Russell Morris

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Brought to you by Wonderland Under the Stars and the North Australian Festival of Arts

Russell Morris joins Wonderland Under The Stars at Strand Park for two nights only!

With a staggering 50 year career and counting, Russell Morris returns with his brand new album, Black And Blue Heart.

After six decades on the road, an album can almost write itself. It might arrive in the space of a few months, fully formed in vision and texture in the mind of the vigilant creator. But it takes a rare combination of talent and circumstances to realise that vision as vividly as Black and Blue Heart.

"I thought I was writing an album which was rootsy, bluesy, almost psychedelic, but nothing came out the way I expected." He gave the demos to Fanning and producer Nick DiDia (Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Powderfinger) and "they rang me back within two days," Russell says. "They said, 'We can't stop listening to these songs. This will be a great album'. So I said, 'Let's do it'."

The two producers speed-dialled their dream studio team: guitarist Dan Kelly, drummer Declan Kelly and, from Fanning's touring band, bassist Matt Englebrecht and keys player Ian Peres. Perched between the tropical bush and panoramic ocean views of La Cueva Studios near Byron Bay, Black and Blue Heart found its rhythm fast.

"I didn't want to have any smooth edges," Russell says. "Pop songs were the last thing I wanted. The musicians had the songs the week before but they were told not to do too much work. They came into the studio, we'd play them once, twice or three times, and that was it."

That raw energy commands attention from the ragged count-in of Ain't No Angel, slammed down with splashy drums, overdriven Hammond organ and vintage vocal echo. From that bracing opener to the sinuous, conspiratorial whisper of Is There Anybody Out There?, this extraordinary album begins to climb yet another peak for one of our all-time greatest singer-songwriters.

"I've got two passions: history and astrophysics," Russell says. "Is There Anybody Out There is totally out there; not like out in my backyard, but out in the universe. It's questioning how much life is out there in the great beyond and wondering … 'Are you going to contact me?"

“I went back to the blues, where I started in the early '60s, and that allowed me to reset all the quantum things in my writing and in my body. It kickstarted my creativity. I think that's how this album happened so fast and so confidently.

“The band, the studio... it all fell into place beautifully but the songs came from where I came from. I went back to the well and I drank from the fountainhead, and this is the result.”

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