Chalet Morrison

REVIEW: Cahalen Morrison “Wealth of Sorrow”


Cahalen Morrison has a new album, Wealth of Sorrow, just out on Fluff and Gravy records last week.

This album was recorded in an empty chapel made of adobe in the tiny rural town of Jaroso, New Mexico (at the border with Colorado) and whether you knew that or not before your first listen, you would hear that earthy resonance in every moment of every song and notice it.

The entire album is Cahalen Morrison on guitar, banjo and vocals.  It takes a degree of courage to record an album singing and playing alone with only one instrument in your lap, and a microphone.  And it takes more so to do it, not over time in your own living space where you can tweak and edit to your heart’s content — that wasn’t the case here.  This was done bravely in less than 2 days all the way from start to finish. An Americana music lover’s dream.

The songs on Wealth of Sorrow contain a noticeable purity — this is quality songwriter’s fare.  The spacious production and the recording context are one level of purity, and the songs themselves are the other.

“This Whole Broken World” opens the album in glorious a cappella on your fate sung out loud to the rafters. “The Month of May” then introduces the banjo playing to the album, and introduces the listener to the echoey, timeless songwriting: “last time I saw you, it was in the month of May, you floated down as a leaf that lost its way.”

“Wealth of Sorrow” is the album’s namesake so lean in and see why.  You can hear some crackles of wind or raindrops against a window pane on this one and it’s sheer Americana goodness.  “Here I am, all blood and bones, so constant in direction … and of the sea she cried so sad.”

Later in the album, “Down in the Valley” “with my feet in my boots and my boots in the stirrups hanging down, I sit in the saddle pointed just the other way from town,” and an easy raw song holds your mood in its hands.

The entire album was tracked live in a day and a half by Erick Jaskowiak with a small mobile recording rig. You can call this album ten songs and the raw truth.

All songs were written by Cahalen Morrison (Hanktown BMI) except “Young Jaime Foyers” (traditional, from the singing of Sheila Stewart).

Find the music here:

The album was recorded live and mixed by Erick Jaskowiak in Jaroso, Colorado; and mastered by Dave Sinko in Nashville, Tennessee.  Cover artwork is courtesy of Niki Sherey ( with cover design and layout by Matt Ballew.

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