Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
James Vincent McMorrow sounds as if he's taken some burnings in his time. Over the course of his days, through the majority of his young life, he's experienced the fires and seen just how hot they can burn. He's seen in the eyes and hands and hearts, what that flame looks like - soft and helpful if the right distance is kept - and terrifyingly maniacal when a mistake's been made, when we've mistakenly entered the enclosure, when all of the signs told us not too. The fires rush quickly to us and engulf us, giving us such a short amount of time to escape with our skin and features still halfway there. We learn after only making that mistake once. It sounds as if the Irishman had absolutely no choice but to retreat to the woods, to a small cabin a la Justin Vernon and his middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin sprawl and just pick himself apart as much as possible, to get to that cork or that blue blood at the center of him. He had to see what was still in there and what was running the show. He needed to know, or see/feel for himself who he could thank or condemn for all of the things that had been pulled out from and over him. He was ready to get back down to the basics and see what they had for him, if it was anything that he wanted to claim or work with, if it was anything that he could continue living with. He retreated, planning to get out of his head, but mostly getting to a place where he couldn't escape all of his ramblings and rumblings, all of the creaks and murmurs. The things that McMorrow found in that state were those grievances that begin to pile up when there's a clear indication that you're out there on your own, mostly, and there are all kinds of fanged and rabid beasts tracking and a-hunting. You're going to be in for a skinning or for a triumph, or something in between, depending on who you trust and who you find yourself falling in love with. McMorrow, comes off as a shy and somewhat timid man in person, as a regular guy, but in verse, he transforms into a personality with very distinct and intense feelings of joy and sorrow, right and wrong, good and evil and he finds in that thinking, a means to an end. He finds his light there and he finds that it opens him up for endless possibilities. On his debut full-length, "Early In The Morning," he sounds like a man who is either preparing for a long, drawn-out life or one who feels as if he's already lived something of the same, even at a tender age. He seems prepared to endure all of the tragedies that are coming his way, all of the broken hearts that he will inflict and those that will be inflicted on him. There are all kinds of those torn, tossed and strewn about organs already littering his floor, amongst the frozen in time, but presently stiff-chinned weepings from their fresher days. He left many of them in that room that he rented, out in the nowhere, to dry up and feed the rodents, but he finds some stuck to him forever, the objects that he'll never (and can't) use again, but he keeps them around just in case they could ever come in handy. His way with words and their ways with his heavy heart is dynamic and mostly euphoric, in light of the circumstances. He sings on the brilliant song, "Sparrow and the Wolf," "I see no joy, only danger/I see no joy, only strangers/I see no joy in this world," and we believe that he's fibbing. He sees a lot of both. We hear his fear ringing enough though, when he sings, "Protect us from the madness of futures still to come." Those are the scary parts - those that are thus far unwritten.