Raw, emotional and haunting songs to match the high desert landscape and the abandoned chapel in which they were recorded.
Opening with the stunning acapella ‘This Whole Broken World’, Cahalen Morrison immediately grabs your attention with his expressive vocals and thoughtful lyrics, and as he adds banjo and guitar, his songs feel at the same time years old, but also completely fresh. ‘Wealth Of Sorrow’ was recorded in an abandoned chapel in the remote village of Jaroso, on the border of New Mexico and Colorado, just fifty miles from his childhood home. Erick Jaskowiak set up a mobile recording rig and they went to work, and in just a day and a half in April 2019 they tracked the ten songs that make up the album (all self-penned apart from the album closer ‘Young Jamie Foyers’, a traditional Scottish ballad). The sound is raw, emotional and haunting, matching the surrounding desert landscape and the dusty old building in which you can imagine Morrison sitting, woodstove burning beside the microphone.
Over the past decade Morrison has made a name for himself touring solo, as a duo with Eli West, and with his band Western Centuries. He has performed onstage with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Kelly Joe Phelps and Kris Drever. This is his first true solo recording; the whole album is just him on vocals, guitar and banjo. He sings of hard times and of love and loss. It is at times emotional, poignant and intense, but there is always hope and optimism, even in times of great sadness, as on the beautiful title track ‘Wealth Of Sorrow’ where the physical seas, mountains, rivers and plains are turned into a ballad of the truest love, ending with “What of the silence among the stars? What of that wealth of sorrow? I’ll sing a song so sad and true, that the stars will line to light my path, and point me towards your dear affection.”
Cahalen Morrison is a hugely talented storyteller and musician, and this album is a captivating listen.