done, stayed true to himself, and been a part of a bigger picture in a world that needs his voice now more than ever. As you sit down to listen to Vices and Virtues, you will be weaved through your own darkness, buried skeletons, and need for growth. In all that emotion, fortitude arises. Moore calls through his music to us in a time such as this. Moore: the man of fortitude, the inspirer, the life changer.