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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

Lauren Morrow - People Talk

One of the joys of The Long Road Festival is that you come across people in a live environment that you may not have previously heard before. One such artist who wowed #TEAMw21 on the day was Lauren Morrow. she impressed us with her songwriting, storytelling and overall good humour along with husband / guitarist Jason.

That day she trailed songs from her forthcoming album and it is now here in the shape of "People Talk", ten slices of superior Americana country delivered with a level of production that we could hardly have guessed at hearing the songs in their acoustic form. Lauren has poured a lot of effort into how these songs have been sonically shaped and it is a joy to travel from track to track to see what awaits next for she certainly takes us down some roads less travelled by other Americana artists for sure.

The album opens with "I'm Sorry", beginning with an eerie keyboard sound, that is most unexpected and finds Lauren seemingly in mid conversation at a somewhat awkward moment

"I know you're mad at me - sitting over there thinking about how bad I can be

Scheming up what to say cos when you get the last word - yeah that feels good

Don't lie to me - tell me that you're fine I know that that can't be

It'll all explode in time and you'll point the finger at me

Cos it's always me - I'm sorry"

The chorus when it arrives is glorious, sweeping strings, a loud electric guitar and Lauren with vocals that soar saying that "I'm Sorry" with a heartfelt passion. It's almost Beatlesque and is a glorious way to open proceedings.

"Only Nice When I'm High" has its origins in a pre pandemic road trip to acquire "supplies" - it opens to wonderful melody that floats into your mind and refuses to leave

"Sorry that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed - there's a million tiny monsters running circles in my head

Maybe that's why I treat you so bad - or maybe it's my Scorpio rising

I keep saying crazy things I can't take back - I guess I need some help to relax"

Once again the highly literate verse is matched to a sublime chorus - awash with swathes of strings

"You know I'm only nice when I'm high - you thought I'd be a pretty fine time

Perfect incarnation of the girl of your dreams - turned out to be a frozen up neurotic ice Queen

Maybe its not a thriller - hanging out with a buzz killer

Never meant to ruin your night - you know I'm only nice when I'm high"

As lyrically funny as it is musically brilliant - one of the only good things to come from the pandemic!!

The albums title track "People Talk" opens against expectations with a robotic drum beat and after an opening salvo of

"People talk a big game - when they need someone else to blame

for what they lack inside - what they wish they what they want to hide"

It then heads off into a bizarre disco shuffle with a sax solo - bafflingly brilliant!

It's back to basics for "It's You" a song composed mainly around an acoustic guitar, some background percussion and Lauren's divine vocal that really steals the show on this glorious love song.

"With love like ours there is no sky

There is no limit to how high

I swear we're never coming down"

There is really no telling what each track will sound like other than each will be great - "Looking For Trouble" blends together the Americana and Beatlesque themes of the albums into one 5 minute plus epic. The opening few minutes pure Americana with Lauren observing

If you're looking for trouble - it'll find you

If you're asking for problems they'll abide you

No matter where you go - right beside you"

Then there comes an almost psychedelic Maharishi dream sequence before the song returns to its roots.

There's a definite touch of independence about "Nobody But Me" - where Lauren lays herself bare -

"I’ve seen it all before

Things people do to get to you

So you think you know me, too?

But watch what I can do when I’ve got nothing left to lose"

It is very much a case of you get what you see and if you don't like it then she don't care

"If you ain’t helping than you’re hurting

It ain’t hard to see

Don’t need nobody but me"

It is all very matter of fact

"I know what I am I know what I’m not

I’m a real, live girl

Not a plastic robot

And you can have it all

Every card I’ve been dealt"

It is all played out over some highly rhythmic forthright upfront drumming more indy than country - surely set to raise an eyebrow or two.

By contrast "Hustle" or as it should be called "H-U-S-T-L-E" is a bit of funky classic country with some modern sensibilities - even finding time to quote Jay Z.

It's an absolute hoot from start to finish, with solos a plenty to boot.

The piano and guitar that open "Family Tree" are sweeping in their scale, there are even some faint strings to let you know something epic is about to unfold. It begins perhaps further back than anyone would be expecting

"My ancestor Lizzy married Robert The Bruce - in 1306 for King Edwards truce

Then the British they took her to an English seaside - and that's probably why, when I'm by the ocean I cry"

Fortunately it is not an Alex Haley "Roots", generation by generation revelation - Lauren just dips in at some pertinent points

"My Father's whole family sailed off from Norway

To the bottom of the earth - Durban SA

They built a village, and raised babies - were the first of their kind

To live by the tribes with blonde hair and green eyes"

It sees Lauren posing the question of whether we have considered what contribution we will make to our family history

"Life it may change from minute to minute

But you can't change your blood - and your family is all in it

Witches and warriors, poets and thieves

Do you wonder what mark you may leave on your family tree"

She does have one final lyrical surprise up her sleeve

"So one day when the planet is all run by robots - if life here on earth has all been forgot

Then harvest a human with my DNA and the ghost of my ancestors will come back"

The album closes with "Birthday" however if you are looking for celebrations then you are in the wrong place. This is a stark in all senses of the word break up song with just Lauren and a guitar and almost a stream of consciousness. the opening line gives little hint as to what is to come

"It's 5 o clock in the morning on your birthday and I can hardly believe I'm still awake"

The reasons for Lauren insomnia soon become apparent - they are delivered in a very matter of fact emotionless way, the birthday greeting being delivered in a no hard feelings kind of way

"That's ok - while you sleep - I can show myself out and collect all the crap I've left at your house

I'm sorry that it had to go this way - I hope you have a really nice birthday!"

Lauren knows the affect this course of action is going to result in, the bad mouthing but tries to reason it out

"You know this is the most fun you've had in years and let's be honest you know it turned you on

To find a girl not afraid to cut and run"

It paints a bleak picture of 2 dysfunctional human beings that care about each other but can't seem to be together.

"Do you think that either one of us know what love is about?"

There is a sad closing to the song - Lauren still singing in an emotionally dispassionate voice

"When I see you around at every bar in town - fireworks in my brain and I feel sick

It just means that I'm not over you yet"

In "People Talk" Lauren Morrow has created one of the most widely varied albums we have heard in years, she will make you laugh, cry, and maybe think a little bit - and that can be no bad thing

Lauren Morrow plays her only UK show at The Green Note on the 12th May - It promises to be something special.




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