Music in the Blood - 405 Magazine

Music in the Blood

Allison Moorer sheds light on a tragic past


Allison Moorer’s emergence as one of the clearest voices and most gifted lyricists in alt-country was presaged by a horrific origin story: the 1986 murder-suicide of her parents, Franklin and Lynn Moorer. That story of childhood terror and the transcendence of tragedy is told in Moorer’s new autobiography, Blood: A Memoir, and the concurrent release of her 10th studio album, Blood. Moorer will perform songs from Blood and tell her story 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E. Brady in Tulsa.


Moorer and her sister, Grammy winner Shelby Lynne, were raised in Frankville, Alabama, a small, unincorporated town north of Mobile. The sisters grew up in a musical family, but Franklin Moorer’s aspirations as a songwriter were undermined by his violent alcoholism, which was brought to bear on the entire family. Lynn Moorer eventually moved her daughters to a rental house in Mobile, but Franklin found them. On Aug. 12, 1986, Franklin shot his wife in her front yard and then turned the gun on himself. 



In the wake of this great tragedy, both sisters achieved uncommon success and accolades for their respective music careers, and they collaborated on 2017’s Not Dark Yet, a collection of covers by artists such as Nirvana, Bob Dylan, the Killers and Nick Cave. For the Blood album, each song speaks to the experience of Moorer’s family members, living and dead, but all of them find new life in songs such as “Bad Weather,” “The Rock and the Hill” and the first single, “All I Wanted (Thanks Anyway).”


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