“I play and sing ballads, blues, and heart-broke laments, but in a source-obscuring style that I like to call ‘acoustic-schlock therapy,’” says Mira Mesa troubadour Jeffrey Joe Morin.
A 1965 graduate of Mar Vista High in Imperial Beach, Morin describes his performances as “Generally genre non-specific. I archive, treasure, and exhibit 20th-century American-standard songs of love, romance, and dramatic introspection. I make every effort to present the American songbook as stylelessly and guilelessly as possible.”
Morin occasionally performs in Johnson, Bosley, and Morin (aka “JoBozMo”), alongside Jack Johnson and John Bosley, as well as sitting in with a jazz group, the Joseph Angelastro Quartet (sometimes making it a quintet). Morin recently played a solo set for an edition of the Songwriters Acoustic Nights series at Swedenborg Hall with likeminded locals Gregory Page, Robin Henkel, and Roy Ruiz Clayton.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1) Beston Barnett, The Noise of Wings. “Local, and amazing. With European-American spirituals set to African and Caribbean rhythms. My favorite record in many years. Get this. Just get it!”
2) Johnny Hartman, All of Me. “From 1956, with a buttery baritone torch singer and Tony Ortega on alto sax.”
3) Jascha Heifetz, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D major Op. 35. “An 1878 composition. It’s like telling the history of Russia without words.”
4) Pearl Bailey, custom mix. “I’ve adored Pearl Bailey since I was a boy, and this is a compilation of 16 of Pearl’s tunes from some old guy I came across online in Kansas City who would make you a CD to-order from his collection for ten dollars. He died.”
5) Danny Gatton, 88 Elmira Street. “This Nashville cat is a genius picker.”
“Buck Owens, Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Ernest Tubb.”
MOST EMBARRASSING CD?
“Embarrassing? If I own it, it’s good.”
“Anything by Martin Scorsese. Just look at the Godfather trilogy. Film storytelling doesn’t get any better than that.”
WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?
“In my kitchen on a Saturday afternoon, singing with my friends.”
IS THAT YOUR FAVORITE ROOM OF THE HOUSE?
“Absolutely. I will cook you under the table.”
“B.B. King, on February 26, 1967, at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. He strode out with the band jumping and the crowd going wild, saw a roomful of a thousand young white faces, including mine right at the edge of the stage, broke up, and turned away weeping. He recovered and played what he later said was the best show of his life. Certainly of my life.”
YOU’RE 65? WHERE DOES IT HURT?
“Due to hundreds of concrete and asphalt body slams off skateboards and bicycles in the ’60s and ’70s, I’ve practically destroyed my spine.”
WHAT SCARES YOU?
“I have glossophobia, which is a kind of stage fright.”
“I once opened a free-clinic benefit for George Carlin while playing dobro in a band called Gypsy Boots & His Hairy Hoots.”
WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE?
“I was mistaken for Glen Campbell once in my early 20s.”
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?
“How about where I won’t take them? They’re welcome to go without me, but I don’t like captive animal displays, wet or dry.”
WHAT SONG BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
“My life lately? ‘This is All I Ask,’ by Gordon Jenkins, recorded by George Benson. ‘And let the music play as long as there’s a song to sing, then I will stay younger than spring.’”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
1) “In 1969, I killed three Viet Cong fellows in a face-to-face firefight in a swamp on the Cua Dai River in Vietnam.”
2) “I art-directed the colorization of Casablanca for Ted Turner.”
3) “My old man could whip your old man.”
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU?
“‘Hang tough, kid. Life at 65 is going to be really fine.’” ■