By Ian Bremner
Even hard rockers have feelings too, man. Front man for the Athens-based, Dead Confederate, T. Hardy Morris has spent the last few years honing more of a singer-songwriter aura. Temporarily putting the band aside, his last two solo records, were equally fantastic, albeit cut from two different cloths. The mellow-paced, Audition Tapes and the country-grunge classic, Drownin’ On A Mountain Top both showcased Morris’ unique ability to wear his emotion on his sleeve, in a cool, southern-fried, rock n roll manner.
His latest record, Dude, The Obscure is perhaps a medley of both styles, and yet another step forward. Claiming “maturation” as the main reason for a songwriter’s change in perspective can be lazy, yes, but listening to Dude, The Obscure, you can’t help but feel the time that has passed and a specific new outlook Morris possesses. Having a child and being on the other side of yea 200-shows-a-year calendar can exhausting, and re-energizing. All of that shows in the music. Whether it’s tunes like Homemade Bliss or 4 Days Of Rain, you can tell Morris spends more time at home than in years prior.
Of course, when you have a young family, being at home doesn’t necessarily mean more quiet time in solitude, in fact, it means the complete opposite in most cases. It does mean you have more time in your own head, away from the stimulants and distractions of the road. Like his (side project) Diamond Rugs’ band mate, John McCauley (Deer Tick), a settled down lifestyle can lead to clarity and instead of enjoying pure debauchery, Morris is now able to reflect on it and write a song like The Night Where Everything Changed.
The Athens artist is now signed to New West Records’ imprint, Normaltown Records, also based in Athens, Georgia. Dude, The Obscure is a layered record that pulls at new heartstrings on each listen.