Review: Here’s to Sarah Morris

Sarah Morris/Here’s To You/independent release
Three Out of Five Stars

Videos by American Songwriter

Here’s To You is Sarah Morris’ fifth album, and a set of songs that relay an intimacy and allure shared in equal proportions. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Dave Mehling, it’s directed to family and friends and shared with a fragile finesse. The rich arrangements enhance the ambiance overall but never obscure the emotional implications that override her obvious intent to inspire, entice, and elicit feelings that are deeply felt and uncommonly conveyed. 

In that regard, each of the songs has explicit meanings. Everything’s changing / With subtle shifts and also with grand rearranging, Morris insists on the title track. Likewise, “You Are” is all about affirmation, a song aimed at those who doubt and deny their own importance. “Come Back” gives the impression that it’s a love song,  but instead it’s directed at Morris’ teenage son who is in the midst of finding his way in the world. “The Longest Night” rekindles memories of a fleeting encounter shared by friends prior to circumstances that changed their lives forever. 

“Something That Holds” relates the special connection that exists between husband and wife, and the quiet desire that allows passion and purpose to blossom with age.

Taken in tandem, Here’s To You is a rich bouquet of emotions and expressions, all conveyed with a decidedly tender touch. A 2018 Kerrville New Folk Winner, Morris gets an able assist from an able ensemble consisting of Dave Mehling (piano, organ, pedal steel, accordion, synth, guitar, percussion), Thomas Nordlund (acoustic guitar, electric guitar), Andrew Foreman (upright bass, electric bass), and Lars Erik Larson (drums, percussion), which, in turn, illuminates the album with an ethereal atmospheric sheen that’s sensual, supple and shimmering. The combination is genuinely enticing combination and one that finds Morris making an emphatic impression. That’s true even on a song such as “Staggering,” a quiet contemplative ballad that finds Morris at her most vulnerable.

Ultimately then, Here’s To You qualifies as a break-out effort, one that ought to garner Morris the acclaim she so decidedly deserves. Here’s to her!

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