Jimmy Lee Morris’ album Last Of The Tall Ships is a collection of songs that offer a thoughtful and experienced level of insight regarding life and the passing of time. Buying Time quite appropriately kicks things off, a smooth and easy to listen to piece of music and performance – Morris’ leading voice fits in perfectly with the softness and gentle rhythm of everything surrounding it.
The lyrics of the song offer a necessary touch of inspiration. The passing of time is something that comes to the forefront of all of our minds at some point, it’s always good to be reminded of the concept of possibility but also of the fact that we’re not alone in feeling these things. Artists who write about such issues so honestly, offer audiences a certain understanding that’s invaluable. In this case, the lightly upbeat and optimistic tone of the music makes it all appear in an easily accessible, far less daunting manner.
I’m just trying to hold back the tide, I don’t believe it’s the end of the line.
Bigger Sky emerges as a fitting follow-up to the opener. There’s a theme to the musicality on this project, those 80s grooves are inherent in the sound – the keys, the rhythm, the warmth. Something about this one feels more dreamlike and poetic than openly dealing with anything heavy. On the contrary though, once again, if you pay close attention to the lyrics – Jimmy Lee Morris is always thinking a little more deeply than his soundscapes first imply. There’s emotion in the poetry and this contrasts well with the uplifting joyfulness of the instrumentation.
Freestyle doubles up the vocal content and increases the pace a little. This feels like a familiar pop-rock hit from a simpler time – the song has a definite sense of structure that seemed less clearly cut on the previous tracks, adding further dynamic. The changes between the mellow and the upbeat work really well, and the hook section – the repeated line and the chorus of voices, and the rhythm – this moment has impact; the guitar solo that wraps it up seems just right. Something About You follows and redirects your awareness to that personal touch; the writer behind the music, the love and adoration of a significant other. There’s a good balance between deep thinking and living in the moment on this project.
The album’s title track is one co-written by Jimmy Lee Morris and Nelson King. The song feels musically different in itself, the lyrics offer much more in the way of story-telling and scene-setting. The development of the melody captivates, the rising notes of each line, the increasing intensity. The instrumentation also aligns perfectly well with this progression of energy. There’s so much detail here, the song is undeniably interesting – the lyrics pour through in a much greater quantity than before though – it’s worth listening more than once to make-sure you catch it all.
Glad You’ve Gone brings together the story-telling and the introspection; those personal reflections on experiences. The musical backdrop has a mild intensity and style that pushes a sort of electro-blues feel to the stage. The piano part in particular, the chord progression there, hits with quite a lot of weight; lingering in your mind afterwards. Tall Ships follows and finishes things up with a little of everything that came before, quite literally, and a little of something else entirely. The track is notably retro feeling, as is the project in full, but here the electronic elements are particularly striking and delicate – perhaps the absence of a leading voice makes it all more prominent. The chord progression feels peaceful, hopeful. The underlying energy of the music is left to roam free, your mind is left to fill in the gaps and the story-line.
It’s always interesting to hear the musical counterparts of songs as separate from their lyrical partners. Tall Ships builds in a beautiful way, leaving you feeling content, inspired, energized. It’s a great way to finish. Throughout this project, Jimmy Lee Morris expresses a certain approach to musicality that seems unquestionably true to his own character and perspective, which keeps it all feeling very genuine and considerate.
The featured artwork for Last Of The Tall Ships is by Cornwall based artist John Dyer – a painting entitled Sailing Under The Moon. Download the album via Bandcamp or stream it on Spotify. Find & follow Jimmy Lee Morris on Facebook & Twitter. Visit his Website for more information.