Boston trio (now based in Oakland) Mornin Old Sport have as a stated aim to keep a number of old musical styles fresh and in the public eye. Their self-titled debut focuses most successfully on Western Swing, although Ragtime and assorted crooning, shuffle-based songs also shine. This is a fun record, and far from some historical preservation attempt. This is heartfelt music delivered with humor, heartbreak and poise, one that reminds us that transcendent music can be found in any style.
“When the Bomb” leads off, a wistful but jet black ode to celebrating the end of the world and there being no more reason for missing a lost love.
“Katie,” the single is, like “Boatman Put One Back Heartbreak & I,” rooted in Western shuffle, the former a fast and furious tune, the latter more of a slower paced brooder. These numbers are contrasted by “Sweet Pea,” a kind of lo-fi rag, with gritty guitar and spare melody, and the breezy, shuffling ditty “Baby I Love You,” which comes complete with piano, comping guitar and muted horn.
Other songs offer occasionally poignant, occasionally twisted ballads, with tasty steel guitar lines or, like “Broken Lamps,” more of a straight melodies not set within any period context.
Mornin Old Sport—singer Kate Smeal, multi-instrumentalist Scott Nanos and drummer Jeff Price debut with style. The poetic, cheeky self-titled release is rooted in the soulful and danceable tunes of the past. Their music is not so much one of classics updated or reverently covered but inspiration for their own music, blending timeless melody with their own graceful sense of fun.