After more than a decade of collaboratively fronting string band ensemble Brothers Comatose, San Francisco singer-songwriter and Petaluma native Ben Morrison is striking out on his own with a forthcoming debut solo album and tour this summer.
“I’ve been in the Brothers Comatose for over 11 years now,” says Morrison. “And last year there were some changes to the band.”
With the departure of band members Gio Benedetti and Ryan Avellone, Morrison and his brother Alex put the band on hold while they recruited new musicians. At the same time, Morrison took a much-needed breather from touring and playing over 100 dates a year with the band.
“We took a little bit of downtime to figure out the next step,” says Morrison. That next step turned out to be a detour into rock ‘n’ roll, and Morrison’s new batch of songs finds him incorporating electric guitars and drums, something not seen on a Brothers Comatose stage.
“I’ve always wanted to make a record with drums,” he says. “Sometimes, I write songs that don’t quite fit Brothers Comatose, so it was nice to have a different outlet for that.”
Currently being pressed and due out at the end of summer, Morrison’s forthcoming debut solo record, Old Technology, features both older songs that he’s kept on back burners and new material written especially with this project in mind.
“It was really cool approaching writing in a different way,” he says. “A different sound in mind, a different angle to work from.”
Until the album comes out, curious listeners can find Morrison’s latest single and music video, “I Hope You’re Not Sorry,” on his website. “The song was inspired by a stalker I had, and no longer have,” says Morrison. “It’s a love song to lost stalker love, like realizing that your stalker no longer comes to your shows anymore and wondering what you did wrong.”
Filmed by fellow San Francisco raconteur Sam Chase, the music video finds Morrison clutching a Fender guitar and singing to an empty chair in a smoky bar before donning a white jacket and fronting a full band.
That full band will back up Morrison when he performs on July 4 in St Helena, returning to Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead. “It’s always been really cool,” he says of the venue. “It’s a laid back atmosphere, and there’s delicious barbecue wafting through the air.”
Ben Morrison performs on Thursday, Jul 4, at Long Meadow Ranch, 738 Main St, St Helena. Doors at 5pm; Show at 7pm. $35-$55; kids 12 and under. 707.963.4555. benmorrisonmusic.com.