Cary Morin :: WHEN I RISE

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Cary Morin

Award-winning blues/roots singer-songwriter Cary Morin album, When I Rise is his sixth release. The even-dozen tracks include 10 originals, plus Morin’s take on the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter song, “Dire Wolf,” and a beautiful version of Duane Allman’s classic, “Little Martha.” When I Rise was awarded Best Blues Album by 2019 Indigenous Music Awards on May 17, 2019 in Winnipeg, Canada. The awards are part of the annual Manito Ahbee Festival, which celebrates Indigenous arts, culture and music.

Described as “one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today,” Cary Morin brings together the great musical traditions of America and beyond like no other artist. With deft fingerstyle guitar and vocals that alternately convey melodic elation and gritty world-weariness, Morin crafts an inimitable style often characterized as acoustic Native Americana with qualities of blues, bluegrass, jazz, jam, reggae, and dance.

For these Colorado recording sessions, Cary Morin (guitars, pedal steel guitar, vocals) surrounded himself with a sympathetic cast of all-star musicians that uniquely complemented what he created: Steve Amedée – drums, percussion; Paul Benjaman – electric guitar; Celeste Di Iorio – vocals; Jay Forrest – drums, percussion; Jason Larson – vocals, piano, bass guitar) Dexter Payne – clarinet and harmonica; Kim Stone – acoustic and electric bass); Andy Weyl – piano; Lionel Young – violin. When I Rise was produced by Kim Stone, Celeste Di Iorio and Jason Larson.

“I had the luxury of being home for longer than usual, to work on this project,” recalls Morin about the sessions. “I had plenty of time to write and record and refine. At the time, I was listening to and exploring a lot of music, much more so than when I am on the road. I was able to spend time crafting the songs and recording them in pre-production, sometimes multiple versions of the same song. It was great to have the time to experiment.”

Morin reflects on his upbringing and how it informs his music. “I grew up in Montana in the ‘70s. As a child, I would listen to whatever was on radio or vinyl that my folks or my brothers had. Somehow the very first song that I played and sang on piano when I was in the first grade was a Chubby Checker song. I also came across a Doug Kershaw album at the Base Exchange (Cary’s dad was an Air Force officer). That made me want to play the fiddle, which I was blessed to do as my folks found me a used one in the paper. I’m not sure how Louisiana music made it into my life as kid, but it did. As I continue to listen and play guitar on the couch, my music evolves. As the years go by, I am drawn to the music that I heard and loved when I was 10 years old growing up in Montana. The themes tend to stay the same. I write songs about fishing and life. As my wife Celeste and I traverse this country, my eyes are flooded with landscapes and visions that gift me with an endless supply of songs.”

The album’s title track is one of those songs that had its genesis in the music he heard growing up. “I was immersed in the Alan Lomax recordings of the ‘40s for a time, primarily prison songs from the south; listening to rhythms and melodies. I came up with the idea for ‘When I Rise’ based on that study. The imagery is a man who is present as another man’s life is taken and is sure he will be to blame. He struggles with how to tell his family. Should he take the punishment or run. He ultimately runs and leaves his family behind. Playing around with a d-minor tuning felt right for this song. Kim Stone had an idea of how to perform it, so it became live in the studio, standing in a circle performing around a microphone acoustically.”

A Crow tribal member who was born in Billings, Montana, Morin spent the bulk of his youth in Great Falls, where he cut his teeth picking guitar standards at neighborhood get-togethers, before relocating to Northern Colorado. There, his musical career hit the ground running with The Atoll, a band he founded in 1989 that toured nationally, gaining a devoted following. Later, he achieved international acclaim with The Pura Fé Trio, for whom the single “Ole Midlife Crisis,” which Morin wrote and performed with Pura Fé, placed at number 17 on France’s iTunes blues chart. With The Atoll and The Pura Fé Trio, and as a solo artist, Morin has played celebrated venues across the globe.

Cary has won numerous other awards for his work, particularly for his 2017 release, Cradle to the Grave. He is the recipient of the 2018 Independent Music Awards for Best Blues CD (Cradle to the Grave), a 2018 International Songwriting Competition Honorable Mention for Cradle to the Grave, a 2018 Native Arts and Cultures Fellowship, a 2017 First Peoples Fund Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship, the 2017 Indigenous Music Awards for Best Blues CD (Cradle to the Grave), 2015 Indigenous Music Awards Nominee for Best Folk Album (Tiny Town), 2014 Indigenous Music Awards Nominee for Aboriginal Entertainer of the Year, 2013 & 2014 Colorado Blues Challenge Solo Championship, and a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fort Collins Music Association (FoCoMA) and won the Colorado Fan Favorite Poll in the blues category for his second solo release, Streamline.



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