Shiny Old Soul
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Shiny Old Soul

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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While Shiny Old Soul is relatively new, the core trio of Gregory Morris (vocals, guitar), Katherine Monnig (percussion) and Michael Sadoff (bass) has been performing together for seven years, mostly as The Gregory Morris Group. While they changed the band name after the departure of original member Jay Ensminger, GMG fans will instantly fall in love with Shiny Old Soul.

That’s because one of GMG’s strongest assets — an almost telepathic, harmonious connection between the musicians that is so evident it’s palpable — carries over to the “new” crew. Shiny Old Soul makes a magical noise on Cash Is King, with a Folk/Rock base creating the river on which the sounds flow, natural and breezy. It’s wildly organic and stream-of-conscious-esque (thanks partly to the unfussy, crisp production of Jeff Roberson), hypnotic yet consistently (at least in tone) upbeat and buoyant, with a celebratory sound that may be the result of the band’s spiritual connection to New Orleans (where they’ve had adventures in busking in the past). They lay out the good vibes on their “theme song” (my designation, not theirs) “SOS” with the line “Each of us possesses a shiny old soul.” (Oh, and the “cosmic” part of the band’s self-description becomes clear in lyrics like the ones from “Shimmer” and its trippy refrain “Rooftop, boombox, U.F.O.,” as well as scattered pot and wine references.)

Driven by Morris’ jazzy acoustic guitar wizardry, you’ll hear elements of atypical folkies like Cat Stevens, Tim Buckley and Neil Young in the grooves, while the transcendent multi-part harmonies are the icing on the Cosmic Roots cake.
The communal spirit of Shiny Old Soul’s music is so infectious, you may end up asking if you can join the band and run away with their gypsy caravan by the end of their set Friday night. Just be sure you don’t have an aversion to New Orleans. - Mike Breen - Cincinnati City Beat


Discography

Cash is King - January, 2012
Houses in the Sky (released under Gregory Morris Group) May, 2005

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Bio

Shiny Old Soul has taken to the description “Cosmic Roots” given their fusion of a bluesey, roots driven foundation and an eclectic, unbound catalogue of original songs.

Comparisons range from Van Morrison to the Grateful Dead, the Meters, Pink Floyd, and The Decemberists, to broader things like gypsy jazz & vintage rock. Yeah, they’re one of those bands, sounding inevitably like themselves but with a bizarre tip of the hat to countless others.

But really it’s all about the songs. Bank robberies, pregnant pirates, time travelers, voodoo spells, allegory, and plain old sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, that conspire to reveal a world of simple feelings in exotic places. A broken heart by any other name. If that wasn’t wierd enough, folks really like to dance to it too.

Fans can be seen singing along to many of songwriter, guitarist Gregory Morris’ vast collection of songs, elevated by the jazz stylings of drummer Katherine Monnig and low end folk maestro Michael Sadoff. In fact, Gregory, Michael & Katherine have been playing together since 2003, formerly known as the Gregory Morris Group. Also, as of March 2012, Mr. Jay Ensminger (GMG, the Qtet) is officially back on sax and keys.

The latest SOS album (Cash is King, Jan 2012) features two charming female vocalists, Lee Schmidt, with her sultry deep water timbre, and Laura Hughes with her clear, high Nashville croon. Together they round out the now 6 piece ensemble with it’s unique blend of harmony, beat and lyric, ranging from the ominous to the ridiculous, thriving on a balance of low gain and high intensity.