Venerable luminary of psychedelic grunge, T. Hardy Morris is set to release his debut solo album, Audition Tapes this summer on Dangerbird Records.
Morris is best known for his work with Dead Confederate, a band that he co-founded and has recorded and toured with since 2006. More recently, Morris formed Diamond Rugs, the raggedly righteous gang of rockers that also includes members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips and Los Lobos. Morris took some time over the past year to write a collection of songs that reflect the best qualities of his group projects while also exploring entirely new sonic territories. Audition Tapes exposes Morris’ considerable depth as a songwriter and taps into his vast experiences as a performer, having toured extensively over the past 6 years with the likes of the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., Deer Tick, Manchester Orchestra, Drive By Truckers and many more.
Audition Tapes was helmed by Cosmic Thug (Adam Landry and Justin Collins), the Nashville-based production duo behind the aforementioned Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs and Middle Brother projects. Hardy says of the making of the album, “For obvious reasons, I knew I wanted to record Audition Tapes onto tape, and preferably in a small studio, recorded as live as possible, late at night. So that’s pretty much what we did over in Nashville.”
Audition Tapes finds Morris abundantly inspired, oftentimes invoking the grand spirits of Elliot Smtih, Alex Chilton or fellow Georgian Vic Chesnutt. On songs such as “Quit Diggin”, “Hard Stuff” and especially the gorgeous title track, listeners are treated to intimate, fragile performances, so informal that we are invited to hear creaks and count-offs, finger taps on guitar strings and other warm and extraneous studio noise.
The whole affair is so perfectly imperfect that you feel as if you’ve stumbled upon it all on your own – a hushed secret. Dangerbird Records founder Peter Walker said, “This is the kind of songwriting and performance that you can really lean into – the record cuts through any sort of pretense and nails you straight in the heart from its first breath.”