“Open hearted Americana from smitten Australian duo.
Hailing from the swampier, darker side of Australian country music, Sarah Humphreys and Kris Morris have concocted an album that is appropriately sultry and mysterious. Its ten songs benefit from a certain ‘live’ feel, blemishes and all, and an imprecision that is often essential in this genre.
Humphreys’ voice is mellifluous throughout, and on ‘Mama, Son & The Holy Ghost’ she channels an Aretha Franklin-esque soul that belies her alt-country heritage. Morris’s dilapidated croon is an alluring counterpoint, particularly on ‘Lost But Not Alone’, a slow burning ballad.
Though hardly pushing back any frontiers, the pair’s sincerity and chemistry makes their first record together beguiling indeed.”
“Not too shabby at all on their own (see their individual albums from last year, and enjoy), the off-stage partnership of Sarah Humphreys and Kris Morris has merged on stage in a kind of kitchen table supergroup.
Who needs a good radio network playing roots music when this album is available? There’s dirty energy in the soul blues of Mama, Son and the Holy Ghost and classic Texas storytelling in Lost but Not Alone; there’s moody Lucinda Williams-ish desire in The Well is Dry and blue hills harmonising in Tired and Lost; and there’s a nod to doo wop in You’ve Got Me and a reminder of why Gram and Emmylou’s brief partnership still resonates 40 years on, in the heartbreaker country of These Nights.
The nearest connection to this pairing, locally anyway, is the pair of albums Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson made a few years back, but Humphreys and Morris are not as fixed on the hillbilly end of things and, as the skin-on-skin Hips makes clear, they head to the bedroom more than the church stalls.
I could have done with a bit more roughness, a tad more blues, but it’s hardly a deal breaker.”
“Fear not, loves of genuine roots music, Eagle & The Wolf is not another triple j outfit jumping on the animal moniker bandwagon. Far from it, Eagle & The Wolf are about as authentic as contemporary roots music can get, an undeniably unique collaboration between two immensely talented musicians.
Kris Morris and Sarah Humphreys had already established themselves as singer-songwriters before they met and fell in love. Their collaboration follows in the footsteps of those unlikely musical partnerships like Welch and Rawlings, The Mastersons, our own The Yearlings, and Shovels & Rope.
Indeed, on record Eagle & The Wolf are every bit as good as Shovels & Rope on this debut, their music freely ranging the gamut of roots music, from blues and soul to folk and bluegrass…. exactly the kind of original amalgamation that the Americana genre was invented to provide a home for. Palpably led by instinct, Morris and Humphreys hit a collaborative sweet spot on each and every one of these ten songs, their voices entwined like they were born for that purpose alone.
Humphreys’ voice in particular impresses as a versatile instrument, capable of a whispered fragility, plaintive sighs, and formidable power. While less multi-dimensional, Morris’s voice resonates from a deep within, a bluesy purr.
Recorded in an old country farmhouse, the album showcases the duo’s chemistry, but this is not a one-dimensional album. Opening song first single, ‘Mama, Son & The Holy Ghost’ is a sinewy slice of soul-blues with driving drums and electric guitar that compels immediate attention.
At the other extreme, ‘These Nights’ and ‘Bigger Than The Sun’ are sparse and acoustic, showcasing the gentler tones in Humphreys’ voice. In between, we stop at country waltzes ‘Tired And Lost’ (with heart melting harmonies), raw Townes Van Zandt-like ballads like ‘Lost But Not Alone’, and widescreen electric Americana dirges like ‘The Well Is Dry’ and ‘You’ve Got Me’. I’m backing these guys to lead the Aussie charge at the next Americana Festival.”