Dangerbird Records and T. Hardy Morris are proud to announce the July 30th release of Audition Tapes, the debut solo album from the talented and prolific Athens, GA based musician. Stark and startling in its evocative, atmospheric power, Audition Tapes sees Morris – best known as front man for Southern psych-rockers Dead Confederate and as a member of the collective juggernaut Diamond Rugs – unleashing something quite unique, a kind of outlaw country grunge, haunting and forlorn.
“After nearly a decade of non-stop collaboration within the musical mecca of Athens, GA. and with artists all over the industry, Morris has still managed to create a record that sounds distinctly new.” –Paste Magazine
Recorded at Playground Sound studios with Cosmic Thug production team Justin Collins and Adam Landry, the sessions behind Audition Tapes came to be with the help of a variety of Morris’ talented circle of friends who “dropped by” to lend a hand, including Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez, Black Lips/Diamond Rugs guitarist Ian Saint Pe, steel guitarist Matt “Pistol” Stossel, keyboardist Thayer Serrano, and drummer Julian Dorio (The Whigs).”
His world-weary vocals rich with nostalgia and sympathy, songs like “Disaster Proof” and the stark album closer, “Own Worst Enemy,” find Morris chronicling a rich cast of characters devastated by drink, drugs, and depression, both personal and economic. “It’s largely about the hometown me and the other guys in Dead Confederate grew up in,” he says, “and the way a lot of the friends we had down there slipped away to their vices. Friends that dabbled and then couldn’t quit dabbling.”
In a nod to the nostalgic tinge running through Audition Tapes, as well as his own reverence for his home state, Morris and filmmaker/photographer Jason Thrasher have traveled to 10 historic sites throughout Georgia to film live performance “takeaway” videos of each song on the record. All of these sites have been chosen for the “Places In Peril” list, published annually by The Georgia Trust For Historic Preservation (Learn More), which seeks to identify and preserve historic sites threatened by demolition and neglect.
“I’ve always been more interested in the past than the future,” says Morris. “I’ve spent my life in a South full of history; some parts worth preserving, some parts better left behind. This project focuses more on the physical remnants. These are historically significant structures from around the state of Georgia which are in particular need of awareness and repair.”
Over the coming weeks Morris will be releasing these videos and drawing attention to the “Places in Peril” program. During this same period, The Georgia Trust will be accepting nominations for the 2014 list, with a deadline of Monday, June 3rd. Visit GeorgiaTrust.org for a nomination form.