Today Jammerzine has an exclusive interview with the multi-talent known as Cashavelly Morrison as well as her new album titled ‘Metamorphosis’, also releasing today.
In this interview, we get a glimpse at the mind of a true creative talent. Cashavelly was an absolute joy to converse with. And that is what this interview is, a conversation with a magnificent human being. Cashavelly is someone who truly deserves to be Rolling Stone’s 2018 “Artist to Watch”.
A few questions not in the interview…
In 2018, I realized nearly all of my decisions were based on fear. My fears had so severely curtailed the experiences I longed for. My skin began to feel too small for my body. I’d seen so much violence come to women who were then held responsible for the violence done to them—adventurousness had been trained out of me. I was homesick in my own home and found myself weeping for hours about forest fires and lost penguin colonies. I had never even slept outside alone, having been so loyal to the conceptual molds and scripts of civilization, which now tasted like ashes.
For months, I sought guidance to unearth my unconscious and seek adventure. My dreams at night became more vivid, revealing clues to the path I had begun. My house, all my possessions, my promises began to feel like the wrong fit, and I drifted in the dark, lost. I resisted, and clung to attempts to control my world. I escaped the present moment, cramming candy in my mouth. I got in arguments for no reason, essentially kicking and screaming to keep my self-worth tied up in others, in external pursuits. I sobbed as all of my perceived certainties slipped like sand through my fingers, merely illusions. Eventually, there was no anesthetizing as I surrendered every role I had used to define my identity—female, friend, daughter, sister, wife, mother.
Metamorphosis came in fragments of images and words, pieced together with music like a puzzle, as I tried to figure out what it was telling me. I felt like I had my hand reaching up into some cosmic current. The album wasn’t about me; it was coming through me. I had visions of a snake uncoiling within me, shedding its skin, ignited with intense energy that made me fall in love with the pleasure of the present, the art of simply paying attention. I read myths, delved into archetypes, and the ancient rituals of initiation. Fear was my teacher. I slept outside alone in the wilderness many times. I came face to face with a black bear, made a habit of running late at night, danced for the first time in 20 years, let my heart and all its insecurities and desires be known and rejected. I learned friction fire, hide tanning, basket-weaving, wood-carving, and plant medicine as a way to return to Earth, to my ancestral legacy. I fought to preserve my ego, betrayed myself, failed at everything, numbed out—still, I would found my way back to an inner sanctuary, to begin again, finding a kind of strength that allows for vulnerability, fragility. I’ve gone too far and not far enough as I’ve stumbled toward balance between fear and adventure, between being a spirit and also human, between civilization and wilderness. Ambiguity, mystery, and contradictions have replaced all my old striving for certainty and control. I saw myself standing at a crossroads, where every direction presented both gifts and suffering. It was the first time I stood in an authentic power of choice that was not led by anything other than my own felt sense, my inner compass, my soul—a surrender to a sanctuary of Self that feels like the safest place in the universe.
During these past three years, in my most anxious moments, the songs informed me of what was happening to me and what was to come. It was a trail of clues. It was a tether to trust in, no matter how dark, no matter how lost, no matter how scary. It was simply my soul talking to me, calling me to be my most authentic and expansive, to not settle for all the unlived life that had been trapped within me. This journey of accepting uncertainty, of risk, of all I cannot control, of discovering my interconnected, reciprocal relationship with the Earth, with Life Force itself…has been evidence that there is no true barrier anywhere between any of us, between anything, between any energy. And it can be trusted.
Oh wow, that’s a tough one. Personally, the most essential song to me is Sovereignty. That song is about coming to a place of self-love, strength, and vulnerability. Being vulnerable is probably the scariest thing to me, and I’ve realized how much strength and an inner core of self-worth and self-love it takes to risk opening my heart, to risk getting hurt, to risk being rejected and being alone. My self-love grew to be enough. That I can choose myself first, and choose myself over anything less than a partner in equal love, in equal power, in equal devotion, an equal Beloved. To me, there’s nothing braver. That’s what this song is to me. The truest freedom I’ve tasted.
I’ve been writing songs off and on secretly since I was 18. Then when I was 29, I had a miscarriage and the only thing that made me feel better was to write songs. Those songs became my first album. I recorded it thinking I would just keep them for myself, as a ritual of healing. But my sound engineer Evan Bradford encouraged me to add more instrumentation and release the record. I did and it was well-received. With my second record, I began to feel confident and own that I’m a songwriter. It’s just what my soul longs to do.
Indie-Americana is how I’d put it. I feel like I will always have elements of roots and folk music, but I love synth. My brother always played synthesizers in my childhood. He was 11 years older–my cool older brother. I remember falling asleep to his synths every night. Synth adds the spirit of the song. I think of my songs and albums though as a spiritual journey. I don’t write anything that I easily get to…each song is years of digging inwardly, writing it over and over again before it fully resonates with me.
‘Metamorphosis’ is an album that tells a story. Check out the above interview for details on this. I insist actually, because Cashavelly has a story to tell, and this album is but the third chapter. The thing is, we all have a story to tell. But what Cashavelly does is make gorgeous music out of the scrapbook that is her life. And that music is as varied and emotional as life itself.
Things we take for granted. Things we don’t realize we have. Judging ourselves through the eyes of others. This is that very metamorphosis.
Below is a trailer for the film titled ‘Metamorphosis’ featuring and based on the album above. Much more details in the interview. Details HERE.
Cashavelly Morrison is a brave and ambitious soul, steeped in the deep-seated roots music of her native West Virginia yet untethered by the musical traditions that elicited her initial acclaim.
Her first few albums were by and large gorgeous Acoustic Americana affairs which captured the hearts of music lovers as well as press. Rolling Stone declared her an ‘Artist You Need to Know,’ she was awarded an Independent Music Award for Best Alternative Country Album and further delivered the goods with a coveted NPR Mountain Stage segment. 2018’s Hunger signaled a fuller sound, and her now fleshed out 5-piece band hit the road, playing with Lera Lunn, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers and Matt Nathanson.
Together with her husband Ryan and her tightly knit group of seasoned musicians, Cashavelly fearlessly pushed her visceral sound forward, the dark Celtic strains of her past organically intertwining with more modern indie sensibilities. METAMORPHOSIS became the name of her new body of work, as well as a new ethos for her life. “It was time to step off the path that was paved by family and culture and step into the dark woods where there’s no trail,” she asserts, adding that the way she reached this tipping point was through relentless self examination. “The pain of keeping all my bullshit down began to outweigh the pain it would take to finally bring it out. Once you don’t take your own bullshit you wont take anyone else’s either and you are fucking golden ‘cause you are prepared to lose everything to live authentically.”
METAMORPHOSIS, which was tracked at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, feels connected to a new sense of fearless abandon, conjuring up the untamed, explorative work of Joanna Newsom, Iron & Wine, Gillian Welch, Fiona Apple and War on Drugs. Clearly mining a profound new creative vein, Cashavelly wrote a screenplay and co-produced, co-directed, choreographed, and starred in a feature film to accompany the album, further examining the dichotomy between the physical plane and the great unseen mystery, spirit and ego, the primitive and civilized self.
Featured image by Heather Evans Smith.
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