Syrah Morrison “The Road”

Clifford Records, 2024

Impressive and sophisticated first album from Spain’s deep south.

artwork for Syrah Morrison album "The Road"The Americana community reaches from Alabama to Alaska and from Australia to Andalusia. Andalusia? The last of these may not spring immediately to mind alongside such established acts as Jason Isbell from Muscle Shoals, Alabama and more recently The Teskey Brothers from Melbourne, Australia. After all, Andalusia is a region of Spain forever associated with flamenco, so it may come as a surprise to find that a new band based in Cádiz have marked their arrival on the Americana scene with an impressive début album, ‘The Road’.

Syrah Morrison take their name from the syrah grape, a sweet and adaptable variety. So says lead guitarist Pepe Olmedo, who hopes these characteristics are reflected in their music, while the name Morrison highlights the musical heritage that the band draws upon (whether it be The Doors or Van the Man). With the surprising exception of singer Maca González, whose first band this is, all are highly experienced musicians who have played everything from funk and rock to jazz and blues.

All five members of Syrah Morrison are natives of Andalusia, though González has spent time living in the USA where she was drawn to radio stations playing the country-rock of the 60’s and 70’s. Meeting Olmedo around the time of lockdown, the two channelled their influences into a creative collaboration, teaming up with bass player Guillermo Peña, drummer Miguel Ángel “Garci” and Mele G. Rios on background vocals. Syrah Morrison’s recordings also feature distinctive Hammond organ from Pedro Calero and Manuel Sánchez.

Following their self-titled EP in 2022, which was recorded in Cádiz and accompanied by live videos of the sessions, 2024 sees the release of a full album. ‘The Road’ features nine songs, six from the pen of Maca González and three co-written with Olmedo. Two of the songs on the EP reappear on the album – ‘It’s Getting Late’ and ‘Chasing the Bright Light’, both deserving of their inclusion here.

‘The Road’ was produced by Pepe Olmedo, each instrument clear in the mix and making a telling contribution to the overall effect. There is virtuoso playing from the band while the voice of Maca González binds these outstanding musicians together without ever seeming to try too hard. With its lightness of touch and blues and jazz influences, the record captures the spirit of Minnie Riperton, Norah Jones and The Staples Singers. With music like this in Andalusia, it’s time to book your flight.

8/10
8/10

About Chas Lacey 15 Articles
My musical journey has taken me from Big Pink to southern California. Life in the fast lane now has a sensible 20mph limit which leaves more time for listening to new music and catching live shows.
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