In addition to being a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Greenville’s Rush Morgan studied audio engineering at the Dark Horse Institute in Nashville. So it might stand to reason that, since he often runs his own sound at gigs, he’d want to engineer his own new six-song EP, River Stone.
Morgan also took music business classes at Dark Horse, and he was smart enough to know that in Music City, there’s always a better producer or player around the corner. So when Morgan took his songs to record at the Bomb Shelter studio in Nashville, he did so with Jon Estes, a man who’s resume as a bassist and producer boasts around 300 credits.
“Jon is a really good multi-instrumentalist,” Morgan says. “He played piano, Wurlitzer, organ, and bass on the whole record. And he had a huge role in the presentation.”
Perhaps the best example of their collaboration is on the EP’s opening track, “Augusta Wind,” where Morgan’s deft acoustic playing and high, plaintive voice pitch a haunting melody against a subtle string arrangement that glides through the song like the titular breeze. “I didn’t hear strings when I wrote it,” Morgan says, “but he’s produced hundreds of records and he heard it and put them on there.”
Throughout the album, Morgan creates a hushed, intimate series of songs with indelible melodies and moves from wistful folk-pop to warm, understated soul with the skill of a true musical omnivore. Which he is.
“I was homeschooled up through high school and didn’t have a whole lot of time with friends, so music was my shelter,” he says. “I found shelter in other people’s music. I loved Jackson Browne, Amos Lee, Paul Simon, and The Beatles and Motown had a pretty big effect on me, too. And then I found release when I was inspired by music and I wanted to make my own.”
Rush Morgan will play an album-release show at Smiley’s Acoustic Café on Saturday, May 26. Visit smileysacousticcafe.com for more information.