Cary Morin is a finger picking guitar player, singer and songwriter who won both the 2013 and 2014 Solo Duo Colorado Blues Challenge. The son of an Air Force officer and a Crow tribal member, Morin hails from Billings, Montana. Touring and recording with Pura Fe, Morin gained acclaim in France; he has toured successfully across the globe and has appeared on NPR and BBC radio programs as well as programs in France, Switzerland and Belgium.
The acoustic music he plays is timeless. It could come from any period in the last 100 years yet it sounds fresh and in touch. Featuring a dozen originals and two covers, Morin is joined by French harp player Jean Jaques Milteau. Morin is featured on vocals, guitar and pedal steel guitar.
The top tunes here are the two covers, the title track and “Obstacles to Negotiate.” Morin delivers this tune with his slightly gravelly voice and super guitar picking. The song is really a story where Morin effectively captivates the listener and tells us about the obstacles in life we must negotiate. The title track is a complex finger picking tune with a story about leaving a small home town. Morin fingers picks with a controlled sort of reckless abandon, making the frets do his bidding as he navigates up and down the neck of the guitar. Quite impressive! Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks” has the harp accompanying Morin’s vocals in this minor keyed slow blues. The story is told in a downtrodden sort of way with the harp huffing and puffing and Morin playing and singing in a totally different approach than the original. WC Handy’s “Yellow Dog Blues” is the other featured tune. Morin sings and picks out this classic and gives it his own spin. His style is a mix of many perhaps (promo materials claim he’s like a mix of Taj Mahal, Kelly Joe Phelps, Greg Brown, Chris Smither and Jorna Kaukonen), but it is all his own. I enjoyed his approach to the guitar and vocals.
While the album promotes these tunes, the others are also well up to snuff. The opening tune “Angels and Devils” introduces the listener to Morin and his excellent finger picking blues and Americana music. He demonstrates his talents and intrigues you with his style. “Endless Possibilities” goes on for a minute with Morin shouting his blues unaccompanied and really holds your attention. “Wrong Side of the Law” is another harp accompanied tune with a story of an arrest where no one comes to bail him out. He waits but no one comes. The vocal tone and harp create the emotional backdrop for the words.
There are another 7 tunes here to enjoy. I think fans of acoustic blues will love this. Morin is an adept guitar player and delivers vocals beautifully. His fame overseas is warranted and one can only hope exposure to American blues fans will get this artist the same recognition at home. I enjoyed this CD!