FIFTY3 FRIDAYS: ANDREW MAXWELL MORRIS - TRACK BY TRACK
A variation to the customary F3F format today as we focus on the new album from Surrey-based troubadour, Andrew Maxwell Morris. I wrote recently that I had followed his musical career closely since first happening on his work on MySpace back in the days and discovering that he actually lived down the road to me then. His songs have an enduring quality and mature like a good wine. While Andrew may not have joined the ranks of his some of his more feted peers, he has had his moments in the sun: among them, recognition via film and TV for several songs and regular appearances at Glastonbury over the past 12 years.
His third studio album came out at the end of September. There are just eight songs on the self-titled effort; the final one being a bonus acoustic version of the lead track, “I Will Go There”, which acts as an apt coda to the record. If you were expecting more, quality is clearly the winner over quantity here and each song is spacious and unhurried in its telling. In my opinion, they are among his very best work and I do recommend you check out the full album. Andrew took some time out to share some personal reflections on the individual songs and here they are, track-by-track.
I have always been conscious about how time passes and how time affects all of us in the same way. No one can slow it down and no one can speed it up. We can only do things which make our own time feel special or important to us. I read Jack Kerouac’s On The Road during lockdown and it blew me away; he wrote in such a wonderful freestyle of this amazing trip he took across the US with his friend. I love the beat generation writing in American Literature. The song is supposed to have that Americana laid back feel to it with pedal steel guitar and lots of backing vocals.
Being satisfied is always a difficult subject because what is satisfaction to one person is not to another. In this song I wanted to combine the almost jungle drum beat with folk melody to give it a call and response feel. It’s really about believing in yourself and your own power rather than the power of God or another being. I wanted the song to end with haunting backing vocals to leave the question of satisfaction unanswered in a way. This is the first time I have recorded ad lib vocals like this in one of my songs.
I Will Go There
This track is about a time in my life when I thought having more money would be the most important thing to me. I thought that it would bring me happiness and make me a better person. In fact, it did the opposite and taught me that this should never be one of my motivators again. The story continues with the lyrics moving on from that time and dreaming about how perfect it would be just to have ‘crowds that came to see me and have the stage set eternally’. The song is supposed to be a positive message about how important things lie within and not in external material possessions or money.
Make Me Feel
Growing up my brother and I had a tough time and were often not treated well. We lived apart from our parents but at the same time experienced this wild and interesting childhood, visiting and living in tropical countries and islands around the world with my dad’s job. I am working at creating better relationships with those around me and forgiving others for things that happened in the past. I feel empathy towards those that might have hurt me, not anger. This song is about is about my childhood and the difficulties with moving on from bad experiences and traumas.
When I wrote this song, I pictured being taken in a car into London during lockdown and seeing no one around. I wrote about the storm coming and the changes that the world went though at that time. I felt that we were as a human race, disappearing for a while but would come back stronger, with new ideas and a new lease of life. There were all sorts of emotions going round my head and I always wanted to keep the message positive, and this is why the chorus has (hopefully) that upbeat feel to it. I asked a great sax player, Alexander Bone, to play the beautiful instrumental part to the song.
Lead me on
I always thought that the idea of an all-seeing all-knowing God something which was difficult for me to get into. This track is about this feeling and about how religion can lead you on. I was uncomfortable with the idea that there is an all-powerful force which knows everything we are doing and might somehow punish us for things we got wrong. I grew up around religious organisations and came from a god-fearing household, so I guess I am just rebelling against it in this track.
A song about forgiveness and about the power of this experience. If I had my time again, I would record this track with a gospel choir and have the words ‘Mercy Mercy’ singing out on repeat recorded in a beautiful church! I just didn’t have the budget to do it. The track was one of the first on the album to be recorded remotely during lockdown. I have had to forgive people close to me in my life and I imagined the story from another’s point of view and how this would feel giving mercy to someone else.
Andrew Maxwell Morris is out now, available to stream, digitally download or physically own on CD or vinyl. Find it HERE.
Andrew Maxwell Morris: Discography
Upside Down (2012)
Well Tread Roads (2014)
Save The Light (2020)
Andrew Maxwell Morris (2022)
SEPTEMBER SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
A regular feature of this site is the monthly Fifty3 Fridays Spotify Playlist. The latest one includes all 26 songs in order from September’s Fifty3 Fridays as long as they are listed on Spotify, of course. Which, this month, joyfully they are. It opens with Alicia Blue’s captivating retelling of the Jane’s Addiction classic “Jane Says” and closes with something suitably stimulating to stop you drifting off - “More Coffee” by The Happy Somethings.
Here it is. Please feel free to share it and curb my anxiety by adding to the select few who follow me on Spotify at TonyHardy53. You can access all the past monthly playlists here too (and many are there as hot dinners had have I). Thank you, Yoda and goodnight.