Free Dirt Records releases The Flower of Muscle Shoals, the debut full-length album from Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer on August 19!
It’s the dust of a childhood growing up in Northern New Mexico; days spent exploring lost canyons, hiking hillsides covered in cottonwoods, and discovering old ghost towns. It’s also the dust of nostalgia, the kind of reflection of a just-married man looking back towards the inspirations of his youth. Cahalen Morrison grew up surrounded by the deep roots of country music; he played in his first country (and ranchero) band as a precocious 13 year old. Leaving New Mexico as a young man, his music began to branch out. “I did what every teenager does, and decided to go down the rock, and whatever road,” Cahalen explains. “But then I came back around to acoustic music, and now back to country. I love the focus on singing and the songs; I love the deep sincerity, the absurd humor… But obviously, overall, I really just love the music.” That full circle journey enabled Cahalen to develop a sound that sets him apart from other country artists. Exploring acoustic roots music and touring internationally with his acclaimed Seattle duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, he learned from the guidance of friends like Tim O’Brien and Kelly Joe Phelps. With his new project, Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer, and his new album, he’s taken all these influences and distilled them into a new form of American roots music, at once literate and profound, but written in the language of the country greats.
While offering up the comforting sounds of country and western's roots, The Flower of Muscle Shoals plays more like a new classic than a dusty Nashville relic. That’s because, as a lyricist, Cahalen Morrison points much further afield than the lynchpins of country that he grew up listening to. As a songwriter, he draws from influences like literary legend Gabriél Garcia Marquez, Swedish naturalist poet Tomas Tranströmer, cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell, and especially the author Cormac McCarthy. As Cahalen says, “The sparse quality of McCarthy's writing allows the reader to do much of the work themselves.” It’s a credo he follows in his songwriting, for though he’s adept at crafting the quick metaphors and turns-of-phrases that define country songwriting, there are images in The Flower of Muscle Shoals that stay with you well beyond the last note.
Preview the album here: