There is something about Miss Emily Brown that really strikes a chord in me. Could it be her soft, airy voice? Or maybe it's her beautiful melodies coupled with the unique use of her autoharp? Whatever it is, it is always a delight to hear her voice filling the room. But now the folk-pop singer has gone and created a sound that lingers even more than her sophomore album In Technicolor - if that is even possible. Miss Emily Brown and songwriter/producer Corwin Fox have come together as the folk duet Morlove, and created an album that is reminiscent of a cross between a crisp fall morning and that feeling you get when your pet follows you from room to room.
The neo-folk duo was born out of a campfire meeting back in 2007 at the Artswell Festival in Wells, British Columbia. After they discovered their similar vision to create meaningful music through a slower process of creation and writing, Brown and Fox got together and created an album from opposite ends of the country: Brown in her hometown of Iroquois, Ontario, and Fox in Wells, BC. Staying true to their quiet, folk styles, their first album, My Lakes Lay Frozen Over, was recorded in January 2009 in a tiny, wooden church that was built during the gold rush of the 1930s, and took an entire year and a half to complete.
Despite its folksy, contemplative feel, the album features a variety of exotic instruments, including the mandolin, flugelhorn, sousaphone, and the original pump organ in the church. Accompanied by Tobias Meis on the upright bass and Jordy Walker on drums, the album is "thick and lush, reminiscent of amped folk played through an ancient jukebox full of nickels," says Brown.
And it certainly sent me into a state of zen. The album opener, which also happens to be the album's title track, had a very delicious, lazy-cat feel to it, and it eases the listener into the supple harmonies and unique instrumentation Brown and Fox weave through the entire CD. As I watched the world melt away around me, I realized I wasn't dying to hear what came next. Even though my ADD personality generally keeps my finger glued to the fast-forward button before I do a full album run-through, I wanted to savor these songs, particularly their unique lyrics. It was as if I didn't want to miss a single word, beat, or chord... Thankfully, the insert supplied me with the poetry that both Brown and Fox so magically turned into song.
There were two songs that really stood out for me. The first, Self-Surgery, is an intense three minutes and thirty-two seconds of cresting harmonies and acoustic guitars that blend the best of Brown and Fox's upper range. The mere fourteen lines of lyrics, which were written by Fox, can only be described as curious and compelling. It is a song I would happily keep on repeat.
The second song that struck me happened along closer to the end of the album. Love Don't Come Cheap (written by Brown), is not much different from most of the other songs on the CD, but something about the combination of instruments coupled with the delicately interwoven harmonies between Brown and Fox grabbed my attention. The nostalgia it brought upon me was very welcome, and this would certainly be a track I would play on a day where I sat in my favourite chair with a good book, while a long to-do list hung on the fridge.
Brown's trademark mixture of jazz and folk, combined with the multi-talented stylings of Fox have created a full hour of music that is as pleasing to the psyche as it is to the soul. As put by Brown: "I think the music that prevails is unhurried and fully developed, like a tea left to steep for a long, long time."
For more on Morlove, please visit: www.myspace.com/morlovemusic
For Miss Emily Brown: www.emilybrownmusic.com