Fantasy Folk-Step

Photo by Ben Moon
Photo by Ben Moon

The concept behind 2013’s The Clear Blue Pearl from Portland band Morning Ritual sounds more like a sci-fi-fantasy movie than a pop record, complete with a devastating drought, an epic journey and a mysterious “blue pearl.”

Sample the music and you’ll hear cool, pulsating, futuristic R&B, featuring vocals from popular folk-pop duo and twin sisters Katelyn and Laurie Shook, aka The Shook Twins. Ben Darwish, Morning Ritual’s visionary and primary songwriter, calls the band’s sound: “sophisticated pop, fantasy folk and hypnotic R&B.”

Darwish says he met The Shook Twins at a house party in Portland and “the rest is history,” adding that the concept behind Pearl came from a month-long residency at Caldera, an arts education center aimed at underserved kids located near Sisters, Oregon.

This year, Morning Ritual is back with “So Cold,” a contemporary soul tune as chilled-out and sensual as an illicit love affair at a Swiss Alps ski resort (check out the ethereal music video to match). “‘So Cold’ will be released on an upcoming EP along with several other songs,” Darwish explains, adding that “the songs are connected but in a less literal sense [than Clear Blue Pearl].”

Morning Ritual plays 8:30 pm Friday, Dec. 19, at Axe & Fiddle, Cottage Grove; $10, 21-plus. Morning Ritual plays again the following night 7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Majestic Theatre, Corvallis; $20.

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