by Al Kaufman
Bil Morrissey is a storyteller. His songs can be seen as well as heard. He sings of small people in small towns doing or thinking small things. The net result is also something small; in the same way that a polished diamond is also small. Morrisey’s songs glitter just as brightly. They are tiny gems filtered through a voice as worn and weathered as the New Hampshire mountains he calls home. He has even written a novel about small town folks, Edson, and is friends with literary recluse Cormac McCarthy, who plays harmonica on the new CD.
tCome Running, his tenth release, is a bit of a departure for Morrissey. For one, it is the first recording he has done sober. For a man whose lyrics include lines like "She wants to make love/I want to drink/Drinking is what I do best." this is a big change. On "Thirty Years," he laments about life on the road, where, "all you get is the smokers’ cough and the alcohol disease."
Morrissey, a folk singer in the true sense of the word, also chose to use the closest he has ever come to a band for this release. Saxaphonist Dana Colley, and drummer Bill Conway, the surviving members of Morphine, are all over it. As is troubador guitarist Dave Alvin, whose resonator guitar owns the surprisingly upbeat "Death Letter."
But this is still a Bill Morrissey CD. Songs on which it is just him and his guitar, such as "By the Grave of Baudelaire" and "Victory at Sea," are some of the strongest things on here. His songs this time are less vignettes of life than they are observations and introspective musings, but that gravelly voice adds a depth and perspective that makes them worth listening to.
Bill Morrissey plays Eddie’s Attic on Saturday, August 29th as part of the Decatur Book Festival. At 2:30 pm he reads from his novel, Edson. free. At 8 pm he plays a concert with Buddy Edwards (formerly of the Refrshments) and Diane Durrett. $15/$18 door.