Sarah Morris is a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based singer-songwriter and musician. She is prepping for the release of her new album, All Mine, dropping February 21st. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Sarah Morris is a graduate of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. According to her official website, she “spent the first years of her career in Nashville, losing herself in the art of writing timeless Americana melodies.” Her rockin’ resume also includes her premiere platter, Lonely or Free, which dropped in 2011, her 2015 release, Ordinary Things, and her 2017 disc, Hearts in Need of Repair.
Morris won the 2018 Kerrville New Folk Competition and garnered an honorable mention at the well-known Telluride Troubadour contest too. She has performed live as a solo artist as well as with her band and “as half of vintage-harmony heavy duo The Home Fires with Vicky Emerson. Morris has opened for the likes of D Souther, Teddy Thompson, and Suzy Bogguss. Last year alone she played more than 120 shows.
Morris’ signature sound is a mix of multiple music genres, including Americana, country, and folk.
Morris leads the way on guitar and vocals. She is backed by an assortment of other artists including her band The Sometimes Guys: Thomas Nordlund (acoustic and electric guitar), Andrew Foreman (acoustic and electric bass), and Lars-Erik Larson (drums, percussion, piano, and whistles). Joe Peterson (organ), and Shane Akers (lap steel) also appear on multiple tracks.
Track by track
This 11-track album opens on the titular “All Mine.” This is perhaps a song that notes Morris’ rep for missing the big picture because she is notorious for focusing on little details. It’s an effective, appropriate intro since it lets listeners in on what generally goes on when she’s writing songs and just plain works. Hayley Rydell guests on the violin.
The second selection is “Stir Me Up.” This is a fun, radio-ready song. The pure playfulness is bound to get people up on their feet. Tommy Barbarella appears on the organ. Vicky Emerson provides harmony vocals.
Morris slows things down a bit with “Mendocino.” It’s a pretty, personal musical metaphor. Matthew French provides harmony vocals.
Next is “Don’t Come Clean.” This too is a slower, personal song. She finds a clever way of promoting total honestly in a relationship. Rydell encores on the violin.
“There There” follows. Her signature sound remains solid as she provides another lyrical life lesson. Guest singer-songwriter Annie Fitzgerald adds harmony vocals to flesh out this one.
“The Promise of Maybe” follows. It is yet another example of Morris’s approach to songwriting and how she presents her personal pieces.
“Two Circles on a Kitchen Table” is an early fave of both fans and critics alike. This musical remembrance is a slower cut that again reveals her own preference for particular details that she somehow turns into songs.
“How I Want To Love You” is another intimate audio offering. It’s cute, cuddly and country-tinged but not so much so that it should be regulated to the Hallmark Channel. David Feily guests on mandolin. Jasper Nephew plays electric guitar.
“I’m A Wreck” was chosen as one of the focus tracks for promotion. While a less obvious choice than the title track, it still earns the right to the listener’s attention as it has some great moments.
Next is “Things You Can’t Tell By Looking at a Picture.” This song is perhaps overshadowed by some others but includes some interesting production choices that get your attention and it provides further insight into her tuneful talents.
The album endnote is “Higher.” It’s a quiet close but it provides a pretty parting of the ways. Eric Mayson plays the piano. Fitzgerald returns with harmony vocals.
Overall, the album provides ample honest evidence of why some compare her talents to that of Norah Jones. At the same time, it is quite clear she has her own unique perspective and is not shy about sharing it. As noted on her website, Morris’ material reveals an unapologetic “obsessive tribute to the details . . . rings of water on a dining room table, fingertips connecting in blush-heavy silence, [and] the thrill-rush of wind in the seat of a swing.”
Indeed, if Morris’s unintentional intention here is to draw the audience away from the everyday “big picture” into her musical world of magical minutia then she surely succeeds. So check out Sarah Morris’ All Mine because after all, There are “Things You Can’t Tell By Looking at a Picture.”