Acoustic guitar in hand, Morton (formeraly of Wonderlust) delivers brilliant Americana in the vein of guys like Ryan Adams and Todd Snider. It’s not that his earlier efforts weren’t solid, but after listening to his latest effort (True Grit), it’s easy to think Morton was doing little more than biding his time until he could answer his true calling.
Having just released his fifth album in less than six years, it appears Morton is making up for lost time.
Innocent Words: You’ve played in bands and been a solo artist, was it intimidating when you first started recording and performing on your own?
Ken Will Morton: The realization that my art has become limited to that which is within the realm of my own capabilities. Decisions made in a collective of musicians, as a group, allow for greater dissection of an idea. On the flip, though, a prospective idea may not reach its full potential if someone in that group’s taste is repelled by the subject. Left to my own devices, I’ve pursued the full realization of my own artistic destiny.
IW: You’ve been extremely prolific lately. Are these albums getting easier to make?
Morton: It all comes down to who I’m working with during the recording process…boundless concentration and guidance from a producer/engineer is conducive to the ease of the process and patience is essential for anyone involved in the process. Also, the equipment that is on hand at the location of the recording often dictates the sound and feel of the music. A nice sounding amp or keyboard can open up a hitherto obscured possibility. Overall, if I have great musicians and engineers around, I’ll find records relatively easy to make.
Morton: Some are re-recorded versions of songs from previous records that the record’s producer wanted to see realized via his guardianship. The other songs are vignettes of various emotions I may have had in the last year or so, filtered through recurring melodic passages that I couldn’t shake … more songs about the frailties of life.
IW: Mark Ambrosino produced this one. Had you worked with him before?
Morton: No, never before. It was tricky insomuch as I went up to New York in two short bursts (separated by about a year) to lay down the record’s content – not much in the way of continuity – then I had to surrender all control to him regarding editing choices. It was a bit frustrating, but alas, I think he did a great job. Plus, he’s one of the funniest guys I ever met, so he made it easy.
IW: Did you have any guests on this album?
Morton: I met the other players the day the sessions commenced.
IW: You’ve toured with some legends – everyone from Tommy Stinson to Todd Snider. Ever get any good advice from some of these people?
Morton: Nah, except Cary Hudson taught me how they remove ticks in Mississippi.
IW: Athens has always had a rep for being a great music town. Is the music scene there still pretty tight?
Morton: It’s kind of cliquey and scattershot, but enough genuine people left to make it good and relatively tight.
IW: So, what’s next for you?
Morton: Got a band I’m trying to whip and shape and would like to play more electric guitar again.