Mike Morris

Mike Morris

 Strafford, New Hampshire, USA
SoloPopSinger/Songwriter

FREE STYLE FOLK. An energy-charged frenzy of guitar, songwriting and wit. "The electric guitar may have changed the world, but the acoustic guitar keeps it turning..."

Biography

I'm a reluctant New Englander. I was born in El Paso, TX, and came to NH in the early 1970s. Now, I can't imagine living anywhere else but here. I learned the power of a song when my older brother locked me in a closet and made me listen to Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" over and over again. My favorite records are Tom Waits' "Closing Time," and Marc Cohn's eponymous debut record. I could sit in a good music store for hours, picking on acoustic guitars. Strings and Things Music in Concord, NH is a good one, and they're good people. I played my first gig in Concord, too... at Hermanos Cocina Mexicana. It's still there, and so am I... I recently played their 30th anniversary. I call my music FreeStyle Folk, and though I often play solo, or with my trusty JamMan looper, I like nothing better than sharing a song with a fellow music lover. When I was starting out a while back, someone said to me: "You can't eat music." Well, no... but it sure does feed your soul. Thanks for listening.

Lyrics

Breathe

Written By: Mike Morris

I remember February, can’t recall the date
I remember thinking, was this mom or was this fate
You picked up that fiddle, tuned it up and started to play
I could feel the falling several hundred miles away

I said I like the desert, you smiled and said that’s fine
But I need open water, give me time I’ll change your mind
We went to California, another 8th of May
That big old whale, a giant tail, just one boat length away

And it’s
Two of us together and it’s our first Christmas tree
Tears well up inside me and I’d like to set them free
When the world is heavy and it drives you to your knees
All you need to do… is learn to Breathe

Our eyes were the same color, we played the same guitar
We both liked good hiking boots and staring at the stars
You can have your ocean, I’ll take my desert, too
But I don’t think I’m going unless I go there with you

And it’s
Two of us together and it’s our first Christmas tree
Tears well up inside me and I’d like to set them free
When the world is heavy and it drives you to your knees
All you need to do… is learn to Breathe

(bridge)
Breathe…

Two souls in the desert, not content to be alone
Add a little water, and you’ve got yourself a home
This little piece of rock and dirt, this house is just four walls
At least when it comes tumbling down, the dog comes when he’s called

And it’s
Three of us together and another Christmas tree
Tears well up inside me and I’ve long since set them free
When the world is heavy and it drives you to your knees
All you need to do… is learn to Breathe
Maybe you can teach me… how to Breathe
All you need to do… is learn to Breathe

45 Minutes from Santa Fe

Written By: Mike Morris

45 MINUTES FROM SANTA FE

Floating down the river, the mighty Rio Grande
Patrols, Federales, that cross the borderland
In their white-backed Fords, they’re the borderlords, they’re the best the country’s got, hey
Jesus walks in, with a green-backed grin, in a haze of cold Tecate

Down in Brownsville, there’s a man, for a fee will lend a hand
Makes a few phone calls, behind pressboard walls and a half-speed ceiling fan
With his ostrich boots and a stance that suits the appointed task at hand
His cigar grows short as he hunts for sport, the coming of the man

(chorus)
45 minutes from Santa Fe, 45 days on my own
45 minutes from Santa Fe, lord…
Lord it’s good, to be back, on your own

Mother Mary waits behind, ‘cause the river is too wide
Far upstream she relives a dream, of a destiny that’s tied
To a man who would kill for a twenty-dollar bill or a chance for bigger money
In a chain of events as he represents, the salvation of a country

(chorus)
45 minutes from Santa Fe, 45 days on my own
45 minutes from Santa Fe, lord…
Lord it’s good, to be back, on your own

Busted, down in Tejas, in a low-cut El Dorado
Jesus met his fate where the interstate cuts the Llano Estacado
There were men with guns, I was on the run, but I'm not afraid to die
'Cause it ain't no joke, when you bring a little hope, to the folks on the other side

(chorus)
45 minutes from Santa Fe, 45 days on my own
45 minutes from Santa Fe, lord…
Lord it’s good, to be back, on your own

Burke, Virginia

Written By: Mike Morris

BURKE, VIRGINIA
c. 2006 by Mike Morris

There’s a place locked, in my memory
It comes out from time to time
When the details, they escape me
Burke, Virginia… is in my mind

Now we all have, those kinds of memories
Tucked away, high upon a shelf
When the details, they escape me
I just fill in the blanks myself

(chorus)
I remember sweet Virginia
When you left I just could not stay
I got lost in Burke, Virginia
Guinea Road took you away

We’d go floating, down the river
Rusty nails, and a plywood boat
We’d hold on tight, to each other
Praying we might just stay afloat

I remember sweet Virginia
Why you left I just could not say
I got lost in Burke, Virginia
Guinea Road took you away

(bridge)
Now that river is all dried up now
When that highway came running through
But somewhere there’s open water
Where I stole that first kiss from you

Guinea Road, just dirt and gravel
Time can heal old wounds it’s true
But no matter, where I travel
I am still holding on to you

I remember, sweet Virginia
When you left I just could not stay
I got lost in Burke, Virginia
Guinea Road took you away
I got lost in Burke, Virginia
Guinea Road took you away

Let A Little Color In

Written By: Mike Morris

She grew tired of the stars
Always looking down, never making contact
But in this little world of ours
Sometimes stars above are all you’ve got to look at

She said, give me something real
Something more, a little something I can taste or touch or smell or feel
I said, baby, close your eyes
All these stars above are rainbows in disguise

(CHORUS) ‘Cause the world’s not black and white
Even though you think it might, turn a little gray now and then
Either way it’s up to you, when that sun is shining through
When that feeling comes around again…
You gotta let a little color in

She just smiled and said all right
But all your rainbows are nothing but reflected light
She was partial to the black
Sucking up every bit of that white light, never gonna give it back

So to illustrate my point
I got a Box of 64 and colored up the joint
Midnight blue and forest green
Burnt sienna, copper, maize, atomic tangerine

(CHORUS) The world’s not black and white
Even though you think it might, turn a little gray now and then
Either way it’s up to you, when that sun is shining through
When that feeling comes around again…
You gotta let a little color in

(BRIDGE) You can take a new shine, to an old line
Come on let me in
If you cover up your tracks, I’ll be there when you get back

And we’ll go walking with the stars
When those colors start to fade in this world of ours
We could do it all again
That’s why the sharpener is built right in

(CHORUS) ‘Cause the world’s not black and white
Even though you think it might, turn a little gray now and then
Either way it’s up to you, when that sun is shining through
When that feeling comes around again…
You gotta let a little color in
Let a little color in (4X)

Breaking Bottles

Written By: Mike Morris

Breaking bottles in the park
Doing things you never do, unless it’s dark
Laying low, out of the light
You gotta lot of ground to cover, in one night

It’s a crisis in mid-life
You got an axe to grind, but only have a knife
A pile of rocks, some broken glass
You hop up on the fence, and think about the past

(CHORUS)
(When the) grass was always greener, the air was always cleaner
You’ve always been a dreamer, it’s time to be movin’ on
The clock is always tickin’, the little hand just stickin’
The grass begins to thicken, save your life
Go mow the lawn

That’s no crisis, that’s just life
You’re more afraid if you got caught, they’d tell your wife
It’s just regrets and broken dreams
But out here in the dark, you wonder what it means

(CHORUS)
(If the) grass is always greener, the air is always cleaner
You’ve always been a dreamer, it’s time to be movin’ on
The clock is always tickin’, the little hand just stickin’
The grass begins to thicken, save your life
Go mow the lawn

Now you’re thinking about your old man
You always wondered if he had a master plan
He always said there ain’t no use in lookin’ back
But just in case, he left the door open a crack

(CHORUS)
(‘Cause the) grass is never greener, the air is never cleaner
You’ve always been a dreamer, there’s no need to be movin’ on
The clock is always tickin’, the little hand just stickin’
The grass begins to thicken, save your life
Go mow the lawn

On Dunklee Street

Written By: Mike Morris

They’re building up the neighborhood, they’re tearing up our past
We got our own lives now, the memory long since passed
In the middle of the night, I wonder who we’d meet
If we went back and walked… on Dunklee Street

We could hop a chain link fence, steal a bottle from the corner store
I wouldn’t do it now, we’re talking 25 years or more
In the middle of the night, I hear the sound of running feet
Tearing up the town… on Dunklee Street

(CHORUS) NA NAs

Here comes our buddy, Bill, he used to love being called The King
Here comes the whole South End for the wiffle ball tourney in the spring
Steve Mo smacked a home run, like Aaron hittin’ 714
And the crowd began to cheer… on Dunklee Street

(CHORUS) NA NAs

(BRIDGE)
In the middle of the night, when we got carried away
We could hide out in the park, and pray for the light of day
And if we get separated, I know a place that’s stuck in time
I’ll meet you ‘neath the streetlight outside #35

(SOLO)

We laughed about our days
We cried about our days
We lied about our days

Let’s tear down the neighborhood, let’s build up our past
We’ve only got a minute, and the seconds tickin’ by so fast
In the middle of the night, I wonder who we’d meet
If we went back and walked… on Dunklee Street

(CHORUS) NA NAs

We laughed about our days
We cried about our days
We lied about our days

One Thing Real

Written By: Mike Morris

You and I, we’ve got a secret place
Sometimes we steal away
With the touch of your hand, or a smile on your face
You make me feel, from a thousand miles away…

(CHORUS)
Give me one thing real, give me one more dance
‘Cause these walls are closing in, and we never had a chance

A nervous laugh, and a soft goodbye
You are the rhyme, the reason, you are the how and the why
And if I knew now, what I could not see then
I’d probably do the same thing… over and over again

(CHORUS)
Give me one thing real, give me one more dance
‘Cause these walls are closing in, and we never had a chance
Give me one thing real, turn the music soft and low
‘Cause these walls are closing in, and we’ve got nowhere else to go

(BRIDGE)
All the little things I say, get twisted ‘round some other way
But before you go, there is one thing you’ve got to know…

(CHORUS)
(that you give me) One thing real, give me one more dance
These walls are closing in, and we never had a chance
Give me one thing real, turn the music soft and low
‘Cause these walls are closing in, and we’ve got nowhere else to go

You and I, we’ve got a secret place

California

Written By: Mike Morris

Steve had spent ten years, walking hallowed halls
Libraries and the calculus, and ivy-colored walls
He got a call from the Sisters at the School by the Bay
So he loaded up his Nissan, and moved to Monterey

He thought he’d learn how to surf the waves
And he knew he’d leave time to cruise for babes
He had some cash in his pocket on a Friday night
He had a fifth of Johnny Walker and a disco light

On a warm spring day off the fishing pier
He caught a marlin and a tuna, and a human ear
He went back to the beach like a regular guy
Gave the ear to his dog with the multi-colored eye

(CHORUS)
Steve was getting restless, and a little out of touch
So he moved to California, did the Carmel Crush
California
Tried to warn ya
California

The very next day there was a knock on the door
Federal agents stormed the room, Steve he hit the floor
A covert operation it would soon come clear
There was a microchip embedded in that missing human ear

In a smoke-filled room with the walls painted white
Steve was questioned and harassed far into the night
He was injected and connected to detect a lie
They forgot about the dog with the multi-colored eye

It seems a very famous man with whom the Feds were involved
Had staged his death, the case had never been solved
The files told the story, Steve had known it all the time
All the sightings were true… Elvis Presley was alive

(CHORUS)
Steve was getting restless, and a little out of touch
So he moved to California, did the Carmel Crush
California
Tried to warn ya
California

He’d been working for the Feds, he was famous and dead
To keep The King on their side, they put that chip inside his head
It took 25 years, but in one swift motion
The King cut off his ear, and threw it in the ocean

The Feds continued searching for the chip under the sea
And The King grew back his sideburn to hide his deformity
Steve remembers now and then that day of fishing off the pier
In a corner by his ficus tree is Elvis Presley’s Ear

(CHORUS)
Steve was getting restless, and a little out of touch
So he moved to California, did the Carmel Crush
California
Tried to warn ya
California

Valentine's Day

Written By: Mike Morris

Just be yourself, that’s what you said
Visions of you danced through your head
I’ll do the work, you do the thinking
Your eyes just danced around the room, I started shrinking

Why am I here, where will we go?
Just tell me something I want to know
Just be yourself, that’s what you said
As if it were easy, if that were true we’d all be—

(CHORUS)
One foot in your world
One in my own back yard
My Valentine
My Valentine

I slip a note under the door
We can talk about it later, you know it always worked before
We can change places, we can pretend
We can do something new all over again

(CHORUS)
One foot in your world
One in my own back yard
My Valentine
My Valentine

(BRIDGE)
Is it really you, is it really me?
Are we standing here, just so helplessly?
Could we take this time, could we lose our mind?
Just like it’s the first time…

I watch you sleep, in the middle of the night
If time would just stand still, right here, right now
We’d be all right
I’m me for you, you’re you for me
Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

(CHORUS)
One foot in your world
One in my own back yard
My Valentine (3X)

Discography

"What Have I Done?" Parker Blue Productions, 2005.
"Box of Sixty-Four" FreeStyle Folk Records, 2009

Set List

My set list changes nightly, but here is a recent sample: 45 Minutes from Santa Fe, Here She Comes, Fat America, The TV Song, Eminence Front (The Who), Breathe, The Song About Nothing, The Only One, Every Breathe You Take (The Police)/Oops I Did it Again (Britney Spears), Mrs. Hadley, Who's Sorry Now, The Rising Tide. Depending on the venue, sets vary from 60 to 90 minutes. Openers are generally 30 minutes max. Longer sets include 2 or 3 covers, which vary from the classic to the contemporary, and often include improvised lyrics/parodies. My original material generally covers 2 11-song sets.