Russell Morris - Lead 4

“I didn’t want to have any smooth edges” Russell Morris says of his brand new Bloodlines album Black And Blue Heart, which is released today. “Pop songs were the last thing I wanted.”

Producers Nick DiDia and Bernard Fanning had assembled a cracking studio band at their Byron Bay studio, and the musicians had only been given the songs the week before. They were told not to do too much work. “They came into the studio, we’d play them once, twice or three times, and that was it” adds Russell.

And it’s that raw energy that commands your attention on Black And Blue Heart. From the ragged count-in of album opener ‘Ain’t No Angel’, slammed down with splashy drums, overdriven Hammond organ and vintage vocal echo, to the sinuous, conspiratorial whisper of ‘Is There Anybody Out There?’, this extraordinary album begins to climb yet another peak for one of our all-time greatest singer-songwriters.

“I’ve got two passions: history and astrophysics,” Russell says. “’Is There Anybody Out There’ is totally out there; not like out in my backyard, but out in the universe. It’s questioning how much life is out there in the great beyond and wondering… ‘are you going to contact me?’”

Co-written with Split Enz’s Eddie Rayner maybe 15 years ago, it’s the only song that wasn’t fresh off Russell’s pen.

A lifelong observer of human experience, he found inspiration in art and life, past and present. A classic gangster film informed the tragicomic character portrait of ‘Witness Protection’. ‘Fat Man And The Priest’ came from a conversation with a mate “about people who sit in moral judgement of other people.” The office drone in ‘Asleep At The Wheel’ may have come from distant, monotonous memories of working the mail desk for the Kiss Army in Los Angeles back in the mid ‘70s, he says with a laugh.

“I think the song that’s had the most emotional connections with people is ‘Forever Remembered’. It’s about missing people close to me who I’ve lost; friends like Jim Keays and Darryl Cotton and [rock photographer] Ros O’Gorman. They’re all in there.”

Then there’s the title cut, a song of simmering tenderness and empathy, that Bernard Fanning describes as “a song for the ages. Russell’s been a really substantial artist for a very long time but I think that song will live on with his best,” he says.

In support of Black And Blue Heart, Russell will be heading out on the road throughout the year. Following a coveted spot at Byron Bay Bluesfest, Russell will treat audiences around the country to some headline shows, supported by special guest Ash Grunwald.

This April, Russell is an ambassador for Record Store Day, alongside Kate Ceberano, Dave Faulkner, and Hockey Dad. Russell is a perfect match for Record Store Day, as indie record stores have played a significant part in Russell’s illustrious music career.

Russell Morris – Black And Blue Heart tracklist:

  1. Ain’t No Angel
  2. Is There Anybody Out There?
  3. Sitting Pretty
  4. Black And Blue Heart
  5. See You Go
  6. Full Moon
  7. Not My Lucky Day
  8. Fat Man And The Priest
  9. Asleep At The Wheel
  10. Witness Protection
  11. Forever Remembered


Fri 12 Apr
Darwin Casino | Darwin, NT

Sat 13 Apr
Edgehill Hotel | Cairns, QLD

Thu 18 Apr
Byron Bay Bluesfest | Byron Bay, NSW

Wed 24 Apr (ANZAC Day Eve)
The Espy | St Kilda, VIC
With special guest Ash Grunwald

Fri 26 Apr
The Gov | Adelaide, SA
With special guest Ash Grunwald

Fri 3 May
Freo Social | Fremantle, WA
With special guest Matt Taylor

Sat 4 May
Frankston RSL | Frankston, VIC

Fri 10 May
Paddington RSL | Paddington, NSW
With special guest Ash Grunwald

Sat 11 May
The Triffid | Brisbane, QLD
With special guest Ash Grunwald

Sun 12 May
Toronto Hotel | Toronto, NSW
Ph: 02 4959 1033

Thu 16 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Bunbury Entertainment Centre | Bunbury, WA

Fri 17 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Perth, WA

Sat 18 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Thebarton Theatre | Adelaide, SA

Sun 19 May
The Abbey | Canberra, ACT

Fri 24 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Geelong Performing Arts Centre | Geelong, VIC

Sat 25 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Palais Theatre | Melbourne, VIC

Sun 26 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Ulumbarra Theatre | Bendigo, VIC

Thu 30 May
APIA Good Times Tour | Empire Theatre | Toowoomba, QLD

Fri 31 May
APIA Good Times Tour | QPAC Concert Hall | Brisbane, QLD

Sun 1 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, NSW
Ph: 1800 014 014

Sun 2 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, NSW
Ph: 1800 014 014

Fri 7 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Wrest Point Entertainment Centre | Hobart, TAS

Sat 8 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Princess Theatre | Launceston, TAS

Thu 13 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Civic Theatre | Newcastle, NSW

Fri 14 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Enmore Theatre | Sydney, NSW

Sat 15 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Anita’s Theatre | Thirroul, NSW

Sun 16 Jun
APIA Good Times Tour | Theatre Centre | Canberra, ACT

Sat 22 Jun
Sunshine RSL Rock & Blues Festival | Caloundra RSL | Caloundra, QLD

Fri 28 Jun
Caravan Music Club | Bentleigh East, VIC

Twitter @landofmorris | Instagram @realthingrussellmorris