Standing on stage with his cream-colored Rickenbacker at Richmond’s Gallery 5 on Friday, Clair Morgan didn’t strike me as much more than a little bearded guy with a cream-colored Rickenbacker. Then I saw his fingers move, and it was like a Greek myth where the gods bestow some absurd power upon a seemingly arbitrary appendage for the gifted to use in support of good or evil. Don’t worry, I can confirm that Clair Morgan is on the side of good.
As he played, my head flooded with Grand Canyon interjections like “wow” and “oh my God.” His complex lines wove beautiful and mechanical, in and out with marathon runner endurance, or maybe something even more extreme. And he sang too. I don’t want to give the impression that Morgan’s some idiot savant plopped on stage to do his one-and-only thing. He writes the music, after all, lines and melodies and poetry, and it’s all good. Exceptionally good. It’s heartfelt stuff, in composition and lyrical content, and the complexity of the mind-bending fingerplay never distracts from the songs’ poignancy. Smart and sweet. What more can you ask for?
Morgan put out a full length, No Notes, last November, which can be yours for $8. The record captures the entrancing nature of the shows, filled in with the eclecticism and freedom of pace granted by an LP. Never in the 10 tracks does it feel like ground is being retread, but it coalesces perfectly. Not to mention, Morgan’s in full aficionado form. Check it out.