Whereas some artists excel at doing a signature sound, who perhaps neatly capture the testosterone fuelled urges of rock, or who might ooze indie cool or maybe understand perfectly the delicacy and heritage of folk music, Jimmy Lee Morris instead understands the idea of the song itself. I’m not suggesting that he is in any way a jack-of-all trades but instead of worrying about the generic trappings, the fad and fashion of a sonic task at hand, he instead is the master of serving the song; style and genre being at best secondary considerations.
What It Is finds him once again doing that so well, a piece of quirky pop-rock, slightly retro in its vibe, oddly enough a strange blend of 80’s pop poise and 60’s innocence, but nonetheless perfect for a modern audience, one maybe tuned out to the overly earnest, humourless face of modern pop and looking for an alternative that doesn’t take itself so damn seriously.
Working with producer Adam Hanington the result is a slight step away from the more acoustic sound that we have come to expect from JLM of late but captures the same sense of fun and song crafting that remains his signature. What a great first song to come under my review pen for 2019, I’ll take it as an omen that this is going to be a pretty great year for music.