Daniel Martin Moore Keeps the Hope Alive On Reflective 'Never Look Away': Exclusive

Daniel Martin Moore
Ruth Speer

Daniel Martin Moore

There's a strong sense of loss running through Daniel Martin Moore's new album Never Look Away, but in its title track, premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Sept. 4), the Kentucky singer-songwriter tries to convince himself, and listeners, that all hope is not lost.

"I hear that song as a way of accepting that it is still possible to be peaceful in our obsessive and hectic cultures," Moore, a former Peace Corps volunteer who has released seven albums since 2008, says of the hushed, spacious song, which he co-produced and recorded with Seth Kauffman. "It is still possible to set aside the noise and the things that make all the noise, because those things don't know who we are or care about us in a real way. They care about us in the way that they can make money off us, but not in a sense of what we are as people or as souls."

Never Look Away, due out Oct. 4, is a thoughtful work and there are moments that aren't necessarily fun. The theme of loss began with the 2011 death of Moore's father, which he reflects on during some of Never Look Away's 10 tracks. He also instills the tracks with even broader meaning.

"Generally, I think we're in a state of loss in the world right now," Moore explains. "I experience this state of climate change we're in as a profound loss, like a diversity loss of some of our profound species. The health of our rivers and our air is in constant decline. There's an acute sadness that hangs over all of those bigger concepts. So some of that loss is kind of a general thing, and some of it is specific."

Musically, Moore sees Never Look Away as an excuse to work with Kauffman, who's in the band Floating Away. "He's a good buddy," says Moore. "We never had played music together, but we've always been in a mutual orbit. As I started to stack up some songs I realized maybe now is the time."

The two recorded at Kauffman's home studio in Black Mountain, N.C. as well as at Moore's in Louisville.

"I wanted to make a record that was a little looser -- maybe not in execution but in conception -- than some of the albums I’ve made in the past," explains Moore, who will be touring this fall and into next year. "That's not to say we didn’t care about the performances, but I wanted to try to have more fun making this record and not be so worried about the precision of the endeavor. Seth made that real easy; He's just a wonderful musician and a proponent of first takes. So we just built the record from that kind of philosophical place, and it was a really fun process."

Listen to "Never Look Away" below.