Album Review: James Vincent McMorrow’s ‘Wide Open, Horses’ – A Return to Roots and Authenticity

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Review By Glen Parkes

A Deep Dive into “Wide Open, Horses”

“Wide Open, Horses” is a testament to McMorrow’s evolution an artist, merging his original sound with influences from his numerous collaborations over the years. The album strips away the glossier production elements of his recent works, opting instead for a more candid and personal touch.

Never Gone – Opening the album with a hauntingly beautiful track, “Never Gone” sets the tone with its soulful melody and introspective lyrics. It’s a poignant reminder of the artist’s journey and resilience. Next up we get Look Up!!! – This track bursts with a hopeful energy, encouraging listeners to find light even in the darkest times. Its uplifting rhythm and McMorrow’s heartfelt vocals make it a standout No One Gets What They Wanted A reflective piece that speaks to the inevitability of unmet expectations and life’s unpredictability. The song’s melancholic tone is balanced by its serene instrumentation.

Stay Cool With its laid-back vibe and soothing harmonies, “Stay Cool” feels like a gentle reminder to remain calm and collected amidst chaos. Wide Open, Horses The title track is an expansive, emotional journey. Its sweeping arrangements and powerful lyrics encapsulate the essence of the album—a return to authenticity and self-discovery. The Day All the Lights Went Out This track’s somber, contemplative nature explores themes of loss and rebirth. It’s a stirring reflection on finding hope in the aftermath of despair. Give Up A raw, honest plea for resilience, “Give Up” resonates with its message of perseverance and strength. The minimalist production allows McMorrow’s emotive vocals to shine.

The Standard With its lush instrumentation and introspective lyrics, “The Standard” delves into the pressures of living up to expectations and the search for self-acceptance. Things We Tell Ourselves A deeply introspective track, this song examines the stories we create about ourselves and the impact they have on our lives. Its intricate melodies and layered vocals are mesmerizing. White Out (Demo) Stripped down to its bare essentials, this demo version provides an intimate look at McMorrow’s creative process. It’s raw and unpolished, yet incredibly moving Darkest Days of Winter A short but powerful track that captures the bleakness of winter and the hope of spring. Its simple, haunting melody lingers long after the song ends.

Call Me Back This heartfelt plea for connection and understanding is both tender and urgent. McMorrow’s soulful delivery makes it a deeply affecting listen. Meet Me in the Garden – Closing the album on a hopeful note, “Meet Me in the Garden” is a beautiful invitation to reconnect with nature and each other. Its lush, organic soundscape is a perfect ending to the journey.

The Essence of ‘Wide Open, Horses’

James Vincent McMorrow’s “Wide Open, Horses” is a masterful blend of introspection and musicality. It signifies a retaking of his own narrative, offering a deeply personal and sonically rich experience. The album’s stripped-down production and heartfelt lyrics showcase McMorrow’s growth as an artist, drawing listeners into his world with every note.

This album is a must-listen for fans of indie folk and those who appreciate music that speaks to the soul. “Wide Open, Horses” is not just a collection of songs; it’s a journey through the highs and lows of life, beautifully captured by one of Ireland’s most talented musicians.

Mark your calendars for June 14, and prepare to be moved by the raw, authentic sound of James Vincent McMorrow’s “Wide Open, Horses.” Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer, this album promises to be an unforgettable addition to your collection.

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