T. Hardy Morris – Audition Tapes

written by: August 7, 2013
Album-art-for-Audition-Tapes-by-T-Hardy-Morris Release Date: July 30, 2013


Thomas Hardy Morris has finally released his solo debut, Audition Tapes, after 16 years of being the frontman for Dead Confederate and member of the supergroup Diamond Rugs. The album, which hit stores July 30, strays from the gritty psychedelic rock that Morris is known for, showing off an entirely new aspect of his abilities as a songwriter.

Audition Tapes is a stripped-down, personal album with a lot of twang. Morris’ characteristically strange, nasally voice still sounds reminiscent of Billy Corgan, but is placed on top of a country-grunge backdrop. Although most of the record is mellow and slow, it has a lot of darker elements that are similar to his work with other projects.

With some help from his friends in Diamond Rugs, Morris has managed to create a rich, minimalistic solo record that speaks volumes.  His emotions are prevalent and his attempt at a new genre is spot on.

The opener, “Lucky,” is a track about the struggles between a man and woman, with honest lyrics and an interesting differentiation between the two simple parts of the song. The chorus, which repeats, “You remind me that we’re not getting any younger,” is a raw realization of the fact that there is no time to waste in life, and to get caught up in a sour relationship is something you can’t afford to do.

After “Disaster Proof,” one of the heavier, faster tracks on the album, comes the beautiful “OK Corral.” This emotional song is easily the best on the entire release, with a unique guitar riff during the chorus and a groovy lead guitar throughout the last half. It’s catchy, and builds up toward the end to evoke a lot of feeling, which is rare on the album.

“Share The Needle” is the other heavy song thrown in among the relatively calm tracklist. It’s a lot grittier than the others, evoking Morris’ work in Dead Confederate. What sets Audition Tapes apart the most from his previous music is the use of slide guitar; that aspect adds to the country tinge audible throughout the album, even though the “Share The Needle” itself doesn’t sound like a country song at all.

The last track, “Own Worst Enemy,” is in the running behind “OK Corral” as the best track on this release. A quivering Morris lovingly sings, “Be in my one-minute movie, just be yourself/All you gotta do is be honest to scare them to death,” over a pretty acoustic guitar riff in the gorgeous, raw ending to Audition Tapes. The song surprisingly picks up a bit toward the end after a short gap with a crowning slide guitar solo. All in all, it’s the perfect end to this wonderful solo debut.

Although Morris is well-known for his fuzzy, chaotic writing style through Dead Confederate, his association with the band isn’t at all apparent in his solo debut.

He managed to create a sound all its own, even compared to what he’s usually comfortable with, while making it seem effortless and natural.

Whether or not Morris will release more solo material is a mystery at this point, but seeing as this is his fourth release this year, it’s safe to assume there will be plenty more pleasant tunes to come.

T. Hardy Morris – Audition Tapes tracklist:

  1. “Lucky”
  2. “Disaster Proof”
  3. “OK Corral”
  4. “Audition Tapes”
  5. “Hardstuff”
  6. “Quit Diggin'”
  7. “Share the Needle”
  8. “History’s Hoax”
  9. “Beauty Rest”
  10. “Own Worst Enemy”