All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Review: Kristina Morland - Pidgin Music

Kristina Morland - Pidgin Music
2008 Kristina Morland/Kun

Kristina Morland lives the live of the expectant future rock star. She writes incessantly, plays even more, waits tables, and drives from gig to gig in a car two hubcaps short of a full set. Bitten by the music bug early on, writing and recording on a 2-track recorder as early as Elementary School. Formal singing began in Jr. High. Shortly thereafter Morland picked up a guitar and taught herself to play with the help of chord books and pure grit. This Weatherford, Texas native found her way to Fort Worth and got her start playing venues such as The Wreck Room, The Red Star Lounge and The Black Dog. Her debut album, Pidgin Music, was recorded on a shoestring in a friend's closet using 18-bit digital recording.

Pidgin Music opens with acoustic guitar, a child's xylophone and the distinctive voice of Kristina Morland on Razor Wire, a song about emotional baggage and the precarious footing relationships can bring. Morland's voice is distinctive, and there's a sort of distant charm exuded here. That's not to say Morland's voice isn't warm; as you'll see on Birds, her voice is effusively warm and full of rough and soft patches that are both mildly abrasive and comforting, but it becomes clear that Morland is the emotional outside in her songwriting, and that warmth comes with an inner distance; Morland is telling you about herself but at arm's length. Morland does an about face on Taboo, a song of hopeful and playful desire told as a story. Day Dream is a song of indescribable, nearly indecipherable for pragmatic meaning and yet speaking in shadows of great truths.

Morland has a sort of Tori Amos-meets-Edie Brickell aesthetic about her songwriting. Part of it is her distinctive voice and vocal style, but there is deep meaning here wrapped up in poetic muse, usually wrapped in enigma of deep imagery. Such is the case with Calculated Reckoning, a searching song about the meaning of life in terms of Heaven and the afterlife. The song is highly speculative, as need be, in both philosophical and pragmatic terms. The dirge-like quality ads to the supernatural epistemology of the song. The song plays like a scene from a movie; the premise might be the death of a family patriarch who was stern and stubborn but ultimately loving. Mixed emotions fly in what is more a musical vignette than anything else. The presence and power of Morland's songwriting here is unbelievable, and the presentation is spot on.

Circles continues the search for deeper meaning, putting life choices in perspective against the backdrop of the cycle of life. This pragmatic tune on acoustic guitar and strings plays like olde-time wisdom condensed into a song. The result is beautiful and powerful without sounding preachy or condescending. Morland is the master story-teller here, spinning her yarn as easily as a spider spins silk. Morland closes out with Silence, more of a song segment than a full composition itself. The song sounds promising.

Kristina Morland is a great find. Her approach and style will draw listeners in and convert them almost instantly, and her ability to tell believable stories in song is hard to match. With so much at her heels so young, it's to imagine a future where Kristina Morland is not successful with her music. Pidgin Music has depth and maturity in the songwriting, a keen sense for melody and a delivery that's measured yet full of energy. There's no doubt about this one.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Kristina Morland at You can purchase a copy of Pidgin Music through, or you can download the album from iTunes.

1 comment:

kristina said...

Please contact me on facebook. I can't find your email.