Sally Anne Morgan

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Cups Review

by Timothy Monger

Released one year after her winsome solo debut, Sally Anne Morgan's Cups takes a more minimalist approach to her unique blend of Appalachian folk traditions, drone music, and light psychedelia. Over the album's instrumental tracks a gentle accumulation of fiddle, banjo, and guitar motifs rise and fall like the din of a summer's day. Contemplative rather than meditative, Morgan's music has a sweet lilt to it, echoing the mountain traditions explored in her other projects like the Black Twig Pickers and House and Land, but in a more fragmented and improvised way. Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, her connection to nature feels inherent in the way she collates organic sounds into textured little ecosystems. Like a micro orchestra of crickets tuning up their instrument's for a nocturnal symphony, the evocative "Night Window" makes for a charming preamble to the meandering pieces that follow it. From the calming drones of "Hori Hori" to the odd percolations of "Sandbox" and "Through the Threshold," Morgan's fiddle warps the loom into which she empties a scattering of noises like seeds poured from a mason jar. Cups isn't an album for strong melodies or crafty songwriting, but more of a collection of moods and feelings. Through her thoughtful and economical playing she is able to convey a feeling of breeze-stroked wildflowers and warm night hush, offering just enough to trigger the imagination, but leaving plenty of space for dreaming.

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