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Ian Moss

Genres: Rock, blues

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Biography

Respected as one of Australia’s iconic musicians, Ian Moss delivers an unforgettable sound – not only as a telling soloist on guitar but especially with his silken voice, ringing with clarity and resonating with pure soul. While primarily recognised as an axeman of unusual tenacity and sweet melodic sensibility, Ian’s distinctive vocal is the essential signature of his soulful, bluesy muse – as it has been since his first tentative foray into music during the early 1970s. Born and raised in Alice Springs, Mossy started playing guitar in local teenage bands but moved to Adelaide after failing one of his high school years, planning to repeat in the big city. Fate intervened when he answered an advertisement for a guitarist in a shop window in 1973, joining the band that was to become a legend in Australia – Cold Chisel. After Moss joined organist and principal songwriter Don Walker and drummer Steve Prestwich, the group took shape with singer Jimmy Barnes and eventually bass player Phil Small, starting the hard grind of playing gigs on the back of flatbed trucks and in suburban hotels. Barnes remembered young Mossy as “a boy from the bush who didn’t wear shoes but played fantastic”. They hit the road and paid their dues, playing countless one-night stands across the country. The reputation and status of Cold Chisel steadily grew, mainly on the strength of blistering live shows, and in time their well-crafted recordings became staples of radio airplay. By 1980, with the release of the seminal East album, Cold Chisel was the biggest band in the country. Moreover, they defined a national sound – hard-driving rock chased by a shot of blues, lyrics depicting the Australian experience and resonating powerfully with young working class fans. Moss’s voice began to shine through such seminal Cold Chisel songs as Never Before, Bow River (written by Moss) and a gorgeous rendition of Ray Charles’ Georgia. However, efforts to translate overwhelming Australian success to Europe and the United States failed to gain traction, serving to demoralise, frustrate and eventually dissolve the band at the height of its creative powers. While the band’s Last Stand tour in December 1983 closed an important chapter in Ian Moss’s musical career, Cold Chisel remains one of Australia’s favourite bands long after its demise. Enjoying the status of Australia’s best guitarist, Moss carefully evolved into a solo artist of the same calibre and commanding the same respect as Cold Chisel. After five years of patient nurturing, Moss released his debut single Tucker’s Daughter in January 1989, and caused an immediate sensation. The anthemic song – which Moss wrote in collaboration with Don Walker – sat in the Top 10 for 11 weeks and hit No 1 for two weeks, achieving gold sales status after 15 weeks and selling more than 73,000 copies.Moss’s second solo single, Telephone Booth, was released in June that year, hit the Top 10 and remained in the Top 20 for 10 weeks. The setting had been established for Moss to emerge as an important solo artist. His debut albumMatchbook, released in August 1989, entered the charts at No 1 and remained there for three consecutive weeks. It stayed in the Top 10 for 14 weeks and has sold more than 185,000 copies. When he went back out on the road, Moss’s live shows drew a hoard of Chisel faithful and a league of new fans. In 1989, Moss toured for 25 weeks, playing dynamic and energetic performances five or six nights every week to virtually full houses across Australia. Crowds were left hungry for more. Moss closed off a triumphant year by winning five Australian Record Industry Association Awards in 1989: Best Australian Debut Single for Tucker’s Daughter and Best Australian Debut Album for Matchbook, Australian Song of the Year for Tucker’s Daughter, Best Australian Album for Matchbook and Best Australian Male Artist.
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