Early in the Morning from Irishman James Vincent McMorrow quite an achievement
James Vincent McMorrow
Early in the morning
by Rick J Bowen
With his debut album Early In The Morning, Irish singer songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has accomplished something few have even attempted with acoustic instruments but is becoming common place in electronic music and the new “do it yourself” music business. In 2009, he reportedly moved to an isolated house by the beach and recorded alone for five months playing all the instruments and singing all the vocals on eleven songs to create a masterpiece.
From the opening song If I Had A Boat with its haunting desperation, to the final banjo strains of the hopeful closing title track, each song feels fresh and new and yet somehow immediately familiar. McMorrow’s raspy falsetto vocals, as exemplified on Follow Me Down, are so intimate as to whisper to your soul. He gives us thoughtful melodic passages filled with layers of harmony often doubling or tripling his vocals with the instruments, painting a musical landscape that reveals new details each time you listen. McMorrow began his musical career as a drummer and taught himself piano, guitar, and banjo which he pairs in intriguing ways, using the slightly out of tune upright piano and a nontraditional banjo technique like an effect you would more commonly find in electronica or emo than folk music. The percussion is tastefully understated throughout the album adding just enough pulse to help every song become a study in tension and release. The finale of Down The Burning Ropes builds and builds until a bursting point and simply disappears.
Lyrically, McMorrow is indeed an old Irish soul, following in the footsteps of Yeats, and Wilde, exploring the darker aspects of life and love, fantasy and reality with stories open to many interpretations of their true meaning. The album has a definite ebb and flow that moves from light to dark and back again, representing the change that has occurred to the author and the listener alike.
Originally released in Ireland in March of 2010 to critical acclaim and just now reaching the United States, Early In The Morning is one of the best sounding albums heard in quite some time. Painstakingly made by a lone genius in a little room with a head full of dreams and one microphone to capture them.
originally published in Innocent Words