Sound — 9
Maybe you remember him from his 2002 independent release, when everybody started talking about Eliot Morris as the most talented new singer and songwriter. Maybe you forgot him 'cause it's been four years since then. Whatever it is he's been busy with for such a long time, he prepared a wonderful new record made up of new songs as well as renewed compositions from his old record. With his major-label debut album What's Mine Is Yours (Universal Records) Eliot Morris brings back the memories of Jackson Browne, James Taylor and Neil Young. He began recording the album in 2004, but due to the problems with the record company, What's Mine Is Yours was released only in August 2006. Being a sophisticated artist, Morris just couldn't make an average record with average musicians. The cast of the supporting line-up is stellar -- chunky guitar riffs by David Lindley and steel-guitar solos by David Immergluck, Leland Sklar on bass, keyboards by Craig Doerge. Balancing The World is the album's first single -- a joyful song that ends up with a question feeling and makes you think of a life you're living. Crayola gave Morris fans a bit more of anticipation before the album release putting his This Colorful World (which was originally written as a meditation of birth) as a commercial soundtrack. As most of the others, the track's got a great instrumental part at the end of it. The Infancy Of Us and Anyway were borrowed from the previous album, but were re-recorded for What's Mine Is Yours. Among the bright and easy tracks of the album, Novocain is the only gloomy song. More gentle and delicate tracks remind of early Dave Matthews Band -- just like on their releases, a lot of parts seem to be improvised. Tracks feature difficult structures, tempo changes and multi-layered arrangements, demonstrating artists' music experience. If you listen close to any instrument's part individual, you'll be amazed by how melodies and lines so different fit in one song. At the same time, with all those layers of guitars and melodies, the music is so well-written, that is sounds very organic and light.
Lyrics — 9
The CD includes story-telling songs about life -- from poems about family and birth to preachy lyrics about growing up and of course soulful songs about love. Anyway is a happy song about the inspiration that appears when you fall in love. It's about the only careless song where Morris is not teaching us anything. The lyrics go close to the music in every detail -- in arrangements, guitar sounds, drum beats. Morris is spelling every word distinctly, trying to deliver the message the song is carrying. His vocal delivery is very gentle -- this way of singing is more peculiar to women. In fact there are some wonderful duos on the record with Inara George, Sara Watkins, Bekka Bramlett, Gemma Hayes, and Lisa Germano.
Overall Impression — 9
Being used to take everything serious (Morris graduated the Uni and earned a degree in finance), he takes a thought-out approach in music as well: writing deep thoughtful lyrics, casting great musicians, very carefully picking up a record label, opening for Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls and, as a result, recording an album with every next song better than the previous one. The album describes life as it is -- with its good moments and bitter ones. In spite of the Morris' teaching manner, his songs are radio-friendly and have catchy melodies. Being based on the foundations of blues and country, this is one of those records that can become classical over years -- it carries the nostalgia of the past, yet has something universal in sound and lyrics -- something that never gets old. What's Mine Is Yours is a family listen and you won't be ashamed listening to it with your dad or years later with your grandkids. The artist claims the record felt like it took a lifetime to make, but it was definitely worth the costs.