Singer, songwriter, storyteller: Grace Morrison celebrates new album
Grace Morrison doesn’t just know her roots; she sings them in nearly every song.
The Wareham-based singer-songwriter’s latest album is filled with her memories and stories. She explained her musical inspirations at an album release party for her first full-length album, “I’m the Apple” on August 21 at the Hartley-Rhodes Cranberry Bogs in Rochester.
Many of the songs on Morrison’s album touch on her family history. She explained that “Lorraine” deals with the psychological aftermath of war on a family, while “Oh Alma” endeavors to remember an ancestor who died young.
A child of Wareham, her grandfather often told her stories of growing up in a little house by the railroad tracks. “That house is boarded up now,” she said. “My grandfather always told me that it shook to the core whenever the train went by. I thought that was just a grandparent story, but one day the door was open, and I went in….while I was there the train went by, and I am telling you that whole stinking thing shakes.” She marveled. “It was the tiniest house, but once there were probably ten people living there.”
One of them was her great-aunt, Alma. Alma died at age seven of diphtheria — the year before the vaccine for the disease was invented. “When I was little, I always felt like I had a ghost near me, and when my parents told me about Alma, I knew she was my ghost. I wrote the song “Oh Alma” for her, to make sure she was remembered. It’s a positive song!” she said as she began the opening chords.
The music she played drifted through flavors of pop, folk, country, and even a bit of rock, but never lost the element of storytelling. “I had a bad breakup, have you ever had one of those?” she asked. “I even got to sing it in front of the person it was written for. That was cathartic all right,” she laughed, as she launched into another track.
Friends and family sat in at the concert to cheer Morrison on. Several of her music students were on hand to offer their well-wishes and support their instructor.
“She’s the best,” said Holyn Turner, who has been taking lessons from Morrison since last fall. “She’s always so supportive, and fun.”
Fellow student Samantha Babineau took vocal lessons with Morrison for a year, before joining her on stage as a fiddler and backup singer. The Emerson University student will head back to Boston in the fall for her sophomore year, but says that she plans to keep playing with Morrison through college. “She’s an amazing person,” Babineau said. “She’s given me the opportunity to actually get up onstage and play.”
Babineau explained that Morrison often asked her opinion as a fiddle player on the fiddle accompaniment to the songs on her new album. “She would ask me what I thought of them, and I’d give her what I thought, and then she’d play them back to me with the changes that she’d made,” Babineau explained. “I was able to see the process of layering songs, and how songs get from beginning to final product — and how a record is created.”
“I’ve been so lucky that she took me under her wing,” Babineau added. “I hope this kicks things off for her.”
Morrison’s album is already a hit. Turner reported, “We play it whenever we’re in the car!”
Morrison's album "I'm the Apple" is available on Amazon, iTunes and GooglePlay.