A Review of the CD
"Courage, Love and Grace"
by Pete Morton

"Courage, Love and Grace"
by Pete Morton

Copyright 1994
Harbourtown Records
P.O. Box 25
Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 7UN
phone/fax: 01229 588290

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 2/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
send me an email message

Mental or moral strength to persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification. There you have it--courage, love and grace.

Pete Morton enriches Webster's Dictionary definitions through his acoustic gospel on these intriguing subjects in this finely-textured, provocative release. Avoiding the trap of tendering hackneyed platitudes or trite bromides, Morton's material instead makes the listener work, thinking, focusing, and re-assessing throughout his fourteen chapters.

Utilizing his commanding, edgy voice to enhance the power of his songs, Morton's zen-like handbook mocks gold, jewels, and silver as transitory baubles and pleads for taking the path of forgetting the head and opening the heart in order to achieve a more fully-realized and satisfactory existence. Greater personal and societal good is possible by focusing both within and on the simple things of life. Lest the reader fear Morton has hightailed it to some monastic order and is proffering Gregorian chants here--fear not. He utilizes a variety of musical styles and rhythms while incorporating especially tantilizing accordian and fiddle play into a number of the cuts.

Opening with "Change," an eloquent view of a mystical trek through England, Scotland, and Wales, displaying faded empires, smug superiority and the nasty, class conscious side of Great Britain, Morton immediately seizes the listener's attention.

"Heartland," is a simple love song, containing a chorus that would melt Stonehenge. Morton sings:

His chorus, swelling with Tom McConville's sweet fiddling, goes: A plea to put past relationships and their accumulative baggage aside and relish moving forward together in a new union, "On Your Side" offers a delicately serene third verse: The title song, "Courage, Love and Grace" packs a wallop with its opening lines: After each stanza, Morton, at his most evocative, sings: The fifth stanza of "The Harrowing of Pride," best colors Morton's overall message: Paced again by McConville's fiddle on "Eternity," the last cut, Morton sings: Overall, this release is a mature look at life, providing insight on issues tormenting the human psyche since, well, eternity. Morton's distinctive vocals, inviting lyrics, and smooth instrumental backing make this a compelling musical journey.

So what's next? Fear, lust and forlorness?

Morton's vocals and guitar are backed by Vaughan Phelps on bass, Mike Willoughby on harmonica, Karen Tweed on accordian, Sally Barker on vocals, Tom McConville on fiddle, Roger Wilson on fiddle, and Jez Luton on guitar.

Track List:

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