Finding Freedom in a Flip Phone: John Moreland’s Quest for a Simple Life

I hate surprises. However, Oklahoma’s pride and joy John Moreland surprised us with his latest album Visitor and I guess I’m okay with it. Moreland’s gone back to a sparse acoustic instrumentation, unlike the electronic sound (which I also loved) on his previous release, 2022’s Birds in the Ceiling. Recently, he took a page from his wife Pearl Rachinsky and musician (and recent tour buddy) Chris ​Staples’ book, and quit his smartphone, took a social media break and stopped all touring for six months. What ensued was an incredible psychic change discovered through living electronically off the grid. Another thing that came about during experiencing this simplicity in life: an album full of songs. He would take long drives at night, bringing along his guitar and making field recordings of his new writing. All this culminated into his beautiful new record.

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Moreland talks about the process of unraveling himself from the smartphone, reconnecting with the acoustic guitar and getting to know himself again during this period of quiet. He talks about how playing live is very vulnerable for him to the point where he started taking (and loving) beta-blockers to stave off anxiety and adrenaline. He is very candid with his current thoughts on body image, he has been known to experience body shaming online after performing live. We also get into something that’s been on my mind all year: is climbing the professional songwriter ladder worth it? Pretty sure we figured out the answer. LoL.

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  1. Michael S McKeel on June 11, 2024 at 8:42 am

    What a wonderful conversation! I’ve met & talked with him a couple times. However, in my mind, he’s akin to some mythical creature & I’ve been unable to communicate effectively – other than expressing gratitude. Thank you!

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