Before I get to the serious meat and potatoes of the review let me start with a bit of light-hearted fluff. You know the phrase "looks can be deceiving" ... well that observation really comes into play when matching the photo of the artist with the voice on the disc.
Talented singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Morris (vocals, guitars, Mellotron, bass, synthesizers, piano, dulcimer, drums & percussion) whose photo graces the back cover of his 2012 release "From The Dust To The Stars" looks the part of the long-haired rough and tumble 'good old boy' comfortable behind the wheel of an off-road 4 x 4 or fronting a three-piece metal band. The guy looks a bit like Mark Wahberg (check out his video for the track "Hearts On Fire" and see for yourself). But his voice definitely did not match my expectations based on his photo.
Michigan independent recording artist Jeremy Morris has been active in the music scene for well over 30 years with an impressive discography of more than 50 releases to his credit, covering the gamut from rock, pop, classical, prog, ambient, psychedelic, folk, and Christian rock. He founded Jam Records in 1984, a label specializing in pop, rock, progressive, and instrumental music.
His diverse musical influences (The Beatles, The Byrds, Barclay James Harvest, Pink Floyd, Big Star, Cheap Trick, John Lennon, Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips, The Korgis, Stackridge, Tangerine Dream, early Bee gees, Gordon Giltrap) are a direct reflection of the tunes on "From The Dust To The Stars" with a strong dose of 60s' psychedelia and the great garage rock bands of the decade. To my ears bands like Electric Prunes, The Kinks, The Easybeats, 13 Floor Elevators, early Who ("I Can See For Miles"), and Spirit really jump out at you - and dare I say ... his vocal style is reminiscent of many bubblegum bands of the era, most notably Joey Levine of Ohio Express and Tommy Roe; and I'm also reminded of the lead singer Ronnie Rice of the popular Chicago pop group The New Colony Six.
Echoes of later period Moody Blues and The Turtles meld together on the track "Land Of Love" featuring a hook that brings to mind The Turtles tune "You Showed Me".
If his intention was to recapture energy and spirit of those great psychedelic bands of the 60s' Morris has scored a home run. Yet unlike the bands of the 60s' who were fixated on sex, drugs, and rock and roll the lyrics on "From The Dust To The Stars" are more positive and uplifting reflecting Morris' Christian beliefs without beating you about the head and shoulders to get his point across.
But for me the real show-stopper was the final track "For Chosen Ones", a monolithic epic prog number that harkens back to classic Gabriel era Genesis and Steve Hackett's brilliant debut solo album "Voyage Of The Acolyte".
A little something for everyone.
In addition to Morris the album features Dave Dietrick (drums), Peter Morris (drums), and Guillermo Cazenaue (keyboards).
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on August 29th, 2012