“I didn’t want to have any smooth edges” Russell Morris says of his brand newBloodlines album Black And Blue Heart, which is released today. “Pop songs were the last thing I wanted.”

Producers Nick DiDia and Bernard Fanning had assembled a cracking studio band at their Byron Bay studio, and the musicians had only been given the songs the week before but they were told not to do too much work. “They came into the studio, we’d play them once, twice or three times, and that was it” adds Russell.

And it’s that raw energy that commands your attention on Black And Blue Heart. From the ragged count-in of album opener ‘Ain’t No Angel’, slammed down with splashy drums, overdriven Hammond organ and vintage vocal echo, to the sinuous, conspiratorial whisper of ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’, this extraordinary album begins to climb yet another peak for one of our all-time greatest singer-songwriters.

“I’ve got two passions: history and astrophysics,” Russell says. “’Is There Anybody Out There’ is totally out there; not like out in my backyard, but out in the universe. It’s questioning how much life is out there in the great beyond and wondering … ‘are you going to contact me?’” Co-written with Split Enz’s Eddie Rayner maybe 15 years ago, it’s the only song that wasn’t fresh off Russell’s pen.

A lifelong observer of human experience, he found inspiration in art and life, past and present. A classic gangster film informed the tragicomic character portrait of ‘Witness Protection’. ‘Fat Man And The Priest’ came from a conversation with a mate “about people who sit in moral judgement of other people.” The office drone in ‘Asleep At The Wheel’ may have come from distant, monotonous memories of working the mail desk for the Kiss Army in Los Angeles back in the mid ‘70s, he says with a laugh.

“I think the song that’s had the most emotional connections with people is ‘Forever Remembered’. It’s about missing people close to me who I’ve lost; friends like Jim Keays and Darryl Cotton and [rock photographer] Ros O’Gorman. They’re all in there.”

Then there’s the title cut, a song of simmering tenderness and empathy, that Bernard Fanning describes as “a song for the ages. Russell’s been a really substantial artist for a very long time but I think that song will live on with his best,” he says.

In support of Black And Blue Heart, Russell will be heading out on the road throughout the year. Following a coveted spot at Byron Bay Bluesfest, Russell will treat audiences around the country to some headline shows, supported by special guest Ash Grunwald.

This April, Russell is an ambassador for Record Store Day, alongside Kate Ceberano, Dave Faulkner, and Hockey Dad. Russell is a perfect match for Record Store Day, as indie record stores have played a significant part in Russell’s illustrious music career.

Black And Blue Heart Album
Russell Morris
Out now through Bloodlines
Available to buy/stream here

Black And Blue Heart tracklist:
1. Ain’t No Angel
2. Is There Anybody Out There?
3. Sitting Pretty
4. Black And Blue Heart
5. See You Go
6. Full Moon
7. Not My Lucky Day
8. Fat Man And The Priest
9. Asleep At The Wheel
10. Witness Protection
11. Forever Remembered

Friday 12 April
Darwin Casino | Darwin, NT 13 April
Edgehill Hotel | Cairns, QLD

Thursday 18 April
Byron Bay Bluesfest | Byron Bay, NSW

Wednesday 24 April (ANZAC Day Eve)
The Espy | St Kilda, VIC

with special guest Ash Grunwald

Friday 26 April
The Gov | Adelaide, SA
with special guest Ash Grunwald

Friday 3 May
Freo Social | Fremantle, WA
with special guest Matt Taylor

Saturday 4 May
Frankston RSL | Frankston, VIC

Friday 10 May
Paddington RSL | Paddington, NSW
with special guest Ash Grunwald

Saturday 11 May
The Triffid | Brisbane, QLD
With special guest Ash Grunwald

Sunday 12 May
Toronto Hotel | Toronto, NSW

Ph: 02 4959 1033

Thursday 16 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Bunbury Entertainment Centre | Bunbury, WA

Friday 17 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Perth Concert Hall | Perth, WA

Saturday 18 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Thebarton Theatre | Adelaide, SA

Sunday 19 May
The Abbey | Canberra, ACT

Friday 24 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Geelong Performing Arts Centre | Geelong, VIC

Saturday 25 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Palais Theatre | Melbourne, VIC

Sunday 26 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Ulumbarra Theatre | Bendigo, VIC

Thursday 30 May
APIA Good Times Tour
Empire Theatre | Toowoomba, QLD

Friday 31 May
APIA Good Times Tour
QPAC Concert Hall | Brisbane, QLD

Sunday 1 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Twin Towns| Tweed Heads, NSW

Ph: 1800 014 014

Sunday 2 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Twin Towns | Tweed Heads, NSW

Ph: 1800 014 014

Friday 7 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Wrest Point Entertainment Centre | Hobart, TAS

Saturday 8 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Princess Theatre | Launceston, TAS

Thursday 13 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Civic Theatre | Newcastle, NSW

Friday 14 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Enmore Theatre | Sydney, NSW

Saturday 15 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Anita’s Theatre | Thirroul, NSW

Sunday 16 June
APIA Good Times Tour
Theatre Centre | Canberra, ACT

Saturday 22 June
Sunshine RSL Rock & Blues Festival
Caloundra RSL | Caloundra, QLD 

Friday 28 June
Caravan Music Club | Bentleigh East, VIC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *