Cary Morin Talks About "Innocent Allies"

Innocent Allies is here!

We are excited to announce our partnership with publicists IVPR out of Nashville, TN!

Introduction to "Innocent Allies" by Cary Morin

Cary Morin - Innocent Allies,” - Alan Cackett, Americana, Roots, Country, and Bluegrass Music, January 2024 

“…The images conjured by Cary from the paintings come vividly to life while listening to these mesmerizing tracks of delicate finger picking and poetry in motion. Cary’s voice has a smooth edge that wraps itself around the sounds that shape these songs, with production that gives everything space to breathe, giving his words a perfect home.”  (read more here…)

 

“Western Paintings Color Cary Morin's Musical Point of View”, - Avery Gregurich, No Depression, January 2024

“…Through the process of creating Innocent Allies, Morin has been able to use Charlie Russell’s paintings as a musical and lyrical ekphrasis to access parts of his own story. It’s that rare, earnest passion project that allows both the subject and its interpreter to flourish, and one that has taken Morin a long time to get just the way that he wants…” (read more here…)

 

“Artist Interview : Cary Morin” - Carol Roth, Adventures in Americana, December 2023

“Cinematic” is a good way to describe the entire album, a sprawling, ambitious collection of stories and meditations full of emotion and big-sky landscapes. They stand strong on their own but gather even more richness upon learning the backstory of each. (The Innocent Allies album title is also inspired by a Russell painting, which depicts three horses waiting atop a cliff while their riders hold up a stagecoach in the gulch below.)"

 

“Colorado Musician Sings of Rivers and Art” -  Steve Paul, KC Studio Magazine,  January 3rd, 2023 

“...Morin has turned a lifelong fascination with the Western artist Charles M. Russell into a suite of songs…” 

Morin recently spent time in the Alabama studio of Grammy-winning producer Trina Shoemaker, who mixed the 13 or so songs. “Cary has created a body of work that goes far beyond what he set out to achieve,” Shoemaker told me by email.  “I wasn’t aware of Charlie Russell’s work when Cary approached me about mixing this record.  Through the songs, I was able to visualize these unseen paintings with uncanny clarity and feel the powerful emotions that would surely be inspired were I to see Mr. Russell’s paintings firsthand.” 

Shoemaker was impressed by Morin’s intelligence, humility and humor, and added, “I think this record is a masterpiece worthy of its place among the great works of art it was created to honor..." 

 

“Big Sky Son” - Adam Perry, Boulder Weekly, July 2023

“'This land is talking to me,' he sings in ‘Big Sky Goes Down,’ the warm and sweeping opening track on his rich new folk-blues album Innocent Allies.  ‘Sounds become familiar, yet they fade from memory. Nothing is ordinary when the big sky sun goes down…’ Innocent Allies is his ninth record — the title of which refers to horses. Morin’s guitar playing is famously gorgeous, soulful and intricate, matched with a depth of songwriting that takes listeners on an easygoing, poignant and affecting road trip through the Montana of Charlie Russell’s time..."

 

 Cary Morin Bio

Described as “one of the best acoustic pickers on the scene today,” Cary Morin brings together the great musical traditions of America like no other. With deft fingerstyle guitar and vocals that alternately convey melodic elation and gritty world-weariness, Morin crafts an inimitable style often characterized as roots-infused Native Americana with hints of bluegrass, folk, blues, and rock. He has performed at renowned venues across the globe, including the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, and is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. David Bromberg remarks, "Cary Morin is a unique and brilliant guitar player, songwriter and singer. As a guitar player, I have huge respect for Cary’s style and technique…. If you haven’t heard him yet, you should. Try to remember that it’s only one guitar.” Music critic Bill Hurley writes, “His guitar skill is jaw-dropping, his voice is warm, worn of world experience, and his songwriting allows both of those things to flourish and captivate anyone in the room..."  -Read more here

About Innocent Allies

This album is a collection of songs inspired by the famous Western painter Charlie Russell and my life in Great Falls, Montana, where Charlie lived and worked. I was born in Billings in 1962, my father was an Assiniboine tribal member from Wolf Point, MT and my mother from The Crow Tribe in Lodge Grass, MT. They both worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Billings, MT where they met and married as my father joined the Air Force. After a few assignments in the US and Asia, they settled in Great Falls, MT when I was 10, and that’s where we stayed.  

My family is a combination of Native American ranchers and military personnel. Surrounded by music and art as a child, I was also surrounded by my father’s and grandfather's (Robert Yellowtail see photo) favorite artist and local hero, Charles Marion Russell (CMR) also known as “Kid” Russell by his peers of the time. Montana was the home of all things western and all things Charlie Russell. His work was everywhere; in our house, in businesses, on the walls of our families’ homes and at the state capital. As a Montanan, knowing his work was the same as knowing the Montana mountains, rivers, and the big Montana sky. Eventually, my exit from Charles M. Russell High School and my father’s home, lead to my relocating to the Front Range of Colorado where I have lived and played music since 1983. My memories of Charlie and life in Montana have stayed with me always. 

As a young musician I was inspired by the music of the day in Montana. Charlie Pride, Earle Scruggs, The Rolling Stones, and music I heard from family and friends always seemed better to me if it included pedal steel guitar and vocals rich with harmonies. As the years drift by I find myself slowly returning to the music my parents favored and can now hear it with a new love for nostalgia and the Native roots of my family. Maybe l long for the simple days of my youth, or maybe even the days long before my birth. Before we had a computer in our pocket and a connection to everything on the planet, a horse to ride and no place in particular to go was a better way of living than anything I can remember in my lifetime. How Montana is that? 

I think it is important to note that Charlie Russell was a friend to Plains Tribes in a time when Western Expansion was the word of the day.  "If there is a white man who can be credited with preserving the history of Native Americans in the 1880’s, it is the western artist Charlie Russell." He was concerned with the destruction of Native culture and strived to portray Native Americans in his paintings with a dignity that was largely absent in many other artists portrayals of the time. 

As a Native Crow, I think I observe details in Charlie Russell's paintings from a cultural perspective that a non-Native person may not see.  Situations depicted in his paintings that might not be obvious to some are subtle cultural or ritualistic details such as; an elder being served a meal first in Indian Hunters Return which is customary in Crow culture, or the style and distinctive detail of regalia and hairstyles from tribe to tribe, the variations in teepees and their distinctive art, the importance of buffalo jumps and how they were used, the understanding of the social implications of war parties, recognition of Charlie's depictions of the traditional “hot dance.” Some native dance is the imitation of the movements of birds, which you can see in these paintings.  Charlie also knew much about tribal lore in the Crow culture specific to the Little People of The Pryor Mountains.  He made a series of clay sculptures depicting The Little People. As an Indigenous artist, I bring a perspective to this aspect of Charlie's work by way of this body of songs.

The songs for this project are now complete.  This has been a year and a half labor of love to write and sculpt these songs in such a way that I believe truly honors the work of Charlie Russell. I have spent time living with these tunes, allowing them to collect some "dust" and mellow over time, then coming back to them with fresh perspective removing the ticks and reworking melodies, changing lyrics and song titles, etc.  They have now been worked over & meticulously brushed and groomed by Grammy winning, famed engineer Trina Shoemaker (Cheryl Crow, Tanya Tucker, Wood Brothers).  We hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

We are excited to announce that we will be working with publicists IVPR out of Nashville, TN!  We will release our first single in early October 2023, with 2 more single releases throughout Fall and Winter.  The full album will release in late January of 2024! 

Notes

I have settled on the title, "Innocent Allies," the name of a Charlie Russell painting indicating that it was the horse that made hold ups and robberies possible "and so, an associate in aiding and abetting the many crimes of the day, without rancor, philosophy, or intent."   All of the song files are now mixed and mastered, the physical disc has landed on my doorstep, and release dates have been chose!

I have obtained the rights of use for all Charles M. Russell materials from various museums and collaborators, for promotional purposes. 

I have not yet decided all the final formats this project will take though ensuing discussions with various museum curators have bubbled up some exciting ideas.  I am putting together a touring, immersive exhibit combined with a live performance.  I would like to create a stand alone digital exhibit that can be rented/sold to various museums and cultural organizations that would have a recorded musical performance (in lieu of a live band), a virtual reality package similar to the digital exhibit that would not necessarily require a black box theater space, and a one man multi media show.  I am the author/composer/storyteller in all of these scenarios. 

I would like to pair any of the aforementioned ideas with physical products such as,  a book that would include all of the paintings, articulations of the songs (much as you see below), lyrics, and a CD and/or downloads of the song files.  I am also contemplating a vinyl album... 

A big thank you to The Montana Historical Society, The C.M. Russell Museum, and The Gilcrease Museum for allowing us the use of some of the Charlie Russell Images for this page and our promotional videos!

Purchase A Full Album Download

Innocent Allies

Cary Morin

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Cary Morin’s All-New Album Innocent Allies Draws Heavily From The Art Of Famed Western Painter Charles M. Russell Indigenous guitarist and songwriter taps Grammy-winner Trina Shoemaker for new LP; Out now

“Situations depicted in his paintings that might not be obvious to some are subtle cultural or ritualistic details,” says Award-winning, “Native

Cary Morin’s All-New Album Innocent Allies Draws Heavily From The Art Of Famed Western Painter Charles M. Russell Indigenous guitarist and songwriter taps Grammy-winner Trina Shoemaker for new LP; Out now

“Situations depicted in his paintings that might not be obvious to some are subtle cultural or ritualistic details,” says Award-winning, “Native Americana” fingerstyle guitarist and songwriter Cary Morin of the overarching inspiration for his new album: the famous Western artist Charles M. Russell. “As an Indigenous artist, I bring a perspective to this aspect of Charlie's work by way of this body of songs,” says Morin who released his collection of Russell-inspired stories, Innocent Allies, today. Morin is also quick to note that Charlie Russell was a friend to the Plains Tribes, concerned with the destruction of Native culture and portraying Native Americans in his paintings with a dignity that was largely absent from other artists’ portrayals of the time.

From the album-opening “Big Sky Sun Goes Down” which was inspired by a host of Russell’s paintings like When The Land Belonged To God, Salute To The Robe Trade, Piegans, and more; to “Indian Hunters Return” which drew from only one piece of art from which the name was drawn; to the joyful closer, “Montana Sky,” which came about in a co-write with Nashville songwriter D.L. Duncan after Morin explained the concept of his latest project, the whole of Innocent Allies reflects Morin’s love for Russell while blending in his own experiences in Great Falls, Montana, where Russell lived and worked. “This record is a masterpiece worthy of its place among the great works of art it was created to honor,” says Trina Shoemaker, the Grammy-winning producer who mixed and mastered the album at her Alabama studio.

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Big Sky Sun Goes Down

Big Sky Sun Goes Down:

This album started with an idea and an armful of CMR art books inherited from my folks. When I finally decided to sit down and write words, I was seated on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River at Rancho Del Rio outside of Bond, Colorado. Reviewing the paintings and hearing the water rushing by, I wrote this first song. 

My father’s house was located between Ulm and Great Falls, MT, near the site of The Ulm Pishkun Buffalo Jump. The Missouri River was a half mile walk from there. I could see where our house was built in many of the CMR paintings. It was located just North of the river as I faced Square Butte.

Associated Paintings: 

When The Land Belonged To God 

Salute To The Robe Trade 

Piegans 

In The Enemies Country 

Buffalo Hunt 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin - acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals

Eric Adcock - piano

Celeste Di Iorio - background vocals

Waiting and Mad

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Waiting and Mad

The Charlie painting, Waiting And Mad, gets the point across without much explanation. This song however, is written from the viewpoint of the object of Keeoma’s anger who is a man. The other paintings listed here are of men out doing what they do, possibly while Keeoma is waiting for her man’s 

return…  

Keeoma as a subject matter in this painting is the only one that seems to have some negative reviews, as it suggests the sexualization of Native women.  The one thing that Charlie knew really well about Native culture, is humor.  If one were to look at depictions of Keeoma with that in mind, maybe some of the reviews would be different.  In Charlie’s letters to his friends, aside from delivering the news of the day, most of the letters are interjected with the humor that came so easily to him.  To look at the image along with the lyrics of the song one can see the humor… The husband is in big trouble upon his delayed return.   

 

Associated Paintings: 

Waiting And Mad 

Crow Sheep Hunter 

Indian On Horseback 

Nobleman Of The Plains 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar

Eric Adcock - piano

Graham Rea - fiddle

Waiting for a Chinook

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Waiting For A Chinook

My grandfather was Robert Yellowtail, a prominent tribal member of the Crow Tribe and a life-long rancher. I often wonder if he was an acquaintance of Charlie’s. As the location of my father’s house was picturesque, my grandfather’s house on the Little Big Horn River was a place to behold. We often traveled between Great Falls and Lodge Grass, passing through Judith Basin. CMR’s Waiting For A Chinook was always on my mind when we drove a section of Hwy 191 that went for miles without a single turn in the road. Our stop for a milkshake at Judith Gap was always a treat! In this song, I imagine the arrival of a teenage Charlie Russell from St. Louis to a very wild Montana. When Charlie left St. Louis to work on a friend of his father’s sheep ranch, he arrived in Judith Basin. He eventually found work on cattle ranches on the night watch. Waiting for a Chinook was his response to the owner of one of those ranches when asked how things were looking.

Associated Painting

Waiting For A Chinook 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin- acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel guitar, bass guitar

John Magnie - electric piano

Nic Ramirez - harmonica

Celeste Di Iorio - backing vocals

Old Timers Poem

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Old Timer's Poem: 

Old Timers Poem (Good Medicine: the Illustrated Letters of Charles M. Russell) is my favorite example of Charlie’s letters. My father loved his letters and would tell stories to his friends from Charlie’s writing. The words are those of Charlie’s exactly as he wrote them.  Charlie wrote in his own vernacular, using terminology of the times. A lot of his writing of personal letters is readily available.  He wrote in the same manner that he spoke.

I composed the music for this song.  The poem is a reminiscing of times gone by as he wrote to “Bob.” My mother’s family was a ranching family. Her brother Jigs Yellowtail had a horse ranch and also ran cattle with his dad Robby Yellowtail. My memories of Uncle Jigs’ place is that of branding, riding, hunting, and cherished time with my Crow relatives. This song reminds of those old days, old trucks, and sights and smells of the ranch in the mountains of the Crow Reservation in the late 1960s. 

Associated Paintings: 

Old Timer’s Poem 

The Trail Boss 

The Wagon Boss 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin – composer, guitars, vocals 

Celeste Di Iorio – harmony vocals 

Nic Ramirez – harmonica 

John Magnie - piano

Good Medicine

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Good Medicine: 

Charlie’s letters to friends are featured in the book Good Medicine: The Illustrated Letters of Charles M. Russell (1929), in which Charlie reminisces in his writings and letters to his friends, about his life in and regrets for Montana

His letters often had a few common elements. He often apologized for taking so long to reply to letters received. He would give the news of where in the world he was and share memories of the ‘old’ days when life was good and the land was still unmolested by settlers. He never considered himself part of the invasion having taken the time to learn about Montana and the people of the land. He lived with natives at one time and grew to love and defend the people he considered to be his closest friends. He also had a soft spot for his friends among the early cattlemen, some of whom had rough outfits in the early days of ranching in Montana. Charlie’s letters always had illustrations that made the correspondences come to life.

This recording was written at home in Fort Collins, CO. By the time I penned this one, the project was close to being done. I can usually hear the songs in my head and have a good idea of what the song needs to support the subject, and who I may call on to help out with the instruments that I don’t know how to play. I also asked musician friends to listen to all the songs in rough mix form and see if there was something that spoke to them. Turns out this song is just my wife Celeste and me, making it even a more personal moment of my memories of youth in Montana, represented in a single musical thought. 

Associated Paintings:

Innocent Allies

Musicians: 

Cary Morin – guitar, vocals

Celeste Di Iorio - harmony vocals

Killing The Blues

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Killing the Blues: 

As a child I played a variety of styles. I played guitar for a time with a small high school band with friends from around the area. Some of us grew up listening to the bands around town whose members were not only accomplished musicians but singers as well. Singing harmony was always a pursuit that we shared and loved. I first heard this song around 1979 on a Rowland Salley album, if memory serves the album was called Woodstock Mountains: Music From Mud Acres. I can’t seem to find that album these days but remember loving the melody and the great harmonies. The song always painted such a vivid image for me.

In this case it applies to Charlie and Nancy’s early days together. It was many years till I discovered that the song was actually written by Rowland Salley and made popular by John Prine, another songwriter that helped mold my young notions of playing guitar and writing a song. Over the years I would hear another artist’s version of this song and instantly be reminded of my youthful days in Great Falls, Montana, trying to learn what would eventually become a life-long pursuit of a song, THE song. 

I paired this song with the painting, She Turned Her Back On Me And Went On Imperturbably On With Her Sketching, which depicts Charlie’s relationship with his wife.

Associated Painting: 

She Turned Her Back On Me And Went On Imperturbably On With Her Sketching 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin – arrangement, guitar, vocals 

Celeste Di Iorio- harmony vocals 

John Magnie- piano 

Nic Clark- harmonica

Jordan Pasquin - drums

Indian Hunters Return

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Indian Hunter's Return

My wife and I were on tour in the Southern US in January 2022. We stopped in Ohio to visit family. We flew our son Eli to join us for a few days. After describing this project to Eli, I invited him to write a song with me. I told him about my memory of a Charlie print that hung in my grandfather’s house for as long as I could remember. 

The painting depicts an image of a camp with several teepees and hunters returning from the hunt with food.  In that moment, you can see Charlie’s treatment of the sky, accented by the remaining snow on the ground.  There’s some commotion around the hunters’ return.  The landscape is a calm but cold Montana winter day, with the familiar bare Cottonwood trees and a cloudy sky.  The painting itself suggests the respect given to an elder tribal member offering the elder the opportunity to eat first before the others. The lodge depicted is the only one in view in the painting that appears to be painted/decorated.  I believe the paintings on the teepee signify the events in the owner’s life. 

After viewing the image, we wrote down what we thought might have happened to the characters just before the action in the scene depicted in the painting. The story in the song speaks to things the hunters encountered on their hunt, including a man who was mourning the loss of his son.  One could assume that it was in battle that he died. The hunters could hear the man singing on a hilltop in the distance and decided to leave him to his mourning.

My memory of this print in my grandfather’s house is a vital part of my grandfather, Robert Yellowtail’s house. It was always there from my first memory of that house. I treasured my time with my mom’s father. He was always happy to see me and always kept some candy in his desk for such occasions. His house was a small three-bedroom house that sat on about twenty acres. He grew alfalfa and had the first barn that was built on the reservation which is still standing today. I remember the horses that lived there, the dogs, and everything about the property. The Little Big Horn River was to the East from the back door. The river combined with the cottonwood trees, the soil, the coal heat, and occasional skunk that would take up residence under the house created an aroma of home that I will remember as long as I live. That is a memory that only exists one place in the world. It will forever remind me of family, Montana, the Crow, and love.

When Celeste and I travel it’s typically in our RV with our 2 dogs, Bía and Bishké. I love that our years are spent traveling the country sharing songs and stories that I’ve made up. This song was written in the RV parked in the driveway at Eli’s grandma’s house over a few beers, listening to various recordings that I love and often force on others to hear, whether they like it or not!  I’m thankful for family and friends and Celeste, especially. 

Associated Painting: 

Indian Hunters Return 

Musicians: 

Cary - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals

Celeste Di Iorio - harmony vocals

Eric Adcock - piano

Nic Ramirez - harmonica

Whiskey Before Breakfast

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Whiskey Before Breakfast: 

Whiskey Before Breakfast is a song that I learned as a child when my interest at the time was mainly bluegrass music, something I never was very good at but loved very much. Since those early days, I have abandoned the guitar pick and prefer to play fingerstyle guitar. I was inspired to record this old traditional tune by my interest in the famous Montana band, Mission Mountain Wood Band. I loved their combination of bluegrass and other genres of the time. Their album In Without Knocking was always on my list of favorite recordings, and I particularly liked the album cover which is the painting by CMR titled, In Without Knocking

I attended Charles M. Russel High School, narrowly graduating in 1981. I wasn’t much of a guitar player and an even worse student, but I never gave up on music. My early musical days began with piano lessons in the first grade and continued through high school. I was a terrible music student as well, preferring to play by ear rather than read music. Little did I know that developing the ability to play by ear would come in handy the first time I picked up a guitar when I was twelve years old. 

My friends all had diverse musical tastes often fueled by records left behind by college bound siblings. This is also the time I became fascinated by recordings. I tried my best to figure out how sounds were made and recorded as I listened to these various recordings. I was amazed by the bluegrass flat pickers of the day. I was always in pursuit of the guitar, the effects pedal, the amp, whatever I thought was going to help me make that sound that I just knew I could duplicate, but was so elusive. 

I never lost the desire to search for next new method of recording or performing. This song is a trip back in time for me and it’s a pleasure to revisit those days. I can no longer ride my horse Ed through the wheat fields that surrounded my fathers’ house in those days. But, I can sit in front of a microphone with an acoustic guitar and re-live those good moments. 

Associated Paintings: 

In Without Knocking 

Smoke Of A .45 

A Bad Hoss 

The Camp Cooks Troubles 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin - guitar

Big Nose George's Outlaw Blues

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Big Nose George’s Outlaw Blues: 

As a child I would thumb through my fathers’ Charlie Russel books. He had them all! Charlie’s painting The Hold Up always got my attention. Perhaps my childish brain was curious to know why these settlers and wealthy anglo folks of note were being robbed by other white folks? I later found out that individuals that have the inclination to steal and rob aren’t driven by the ethnicity of their prey. This painting is the recreation of an actual event that took place outside of Deadwood, South Dakota around the same time that the teenaged Charlie arrived in Montana from St. Louis. George Parrot was as bad at crime as he was at attempting to have a legit profession. “George Parrott (1834-1881) also known as Big Nose George, Big Beak Parrott, George Manuse, and George Warden, was a cattle rustler and highway robber in the American Wild West in the late 19th century. His skin was made into a pair of shoes after his lynching and part of his skull was used as an ashtray.”  

This song may be pure schadenfreude but rest assured the events depicted in this song and Charlie’s painting didn’t actually take place in Montana, thankfully.

Associated Painting: 

The Hold Up 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin - author, composer, guitars, vocals 

John Magnie: piano 

Nic Clark: harmonica 

AJ Fullerton: slide guitar

Fire Boat

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Fire Boat

I was drawn to Charlie’s paintings of Natives on horseback. It reminds me of stories of Crow men on hunting rides, eating white clay to curb their hunger so as not have to eat for days. I had an uncle who knew Indian sign language very well and it was something I was always interested in. Indians would stop talking around the pioneers and only use sign language and observe. 

 At about that time, Crow Chief Plenty Coup spoke of a vision he had where he saw white people and their cattle, which he referred to as spotted Buffalo, and his advice to the Crow people was to learn as much about them and their culture as possible because he knew they were never going to go away.

The song is based on Crow Indians as they encounter the first contact with settlers and consider these strange new people.  One of the first things they saw was the steamboat on the river. They didn’t necessarily want to harm anyone, but these new pioneers were easy to raid. The take would be horses and funny looking clothing. This song drifts between my imagination of viewing Charlie’s painting Fire Boat and the words and stories from my mother Anita Yellowtail, my Uncle Tom Yellowtail, and stories I’ve heard over the years of Native life on the plains before contact with settlers. 

Associated Paintings: 

The Fire Boat 

Watching For Wagons 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin - author, composer, guitars, piano, vocals

Bullhead Lodge

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Bullhead Lodge: 

This song is a solo guitar melody inspired by Charlie’s Lake McDonald paintings in the area of Glacier National Park, where he had his summer home called Bullhead Lodge. Here, he hosted artist friends to paint and sketch landscapes and scenery of the park. Many of his paintings here convey scenes of traveling to the lodge by train, wagon train, and boat. 

I have never had the privilege to visit Bull Head Lodge. I have been to Glacier National Park as a child and visited the area from time to time. My only connection is from vintage photos of Charlie at his cabin and his paintings of the area. The song was a product of my sitting in front of a microphone in my little studio, improvising guitar ideas while a slideshow of Charlie’s related painting drifted by on my computer. I hope this song serves as a soundtrack for your viewing of these fine landscapes of one of Charlie’s favorite places. 

Glacier National Park remains one of the most beautiful and untouched parts of Montana, and the U.S.

Associated Paintings

Lake McDonald 

Deer At Lake McDonald 

Indian Camp 

Storm On Lake McDonald 

Musicians

Cary Morin - guitar

Wally and Keeoma

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Wally and Keeoma:  

This song is a fictional account and contrast of two female characters in Charlie’s paintings. Keeoma is a fictionalized image of a Native woman that appears in several of his paintings. She is thought to be of Northern Montana or Canada, and is often depicted in seductive poses. Charlie was criticized for his sexualizing the image of this woman. As Charlie is not here to defend himself, I  take it one step further by writing this song that juxtaposes the lives and cultures of these two very different women. Wally is thought to be inspired by an earlier relationship he had before he finally met and wed Nancy Russell.

In the song, Wally is an anglo woman who lives in a modern world.  She goes off to college and that is the end of their relationship.  The imaginary Keeoma on the other hand, is a Native woman living the traditional life of a Plains Indian.  They are both the subjects of a then modern day magazine, and this is where they both coexist, lives as different as the world has ever seen.

Associated Paintings: 

Keeoma 

She Turned Her Back On Me And Went On Imperturbably On With Her Sketching 

Cowgirl Bucking Horse 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin - author, composer, guitars, vocals

Where The Trails Cross The Big Divide

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Where the Trails Cross the Big Divide: 

This song was inspired by the letters of Charlie written later in his life. 

My life in Great Falls was mostly uninterrupted, except on the occasion that we traveled out of town. Family trips to Billings to see relatives or Missoula for a ball game were about it. Charlie’s observations on the future of Great Falls were of interest to me. 

Charlie was not completely a fan of “progress,” though his career depended on it.  He thought at the time, that Great Falls had the potential to grow to a big city like Chicago, completely further destroying the frontier.

His musings on life in Montana with old friends create their own images in my mind. His mural Lewis and Clark Meeting the Flatheads at the State Capitol building in Helena, is something I hope to see someday. He would give the news of where in the world he was and share memories of the ‘old’ days when life was good and the land was still unmolested by settlers. He lived with Natives at one time and grew to love and defend the people he considered to be his closest friends. He also had a soft spot for his friends among the early cattlemen that sometimes, had rough outfits in the early days of ranching in Montana. 

Charlie’s letters always had illustrations that made his correspondence come to life. His studio is located at the Charles M. Russel Museum in Great Falls, Montana. It’s a worthy visit! Many of his great painting are housed there as well along with other great Western artists.  Charlie spoke fondly of Great Falls and was loved and admired by Montanans, an admiration that still exists to this day. I’m grateful to be surrounded by his work and inspired by his vision. I only wish I could have sat down and played some songs with him. Maybe someday…

Associated Paintings:

Musicians: 

Cary Morin – guitar, vocals

Celeste Di Iorio – harmony vocals

Montana Sky

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Montana Sky: 

On a recent US tour, I visited my songwriter friend DL Duncan in Nashville, TN. DL Duncan is a well-known Nashville songwriter and has lived in the Music City for decades. During our visit he asked me what I was working on. I explained the process for my CMR project and invited him to write a song with me. This happens often in Nashville so it seemed like the thing to do. I showed him some paintings and wrote a short description of my life at my grandfather’s house in Lodge Grass, MT. It wasn’t long before we were tossing lines back and forth. This is the very last song to be recorded for this project. I’m happy to collaborate with my friend Dave and pleased that this song occupies a spot on this album that I could never have done alone. Thank you, Dave!

Associated Paintings:

The Round Up 

Musicians: 

Cary Morin –acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel, vocals

Celeste Di Iorio - harmony vocals

Luke Hunter - bass

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Innocent Allies Official Videos

Charles M. Russell

Charles Marion Russell

For Further Information:

General Information: Celeste Di Iorio at Maple Street Music - celeste@maplestreetmusic.com / 970 690-4048

Press: IVPR - maria@ivpr.com

Radio & Airplay: Celeste Di Iorio at Maple Street Music - celeste@maplestreetmusic.com

Booking please contact The Granata Agency - mary@granataagency.com