It was a little over a year ago that James Morgan first turned up to Artree’s Folking Live event armed only with his acoustic guitar, a 5-track EP and a new strain of the plague.
Since then we have been patiently waiting for him to bring out his debut album which is finally here in the form of Bohemia Awaits. It’s a plucky, up-beat folk rock anthem of an album filled with catchy riffs, chantable choruses and raucous fiddle tunes. James Morgan has a wonderful talent in that he’s not just an accomplished musician but he’s a wonderful wordsmith with a charming sense of humour which infiltrates its way into many of his songs. His music is catchy, entertaining and easy-going as songs like Gaffa Tape and Glue serenade both broken hearts and also the only two tools a man ever really needs.
The album itself feels like a gloriously extended version of his original EP with an added finish so that it really shines. There is something infinity more grandiose about the sound on Bohemia Awaits. Morgan is backed up by a range of terse drumbeats, acoustic and electric guitars and charming fiddle strings. It’s an eclectic and rocked up mixture that creates a unique sound for him to interject his warming vocals into. Morgan has appeal aplenty in Bohemia Awaits but a large part of this appeal stems from his charming and confident vocals. There is something kindly and welcoming about his voice which helps envelop you completely in the songs.
Bohemia Awaits is musically accomplished as Morgan blurs the lines between folk rock and indie to create an unmistakable sound that will have you on your feet in a heartbeat. The songs are carefully collected to balance each other out so rocky songs like The City are carefully juxtaposed against the softer songs such as Further Down the Road – a tender tale of affection in the life of a troubadour. One of the best tracks on the album is Magpie, a short and sharp musical number which truly shows off Morgan’s dextrous finger picking skills while taking on the name of a bird in a tuxedo. It’s a short but charming song that emphasizes his talent above all else. Best of all, the album closes (although this is an unplugged bonus track yet to come) with the title track Bohemia Awaits which is a catchy, edgy tune – an exemplary tale of the hours spent on the road in the name of his love of music – and it closes the album with the bang it needs.
Everything about Bohemia Awaits has been carefully constructed and the music is astounding; Morgan’s vocals are compelling and full of warmth – it’s a completely charming and utterly addicting album that’s not to be missed.
For more information on James Morgan, check out his Facebook page here:
Review by Joe Knipe