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Adult happiness, not teen angst, for eclectic musician
By Jer Cole
Friday, June 27, 2008
Local musician DJ Morrison just celebrated the release of his first album only shortly after celebrating the birth of his first son. It is no mystery as to the source of his optimistic subject matter for the album titled "Beautiful World." With so much going on, Morrison has yet to perform a proper CD release for the album he finished at the beginning of the month, but he will make up for it with a show this Saturday.
A lover of most styles of music, Morrison combines aspects of bluegrass, jazz, blues, folk and country when crafting his comprehensive, original material. Morrison's shows are cover-heavy, featuring tracks from a wide array of influences, as establishing a rapport with his audience is a top priority. Whether covers or original material, Morrison's lifelong idolizing of guitar legends assures intricate and technical playing, be it electric or acoustic.
"I started out playing gospel music with my grandfather in church, and then I discovered the blues," says Morrison. "I could talk for hours about every blues artist that has affected me in some way, but really, the person that turned me on to it was Eric Clapton. I memorized every note on the 'Unplugged' album. I think that album was probably the single most important recording that has affected me musically. It's got great songwriting and great blues. This is certainly the foundation of what I do.
"I've gone through a lot of changes genre-wise, and upon every change I think, 'Wow, I love this music; I could be perfectly happy playing this style forever.' Then I realize just how much I love the other stuff, and I change my mind. So, when it comes down to it, I've been in it now for some time, and I'm able to step back and realize that I am a songwriter; that's it. I just want to write a good song no matter how much of this or that is in it."
An electroneurodiagnostic technologist by day, Morrison has played frequent shows of his own as well as with bands. He spent a year completing his debut album and established a small independent label, Brightleaf Records. His album "Beautiful World" contains 10 original tracks and is available online and at Disc Exchange. The mood of the album is positive and inspirational with songs dedicated to wife and child and offers comfort and advice to those struggling with the usual human hang-ups.
"I feel that the album as a whole is uplifting and that there actually is a message there for those inclined," Morrison says. "I'm also proud of the fact that I have a couple of songs specifically written for my wife in there, and I have a song called 'Lullaby,' which is another uplifting song full of pride and 'chin-up-ness.' "
Though a solo act, Morrison seldom plays a show without accompaniment from friends whose acts he also moonlights for on occasion. With mounting obligations to his career and family, Morrison will continue to make time for his love of performing.
"There's this underlying philosophy that I have that says, 'When it truly feels like it's becoming a burden - quit immediately,' " says Morrison. "Music isn't something that's supposed to drag you down. It should be uplifting, healing and fun. If it's not, then it's not for you. I absolutely love doing this with all my heart. It's this love that makes me still want to play my heart out to three people in a bar at midnight."