SINGER with excellent British folkies Red River Dialect; a man who for many years breathed such essential life into the Cornish music scene, snaring artists such as Jack Rose, William Tyler and Damon & Naomi for performances down at the very bottom of our islands; all-round gentleman, actually, David John Morris, has revealed he’s set to release a solo album in May, and has released the video for a first teaser, the deeply contemplative and introspective “New Safe”.
And the album’s creation comes with a really interesting back story, as the former Falmothian left our shores entirely for a nine-month sojourn at the Buddhist monastery of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada.
“New Safe” has a stillness, the warm swell of acoustic guitars providing an easy grace for David’s lyrical candour, which the lyric video reveals in full as a journey from loss and anxiety to a calmer place.
David says of the song and its lyrics: “This song/film is part of a spiral of experience. Past good intentions come back sometimes, they’ve been out there getting wise and if you welcome them back in (even though they may be unrecognisable) you open to an experience of profound hospitality, being a guest in this universe.”
As with his previous work both solo and with Red River Dialect, the new long-player, Monastic Love Songs uses a song cycle to articulate a relationship with inner and outer landscapes, inspired by the Taoist approach of observing the movement of the heavens in order to understand the cosmos within.
All the songs were written during the final weeks of David’s long retreat at the Buddhist monastery, where David was ordained. The songs mostly explore human relationships; and he seems to be moving toward another famous songwriter who dwelled monastically, Leonard Cohen; in terms of his rich, deepening vocal, his unswerving precision with his feelings rendered lyrically, and spiritually.
In the May of his retreat David was given permission to acquire a guitar – the first instrument he would play in six months; he was permitted an hour’s practice each day, during which the songs just flowed. They were then laid down as an album in a single day’s recording.
David John Morris’ Monastic Love Songs will be released digitally, on CD and on LP by Hinterground Recordings on May 21st; you can pre-order your copy here.