On this episode of the Paul Weller Fan Podcast, we hear from Sarah Jane Morris – a singer-songwriter who has been sharing her musical talents with us for over 40 years now.
An artist who straddles rock, blues, jazz and soul and is in possession of a stunning four octave vocal range that’ll blow your mind.
Her connections to Paul Weller date back to the mid-80s, when she was part of The Communards and they joined the Red Wedge Tour. As you’ll hear 1986 was an pretty incredible year for her, with the worldwide smash-hit of Don’t Leave Me This Way! as well.
She released her debut album, Sarah Jane Morris in March 1989, receiving great critical acclaim and selling over 100,000 copies. The second single Me And Mrs Jones attained cult status as the BBC banned it for its lesbian implications.
Sixteen solo albums later, pop stardom on the continent, and a diverse set of musical collaborations on record, film and stage, Sarah Jane continues to steer her unorthodox career to greater heights.
In the early 1990s, Paul Weller handed her a tune called Leaves Around the Door which she added to her live setlist, including for a performance captured on her Blue Valentine LIVE at Ronnie Scott’s album.
You may well recognise the song under the name A Year Late which Paul himself recorded and released later on as the b-side to You Do Something To Me)
In another lovely Weller connection, in 2021, Sarah Jane recorded a new album called Let The Music Play, with the Italian producer Papik.
Both artists chose songs from the 80s and rearranged them with a jazz/bosa/soul vibe.
On the album, you’ll find a stunning cover of You’re The Best Thing by The Style Council along with songs from artists as diverse as Prefab Sprout, Barry White, Todd Rundgren, Simply Red and Everything But The Girl.
Click your preferred podcast platform to listen…
EP145 – Sarah Jane Morris – Singer, Songwriter, Leaves Around The Door – Paul Weller Fan Podcast : Desperately Seeking Paul
My Sarah Jane Morris Spotify Playlist
Leaves Around The Door – Sarah Jane Morris (written by Paul Weller)
Steve White Connection
Another nice connection that we dig into on the podcast came in 1989 as Steve White asked Sarah Jane to appear on The Jazz Renegades album, Freedom Samba. The featured track is Do It The Hard Way.
They further collaborated on a track called Mother Of The Future for the album, Acid Jazz and Other Illicit Grooves Vol. 2 and co-write the title track for another Illicit Grooves album called A Certain Kind Of Freedom in a day!.
2021 – Let The Music Play – Sarah Jane Morris & Papik
Sarah Jane mentioned creating this album virtually during the covid lockdown periods with the Italian producer ‘PAPIK’. She recorded her vocals at home in St Leonard’s on Sea and Papik put together a band of musicians in Rome, to record the music.
There was a connection with each song.
Sarah Jane says “I always loved the writing of Paul Weller and became friends through touring alongside ‘The Style Council’ on the ‘Red Wedge’ tour in 1986. Years later Paul wrote me a song for my ‘Blue Valentine’ album in 1995 called ‘Leaves Around The Door’. I chose ‘You’re The Best Thing’ as the song to cover of his. The album is perfect for the Summer and to uplift the spirits.”
Buy the album here.
2019 – Sweet Little Mystery – Sarah Jane Morris & Tony Remy
Sweet Little Mystery is a joint project between Sarah Jane Morris and long-term collaborator, guitarist Tony Remy. Together they pay homage to the sublime genius of Scottish singer/songwriter John Martyn – a restless, often self-destructive artist whose unique voice and music is both breathtakingly bold and achingly tender in its beauty. The album released marked 10 years since his tragically early death aged 60.
Buy the album here.
The Sisterhood Album
It was fascinating to hear about Sarah Jane’s latest project which is called The Sisterhood.
With her right-hand-man guitar player Tony Rémy, she has written ten songs about the lives of ten female singers and singer-songwriters who have inspired me over the years and who have made their marks on musical history.
Bessie, Billie, Miriam, Nina, Aretha, Janis, Joni, Ricky-Lee, Annie, Kate –
who needs a second name in company like this?
Sarah Jane notes….
“We have respectfully researched the lives of these women who were/are all great artists and great cultural transformers. My lyrics tell their stories, as does the music we have created for each song, using the characteristic genre and stylistic markers appropriate to each artist. We fell in love with each one of these extraordinary women as we gained insights into their lives, their minds and the challenges they faced … and I am sure that you will too.
We are convinced that The Sisterhood will be a project like no other – and will develop into a musical and cultural landmark befitting the achievements of the women we are celebrating.
Find out more at sarahjanemorris.co.uk
2021 – Imagine – No War In My Name
Sarah Jane Morris notes…
“John Lennon’s Imagine is one of the great standards of popular music; idealistic, humanist, anti-war, it has become a song for all times. With my wonderful guitar player and long-time collaborator Tony Rémy I have written a sequel to Lennon’s masterwork, entitled No War In My Name. “Imagine” is musically re-imagined segueing smoothly with our spikey wake-up call, “No war…”. Lennon’s words of hope are coupled with our words of urgency that right must prevail over the hideous inhumanity and suffering which drive people to face other perils in their efforts to escape.
Tony and I could not remain silent in the face of human catastrophe. We always try to raise awareness with our music, and the plight of refugees has been prominent in our focus for years. War in Europe has brought this even closer to home, and we have gathered our musical friends and colleagues to contribute.”
Find out more here.
Blog by Desperately Seeking Paul
With her soulful voice, musical versatility, and socially conscious lyrics, Sarah Jane Morris has carved a unique space for herself in the music industry.
Her ability to connect with listeners on a profound level, transcending boundaries of genre and geography, is a testament to the power of her artistry.
She continues to create music that resonates deeply with audiences. She effortlessly navigates various genres, seamlessly blending elements of jazz, soul, pop, and even reggae into her music. This versatility has allowed her to create a diverse discography that defies categorization, appealing to a wide audience and garnering respect from music lovers across different genres.
She possesses a voice that is both commanding and deeply emotive. Her rich, velvety tones and distinctive vocal style are instantly recognizable, drawing listeners in with their warmth and raw authenticity. She has the rare ability to infuse every note with a genuine and soul-stirring emotion, evoking a range of feelings from joy to melancholy.
In the vast and diverse world of music, there are artists who possess a rare ability to captivate listeners with their soulful voice and emotional depth. Sarah Jane Morris is undoubtedly one of these artists.