Russell Morris

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Russell Morris

Russell Morris is a man that needs no introduction; I’m sure at one point or another we have all gathered round with a bunch of mates and belted out of the infamous chorus of The Real Thing. As a key player to the Australian music scene and a certified ARIA award-winning legend, he is back once again with a new album, Van Diemen’s Land. All about the rich landscape of Australia, Morris is about to head out on the road once again in support of the release. One of the gigs includes the 13th Beach ‘To a Tee’ Karingal fundraiser on January 9.
The acclaim and response by listeners to the new album took Morris by surprise and was a little bit overwhelming, as he relates. “I really didn’t expect that kind of success when it came to sales because it has been phenomenal. It took people by surprise because it was different to Sharkmouth. We had to try and surprise them with something else and hence it is a lot bigger sounding than the previous record. Big stories require a bigger soundtrack in a way and that was the thinking behind going into writing for this album.”
Van Diemen’s Land – if you haven’t picked up a copy yet it is a stunning set of songs – and the recording process, as I was quick to find out, was about the same as Sharkmouth. As you would expect, the decision of culling songs for the record wasn’t an easy one. “We recorded 17 songs and we left four off. We headed in with Shannon Bourne and he played whilst I sang. We recorded the album like that and then layered other parts around it. It was a very simple process and [we] did everything we could to make it rootsy in a way. I had to make a point of difference to stand out from what I had done before.”
Over the past couple of albums, Russell Morris has called on a stack of friends and exceptional musicians to make a truly unique bluesy sound. From Diesel to Renée Geyer, Chris Wilson to Rob Hirst, Morris is back – bigger and better than before.
“The original intention was to make something that was rootsy and acoustic, and that was until Rob Hirst got into the studio. After that, a clear decision to go electric and rockier was made. It’s like having a dinner party and everyone brings a plate of something. All the guests on my albums brought something unique to the table. I can’t wait to see where the next album is headed.”
Not wanting to be labelled a “professional Australian”, Morris is currently working on the third and final part of albums about Australia. From there, Morris will make acoustic, bluesy music. “I don’t want people to think that I wave a flag and go around telling people to be patriotic. I wanted to write these three albums and encompass a lot of the stories that I’d heard in times past.”
Heading out on the road, Morris has a string of dates around Australia including playing in Barwon Heads on this Friday the 9th as part of the Music to a Tee concert series at 13th Beach.
“It should be good to get up on stage and play for a good cause. It’ll be a full band affair, and I can’t wait to share the new album with you when we release it later in the year.”
By Tex Miller