Cary Morin’s sixth release, When I Rise, follows close on the heels of an international tour that spanned the U.S. and reached as far as Italy, France, and Germany. Born as a Crow tribal member and son of an air force officer in Billings, Montana, he spent the bulk of his youth in Great Falls, where he “cut his teeth” picking guitar standards at neighborhood get-togethers, before relocating to Northern Colorado in the ’80s. Corey’s musical career hit the ground running with The Atoll, a band he founded in 1989 and that toured nationally, gaining a devoted following. Cary plays with Los Lobos at Washington’s Fri, Feb 1, 2019, @ 6:30 PM.
Cary is a staple in the Fort Collins music scene yet he grows as a musician constantly and opens the door for change as a musician. Cary pulls out old songs sometimes to prepare for shows and says,
“I realized that I’m away different musician way different guitar player. I was hearing her songs that I played hundreds of times very differently after a while of not playing them. When I got to town and I was playing acoustic shows in restaurants and bars in the 80s, and I was kind of noticing that the tail end of what was going on in this town up to that point, my perspective was all of these really established bands that were either in Fort Collins or traveling through all the time that was really well. They were a huge influence on me. When I started playing with the band that I played with for four years the Atoll, I think I was still associated as the guitarist-singer dude in that band. And I was really I was really proud of what we accomplished. We played a lot we played somewhere nearly every day and we did that for years. And it wasn’t until after you know long after that when I wasn’t playing with them as much but started doing other shows just using my name and people didn’t really know ‘Carrie Morin, you know, who’s that?’ But now, it would be rare for someone in Fort Collins to utter those words.”
Cary is a foundation to Fort Collins music. He started playing the bars he wasn’t even old enough to get in and now he plays to a packed house every night. For Cary, this shows the breadth of his career. Beyond Colorado shows. Morin is playing Sing for Seva, a celebration of 40 Years of Music for Social Change, Saturday, January 12th at the Fox Theater in Oakland. Which might be the biggest bill he has sat on sharing the stage with Mickey Hart & Friends, Joan Osborne, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt to name a few. He has shared the stage on numerous occasions with some of the best musicians. Some are well-known, others are known well to him, but his versatile guitar style opens many doors to sit in with the best.
Over the years he has changed from playing primarily electric guitar to an acoustic guitar player, and his style has changed. Morin’s indigenous roots are prominent in his lyrics and his storytelling. The delta blues rings through the tightly wound strings of his guitar. There has been an evolution of what he is interested in guitar-wise, and genre-wise. Perhaps that’s something that happens with age, or maybe it is a sense of finding your own path as a musician.
Cary says, “as I age, I care less really about what other people are thinking and I’m like, I’ve just really cared about this and I’m going to put it out there and when I was younger, I’d be like, oh, I can’t put that out there. That’s so vulnerable.” he adds, “I don’t feel like I’m ever topped out. There are so many great guitar players out there that I have met, and especially around just in Fort Collins, that do wonderful things and I think they continue to expand their knowledge as well. But we all kind of go in different directions. Some guys are really into like jazz and fusion music and some guys are like way into country music and things that go sort of in that direction and I think I tend to stay on the acoustic side of things and any more.”
Cary travels the majority of the year with his wife playing music. With each destination, Cary is acquiring new influence. The remarkable way he adds a new style or a new sound into his repertoire is his unique gift. He never loses sight of home. His home and his native people, his Colorado home or his home across the globe. He blends sounds and collaborates with ease and is able to merge across genres playing the roots and the heart of the music progressions. The essence of everywhere rings out in his songs, particularly in his latest release.