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Gary Morris Hymns-Gospel Music Review
Country Music Beginnings
When you mention country music, some conjure up images of a deeply-lined leather face peering beneath the brim of a tattered cowboy hat belting out some sad song with a bit of a twang and a little bit of soul.
Gary Morris was anything but leather-faced, and it would have been an absolute shame to hide that gorgeous mane of shiny coal black hair beneath a tattered cowboy hat. In the early 1980s, this true Texas gentleman, with a clear and pure voice as big as Texas itself, managed to capture hearts all around the world with his incredible singing talent both in country music and on Broadway.
You see, Gary Morris wasn't your typical country singer. He didn't sport a cowboy hat and boots and didn't have that twangy sound often associated with country music. I suppose I could be a bit biased on the twang since I'm from pretty much from the same neck of the woods as Gary Morris. So, I guess you'll have to judge that for yourself. Whether it was a conscious decision or not, Gary Morris also followed his own path, doing things his own way.
Gary Morris Gospel Classics-Volume 1-I Believe
There are 17 tracks on this cd. They are:
- Amazing Grace
- Do Lord
- Give Me That Old Time Religion
- I Saw the Light
- Jesus Loves Me, He Touched Me, Medley
- How Great Thou Art
- Just a Closer Walk With Thee
- In the Garden
- My Son
- The Old Rugged Cross
- Love Lifted Me
- Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Just As I Am, I Surrender All, Medley
- I'll Fly Away
- It Is Well With My Soul
15. Wind Beneath My Wings
16. Climb Every Mountain
17. I Believe
Gary Morris' latest releases are gospel CDs. The first is "Gary Morris Gospel Classics-Volume 1-I Believe" and the second is "Gary Morris Gospel Classics-Volume 2-Rock of Ages. I found both of them to be very representative of that same "do it my own way" type of determination. The CD covers now reveal a handsome dark-haired man now gone gray, but having become more distinguished in the process. The songs within still reveal that unmistakable sound that is Gary Morris.
What I find interesting about both CDs is that each song on them has something different about them than you're used to hearing. This includes songs of his own such as "Wind Beneath My Wings" that is included as a bonus track on Volume 1. It's as though each song has a special surprise and it's up to you to figure out what it is that's different. For some of the songs, it may be that Gary performs the song slower than you're used to hearing it. For others, he has sped it up. Some songs, he's done with a piano accompaniment and some with a more "church organ" sound. Some of the songs utilize an acoustic guitar and some are acapella. Some have a narrative part with a surprise guest. What is certain is there will be something you really enjoy on these CDs.
For me, I have to say that I find the musical instruments distracting when I truly enjoy someone's voice. Gary is such an artist. Give me Gary's acapella versions any day! I don't mind a bit of guitar accompaniment. In fact, it reminds me of my dad's guitar-picking. Gary's rendition of "Amazing Grace" and "Wayfaring Stranger" are two of my favorites on these CDs.
If you love good old-fashioned gospel music, then you'll enjoy these CDs. But, be prepared for some pleasant surprises as well.
Gary Morris Gospel Classics-Volume 2-Rock of Ages
There are 16 tracks on this cd. They are:
- Rock of Ages
- Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
- Softly and Tenderly
- Something About That Name
- His Eye Is On the Sparrow
- He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
- Wayfaring Stranger
- When the Roll is Called Up Yonder
- Have Thine Own Way Lord
- Were You There?
- Where Love is King
- Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables)
13. American Trilogy
14. On a Clear Day
15. Somebody Lives There
Quick Facts About Gary Morris
- Billboards New Male Artist of the Year 1982
- Won both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music Song (ACM) Country Music Song of the Year Award for "Wind Beneath My Wings" in 1984
- Played opposite singer Linda Ronstadt in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Puccini's opera La Boheme.
- Played the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, on Broadway where he was nominated for Drama Desk Best Actor
- His rendition of "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables can be found on the platinum-selling Grammy Award-winning International cast album, as well as the 2nd volume of his Gospel Classics reviewed here.
- Has produced 12 albums that resulted in 16 Top 10 Singles and 5 Number One hits.
- Has performed from the Grand Ole Opry to the White House.
- Has performed for every living US President including Barack Obama.
- Has had a command performance for the Queen of England
- Featured in a PBS documentary, Gary Morris and the Art of Tretyakov
- Hosted TNN’s "North American Sportsman,"
- Appeared in recurring acting roles on The Colby's (a spin-off of Dynasty), daytime soap opera Another World, Designing Women, and Mike Hammer.
- Performed “With One More Look At You” for Olympic Gold Medalist figure skater Scott Hamilton in his comeback from cancer performance.
- Owns Mountain Spirit, a hunting and fly-fishing executive resort in Southern Colorado
- Father to Matt Morris, quite a singing and songwriting talent himself. Be sure to click on the link below to learn about his incredible accomplishments. You’ll recognize some of the great artists he’s written for and collaborated with.