Having released two albums in as many years, the fresh-faced, mountain-air voiced Norwich singer-songwriter Jess Morgan had no plans to record anything new for a while. However, these things have a way of creeping up on you and so it was that, partly fuelled by performing at the Folk Alliance showcase in Kansas City, these songs took shape and, rather than hold on to them until album number four, she’s set them free into the world with The Bournemouth EP.
Well, actually one of them had already spread its wings, Freckles In The Sun being a new version of the poignant, summery crooning stand-out from her Langa Langa album with added backing vocals and reworked instrumentation.
The three other studio recordings are all new, opening with the languid summer’s day jazz and blues strum of defiant love song Down In Flames while Time Machine (a reflection on a broken relationship where “today I am a dog head inside a cone staring straight ahead to the great unknown…. no sickening for you to come home no cutting up my tongue on a dry bone”) sustains the atmosphere, this time with just a simple piano backing, plus the occasional shimmer of what sounds like wind chimes and some sound effects towards the end.
Brushing acoustic guitar with a touch of harmonica, the breathily, intimately delivered Simple Mantra is another gentle love song as she sings
“I planned to stop and just do something simple – be kind to a man who is kind to me whose heart is warm and his boots are by the door his hands on me could be all that I need.”
Buy the EP from her Bandcamp site and you get a fifth track, a field recording of American Song, inspired by her visits to New York and Nashville en route to Kansas City, another number that underlines her skill as a poetic and literate lyricist. At times she reminds me of a folksier (but still Americana-influenced) Lotte Mullan, a comparison that should tell you just what a dazzling talent she is.
Review by: Mike Davies
Out Now. Order it via Bandcamp here.
The Bournemouth EP – release mini-tour
June 18th – The Green Note | Camden, London
July 3rd – The London Folk Festival
July 11th – Ely Folk Festival
July 17th – 18th – Festival At The Edge
July 19th – Folk By The Oak (JESS MORGAN TRIO)
July 24th – 27th – Warwick Folk Fest