John Moreland Drops Thought-Provoking Surprise Record “Visitor”

John Moreland country music
Pearl Rachinsky

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes, but perhaps the greatest gift in music this weekend came in the form of a surprise 12-track album titled Visitor.

Penned by John Moreland, a cult-legend in the Americana and Red Dirt scenes, the Tulsa, OK-area artist utilized the element of surprise to drop a spectacularly hard-hitting record that laments on Moreland’s own struggles with the overbearingly digitalized world and his qualms with the state of society.

Coming to life during a year-long period in which Moreland stayed at home not playing shows and even put away his smart phone for six months, Moreland wrote the whole project himself, and even played nearly every instrument in the process of its making.

Recorded at his home in Bixby, OK, and released via his own label Old Omens, Visitor features 12 tracks, two of which are instrumentals, with thoughtful lyricism and sonically simple yet powerful instrumentation.

Moreland provided some additional insight into the making of the album and the inspiration behind it:

“In 2023, during a year-long break from touring, in an attempt to regain my sanity, I stopped using a smart phone for 6 months, and wrote this album. I recorded it in my living room with help from my wife, Pearl Rachinsky.

I wanted to make a natural sounding folk-rock record. Simplicity and immediacy felt very important to the process, so I knocked out the tracking in about 10 days, playing every instrument on the album myself, save for one guitar solo (John Calvin Abney – ‘The More You Say, The Less It Means’), and Pearl contributed some background vocals on one song (‘Ain’t Much I Can Do About It’).

Lyrical themes include digital vs actual life, a bit of ‘What the hell is up with the world?,’ and a whole bunch of ‘What the hell is wrong with me?'”

The album kicks off with a song titled “The Future Is Coming Fast,” and really sets the tone for the record, which is a return of sorts to Moreland’s folk sound:

Moreland also provided some additional context on this track, “Gentle Violence,” in particular, an early standout from the surprise record:

“Gentle Violence is a song about a strained relationship with a loved one, in the hyper-political post-pandemic USA.

The tension and sorrow around the tough relationship are a microcosm of the tension and sorrow we feel as citizens of this broken world.”

Here’s a few more early favorites:

“One Man Holds the World Hostage”

“Will The Heavens Catch us”


Visitor marks Moreland’s eighth record since the release of his debut Earthbound Blues in 2011, adding substantially to Moreland’s already deep and highly introspective and observant catalog. Revered as one of the genre’s greatest songwriters, particularly by those within the Oklahoma scene, Moreland is perhaps best known for his emotion-evoking songs like “Break my Heart Sweetly” from In the Throes, as well as “You Don’t Care For Me Enough To Cry,” and “Hang Me in the Tulsa County Stars” off 2015’s High On Tulsa Heat, among others.

Hearing John Moreland sing his thought provoking lyrics live is a powerful experience, and I highly recommend doing so if he comes to a city near you as he tours to promote Visitor this spring.

4/10 – Barrelhouse Brewing – Chattanooga, TN*

4/11 – The Ludlow Garage – Cincinnati, OH*

4/12 – The Burl – Lexington, KY*

4/13 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO*

5/3 – Tower Theatre – Oklahoma City, OK*

5/7 – Miracle Theatre – Washington D.C.^

5/9 – The Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA^

5/10 – Levon Helm Studios – Woodstock, NY^

5/11 – Brooklyn Made – Brooklyn, NY^

5/30 – The Sh*tty Barn – Spring Green, WI^

5/31 – SPACE – Evanston, IL^

6/1 – SPACE – Evanston, IL^

6/2 – The Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN^

6/4 – Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL^

6/5 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI^

6/7 – Red Bicycle Hall – Madison, IN^

6/8 – The Grove – Glasgow, KY^

*w/ Justin Bloss

^w/ Ken Pomeroy

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock