Elliott Morris announces his second album

Elliott Morris

The Way Is Clear is the new album from singer/songwriter and guitarist Elliott Morris. It showcases Elliott’s expert percussive acoustic guitar playing, swooping and soulful electric solos, heartfelt lyrics and strong, honest vocals.

And he’s put together an all-star ensemble. Playing alongside are Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on Hammond organ, Paul’s son Jack Carrack on drums, Innes Watson (Treacherous Orchestra) and Mike Vass (PRS Scots Trad Composer of the Year, SAY Award Nominee) on fiddles/strings, Laura-Beth Salter (The Shee) on mandolin and vocals, Rosie Hood (Dovetail Trio) on vocals, Stu Hanna (Megson) on mandolin and guitar, David Milligan (Larry Carlton, Mark Knopfler, Karine Polwart) on piano, Simon Bates (Jamie Cullam, Elvis Costello) on tenor saxophone, Alan Thomson (The John Martyn Band) on fretless bass and Elliott’s brother Bevan Morris (Dallahan, Pons Aelius) on double and electric bass. The album also features two other members of Pons Aelius, Jordan Aikin on Great Highland bagpipes, whistle and Alasdair Paul on bouzouki.

Music blog WriteWyattUK proclaimed that Elliott Morris “redefines folk…with a little John Martyn influence delivered in Seth Lakeman style” and BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson described him as “absurdly talented”.

With hundreds of gigs behind him – and a coveted Danny Kyle Award from Celtic Connections – Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after artists on the acoustic scene.

The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, has a unique guitar style. Favouring open tunings, his extended techniques include percussive hits, string tapping, and occasionally slide.

Half English, half Scottish and raised in Wales and Lincolnshire, Elliott has continued this journey by honing his craft on the road. He has played all across the British Isles, from Orkney to Plymouth, Boston to Llangrannog, Belfast to Clonakilty. And further afield, he’s headlined shows in Germany, Holland, Ireland, Canada. Other key dates have included Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as well as major events such as Cambridge Folk Festival, The Great British Folk Festival, Hop Farm, Towersey Festival, The London Acoustic Guitar Show and the Ullapool Guitar Festival.

He scooped a prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, BBC Alba broadcast a duo performance with Dougie Maclean at Perthshire Amber and in 2019 Elliott is a Drake Yolanda Award grant recipient.

Elliott Morris twice toured the UK opening for Paul Carrack taking in over fifty major venues including a show at The London Palladium.

He has supported a seemingly endless list of other respected acts, among them Frank Turner, Andy McKee, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, The Levellers, Ed Sheeran, Cara Dillon and Eddi Reader.

But now Elliott moves centre stage, the spotlight focused on him. June 2019 sees him release his second album The Way Is Clear, with a launch show at Cecil Sharp House.

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Artist’s website: http://www.elliottmorris.co.uk/

‘One More Day’ – official video:

PONS AELIUS – Captain Glen’s Comfort (own label PACGC01)

ComfortGreat band name, Pons Aelius. To save you the trouble, the original was a small Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall so the name reflects their musical heritage: mostly Newcastle with more than a dash of Scots. Captain Glen’s Comfort, named for a tune by piper and whistle-blower Jordan Aikin and flautist Sam Partridge, is their debut album after two years on the road and that experience shows.

Alongside Aikin we have Partridge’s wooden flutes which provide softer shades to contrast with the brightness of strings. Tom Kimber plays mandolin and tenor banjo giving the band four different lead instruments. Actually, that should be five since Alasdair Paul’s bouzouki is as much a lead instrument as a rhythm one. Alasdair also plays guitar alongside Bevan Morris’ double bass and Callum Younger’s bodhran and mixed percussion.

The band’s repertoire mixes original compositions, mostly by Aikin, a couple of traditional titles and some shrewd borrowings, notably Mats Edén’s ‘Yrsnö’ which serves to remind us that they are looking outwards not inwards. It’s the variety of music and versatility of playing that singles Pons Aelius out. The title track starts out a soft pastoral flute piece that gradually picks up the pace and it’s followed by the jazz influenced ‘£75 Fine’ and ‘Oh My Doughnuts’, the first part of which is written by Morris and built around a bass figure.

In another band, Aikin’s pipe part on ‘£75 Fine’ might be played on electric guitar and ‘Oh My Doughnuts’ might use boogie-woogie piano. All through the album the emphasis of the melody shifts from instrument to instrument but they are never gimmicky. Listen to ‘Lament For John Morrison Of Assynt House’ in which the pipes are underscored by Morris’s bowed bass and topped off with Partridge’s flutes. My only criticism of the record is that the piece should have been left to stand alone rather than being paired with another tune even though the pipes return to the original theme at the end.

And as that really is my only criticism I think it’s fair to say that Captain Glen’s Comfort is a very fine debut.

Dai Jeffries

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Artists’ website: http://ponsaeliusmusic.com

Captain Glen’s Comfort will be released on 8th September.

‘The Way Is Clear’ – live in the studio: