If you haven’t heard Cary Morin, you need to. Morin will release his fourth solo cd, Cradle to the Grave on January 13th. The eleven track album features some of the finest acoustic guitar picking you’ll hear anywhere. Boasting eight solid original tunes, Morin shows off his songwriting chops as well as his guitar wizardry. And it doesn’t hurt that he has a fine singing voice as well.
Morin sometimes gets classified as acoustic blues, but he is so much more than that. A superb fingerstyle guitarist, Morin is a troubadour of the first order. In addition to the originals on this album, there are three fine covers, including an excellent acoustic take on Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Morin, with his earthy, world-weary voice, is able to express a full range of emotion, anchoring his concerns with a steady bass line and fluid jazzy fretwork. If you are a fan of acoustic guitar picking, this album is a must-have.
The second track on the record, “Laid Back” features some nimble finger work and manages to be quite lively, no matter what the title might suggest. The song is about the joy of fishing and laying in the shade. The toe tapping melody appreciates the simple enjoyments of a life lived close to nature. This theme recurs on the next cut, “Dawn’s Early Light.”
The ballad, “Dawn’s Early Light” is a show of support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Although Morin does not see himself as a protest singer, his native Crow heritage lends depth to a heartfelt vocal delivery. In the song, Morin appeals to the listener with simple human common sense, as opposed to vitriol and rhetoric. “I have always felt that the honoring of a treaty, no matter when it was made, is not a complex idea. History has proved this not to be the case, but I hope this time it is.”
“Mishawaka” is a lovely song about leaving. Morin draws the listener in as he wraps his warm voice around the nuanced, emotive guitar playing. The sense of impending change, and the finality of the decision, are carried on the tenderness in the melody. And yet, Morin avoids treacly sentiment as he says goodbye to his friends. Lyrically it is focused on the farewell, little is said about his destination. For my part, I want to take the journey with him.
Cary Morin has performed and recorded for over twenty years and co-authored Turtle Island, a production that ran for a couple of years in Colorado. This latest album is the third in a trilogy meant to spotlight his growth as a songwriter and guitarist. He is also a member of the Young Ancients, a trio with Steve Amedee and John Magnie of the Subdudes. The guitar playing on this album is elegant, and simple in it's beauty. And while what he is doing might be complex, he seems to toss it off effortlessly, as if anyone could play this well.
Cradle to the Grave has found its way into near constant rotation in my cd player, it’s just that good. It seems only right that Americana music should take note of this Native Americana artist. I predict that by the end of 2017, when everyone is mentioning the top releases of the year, Morin’s name will be in there with the best of them.