Cashavelly Morrison’s debut album, The Kingdom Belongs to a Child, is a collection of songs exploring the deeper side of the human experience. The journey she takes listeners on was born out of Morrison’s own painful experiences, which lend each track a level of authenticity that captures from the very first moments of the album. That Morrison channels her pain in the most constructive of ways—speaking up not only on behalf of those who suffered as she did, but also in the name of those suffering the consequence of social injustices such as police brutality and mining accidents—would already be inspiring in itself even if the resulting album wasn’t as beautiful as this one. Such acceptance of grief no doubt was quite empowering to the singer-songwriter and can help listeners deal with their own personal tests.
The sounds on The Kingdom Belongs to a Child, while mostly steeped in Americana, hold hints of folk and world music. The opener, “Long-Haired Mare,” does well to introduce the way Morrison melds Americana with hints of folk to her delicate yet rich voice. Just like with the following track, “Emory,” there is a hint of country that cannot be denied. The banjo-led “Emory” creates an interesting contrast between the somewhat subdued and raw vocals and the almost cheerful melody.
The song inspired by Morrison’s miscarriage, “May 5th”, starts with the honest and somewhat chilling lyrics: “You grew/Inside/You grew/A short time/Made a womb/Your tomb.” Each layer of this mid-tempo track is sparse, making the lyrics come through even more sharply, almost naked in their grief. “Pink Dress” and “Long-Haired Mare” deal with gender inequality in its most extreme forms. In the latter, a woman trying to protect her daughter from abuse is punished for it. The former explores society’s oppressive definitions of a woman’s worth. The acoustic guitars and Morrison’s voice seem to be dancing in “Made of Sand,” as do the subdued male vocals that join Morrison’s in “Breakwater.” The first couple is engaged in a waltz of sorts, whereas the second couple are teasing one another across the dance floor.
There is a sweetness that pierces through the melancholy throughout the entire album that makes the title quite appropriate and the lessons it contains all the more powerful. Information and updates about Cashavelly Morrison is available on her official website, her Facebook page, and through her Twitter account.