It was an accident that Joshua Morrison’s passion became public. In January 2006, the Monroe, Washington native was
stationed at Fort Lewis when Levi Fuller, an intern for influential radio station KEXP, discovered Morrison’s music
and asked if his song “Westport” could be used on Fuller’s compilation series, Ball of Wax. Later that month Kevin
Cole, KEXP’s program director and Fuller’s boss, got his hands on the compilation and played Morrison’s song for his
audience. A management type heard the song and immediately sent the musician a message, encouraging him to release
an album in spite of his unusual circumstances. He listened.
Morrison left his parent’s modest home and enlisted in the army in early 2004, because of familial tradition, and because
he wanted to be a productive member of society. His passion, however, was music and he never left it behind. Glimpses
of his journey away from home can be heard on his first release, HOME (Expanding Brooklyn, 2008). The album was
recorded during two separate sessions, one after his recruitment, at the age of 21, and the second following his first
combat. During those times, Morrison yearned for the familiar; and on HOME, those themes prevailed.
While in the military, Morrison could not tour behind his record, conduct interviews or do any personal promotion.
Still, HOME spent 10 weeks in KEXP’s top 20 charts, and another 10 in the top 50. NPR listed HOME as one of the
top 11 debut albums of 2008. CURRENT TV and Seattle CW affiliate, KSTW, produced news features on Morrison;
the latter won a regional Emmy.
The day on which Pitchfork posted “Alabaster” as a Forkast, Morrison stood, clean shaven, in his dress uniform,
holding his newly awarded, arduously earned green beret, the hallmark of the Army’s Special Forces. He received a
phone call of this news, but found no audience among his fellow soldiers. Few of his co-workers likely knew about
Pitchfork’s influence; none knew Morrison, the green beret, was a musician. He played SXSW and Sasquatch! Music
In December 2008, a blizzard blanketed Seattle, and her surrounds during the two weeks Morrison was home on leave,
prior to his second deployment to Iraq. Josh was determined to record at the studio of Casey Foubert (Crystal Castles,
Damien Jurado), daring to drive Seattle’s empty, unplowed roads to do so.
What Morrison realized as he recorded his second album was the military path he had chosen was, in fact, not what he
wanted. Moreover, it didn’t provide the answers to his bigger life questions. If anything, it left him feeling more like an
outsider then ever before, more disconnected from both his worlds.
On this album, Builder, Morrison spreads his wings. Now retired from the Army and a full-fledged Seattle musician,
Morrison is finally offering an unfettered glimpse into his complicated life.
Since his return, Morrison has continued to explore that life with continued success. “September,” a song recorded
upon his return to civilian life with long time friend and musical cohort, Jeramy Koepping, was used in the Sundance-
accepted feature film, The Off Hours. Its broad, lush and cinematic sounds are backdrop to the inner dialog: the sense
of struggle, which leads to disappointment, then on to a sense of resolve: all will be okay, not only with himself, but the
world at large.
Praise for Home:
4 1/2 stars (out of 5) The military took Joshua Morrison away from Seattle, and then helped him create one of the
greatest albums of 2007 (2008)….He works with his words the way a craftsman works with oak, building songs
constructed with emotional honesty that are, ultimately, awe-inspiring in their simple beauty and strength. (Seattle
“A sublime debut album of low-key folk-pop from this Seattle singer- songwriter, combining sparse production,
gorgeous, haunting melodies and whispered, airy vocals reminiscent of the Red House Painters’ Mark Kozelek.”