By: Amy Cleary
Speaking to The Herald about his music career, musician George Morgan is reminded about the relationship that binds certain things together.
“Music and art have a lot in common,” the musician turned mason began.
Morgan says with every new album he creates, he looks at them like any artist would gaze upon a blank canvas.
“Every time you release a record it’s as if you have a blank canvas to start painting again. Also, you learn so much from the process of making each album that you want to apply that knowledge to the next one.”
Music found Morgan in 1985 at the Kiwanis Music Festival, and never left. Just like the legendary country singer also named George Morgan – father to singer Lorrie Morgan – he fell in love with the beauty of creating music.
“I know who he is, and I like listening to his vinyl,” continued Morgan.
This province’s George Morgan gained fame from playing the drums with great successful bands like The Punters.
Morgan walked away from the sounds and lights of downtown St. John’s, deciding to change careers and became a mason after being gifted with the responsibility of fatherhood.
Perfection vs. Music
“I was completely immersed in the music and entertainment industries. Around 2008 I hit a wall; I had to do something else. I took a package deal; got married, had kids, moved out of downtown and went to trade school,” said Morgan.
Then finally, after years of shimming up and down the salt box houses and fixing the stone chimneys for residents of the downtown core, Morgan heard the calling and returned to his musical roots. He created a new band with friends and colleagues that felt the same about music as he did. The band, Morgan Grinder, created and released a new album, Not Set in Stone.
“After several years away from gigging I found the love again. I have a new record and a new band. It’s great,” said Morgan.
The new album is completely different than his other projects. “Not Set in Stone is probably the most user-friendly record I’ve ever made,” he said.
How so? For starters, Not Set in Stone is about his love of music, not perfection.
“Before, I cared about perfection, the perfect sounding song, the perfect lyric, but now I care about the music,” he shared. All the songs on the album are written by Morgan, except for two. Those song writing honours go to Gary Palen and Dave Panting. They recorded the album right here in St. John’s.
Now that Morgan has been able to balance both of his careers, he’s recognized how important art is in all aspects of life.
“Working in the trades has given me a whole new appreciation of the arts. It used to be that music was just something that I happened to be good at. Now I recognize that art in general is necessary and important to people, myself included,” said Morgan.
He hasn’t given up on his second career choice of masonry though, enjoying the beauty of creating something special that everyone can see and be proud of.
“I really enjoy going to work early in the morning and working on chimneys. It has been and still is a great new career for me.”
When Morgan reflects back on his career and his music, the only advice that he can give to his younger self is to “Stay true to who you are,” and that is the basis of a great Newfoundland musician.