Matt Carmichael
Abra Moore
Abra Moore's luck is changing. On the heels of her single, "Four Leaf Clover," which spun a summer snow-ball across U.S. radio, she is finding herself being enveloped by the rock spotlight.

It's a long, slow ride, which she knows well, but she's baby stepping for sure.

The journey started on the streets of Hawaii with Poi Dog Pondering. As they grew, she went with them to Austin and lent her wafting vocals to some tracks on their self-titled release. However when they moved on to their current home in Chicago, she stayed on in Austin and has been carving a niche for herself there ever since. "Austin had a familiar quaintness to it," said Moore via phone at an industry convention in Colorado. "It's not quite a city. It's got a lot of nice diverse melting pot qualities to it."

She hopes to keep riding the wave she's on to the point where she can move on from opening slots to crafting shows all her own and presenting herself in "the right light."

"I think that once I get the opportunity to have my own show I'll be able to dig deep and present a show where there's a lot of different levels to it. I'll be able to do some really soft, dynamic stuff as well as the more rockin' songs."

She has recently released a single and video for the title track to her second album. "Strangest Places" is the follow-up to her more folky debut, "Sing." She's also been featured in some print advertisements, including an instalment in the Visa "What's in Your Wallet" promo, and her music can be found on a handful of soundtracks such as the fall release "Match Maker."

It's a stronger and harder album overall which has drawn many of the inevitable critisms and comparisons to other female vocalists -- especially as she joined the all-woman Lilith Fair for several dates last summer. But she points out that just because her sound -- both live and recorded -- has changed, doesn't mean she's trying to capitalize on some trend or another.

"It's not like I've re-created some new sound. I'm just playing the songs that I wrote on the record," said Moore "They happen to be a little different than my first record because that's just naturally the evolution of an artist."

And many things do differentiate her from the Alanis Morissettes, Ani DiFrancoes , etc. First is her sound, which reflects her diverse musical roots -- she's performed in pubs in Europe doing swing tunes and standard, and toured a bit doing her own subtle folk-rock songs from "Sing."

Perhaps more importantly, though, her lyrics are a mix of poignancy and shyness that convey a sense of honesty and conviction, "Rules I live by," said Moore. She writes from her own world and her own experiences, filtered through Moore's sweet and shy, thought not necessarily innocent lens. "I'm not out there to tell anyone how it is or how to run their scene or about how fucked up someone treated me. I'm out emoting experiences, but in a subtle way. I'm just out there to share an idea."

c1997 Thompson Target Media