An odd pairing? Maybe. But anytime you put megawatt pop/R+B juggernaut Justin Timberlake and renowned Texas guitarist/producer Charlie Sexton (Arcangels, Bob Dylan) together on a project together, well...just put us down as "highly interested". Set for January 19 release, When Everything Breaks Open from childhood Timberlake chum and noted songwriter Matt Morris (and one of the first signings to Timberlake's new Tennman label) handsomely lives up to the obligatory industry buzz with a vision that appears to know no genre boundaries, easily bridging rhythmic, soulful and even bluesy pop styles with a charging and impassioned folk/pop troubadour heart. Yeah, it's that good.
“Charlie and Justin can be seen as representative of different sides of my music,” Morris says. “There is an earthy, rooted, sometimes melancholy side to some of my writing that is in line with Charlie’s personality and approach. There is a playful, high-energy, soulful side that speaks to who Justin is, as a person and producer. The two people are very different from one another, but they both have impeccable instincts.”
Lead track "Just Before the Morning" reflects that stylistic dichotomy, shimmering Edge-like guitar arpeggios giving way to Morris' soulfully expressive tenor-to-falsetto vocals and richly textured production, a rapturous pop anthem of power and purpose. And despite the heavyweight help, this is ultimately Morris' own ambitious personal statement: a category-defying album of smart, nimble adult pop, modern soul vibe and surprisingly imaginative risktaking. Highly recommended.
Mark Morris - "Just Before the Morning" (from the album When Everything Breaks Open)