Picture credit: Gianfilippo Masserano, 2019
With hundreds of gigs behind him, a coveted Danny Kyle Award from Celtic Connections, and in 2019 ‘Best Music’ award from Italy’s premier world music festival, Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after artists on the acoustic scene.
The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as ‘The Next Big Thing’, has a unique guitar style. Favouring open tunings, his extended techniques include percussive hits, string tapping, and occasionally slide.
Half English, half Scottish and raised in Wales and Lincolnshire, Elliott has continued this journey by honing his craft on the road. He has played all across the British Isles, from Orkney to Jersey, Boston to Llangrannog, Belfast to Clonakilty. And further afield, he’s headlined shows in Germany, Holland, Ireland and Canada.
In October 2019, Morris performed three times at the Andrea Parodi World Music Festival in Cagliari, Sardinia. Morris is the first UK artist to have been invited to play in the festival’s twelve-year history, which also hosts the only Italian World Music Contest. Morris was shortlisted as one of just ten finalists, before eventually being awarded the ‘Best Music’ accolade.
Other key dates have included Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, as well as major festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival, The Great British Folk Festival, Hop Farm, Towersey Festival, The London Acoustic Guitar Show and the Ullapool Guitar Festival. He scooped a prestigious Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and BBC Alba broadcast a duo performance with Dougie Maclean at Perthshire Amber.
Elliott Morris twice toured the UK opening for Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton), taking in over fifty major venues including a show at The London Palladium.
He has supported a seemingly endless list of other respected acts, among them Frank Turner, Andy McKee, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Albert Lee, Big Country, The Levellers, Ed Sheeran, Cara Dillon and Eddi Reader.
But now Elliott moves centre stage, the spotlight focused on him. June 2019 saw him release his second album ‘The Way Is Clear’, with a packed out launch show at London’s Cecil Sharp House.
Recorded at Caribou Studios, Scotland and produced by Mattie Foulds, the album is a melting pot of folk, rock, blues and country. Blending progressive, contemporary ingredients with still vibrant British folk and roots traditions, this is folk music for the 21st century.
The album showcases Elliott’s expert percussive acoustic guitar playing, swooping and soulful electric solos, heartfelt lyrics and strong, honest vocals.
And he’s put together an all-star ensemble. Playing alongside are Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on Hammond organ, Paul’s son Jack Carrack on drums, Innes Watson (Treacherous Orchestra) and Mike Vass (PRS Scots Trad Composer of the Year, SAY Award Nominee) on fiddles/strings, Laura-Beth Salter (The Shee) on mandolin and vocals, Rosie Hood (Dovetail Trio) on vocals, Stu Hanna (Megson) on mandolin and guitar, David Milligan on piano, Simon Bates (Jamie Cullam, Elvis Costello) on tenor saxophone, Alan Thomson (The John Martyn Band) on fretless bass and Elliott’s brother Bevan Morris (Dallahan, Pons Aelius). The album also features two other members of Pons Aelius, Jordan Aikin on Great Highland bagpipes, whistle and Alasdair Paul on bouzouki.
Music blog WriteWyattUK proclaimed that Elliott Morris “redefines folk…with a little John Martyn influence delivered in Seth Lakeman style” and BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson described him as “absurdly talented”.
– Praise for debut album Lost & Found –
“One heck of a debut, and one that never pauses to draw breath. A restless creative spirit well worth watching” – Acoustic Magazine
“Lost & Found is a mesmerising mix of folk, rock, blues and country while blending progressive and contemporary with folk and roots tradition” – FATEA
“(Elliott) effortlessly straddles the fence between established folk mannerisms and his own pop sensibilities – accessible songs with engaging melodies” – Northern Sky
“Accomplished percussive guitar technique…supremely memorable hooks and engaging lyrics…A progressive blend that takes its drive from long established roots…Elliott Morris has most definitely ‘got it right’ it with Lost & Found” – Folkwords
“An incredible debut album…just brilliant” – BBC Introducing
“Truly fantastic … an absolutely incredible songwriter, a fantastic musician to watch live as well” – BBC Introducing
“The new face of folk…Morris is certainly a man to watch” – Maverick Magazine
“From this album’s pristine opening chords, you know you’re witnessing the arrival of an impressive new acoustic talent…Lost & Found glistens and oozes like golden syrup” – RnR (formerly R2)
– Press quotes –
“Extraordinary… absurdly talented” – Tom Robinson, BBC 6Music
“Very nice!” – Andy Mckee
“Lovely playing” – Martin Carthy
“I suspect we’re going to be hearing quite a bit more of that lad in the weeks and months to come!” – Mike Harding
“Fantastic…Really high quality stuff!” – Will Gompertz (BBC Arts Editor)
“As the guy who has had the honour, for many years now, to present Cambridge Folk Festival’s Saturday afternoon Stage 2 Session, I regularly get to see the cream of the international folk scene. Elliott Morris walked on and quite simply, stole the show. Go and see him, now.” – Brian McNeill (The Battlefield Band)
“You’ve got the tapping thing down man!” – Frank Turner
“One of the most impressive guitarists to grace our studio for a very long time…a compelling listen – and mesmerizing to watch!” – Dean Jackson – The Beat / BBC Introducing
“His guitar playing is intricate and skilful and his voice is strong and honest…heartfelt folky pop” – Dave Gorman
“Very nice hammer-type-playing-thing-style” – Adrian Lester (Hustle)
“Super-talented…the next big thing!” – Acoustic Magazine