Charlotte Morris – Wild Child
This set is obviously rooted in the early work of artists such as Joni Mitchell, Pam Polland & Emmylou Harris (to a degree). Several songs are simple narratives, recollections, memories, confessional lyrics, deeply personal anxious tales & starting new. Quite a laundry list for a young singer-songwriter.
But Charlotte Morris has a colorful voice with far more hues than her subjects. It swings through the vocalization style of Sarah MacLachlan. But Ms. Morris is more rural than Sarah & that’s where the Emmylou Harris’ tinder burns. Charlotte touches on moments of vulnerability, insecurity, fear & curiosity & finds remnants of joy that parallel life between a wild child & a woman on her 10-cut Wild Child (Drops Sept 29–Independent). That’s a challenging map to follow.
Charlotte (vocals/violin) from outside Philadelphia shaped her own musical coherence with expressive words & on this CD through raw experiences. There’s more folksiness in her showcase than country. Her voice is too plaintive & beautiful to be relegated to many controversial topics, angst-filled subjects, or anything for that matter that’s troubling to young ladies.
Ms. Morris needs to create more optimistic songs with the same resolute melodies she offers here. She does it brilliantly with “This Time ‘Round,” — gives hope to young women. Years ago, I wrote lyrics for a male singer who was gay. He asked me to not give him words about relationships with girls. But that’s a hard sell commercially. So, I wrote generic love songs that could be applied to either a man or a woman. Bernie Taupin did it for Elton John. The concept of leaving a song open to interpretation so another could cover the song appealed to him.
Charlotte needs to be that mouthpiece for all girls because she has the talent, voice & ability to shape the right words. “Wild Child,” is gorgeous – well played & her voice is sincere throughout with poignancy. Yet, she injects soulful lines & knows which words to emphasize.
Produced by William Gawley the 41-minute CD features deep dives like “Good Kind of Hurt,” & “Time Will Tell,” both have shades of Laura Nyro, Cindy Bullens, Nanci Griffith & Janis Ian. Songs with stark revelations, thick with anxiety, facing angst as it ripens in a memory facing uncertain choices & the melody though has an exuberance that gives hope. These are exceptional.
Exceptional because Charlotte Morris is. She knows how to live within her art. She expresses it. She just needs to essentially rise above it all – so others can follow her.
Highlights – “Tennessee,” “Love Ain’t Real,” “Wild Child,” “Good Kind of Hurt,” “Breathe,” “Time Will Tell,” “If My Heart Had a Say” & “This Time ‘Round.”
Musicians – David Flint (acoustic & electric guitars/mandolin), Dow Tomlin & Dave Francis (bass), Dane Bryant (keys) & Wayne Killius (drums).
Image courtesy of Anna Haas. CD @ https://www.charlottemorrismusic.com/