James Patrick Morgan – Art + Work = Love
Georgia native James Patrick Morgan’s debut release, a five song EP named Art + Work = Love, has everything a first release needs to succeed. The presentation is flawless. Morgan is a good looking guy with ample charisma to burn and the accompanying packaging for the release frames it in the best possible light. The five songs compromising the EP include an unlikely cover of a classic Steve Miller Band tune, but the originals are well tailored for his voice, cut to a focused length, and expertly arranged into an effective track listing. Art + Work = Love has flow. His musical accompaniment on the album is likewise shaped in a complementary fashion and never obscures Morgan’s vocal gusto. The five song length of the EP is ideal because it sets the stage for future full length releases while still giving the audience a hopefully tantalizing glimpse into an artist’s full potential. James Patrick Morgan’s potential is boundless and, despite a music career already well versed in performing live, listeners will finish their first or second hearing of the release certain he’s only began scratching the surface of his immense talents.
“Expected” serves notice Morgan is a big deal. This is a song hopping out of its own skin from the first seconds on and the inspired feeling propelling it forward is, in due parts, thanks to a perfect arrangement of music and words given extra oomph from a singer able to take over a song and use it for his own devices. A big reason why this opener works so well is thanks to the pumping acoustic guitar running just below the surface. The pop side of Morgan’s musical personality takes over on the second song “Alone”. Morgan gives an especially colorful vocal giving lie to the song title’s implications and the surrounding electronica sound stacks up well against his soulful tone.
“Sign Language” is one of Art + Work = Love’s more individual musical turns. It’s nice to hear how Morgan clearly slides into virtually any musical style and makes his own place. The twirling piano beginning the song is soon joined by a propulsive backbeat and jangling acoustic guitar accompanying it. Morgan explores his vocal range much more here than some of the other songs and makes its mark with a more emotional performance. The comparative abundance of guitars in the song “Right Mistakes” comes down primarily to acoustic guitar work, but there’s a generous amount of electric lead guitar adding extra emphasis to the song. Morgan gives us another knockout singing performance relying on a combination of technical finesse, soul, and raw emotion to easily win over the audience. James Patrick Morgan finishes off the EP with an unexpected cover, perhaps, of the Steve Miller stalwart “Fly Like an Eagle” and the performance truly takes off despite sharing only a few similarities with the original. Purists might object, but Morgan certainly does justice with the track. The entire EP is a testament to the justice he does with Art + Work = Love’s songwriting.
9 out of 10 stars