Hippo Manchester
June 16, 2005

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Mike Morris performing at Tupelo Music Hall             Bruce Bressack photo

Music — Mike Morris, What Has He Done?

‘Heavy Wood’ acoustic music with a groove (and heart)

by Bruce Bressack

When’s the last time you saw a show opener being called on-stage to perform with the headliner? Somewhere between not-gonna-happen and never?

Well, if you were at Tupelo Music Hall last Thursday night you saw Mike Morris pulled onto the stage by rocker John Eddie. They shared a microphone and belted out a few tunes in a manner that even the gods (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) would approve of.

This was the fourth time I’ve seen Morris perform, and each time I have been more and more impressed with his talent and his ability to connect with an audience. There’s nothing phony or showy about him. And, in perhaps the highest praise, other musicians like and respect him and want him to succeed.

When Morris gets on stage, the music flows out of him like a waterfall. There’s no drip, drip, drip of stale or lazy  “I’ve-played-this-a-hundred-times-and-I’m-tired-of-playing-it” music. There’s just a blast of cool, bluesy, heavy wood acoustic music that hits you upside the head with songs that rekindle and refresh your spirit and soul.

How can you experience Morris’s music first-hand?

You can certainly catch one of his shows but, until then, all you have to do is pick up a copy of his CD, What Have I Done? It was recorded live in the studio and it truly captures the essence of his soaring and searing performances — one guitar, one voice, no overdubbing or studio “trickery.” It is just real music, played naturally and soulfully.

The songs ‘Who’s Sorry Now’ and ‘Breathe’ provide Morris with the opportunity to sing from deep-within-the-heart and ‘TV Song’ is just laugh-out-loud funny. The song ‘Mrs. Hadley’ showcases his clean, fast, percussive guitar style, with vocals that “lay perfectly in the groove.”

What Have I Done? is a remarkable effort with 12 well-written and performed songs that will “rev up your engine and get under your musical-hood.” While I haven’t rated CDs in the past, I believe this CD deserves four stars.

Let’s put it this way, if What Have I Done? were a vinyl record playing on your old Technics turntable, the needle would be worn down within a week. Got it?

For more information, or to purchase CDs, go to www.mikemorris.us