Russell Morris - Imperial Hotel
The past five years have been an incredible musical journey and privilege for myself. I've been fortunate enough to create and release two albums of blues and roots music that pertains to some of the iconic characters, events and moments in our rich tapestry of Australian history. The two previous albums were produced by Mitch Cairns, with whom I work and create with really well.
The first album we released was Sharkmouth. Sharkmouth was all about the urban back blocks and the characters that inhabited them. Mostly based around the depression years and a bit either side. We set out to paint a landscape of how many people must have felt in those times around the early 1900's. Sharkmouth went one to be the highest selling Australian album of 2013, picking up an ARIA Award for best Blues and Roots, reaching number 1 in the charts and surpassing Platinum sales. A very unexpected but welcomed success.
The following album was Van Diemen's Land which had a focus on larger events rather than individuals, from the prison ships that began Australia as a penal settlement to the union strikes, the First and Second World Wars as well as paddle steamers on the Murray River. Van Diemen's Land was nominated for Best Blues and Roots at the 2014 ARIA Awards, certified Gold sales and was the highest charting album of my 50 year career to date debuting at No.4 on the overall ARIA Charts.
I have now arrived at the third and final album in the series of Australian stories. Also produced by Mitch Cairns, this album is titled "Red Dirt - Red Heart", and the name belies its subject matter - The Australian Interior. Any history of Australia albeit, very brief, has to include the people who have inhabited this wonderful country for at least 40,000 years. It would have been remiss of me not to do so. Stories of two bushrangers, a song about a beautiful town, a song about a loner, a recluse, and an escape artist (Goal that is), a snake and the spectacular Nullabour. We have also included some of our great indigenous heroes in the hope that we can share their stories.
We feel this album it is our best to date. Hopefully, you will feel the same.