After F3T Film Tour...
Blue Blood and T Hardy Morris
Tue · September 19, 2017
Doors: 9:30 pm / Show: 10:30 pm
Rooftop @ Georgia Theatre
This event is 21 and overhttp://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1538653/
So went the process for Hunter Morris after the dissolution of his prior band Gift Horse. A professional fly fishing guide by trade, he spent a year on the trout streams of north Georgia literally and figuratively far away from the music scene in his home of Athens, GA. This time of reflection produced the songs that would become Blue Blood. But it was the process of reinvention that provided the inspiration for these songs long before there were finished lyrics, structures, and arrangements.
Blue Blood began as a new solo project for Morris, but through the process of making demos in solitude and trying to find a new voice for his songs, what emerged was a collection of songs worthy of full band, psychedelic pop treatment. And Morris knew just the person for the job. He sent some of the songs to Hank Sullivant, who fronts Kuroma, was a founding member of The Whigs, and is currently the guitarist for MGMT, and who had previously produced the Gift Horse LP “Mountain of Youth”. After hearing Morris’ demos, Sullivant immediately assumed a more involved producer/instrumentalist role and the studio version of Blue Blood became a collaboration between the two. Morris and Sullivant recruited J.J. Bower (Dead Confederate, Battle Tapes) to play the drums, as well as keyboardist Dave Spivey, and they recently completed what will be the debut Blue Blood LP “This Is The Life”, which will be released in October of 2014 on This Is American Music.
The album was definitely the foundation upon which Blue Blood was built, as Morris and Sullivant essentially completed recording it before Blue Blood ever played a live show. However, it is the live lineup of Blue Blood that has brought the songs into their own. Morris says that having the songs recorded prior to forming a band to play them made the learning process much more efficient. But it’s what each member brings of their own playing style and personality that give the songs an added depth in the live setting.
Blue Blood in the studio is: Hunter Morris: Vox, Guitar, Organ, Piano Hank Sullivant: Bass, Guitar, Piano, Organ, Vox J.J. Bower: Drums Dave Spivey: Moog, Piano, Vox Walker Howle: Lead Guitar on “The Buyout”
Blue Blood live is: Hunter Morris: Vox, Guitar, Organ, Piano Nick Robbins: Guitar, Vox Dave Spivey: Keyboards, Vox Noel Brown: Bass Michael Gonzalez: Drums
All songs written by Hunter Morris Produced by Hank Sullivant Engineered by Joel Hatstat Mixed by Drew Vandenberg at Chase Park Transduction Studio Mastered by Joel Hatstat
Like ideas, the best songs are the simple ones. And like most simple ideas, they’re usually far more complex upon further examination than they seem at first.
So many young songwriters start off looking for the most complex way possible to examine a simple truth. Perhaps to seem smarter, or more “mature”. The better songwriters learn - hopefully before too much embarrassment - that the complex thought simply put is the key to a great song. Distilling that subtle truth down to its very essence and expressing it in a way that cuts through the bullshit and takes the listener by the heart into the depths of the intended emotion.
“I ain’t never giving back the things I took”
I caught the line on about my third listen, busy as I was doing things around the house while the new album played loud in the next room. I’ve known Hardy a while. His long running band Dead Confederate played some of their earliest shows opening for Drive-By Truckers several years ago. I always liked them but probably didn’t delve deep enough into what they were doing to listen closely to the songs. That all changed when Hardy was about to release his debut solo album (2013’s fantastic Audition Tapes) and I saw him play a couple of times around Athens. I was immediately blown away. Every time I’d see or hear him, I’d hear something new. Great songs keep getting better the more you listen to them.
“I ain’t never taking back the things I said”
Which leads us to the new one, Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountaintop. If Hardy’s solo debut was a high and lonesome mellow-roast with musical touchstones like Harvest-era Neil Young and driving down a windy back road alone, the new one blasts out of the garage like some high-octane muscle car full of friends, blasting Mott The Hoople on the way to the last-call dive bar. It has it’s very own sound, but hits me in the same places as my favorite Replacements albums - stripped down and raw, yet sonically thrilling.
“Tell me how you like it, I’ll fix you up
Don’t you know home has cleaner cups”
The music is propelled by The Hardknocks. Vaughan Lamb and Nick Sterchi are a rock solid rhythm section, pushing it forward while never over-playing or detracting. That rare thing known as A songwriter’s rhythm section. Serious praise has to go to Hardy’s long time pedal steel player. Matt “Pistol” Stoessel, a veteran of Athens GA’s incredible music scene for many years. Pistol really shines in this band, providing both a melodic counter-point to Hardy’s formidable melodies and serving as the glue that holds all the elements together. The album all manages to be stripped down and raw yet sonically thrilling.
“Cuz I’m leaving now and coming back never
You can’t kill time without hurting forever
Cuz no one knows when I’m around
but it gets quieter when I leave town”
All of which leads me back to where I started, the wonderful last song on the album where the beat drops down to a slow waltz and the pedal steel swirls and the leading man sings…
“Just like the movies our eyes met
and just like the movies by the end they were wet
Just like in the movies I can’t catch each word
but love is a language with no subtitles”
Rooftop @ Georgia Theatre
215 N. Lumpkin St
Athens, GA, 30601