Nathan Morris
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Nathan Morris

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"Singer-songwriter crafts one of the strongest indie debuts of the year"

If Nathan Morris' EP 'Leaving Duraleigh' was an introduction and conversation starter, then his full-length debut 'A Gentleman's Closure' has to be one of the best conversations of the year. The album, a culmination of what the now-former Nashvill transplant has learned since 'Leaving Duraleigh' is a well-done and produced collection of 11 tracks, 3 of them songs from his original EP, which were by far the best three of the five-track EP.

The singer-songwriter continues his fusion of acoustic and electric pop/rock and flair for electronica to accentuate his echoing warble beginning with the intro, 'Mending Fences', which leads right into 'Listening for a Whisper.'

The next song, 'Hear Me Now, Waiting' is an interesting song as Nathan delves deeper into his electronica flair, combined with some hard drums and growling electric guitars, which creates an almost 80's electronica hard rock but stay within the constraints of today's sounds. His voice doesn't exactly fit very hard stuff though and the song slightly falters a bit because of it.

'Vagabond' is certainly one of the songs on the album you can call "album-defining.' The song is full of rich emotion and hits the soul in a very strong but calming way. The piano accompaniment adds a touch of pensiveness. Here, Nathan is in one of his strong elements without having his electronica flair. You are most certainly going to be very moved by the song at the end. Won't be surprised at all that this song may find itself getting played somewhere on television.

The remake of 'Somebody Lovin' gets a slight redo with instrumentation and actually sounds real nice, even nicer than the original. It is the latter two that drag down the overall album as in 'Close Like Me,' the remake sounds a bit too overdone with the drums; the original's instrumentation was far much simpler and fit the overall tone of the song. This version seemed a bit on overdrive and watered down the song's hopeful meaning and points.


'Leaving The Ground' also was a bit redone a bit too much as the string accompaniment was very distracting, especially during the refrain and the ending was also way too loud and colorful, just tweaking the overall eerie ending of the original would have worked.

Nathan redeems himself with the contemplative, multi-emotional and pensive-sounding 'Broken But Breathing,' a song about a familiar theme, broken relationships. The lyrics' emotions range from mourning to wistful and at the end a sounding of hope about getting back up and walking is sung about near the end of the song. A very well-done song touching on a familiar theme and seamlessly transitioning into a range of emotions.

Overall, 'A Gentleman's Closure' is one of the strongest debuts in indie music this year...well at least heard around here despite the two overdone remakes of 'Close Like Me' and 'Leaving The Ground.' While songs like 'Mending Fences', 'Listening For a Whisper' touches on Morris' flair for a little electronica, it is songs like 'Vagabond' and 'Broken But Breathing' that should define him as a singer-songwriter. He is much stronger-sounding without the little ornamental-sounding electronic sounds but needs to be careful of getting his songs overdone and that knocked 2/10 of a point off the album rating.

But you better get your hands on his songs and know him first before he could see a couple of his songs land him some fame on a television show and be the first to say to your friends, "I know this guy!" - Alan Ho is the chief head of Musiqtone.com


"Nathan Morris -An exclusive interview with Musiqtone"

The last time Nathan Morris was on our Hot Seat, it was on the heels of his EP, 'Leaving Duraleigh.' Since then, he has accumulated much more music acumen and it came to a head late last year in 2007 with his full-length debut, 'A Gentleman's Closure,' which was given a rating of 4.3 by Musiqtone's Alan Ho.

Here is Nathan's hot seater with Michelle.

Michelle: Last time you spoke with Musiqtone you were anticipating the release of your EP "Leaving Duraleigh." Since then you have also released your full length album "A Gentleman's Closure." Besides working on the album what else has been going on in the life of Nathan Morris?
Nathan: I have been doing some networking, but more than that I have met some wonderful people and made some really great friends. I've just been enjoying life. Traveling, going to birthday parties, spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family. That's what is really important.

M: 3 of the 5 songs from "Leaving Duraleigh" have ended up on "A Gentleman's Closure." How and why did you decide to include these songs?
N: Those three songs have such a strong presence. Even though I wrote them before I began work on "A Gentleman's Closure," I still felt like they applied to my life and that they still deserved to be heard. They are songs that I am very proud of because they hold so much truth.

M: How did you come up with the title for the album?
N: Every song on the record deals with a particular issue that I've dealt with over the past year of my life. Most of these issues have been very difficult for me, and upon reflection they really tend to sting. In conversations about the album and about my life I kept finding myself using the word "closure." I just knew that closure was what I needed to get passed all of these situations and to successfully move on with my life. I pride myself on the fact that I always try to be as honest and genuine as I possible can. I believe that that is what a gentleman does, and thus "A Gentleman's Closure" was born.

M: If you had to describe the sound of your album in only three words to a prospective audience, what would they be?
N: Driving, Vulnerable, and Expressive. I love the fact that you can really hear the emotions of the lyrics come through in the sound.

M: What different aspects of the recording process go into making a full length album as opposed to recording an EP? Did you enjoy these differences?
N: The process of recording the CD was all around way more intense. I basically found myself locked in this gruesome song writing cycle. I would write tons of songs and then have to go through each of them and decide which ones were to most honest, the most representative of my life at one certain moment in time. Because these songs deal with very difficult experiences, some of which were very fresh at the time, they were extremely difficult to write. I simply wasn't ready to tackle some of these issues and had to give myself time to heal. Therefore the process of writing and recording took right at seven months to complete as opposed to the two months I spent working on the EP. This was my first full length album, and I wanted every aspect to be honest. It was important that I made this album a very real representation of the person I am. Though I did struggle at times, I very much enjoyed the process and I am very happy with the end results.


M: Your songs have a strong emotional feel to them and seem to come from personal experiences. Is this true for the most part? Can you give us any specific insight or stories behind any of them?
N: Absolutely. This album is like a glimpse into the past year of my life. Every song was written for a purpose. For example, "Broken but Breathing" was written right after I moved down to Nashville. I was sitting alone in my townhouse watching the movie Flight 93. As I'm sure you know, that movie is about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania on 9/11. As I sat there watching that movie I realized that the men and women on that plane had families, hopes, and dreams. They sacrificed everything for us. That's when I realized that sacrifice is what life is all about. It's about being selfless and giving. Life is so beautiful and so fleeting, and this song is a daily reminder of that.

M: Once you've gotten the inspiration for a song, what is the rest of the song writing process like for you?
N: I guess I can't really pin it. I just go based upon certain feelings. My musical ideas come from personal experiences, and once I have the idea I relive those experiences and express the feelings they evoke into words. Once I have the words, I try to hear the emotions in a melody. I associate different sounds with different feelings, and if I'm lucky it all comes together to form a song that really speaks to my audience.

M: Since the start of your music career to now, has your impression of the music industry changed at all? If so, how?
N: Of course it has changed. There are now so many wonderful gateways to get music to the masses that simply didn't exist before. When I first started playing music I never dreamed I'd be getting plays in Europe and Asia. Myspace and Facebook have really made it possible for artists to become successful musicians even without a record deal.

M: What are your feelings/thoughts on the enormous influence that the internet (for example, websites like Myspace) is having on music today?
N: I think the internet has done wonders for the music industry. I think that it is important to adapt to technology as it advances, and to then use these changes to your benefit. It is truly amazing to know that my music can be downloaded in an instant anywhere around the world.

M: In your last interview with Musiqtone you mentioned that besides music you also had a passion for film. Have you been able to work on any film related projects recently and do you plan to in the future?
N: In 2005 I paired up with my buddy Dallas Morgan to work on his first feature film entitled "Flowers." This project really allowed me to get my feet wet in the film industry, and to explore a field of entertainment other than music. Besides than that I just have a lot of fun filming and editing my podcasts that I post on myspace for my fans. I find that film just furthers my creative energies and lets me explore and express a side of me that my music doesn't always allow for.

M: And finally, what do you have in store for 2008?
N: I just plan on continuing the promotion of my record so that I can reach as many people as I can with the music that I love so much. I want to enjoy life, meet people and write songs!
- Staff writer Michelle Mitchell at Musiqtone.


Discography

2003-Say Something EP
2006- Leaving Duraliegh
2007- A Gentleman's Closure

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Bio

It’s in the eyes, voice, and touch. Truth is something that cannot be forged as it can only exist in a state of vulnerability and passion. The truth can hurt when it exposes us to loss, rejection and pain. However, truth is also beauty because it is an absolute certainty in someone’s spirit - a glimpse inside the heart. Nathan Morris makes apparent both the hurt and the beauty truth has to offer in his honest music, drawing directly from the personal life experiences that have shaped him into the man he is today.

Nathan Morris’s charisma and enthusiasm for all that life has to offer is truly contagious. This fun loving, 22 year old believes in his listeners as much as he believes in himself. Born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, Nathan jokes that he got his start in music in elementary school when his music teacher, in a desperate attempt to keep him still and quiet, promised him a solo at the end of each class as a reward for good behavior. Ever since, Nathan has found comfort in music and has been well-behaved (for the most part). In 2005 Nathan teamed up with producer Brent Lain to create his debut EP "Leaving Duraleigh," which was nominated for "Independent Release of the Year" (2006) by musiqtone.com. The excitement continued in 2007 when Nathan joined forces with Nathan Walters, former member of the Atlantic Recording Group Plus One, to record his first full length album, "A Gentleman’s Closure."

Released to a public who embraced both Nathan and his music, this debut soon found itself in high demand. It is rare to find an album on which every track contains life, meaning, and energy. "A Gentleman’s Closure" irrefutably accomplishes this as Nathan looks deep inside himself when he composes. He explains, "I write when I’m busted up a bit, when things are tough, when I need to reflect." Such reflection is evident in songs like I’d Like You To Meet My Father, Timmy Went Swimming, and Broken But Breathing. These songs capture difficult experiences in Nathan’s life with amazing honesty. He believes that everyday is a blessing as he forces us to ask ourselves what we are going to do with the time we are given. "It’s about love," he says, "letting others know they are important and that they have something wonderful to offer in this beautiful thing called life." His deeply rooted faith also plays a role throughout the album and is most clear in the song Listening For A Whisper. While his lyrics are thought provoking and even heartbreaking at times, the accompanying music is fresh, new, and innovative. It is an exciting combination that comes together to create a memorable musical journey.