Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow didn’t begin his musical life until he was well into his teens. Initially a drummer, he was drawn to the harsher sounds of At the Drive-In, Refused, and Glassjaw. He mellowed some while at college, where he discovered the more acoustic-oriented sounds of Sufjan Stevens and Band of Horses. He picked up a guitar at 19 after hearing Donny Hathaway’s “I Love You More Than You Will Ever Know,” and began writing songs and digging into the music of the ’70s singer/songwriter era, particularly from female artists, because of the pitch of his own voice. Eventually developing a writing and performance style that suited him, McMorrow began playing shows in local pubs, where he was received warmly. He decided to record an album, moving into a small house on Ireland’s coastline and holing up with his guitar, a keyboard, a microphone, a computer, and several other instruments. He wrote and cut what would eventually become his debut self-titled EP, and his first album, Early in the Morning. The full-length was released by Believe Recordings in Ireland in March of 2010, and was greeted with very favorable reviews, a top chart spot, a Choice Music nomination, platinum sales, and appearances at Royal Festival Hall and on Later…with Jools Holland while on tour. The album was released in the U.S. later that year on Vagrant.
He further expanded his fan base when his pared-down version of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” was used as part of LOVEFiLM’s TV advertising campaign. The popularity of the cover led to an expanded version of his debut being released with the song included, as well as an acoustic rendition of “We Don’t Eat.” McMorrow decamped to a small studio in Texas during 2013 to record his follow-up, Post Tropical, an album that was almost an about-face from his debut given its synthetic instrumentation and horn charts. It was issued in 2014 by Believe in the U.K. and Vagrant in the U.S.