James Vincent McMorrow's "Early In The Morning" placed at Number Five in my Top Albums of 2011. The Irish singer/songwriter was one of the best new artists of the year and his warm, beautiful acoustic folk/pop is bolstered by the amazing voice he possesses. Earlier this year, McMorrow released this five track EP, a mix of live material and covers based around the single "We Don't Eat".
The EP starts out with the album version of "We Don't Eat", just one of the many standout tracks on the full length debut. The only new studio track here is his cover of Steve Winwood's 1986 pop hit "Higher Love". McMorrow strips it down to a stark piano ballad that happened to become his biggest hit so far, hitting #1 on the UK Indie Chart and #21 on the UK Singles Chart.
My favorite 'new' track on the EP is another cover, this one of Chris Isaak's classic ballad "Wicked Game", recorded live in 2011 at the Killkenny Arts Festival in Ireland. The performance reminds me of the first time I saw McMorrow, opening for Bell X1 in Ann Arbor back in 2010, just him, an acoustic guitar and his angelic voice onstage. Stunning.
The EP closes with two more live tracks. First, a full band performance of "If I Had A Boat", another of the top tracks off "Early In The Morning". Things end with the title track, "We Don't Eat", also from the 2011 Killkenny Arts Festival solo performance.
The official release of some live material makes this a worthwhile complement to "Early In The Morning". McMorrow is currently on the road winding down promotion of his first full length and, thankfully, that includes a stop at the place I first came across his brilliance, The Ark in Ann Arbor for a show on July 11th. You can bet I'll be there, fully prepared to be mesmerized all over again.
The "We Don't Eat EP" was released as a download only February 21, 2012 on Vagrant Records.