The latest from Sally Anne Morgan (House and Land, Black Twig Pickers) finds the songwriter still scratching at the spare and sonorous folk that’s been at the core of her solo and collaborative works over the past few years, while also moving into a more thickened sound. Collaborating this time with Ripley Johnson (Rose City Band, Moon Duo) and Lou Turner (Styrofoam Winos), alongside longtime solo foils Andrew Zinn, Joseph Dejarnette, and Twigs bandmate Nathan Bowles, the songs on Carrying extend the themes of Thread and its more austere counterpoint Cups. With meditations on emotional weight, experience, and how the human spirit copes, it’s an album that treads lightly, but leaves a lasting imprint on the listener.
This time around Morgan leans a bit less into the bluegrass of her past. The dance of fiddle fades more often for something a bit more Americana, though it still graces the dawn light glow of “Summerwater” and the achingly beautiful closer “Song for Arthur.” The instrument takes on a more somber tone that leaves the barn for the bedside when it does appear. The album opener finds her set up solo with banjo, but following that sparse introduction the songs thicken, aided by her collaborators, with Lou Turner’s flute curling ‘round “The Center” like wood smoke, Zinn and Johnson’s guitars adding a touch of country romp, and Joseph O’Connell sparring vocally on “Streets of Derry.” The album’s a subtle, but solid evolution in sound for Morgan, still anchored to pastoral charms, but not shying away from a bit of spiritual weight this time around.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.