Over the past ten years, DJ has performed locally and regionally in a number of capacities. He has accompanied and produced several local acts and performed as a solo artist. Whether in a studio or on a stage, his talent is frequently praised:
“Some of the best live vocals I have ever heard!” – Jon Alford Rogersville Heritage
“…fresh, passionate, and extremely well done.” - .W. Ross - Indie Music Stop
“D.J. Morrison is a lovely, fluid guitarist” - Matthew Everett - Metro Pulse
“Morrison's lifelong idolizing of guitar legends assures intricate and technical playing, be it electric or acoustic” - Jer Cole - Knoxville News Sentinel
DJ has been featured on numerous local radio and television programs on stations such as WBIR-TV, WIVK, WDVX, WUOT and WMTN, and he has performed at some of the areas finest venues, festivals, and theatres; a few include the Capitol Theatre, Barley’s Taproom, Market Square, Camperfest. He also spends some of his time giving guitar lessons.
DJ has participated and has placed in several prestigious guitar and songwriting competitions from Georgia to Indiana and just about everywhere in between. He was a local finalist placing second to national winner, Andy Wood in Guitar Center’s National guitar competition “Guitarmageddon” in 2003. Most recently, DJ was a finalist in the prestigious Eddie’s Attic songwriting competiton.
These days, besides moonlighting for local greats such as: Mountain Soul, Brendon James Wright, Wade Hill, Sonny Smith (Nation Banjo Champion), Jonathan Maness (Of Mountain Soul and the Dixe Beeliners), Daniel Kimbro (of Mountain Soul and the Lovell Sisters), The Wordplayers, Sheila Gordon, and many others, DJ fills his calendar playing shows with his new band; properly called, The DJ Morrison Band. The band features Carey Archer on piano and organ, Clint Mullican on bass, and Tony Karnowski on drums.
His latest project, titled “Beautiful World”, is a small collection of songs showcasing his unique songwriting and arranging. “A lover of most styles of music, Morrison combines aspects of bluegrass, jazz, blues, folk and country when crafting his comprehensive, original material. The mood of the album is positive and inspirational with songs dedicated to wife and child and offers comfort and advice to those struggling with the usual human hang-ups.” – Jer Cole - Knoxville News Sentinel
A few words from DJ:
I wanted to post something a little more personal in this space for the "true believers". If you've actually read through all that was posted above, chances are...you're actually probably a little interested.
I could use this space to talk about where I come from, where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and where I plan to go, but I don’t think that would really tell you a thing about why my music SOUNDS the way it does—well, maybe a little, but—I think the REAL "bio" is in the telling of who has influenced me musically. To be succinct as possible – when I listen to my own music I think, “It’s almost there.”
What I mean is this: I’ve been influenced by so many genres and musicians’ styles within those genres that it’s hard to say that my music is “this” or “that.”
I think what I do is I try to combine everything that has moved me from every style that I’ve been exposed to in the great hope of creating the “perfect” blend of sounds—the perfect “recipe”, if you will. But the problem is that I’m continually influenced by new stuff, and by things that I never noticed before in the old; so in the end I step out of my skin and try to look at it from every point of view that I can think of and mutter, “It’s almost there.”
I'd like to use this space to try to maintain a list of influences going back as far as I can remember.
I’ll try to be somewhat chronological, and I'm earnestly going to try to come back to the list to update it when I stumble across something new. Hopefully, this will give you a pretty good idea of what moves me and what has helped to shape my sound. Regardless of all that, It'll be fun for me to do.
Jim Croce – 6yrs old, lying on the floor listening to “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”—This is the first music that I can remember in my life.
‘80s Big Hair Rock – Yup, I’m an 80s kid
Whatever was on the radio – I used to sit in my room for hours with my first guitar – a cheap open-headstock type (I think my brother bought it at a yard sale for something like $5) with three strings randomly placed and randomly tuned – and I would just pluck out melodies and make up what sounded like triads or chords that fit the songs.
My grandfather, Ken Horton – “Three chords and the truth” at age 14 – I will forever be grateful.
Old gospel hymns
Appalachian Music Compilation Tapes and CDs – Yeah, like the stuff you buy at Cracker Barrel
Popular Country Music
Eric Clapton – I was 16, and I bought the Unplugged album. I had no idea at the time that this would be one of the most influential pieces of recorded music in my life. It changed the way and the reason I listened to music. I learned every single note of every single song, and it was this album that introduced me to the blues. Thank you, Eric.
Jim Croce – Yup, again. But this time I was 16 and trying to learn all the songs and all of Maury Muehleisen’s licks
Maury Muehleisen – (as mentioned above)
Charles Brown – *sigh*
Big Bill Broonzy
(The blues list alone could go on forever)
Stevie Ray Vaughn – This is shocking, but to be honest with you (and myself) I didn’t like SRV the first time I heard him. Yes, I know, I know – let me explain. I was still in my blues infancy, if you will, and I was still trying to learn the staple stuff and trying to understand what made me like this music so much. I first heard Stevie playing the song Crossfire during a late night re-airing of the show Night Music with David Sanborn – incidentally while recording a performance of Eric Clapton with Robert Cray. My ears were in shock; I didn’t understand what I was hearing, or seeing, for that matter. All I knew was that it was too much for me. It wasn’t until about a month or so later that I heard him again on a late night public radio show. The song was Texas Flood. I was stunned to have heard playing like this. I immediately scurried ‘round the room that night to find a blank tape to record whoever it was that I was hearing play the best electric blues guitar I had every heard. I didn’t find a tape, but the D.J. announced his name, and I remembered the “SRV” on a man’s guitar on that Night Music thing I recorded. I found the tape, and fell in love.
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Yup, I liked me some “Skynrd”
Bob Orr – Local musician and history buff. I Took some lessons and played a few gigs with him to get prepared for college jazz band and the world of gigging. This really opened my eyes to a new world of music. Thanks, Bob!
Marvin Gaye – *sigh*
Daniel Kimbro – I met Daniel while in Jazz Band in college. He and his family helped me dive deeper into the world of bluegrass, and what a wonderful world it is! Daniel is one of the finest musicians I know, and he's a dear friend.
Shawn Kimbro – Shawn is one of the best songwriters I know.
Brendon James Wright - A fabulous songwriter
Doc Watson – My favorite flatpicker
Del McCoury Band
Sonny Smith – Friend and national Banjo Champion – introduced me to a lot of new songs and to a fabulous guitarist named Brent Mason.
Flatt & Scruggs
Nickel Creek – Wow, what a change they’ve made in my music.
Paul Simon – One of my absolute favorite songwriters
Johnny A – I’ve picked up tons of stuff from this guy
Brent Mason – The world would just not be the same without him (at least my world).
Doyle Dykes – Well, his stuff is just too much for me to pick up, but his playing made me cry at one of his concerts, so…I HAVE to mention him. And speaking of crying…
Buddy Guy – I’ve already mentioned the blues stuff, but Buddy is in another category as far as I’m concerned. The most memorable concert experience of my life so far came at one of his shows. With tears rolling down my eyes, I knew in that moment that I wanted to move people with music. Thanks, Buddy!
Sting& the Police
Martin Sexton - Thank God for Martin Sexton!
Well, there are certainly many more musicians in between, but I think that covers most of the HUGE musical influences for now. As I said, I plan to come back to this list for occasional updating, so...stay tuned...if this is something you care about (obviously, it is if you're still reading).
As I sit here now and read through the list, I can’t help but think, in the way of talent, I’ve got nothing on most of these guys, but as far as the overall sound I’m continually trying to achieve…well, it’s…almost there.
DJ Morrison - Guitar, Vocals
Clint Mullican - Bass
Tony Karnowski - Drums
Carey Archer - Keys
Beautiful World: May 2008.
Extremely well done
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Artist: DJ Morrison Title: Beautiful World Website: http://www.djmorrisonmusic.com/ MySpace: ht...
Artist: DJ Morrison
Title: Beautiful World
Rating: 8.8 out of 10
By Senior Writer C.W. Ross
DJ Morrison is a singer/songwriter who mixes, roots rock, blues, folk, and even touches of jazz to create the sound that's found on his latest release, Beautiful World. Morrison has a large list of musical influences that includes a who's who of many different style of music. Here's what he has to say about his musical influences, "I've been influenced by so many genres and musicians' styles within those genres that it's hard to say that my music is "this" or "that." I think what I do is I try to combine everything that has moved me from every style that I've been exposed to in the great hope of creating the "perfect" blend of sounds - the perfect "recipe", if you will. But the problem is that I'm continually influenced by new stuff, and by things that I never noticed before in the old; so in the end I step out of my skin and try to look at it from every point of view that I can think of and mutter, "It's almost there." When I review a CD I like to set down with a notebook and take notes while listening to the music. Words that I kept writing down while listening to this release were, great guitar parts, passionate vocals, interesting song arrangements, and root's music. This release is filled with from the heart songs that offer up fresh arrangements, strong vocals, solid drum work, and guitar parts (both electric and acoustic) that breathe life in to the music. The guitar playing reminded me of a mixture of guitar virtuosos, BB King, Chet Atkins, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The songs deal with issues of life and love. The most touching song has to be the last track, "Lullaby." This soft melodic song tells the story of a father singing to his young son as he falls asleep. The song talks about the never-ending love and bond that exist between a parent and child. I really liked what DJ Morrison offers up in the 41 minutes of music found on Beautiful World; the music is fresh, passionate, and extremely well done.
Local CD Review: D.J. Morrison
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D.J. Morrison is a lovely, fluid guitarist, and he demonstrates his skill all over his new CD, Beaut...D.J. Morrison is a lovely, fluid guitarist, and he demonstrates his skill all over his new CD, Beautiful World. From the gentle acoustic picking on “Valentine Song” to the bluesy electric-slide interludes and smooth, stinging leads on “My Own Way”—and with plenty of savvy, understated chops in between—Morrison shows that he has the makings of a genuine local guitar hero. He’s a capable singer and pop songwriter (the soulful “Blow Your Kiss” is his shining moment as a writer), too, though he operates too close to the Dave Matthews/Blues Traveler model for comfort. Give him a little room, though, and his instrumental abilities far outweigh his sometimes-questionable influences.
Adult happiness, not teen angst, for eclectic musician
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Local musician DJ Morrison just celebrated the release of his first album only shortly after...
Local musician DJ Morrison just celebrated the release of his first album only shortly after celebrating the birth of his first son. It is no mystery as to the source of his optimistic subject matter for the album titled "Beautiful World." With so much going on, Morrison has yet to perform a proper CD release for the album he finished at the beginning of the month, but he will make up for it with a show this Saturday.
A lover of most styles of music, Morrison combines aspects of bluegrass, jazz, blues, folk and country when crafting his comprehensive, original material. Morrison's shows are cover-heavy, featuring tracks from a wide array of influences, as establishing a rapport with his audience is a top priority. Whether covers or original material, Morrison's lifelong idolizing of guitar legends assures intricate and technical playing, be it electric or acoustic.
"I started out playing gospel music with my grandfather in church, and then I discovered the blues," says Morrison. "I could talk for hours about every blues artist that has affected me in some way, but really, the person that turned me on to it was Eric Clapton. I memorized every note on the 'Unplugged' album. I think that album was probably the single most important recording that has affected me musically. It's got great songwriting and great blues. This is certainly the foundation of what I do.
"I've gone through a lot of changes genre-wise, and upon every change I think, 'Wow, I love this music; I could be perfectly happy playing this style forever.' Then I realize just how much I love the other stuff, and I change my mind. So, when it comes down to it, I've been in it now for some time, and I'm able to step back and realize that I am a songwriter; that's it. I just want to write a good song no matter how much of this or that is in it."
An electroneurodiagnostic technologist by day, Morrison has played frequent shows of his own as well as with bands. He spent a year completing his debut album and established a small independent label, Brightleaf Records. His album "Beautiful World" contains 10 original tracks and is available online and at Disc Exchange. The mood of the album is positive and inspirational with songs dedicated to wife and child and offers comfort and advice to those struggling with the usual human hang-ups.
"I feel that the album as a whole is uplifting and that there actually is a message there for those inclined," Morrison says. "I'm also proud of the fact that I have a couple of songs specifically written for my wife in there, and I have a song called 'Lullaby,' which is another uplifting song full of pride and 'chin-up-ness.' "
Though a solo act, Morrison seldom plays a show without accompaniment from friends whose acts he also moonlights for on occasion. With mounting obligations to his career and family, Morrison will continue to make time for his love of performing.
"There's this underlying philosophy that I have that says, 'When it truly feels like it's becoming a burden - quit immediately,' " says Morrison. "Music isn't something that's supposed to drag you down. It should be uplifting, healing and fun. If it's not, then it's not for you. I absolutely love doing this with all my heart. It's this love that makes me still want to play my heart out to three people in a bar at midnight."
By Jer Cole - Knoxville News Sentinel
Friday, June 27, 2008
"...highly skilled musicians and some of the best live vocals I have heard..."
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"...a blend of southern musical genres including, blues, jazz, folk, bluegrass, and gospel. A band t..."...a blend of southern musical genres including, blues, jazz, folk, bluegrass, and gospel. A band that came with heavy recommendations for the "Concerts in the Park" series, I knew after seeing them that one day we had to have them up for Heritage Days. Highly skilled musicians, and some of the best live vocals I have heard..."
-Jon Alford / Rogersville Heritage Association
Set lists mostly consist of Morrison's original material picked from a list of about 40 original songs. Other than that, the occasional blues, bluegrass or jazz staple could be heard in the midst of covers from artists such as Nickel Creek, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, or - who knows - maybe a little U2 or Sting. (The number of songs and length of sets is usually determined at the venue).
There are no upcoming dates at this time.