There are certain moments on Sally Anne Morgan’s delightful Cups where I think the whole world is about to fall apart while other sections pull at something ancient and divine. With some pieces improvised and others composed, Cups moves with grace and a touch of earthen whimsy. Morgan’s skill as a songwriter and musician is always at the center.
“Pythagoras” is loose and beguiling. Tender threads are stretched, imbued with a ramshackle undercurrent that hints at the whole thing falling apart. Yet Morgan holds it steadfast, changing speeds as her fiddle and banjo move together playfully. That same lyricism saturates opener “Night Window.” Welcoming the moon, a peculiar, rickety glockenspiel chases the dancing cadence of bowed and plucked fiddle notes. Everything feels so close, so vulnerable like Morgan is playing this song for an audience of one; like it was only meant to exist in this singular place and time.
Sacred elements rise in the calm of the poignant “Hori Hori.” Soaking in a meditative spirit with its resplendent guitar and fiddle laments, it saunters across the sky with an enticing aroma, hollering out a resplendent ode to the setting sun. “Through the Threshold” operates on a similar plane. A smiling embrace suffused with a warm, timeless message of welcome and gratitude floats like dandelion fuzz across sunkissed plains. Beckoning the last rays of light into the hearth, “Home Soup” continues those feelings deeper into the evening. A fire crackles from across the room as darkness falls and Morgan’s searing resonance brightens all the corners with mirth.
Closer “Angeline” is a kiss goodnight, whether it’s just for a few hours or forever, the emotional weight of Morgan’s chord changes keeps the sentiments from floating away, from disappearing recklessly into the either. Quiet notes hold that feeling of affection close, keeping it warm. Cups is an enchanting collection that thrives in its intimacy and openness. Sally Anne Morgan’s playing and approach to enduring, ageless music is such a breath of fresh air.