Moreland was born in Longview, Texas the son of Robert Lloyd Moreland and Connie May Moreland (née Brandon). Moreland’s father worked for Sunoco as an electrical engineer, and because of this job the family moved a lot. When he was a baby they moved to Northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. Moreland credits his love for Cincinnati Reds to this time in Kentucky.
When Moreland was 10 years old Moreland’s family moved from Boone County, Kentucky to Tulsa, Oklahoma and, with the help of his father, started playing the guitar. When he was 12 or 13 he started playing with a kid he went to church with who wrote songs and inspired him to start writing songs “that made sense.”
Moreland grew up in a conservative Southern Baptist family. “From the time I was born up until about age 16, my entire worldview and all my opinions were pretty much solely influenced by the evangelical church. All the years since then have sort of been this slow process of figuring out where I stand now that I’m not an impressionable kid anymore. I feel like I’m done with that at this point, but it keeps showing up in songs. I guess that stuff stays in your psyche forever.”
Moreland recently relocated to Norman, Oklahoma
Moreland played in his first show when he was 13 or 14 years old. In the early 2000s during high school, Moreland played in local punk and hardcore bands, including local metalcore Oklahoma band, Thirty Called Arson.
Moreland put together the Black Gold Band in 2005, and released Endless Oklahoma Sky on Oklahoma City label Little Mafia Records in 2008. In 2009, he recorded the follow-up Things I Can’t Control at Armstrong Recording in Tulsa with producer and musician Stephen Egerton (Descendents, All).
Largely self-performed (Moreland plays 99% of the instruments) and self-produced, Moreland produces music that is influenced by his Oklahoma roots, music that is “gloriously and joyfully heartbreaking.”
Moreland has released a constant stream of records (in 2011 he released two full length albums and two EPs), saying “I write a lot of songs. And I guess I feel like your most recent release kind of represents you.”
Moreland said that he “was writing these songs on my dad’s acoustic guitar which I thought were like country rock or roots rock songs, but I learned how to play music from playing in punk bands, and all the dudes I’ve played with were in punk bands. So when we got together to play the songs as a band, it turned out a lot louder and meaner than I expected it to.”
Moreland says the influence of the DIY release methods of “hardcore scene learnings” because he runs his own mail order and ships his own records (packing the records, taking it to the post office himself) because all of his favorite labels (Ebullition Records, Level Plane Records, Dischord Records) used that model.
On his approach to songwriting: Moreland says “I’m not a quick writer, and I edit my lyrics a whole lot,” he says, “I want every word to serve a purpose, and I just want to feel like every word is in the right place.”
Moreland sometimes plays solo with an acoustic guitar, but was often accompanied by two different bands: the Black Gold Band (now defunct) or the Dust Bowl Souls.While his earlier music was more rock-based, his more recent releases are characterized as being sparsely acoustic.
Characterized as a “songwriter’s songwriter,” American television host and political commentator Rachel Maddow tweeted praise of Moreland’s work: “If the American music business made any sense, guys like John Moreland would be household names.” Moreland posits that the connection was probably via his opening for Lucero, a band he has heard Maddow likes. Moreland has opened for Lucero on some of their tour dates. Moreland jokes that her remark was “the first time his dad has agreed with Rachel Maddow.”
Moreland did a part of fellow singer-songwriter Jason Isbell‘s 2013 national tour. Moreland says he cries uncontrollably and then pukes, but that the anxiety attacks have pretty much completely abated unless it’s a bigger show or pressurized. Moreland tours extensively, usually within the Midwest.
Sons of Anarchy
Three of Moreland’s songs, “Heaven,” “Gospel,” and “Your Spell” have been featured on the TV show, Sons of Anarchy.
Taken from Wikipedia.