Morrison Kincannon - Beneath the Redwoods
Beneath the Redwoods, the new record by indie legends Morrison Kincannon, isn’t a new record per say. It’s seeing the light of day for the first time, but it’s actually a set collection of ultra-rare recordings from the iconic pair of songwriters that most millennials are likely unfamiliar with as of present. What most millennials are almost certain to be universally familiar with though is the historically deep reach that Morrison and Kincannon have had in pop music, influencing everyone from aspiring country singers of the 1980’s to the hipster singer/songwriter revival movement that came near the end of the 2000’s and early 2010’s. Beneath the Redwoods isn’t just a look back at a career shrouded in mystery; in many ways it’s a glimpse into another world.
Morrison Kincannon sit on a much higher branch in the tree of pop music that most people under 40 are of aware of today. What makes a band influential isn’t the number of records that they sell or the number of times they were on the radio or plays that they’ve accumulated on Spotify (to get really contemporary). It’s actually based on the effect that a band has on the musicians of their own scene, of their own time, that determines the eventual legacy of any given act. Morrison Kincannon never claimed to be your typical pop group. They never wanted to play to a specific market. They just wanted to make music, and their relentless spirit can be heard on this record in its absolute prime.
As I mentioned before, everyone from country singers to up and coming pop stars being vetted on pointless television shows like American Idol owes a little piece of their artistry to the legend that is Morrison Kincannon. At the time of their peak, no one was taking them seriously on the critical front, but their audience was devoted to everything that the pair could muster, and that insular passion drove them to craft music in the face of commercial derision, a concept and approach to recording that is considered to be pioneering to the DIY indie artists of today, and to be frank, so it should be.
My favorite moments of Beneath the Redwoods were hard to narrow down, but I think hearing the incredible, raw rendition of “I Will See You Again” as it is delivered here was a highlight. I found myself repeatedly wondering aloud how, and why, fame evaded this band as much as it did during their first active run, which started some twenty years before I was even born. It’s funny the way that the entertainment business works. As a music journalist, it’s my job to hunt down bands that I feel can be culturally and artistically transcendent; music that will be relevant to my generation and the generations that come after us. It might have taken 40 years for me to come across this band, but here I am discovering talent that is beyond transcendent, talent in a band that were they just starting out today I would emphatically tell listeners to get out and support. It might have taken a long time, but Morrison Kincannon’s moment has finally arrived.