Sunday Morning fuses Southern musical influences with 1970’s New York and Berlin. Formed by writer/artist Bruce Wilson (vocals) and Stephen Hamm (keyboards, piano), who played together in the 90s in Vancouver’s thunderous Tankhog, Sunday Morning is a departure from their riff laden pasts. On their upcoming self-titled record, which will be released on December 23rd, they enlisted the talents of bassist Coco Culbertson (Bif Naked. The Gay and The Choir Practice); drummer Justin Leigh (Pluto); guitarist Kevin Rose (Tankhog, Coal, The Wongs); cellist Finn Manniche; and vocalists Leah Commons (Bubble 11) and Carmen Bruno (Trailerhawk). Together they present a powerful and irrevocable account of all that is Sunday Morning.
“Come the Rain” acts an opening soliloquy for the album. Described by Wilson as “Almost a prayer for salvation put into terms of a simple love song waltz”, he began thinking of the lyrics when he moved back to Vancouver in 2010 after ending a relationship in Western Massachusetts. He says, “It rains a lot in Vancouver and I’ve learned I can either embrace it or be miserable ten months out of the year. And miserable is a drag.”
The first single from Sunday Morning, the blistering “Sick In The City”, is about being dope sick in New York; the nihilism and isolation that heroin addiction embraces, and the self-centered narcissism and misanthropy that accompanies drug withdrawal. The desperation to just feel alive.
The album ends with “When Sunday Morning Comes”, which Wilson wrote as an antidote to the weekend noise of the hotel he lived at, when the bass bins in the club downstairs would shake the thin glass of his windows. The song features Commons’ female vocal to counter his own on the previous tracks, and represents the salvation prayed for in the opening track “Come the Rain”. “It’s the safety in waking up next to someone dear to your heart and being still beside them as they sleep. Feeling them breathe against you in that moment. Past pain and trauma dissolves and the future is irrelevant in that moment of peace,” says Wilson.
Drawing upon from both his own experiences and his fictional ones growing up in Florida and living in New York, Wilson began writing the lyrics for Sunday Morning when he started writing his novel while living in a tiny hotel room in Vancouver. He asked Hamm if he wanted to collaborate on a couple songs and that mushroomed into several songs they were doing rough demos of in his little studio. Wilson says, “We wanted to do the antithesis of Tankhog and write simple poignant songs.”
Hamm suggested we put together a band to play the songs we’d written. Says Wilson, “We basically went after our dream band of Vancouver musicians and got exactly that. We’d played with Kevin Rose previously in Tankhog. Hamm played with Justin in the Evaporators with Nardwuar. Coco we knew from Bif Naked and The Gay. Interestingly the core band were all alumni of Mint Records at some point. We brought in other key musicians and vocalists as we needed them. Leah Commons is a childhood friend who wanted to be involved in some capacity so I gave her the lyrics to 'When Sunday Morning Comes'. She came back the next day with a rough sketch of the music and vocal line and it fit beautifully into the other material both musically and tonally.”
Sunday Morning can be a time of quiet streets and peaceful reflection, or coming to in a stranger’s bed trying piece together fragmented images from the night before. Feeling the weight of living in reflection on events impossible to change or recreate. It is a journey that travels thousands of miles, and starts here. On Sunday Morning.
released December 23, 2016
Vocals: Bruce Wilson
Keyboards: Stephen Hamm
Guitar: Kevin Rose
Bass: Coco Culbertson
Drums: Justin Leigh
Vocals on Uptown and When Sunday Morning Comes: Leah Commons Vocals on Hearts Break and Come The Rain: Carmen Bruno
Vocals on Satan’s Gonna Drag Us Down and Dirty South: Cass King Drums On Uptown and 1986: Pete Bourne
Saxophone on Uptown and 1986: Dominic Conway
Trumpet on Uptown: Alison Gorman
Cello on Come The Rain: Finn Manniche
Lap steel on Drink For Two: Tom Hammel
Rhythm guitar on Dirty South: Honeyboy Wilson
All songs written by: Stephen Hamm and Bruce Wilson
Except When Sunday Morning Comes: Leah Commons, Stephen Hamm and Bruce Wilson
Dirty South: Honeyboy Wilson, Stephen Hamm and Bruce Wilson
Produced by: Stephen Hamm
Recorded by: John Raham at Afterlife Studio, Vancouver
Engineered by: Erik Nielson
Mixed by: Felix Fung and Stephen Hamm at Little Red Sounds, Vancouver Mastered by: Graemme Brown at Zen Mastering
Cover design: Kali Malinka
All Sunday Morning photography by: R.d
Sunday Morning would like to thank: Karl Prevost, Margo Price and Alex Beck, Jocelynn Loebl (Howlin’ Wuelf Media), Turner