T E Morris – The Long Distance Runner (Function Records) 1

T E Morris – The Long Distance Runner (Function Records)

When James Brown died, the title of “the hardest working man in show business” was clearly not buried with him. And the reason we know this is because T E Morris has assumed the mantle. By day he stands at the helm of the good ship Her Name Is Calla, a five piece rock band who deal in the hard currencies of epicism and intensity and whose third album will be coming into land later this year. By night he is a solo musician and in three short years has recorded no less than nine EPs, two full length albums, a film soundtrack and still found the time to perform countless shows all the way from his Pocklington home to the Ukraine.

And to this impressive list of his works, T E Morris now brings us The Long Distance Runner, a title which surely owes just as much to his seemingly boundless energy as it does his indefatigable spirit. Comprising seven tracks and at just over 30 minutes in length The Long Distance Runner probably rests somewhere between an EP and an album, yet such is the broad emotional sweep of its content it defies both time and such simple classification.

Backed on this recording by the strings of Sophie Green and Nicole Robson on violin and cello respectively and tom raw smallAdam Weikert’s double bass, and in much the same way that Miles Davis did on Sketches of Spain, opening song ‘The Long Distance Runner’ finds Morris looking towards Spanish folk and classical music to fire his imagination. Taking its swirling church organ sound, plangent strings and lyrical desolation, ‘A Year In The Wilderness’ seeks salvation in a neo-gospel, post-classical balm.

‘If You Need Me I’ll Be At Palomar’ shifts dramatically from isolation to impassion with one flick of the switch on Morris’s electric guitar, before once more succumbing to the languorous lament ‘I Won’t Ever Go To Sleep’. With an all pervading sadness and banjo accompaniment ‘I Met A Man Who Wasn’t There’ wouldn’t have been entirely out of place on the soundtrack to Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. ‘A River of Ghosts’, with its attendant, discordant heavenly choir, and the concluding ‘Idea 4_6 Aug 2012’ both suggest that those may not have been the happiest of times for Morris yet find themselves salvaged from mere melancholia by the tender beauty of their melodies.

Listening to T E Morris it is clear that being T E Morris is never easy. His mind is fully saturated with ideas, something affirmed by his prodigious output, and his thoughts and feelings regularly spill over onto what is the darker side of blue. Yet despite its sheer volume and the unashamedly emotional expression of its content, his output remains consistently strong and to that remarkable canon we can now safely add the name of The Long Distance Runner.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Long Distance Runner is released on 3rd February 2014 via Function Records



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