Singer/Songwriter Spotlight Series, Vol. VII – The Sweet Acoustic Sounds of Steve Marino, aka, Moor Hound

stifledspiritGrowing up in the country’s playground town of Orlando, Florida, musician and singer/songwriter Steve Marino, now a resident of Bloomington, Indiana, writes and records introspective songs under the moniker, Moor Hound.

In 2008, with just an acoustic guitar and some new recording equipment, Marino set out to create strictly folk songs – anything but, he told IRC, “the saccharin, lovesick songs” he was accustomed to hearing as a teen. But it didn’t take long for Marino to find himself drifting back towards the very format and sound that he had previously committed to avoiding.

In fact, once Marino discovered the self-indulgent thrill of the melancholy love song, he eventually produced two full-length albums filled with organic, heartfelt indie folk music, as songs like “Holiday” and “Low Season” clearly demonstrated.

“Holiday”Moor Hound from Stifled Spirit – Jan. 29th

“Low Season”Moor Hound from Stifled Spirit

Last year, a few of Marino’s musician friends located many hundreds of miles north of central Florida coaxed him into moving to Indiana to join their band. Soon after he arrived, they were performing as a back-up band on some of his song.

“Moor Hound is ultimately a solo project,” he said, adding, “I do have friends play on my records…but it’s a solo thing at the core.” Other musical genres, such as alt. country rock, occasionally seeped into his recordings, as evidenced by the twang of the electric slide guitar on songs like “You’re Still Around.”

“You’re Still Around”Moor Hound from Stifled Spirit

While Marino is signed with a small indie label, Rhed Rholl Recordings, the original, limited edition cassette of Stifled Spirit was released this past January via Viva La Records, a small indie label founded by Alexander Charos of the band Alexander & The Grapes.

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Moor Hound’s Earlier Acoustic Releases

We decided to include one song from each of Moor Hound’s previous releases to give listeners an idea of his earlier work and his progression as a songwriter and musician over the past half decade. In February 2010, Marino released an LP titled Land/Sea with Australian friend and fellow musician Will Farina. Since we could not decide which of two songs from Land/Sea we liked the most, the decision was made to include both. In November of 2010, Marino released his debut solo LP, Love in My Jaws, from which the standout track, “Through The Fence,” is taken.

“Bolton Valley”Moor Hound & Will Farina from Land/Sea – Feb. 26th, 2010

“Before and Between”Moor Hound & Will Farina from Land/Sea

“Through The Fence”Moor Hound from Love In My Jaws – Nov. 2nd, 2010

From “Before and Between” is the following stanza, which just about anyone who has ever experienced young love in the splendor and solitude of nature can relate to: In this place there is no strife or bitterness/Only the sound of the wind in our ears/Why pray for heaven/When we have it right here?

In September of 2008, Marino released his first recording, an EP titled Enduring World, which, like his other releases is available via Moor Hound’s Bandcamp page.

“Enduring World”Moor Hound from Enduring World EP – Sept. 25th, 2008

Marino listed among his major musical influences artists such as J. Tillman, Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens. Marino, in response to a question we ask all featured artists, wrote that “indie rock, with its many forms and interpretations, is music that is genuine in its creation, and finds its impact in the character and personality of the creator. It’s not a genre as much as it is an approach to songwriting.”

Visit Moor Hound’s Facebook page.

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