Cahalen Morrison plays track from The Flower Of Muscle Shoals and talks about playing with the language of country music and writing songs about his wife.
Also on this episode, country rock from Stoney LaRue, dark country from Hiss Golden Messenger, indie rock from the Christian Lopez Band, jam band rock from the Hard Working Americans, jump blues from the Carolyn Sills Combo, alt-country from Cracker, country blues from Lucinda Williams, piano boogie from Marcia Ball.
- (buy) (review) Golden Shackles / Stoney LaRue / Aviator / 3:41
- (buy) Where I Fell (written by Robbie Fulks) / Hiss Golden Messenger / While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records / 3:28
- (buy) Will I See You Again / Christian Lopez Band / Pilot / 3:23
- (buy) Play A Train Song / Hard Working Americans / The First Waltz / 6:39
- (buy) Stop Going Through The Motions / The Carolyn Sills Combo / The Carolyn Sills Combo / 3:15
- (buy) Get on Down the Road / Cracker / Berkeley to BAKERSFIELD: [Disc 2] / 4:58
- (buy) (review) Cold Day In Hell / Lucinda Williams / Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone [Disc 1] / 5:16
- (buy) Clean My House / Marcia Ball / The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man / 3:29
- Visit the Cahalen Morrison web site.
- Preview The Flower Of Muscle Shoals by Cahalen Morrison on Amazon.
Cahalen Morrison interview recap
Back to country
Calvin notes that Cahalen Morrison had been doing work with Eli West as a duo in more of a string band / bluegrass sound. Calvin asks him why he put this band together and decided to go in more of a country / honky tonk direction. He says, "I've played country music most of my life and I just had been taking a hiatus a little bit. There was a gap in my schedule allowing some time to record and things like that. So I got together with a bunch of friends in Seattle and made an album and there it is."
The line up on The Flower Of Muscle Shoals
Calvin asks Cahalen Morrison to run through the line up on the album. He says, "On the record its myself playing guitar and singing. It's a guy named Jim Miller who now lives in Chicago. He was in Donna The Buffalo for a long time. He sang and recorded on Dirk Powell's records. He's one of my favorite singers and musicians around. He played Telecaster and sang on it. A good friend named Rob Adesso sang and played acoustic guitar. Country Dave Harmonson a great pedal steel player in town played steel on it. One of my favorite fiddle players named Mary Simpkins-Mass played fiddle on it. The guy who recorded it and played bass and accordion, he's does everything you could possible want a person to do and he's a nice guy too, so that's good, his name is Michael Thomas Connolly. So that's who's on the record."
"Nighttime Is Here On The Valley"
Cahalen Morrison sets up "Nighttime Is Here On The Valley." He says, "I was born and raised in rural northern New Mexico. And this is about the county rodeo I used to go a lot, using a lot of imagery from all that kind of stuff."
[Calvin plays "Nighttime Is Here On The Valley" from The Flower Of Muscle Shoals by Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer.]
The Early Days
Cahalen Morrison talks about how he got started in music. He says, "I started playing guitar when I was about 9. My Dad played guitar and fiddle and stuff. So I was always around music. And I played as much as any 9 year old plays, it wasn't any dramatic thing. And then I started performing about 13 I think is when my first band started. And we played as a band from when I was in 8th grade until after I graduated high school. That was called Tequila Smoke. We played a lot of New Mexican and Mexican music and country. We played at dances and weddings and things like that, graduation parties. So that was a fun way to get going for sure."
Calvin asks Cahalen Morrison if there was a particular point along the way that he knew he was going to make a living in music. He says, "That's a good question. When I went to college I was going to study music. My parents suggested I try something else first. To keep music fun and not a job. So I tried something else for one semester and then it just didn't happen. So I ended up playing a lot of music in college. And the summer after I just started touring, trying to book all my own shows and play as much as I could. I don't know that it was ever a gut feeling. It was just something that was kind of an obvious thing that it was something I was going to do."
"The Flower Of Muscle Shoals"
Cahalen Morrison sets up "The Flower Of Muscle Shoals." He says, "My wife is from the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama. So I wrote this song for her. And it ended up as the title track. I released the record on the one year anniversary of our marriage. So that was a pretty good accidental present for her. So this is about the area where she's from."
[Calvin plays the title track from The Flower Of Muscle Shoals by Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer.]
Calvin notes that it's not many guys who can write and name an album as a wedding present for their wife and he's making the rest of us look bad. Cahalen Morrison laughs and says "I'm sorry! Really sorry!.[laughs]"
Calvin asks if he remembers the first time he played the song for his wife and if it was a tense moment. Cahalen Morrison says, "Oh no. I have a thousand songs about her. It wasn't any big deal I don't think."
On song writing
Calvin notes that a lot of Cahalen Morrison's songs follow a standard country song or honky tonk song structure but they have something more to them. Cahalen Morrison, says, "I don't know if I have much insight into it. I definitely strive to do that no matter what type of music I'm writing. I write a lot of old-time and bluegrass as well. I like music to sound traditional but then have just something that stands out or twists it a little bit or crooked or something like that. It's really fun playing with the different kinds of language that different styles of music happen. It's fun writing in the country vernacular. There's a lot of fun stuff you can use and twist it to mean what you want it to mean and things like that. So I just try to do that both lyrically and musically. I like to use a lot of the standard progressions and just mess with them a little bit. So it's not totally standard and it keeps people on their toes."
"Our Love Is Like A Hurricane"
Cahalen Morrison sets up "Our Love Is Like A Hurricane." He says, "Speaking of classic style writing. I wrote this one, it's kind of a Hank Williams rip-off or borrowing from him or something like that. I was just trying to write the classic husband vs. wife kind of song in that old school old style abuse in country music that's so charming and somehow not violent or bad. It's just kind of something to laugh at. So this is a mockery of relationships and the way country music deals with relationships."
[Calvin plays "Our Love Is Like A Hurricane" from The Flower Of Muscle Shoals by Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer.]
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