Canadian Reviews
last update 23/06/03

DS: No, Jacquelyn… ummm… I need you to help me with the salad… now… in this here kitchen…

JF: Alright, alright.

DS: So?

JF: So… what?

DS: What do you think?

JF: About your date? She’s cute.

DS: No, what do you think about the album playing?

JF: Oh, the Morning Star album, My Place In The Dust. Debut album from singer/songwriter Jesse D. Vernon… produced by the wonderfully talented John Parrish. (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse, Howe Gelb)

DS: Exactly, I think I’m really falling for this album, Jackie.

JF: Any time an album treats you right you fall for it… Just last week you were in love with the new Prefuse 73 record.

DS: This album is not like the others. The opener “I Heard Beauty Calling” sets the mood for the entire recording with its swirling violins and beautiful lyrics. This how Nick Cave pictured the Bad Seeds would sound when they kicked heroin.

JF: It was Nick Cave’s first band “The Birthday Party” that did too much heroin.

DS: Yeah, but the comparison sounds better if I use “The Bad Seeds”.

JF: It’s your review.

DS: Songs like “Hereafter”; “Humming Song” and “Gravity” build lazy Soundscapes through simple Waltzy melodies. Much of the album sounds like a lullaby for the Martini crowd without the Martinis or the crowds… or the lullabies.

JF: Um, hum…

DS: What really captured my heart was the rollicking and wistful “This is for You” and the bizarre Godspeed You! Black Emperor-meets-Burt Bacharach-instrumental “Gravity.” Morning Star’s My Place In The Dust is one of the must hear albums of this year…

JF: Nice quote, maybe the label will use that in their press kit.

DS: Maybe.
- Dann Sylvester

Tandem Weekly



Lovers of that moody English sound will want to check out MORNING STAR and their superb new release, My Place In The Dust (on D7). The Bristol-based group comprise players who were active on that city's triphop scene, but this record is more song-based, along the lines of TINDERSTICKS and COUSTEAU. Their crisp instrumentation and the mixing work of JOHN PARISH (PJ HARVEY's producer) add to the haunting melancholy of the Morning Star sound.

Kerry Doole

The Coast (weekly)
Halifax, NS
Thursday, June 5, 2003

Morning Star,

My Place in the Dust

(D7 Recordings)

This album is a gem wrapped in early-'80s Britpop, an effort that finally has all the lushness of orchestration sans references to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Multi-instrumentalist Jesse D. Vernon (alias Morning Star) takes us on a sonic journey ranging from Nick Cave-ian baritone to Velvet Underground pop and symphonic samplings. This is a multi-listen disc-the first run-through comes off as pretentious, the second time the infection begins to take and by the third listen, brilliance.

- Colin MacKenzie

Exclaim Magazine

Morning Star
My Place in the Dust
By Matt Charlton
June 04, 2003

On My Place in the Dust, Morning Star delivers a dizzying collection of night music that would be comparable to a Morrissey Greatest Hits album if his work were half as accomplished. The album is the brainchild of Bristol native Jesse Vernon, who is backed by Jim Barr and John Baggott of the brilliant Portishead. Together, their songs place soul-rousing writing inside of atmospheres drawn from a Tom Waits dream of the afterlife. Never once flinching into pop accessibility, the album flows on a cloudy drone that peaks during the stellar fuzz of "This is For You" and ends with the rousing "Keepers of the Fire." So while the nu-crooner revolution may not exactly be at hand, My Place in the Dust at least makes a good case for it.


Voir, n° Vol: 17 NO: 20
Arts et Spectacles, jeudi 22 mai 2003, p. 18
Morning Star
My Place in the Dust
(Diffusion YFB)
Dupont, Jean-François
Jesse Vernon donne vraiment l'impression de vivre dans une autre époque. Le musicien de Bristol ne s'est pas acoquiné avec des membres de Portishead (Jim Barr et John Baggott) et le producteur John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse...) pour rien: My Place in the Dust est essentiellement un album d'ambiance et de tons où, en véritable crooner, l'artiste évoque des mondes passés, oubliés, embrumés et sulfureux. Ce n'est pas pour rien que Vernon voyage du blues au rock en passant par des airs de tango et de musique latine: il semble posséder plusieurs personnalités, toutes autant différentes qu'envoûtantes. Un peu comme si Tom Waits se prenait pour Jacques Brel qui imiterait Tim Buckley! Mais à la fin, c'est surtout face à un fascinant musicien qu'on se retrouve.
*** 1/2


samedi, le 26 avril, 2003

Morning Star
My Place in the Dust
Microbe Records / YFB

De Bristol, Morning Star éblouit autrement

La brume matinale de la côte anglaise se dissipe lorsque ces rimes sont entonnées, les rayons d'une étoile mystérieuse ont tôt fait de la percer. Dès lors, on applaudit l'humilité, la clairvoyance d'un titre qui résume son créateur: My Place In the Dust. Ces fréquences confortent l'esprit sans complaisance aucune. Ces rythmes lents appellent au calme méditatif, sans déloger les vertiges de l'intérieur. La lourdeur rock n'y est exprimée que lorsque absolument nécessaire. Au service de chansons solidement construites, ces arrangements magnifiques dérogent des fréquences auxquelles les artistes de Bristol (Massive Attack, Portishead, Tricky, etc.) nous ont habitués. Il n'est point question de trip hop du côté de Morning Star, qui éblouit autrement. Sauf exception, les engins numériques ne servent qu'à capter les sons émis par les guitares, basse, violon, orgue, piano, cuivres, anches et choeurs. À maximiser la qualité orchestrale. À en renforcer les arguments organiques. On ne se surprendra pas que John Parish, habitué à soutenir de grands artistes (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Eels, etc.), ait officié à la table de mixage aux côtés de Jesse D. Vernon, celui qui fait briller si fort cette étoile du matin.

Alain Brunet


Montreal Mirror
May 1, 2003
My Place in the Dust (D7/Dep)
Produced by PJ Harvey and Sparklehorse collaborator John Parish, and assisted by Portishead's Jim Barr and John Baggott, Bristol's Morning Star (aka Jesse D. Vernon) connects classic '60s suave with the roots amalgam. Vernon's soft, subtle croon shuffles along with his slick, finger-snapping cool, with acoustic guitar, horns and strings lounging alongside lashings of flute, organ and accordion. Elsewhere, saloon blues and twangy ballads mix with echo-laden easy listening and ambient choirs, and all the loose ends and potentially disparate styles are beautifully wrapped up in a soft-focus shadowland. 8/10 (Lorraine Carpenter)

Alternative paper in Montreal


Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, May 3, 2003

My Place in the Dust
3.5 stars (out of 5)

Morning Star
Morning Star comes with rock pedigree: the main man is singer, guitarist, violinist Jesse D. Vernon, who teams up with Portishead alumni Jim Barr and John Baggott, producer/collaborator John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse) and others on a pleasing array of stringed instruments (both the classical and popular sort) keyboards, horns and percussion.

The result is lush and laid-back, ranging from the Cowboy Junkies-spaciousness of Hereafter to the PJ-esque background of grinding guitar on This is for You. Vernon does a wickedly lazy guitar turn on Gravity that eases into a Tex-mex bed of horn and organ.
The whole thing sounds like it should be performed, and heard, while drinking spirits in a smoke-filled room, and never before 11 p.m.

Peter Simpson


The Vancouver Province
Thursday May 1, 2003-05-01

MORNING STAR: My Place in the Dust (D7)
Bristol's Jesse D. Vernon probably dreams of smoky '30s cabarets and dadaist salons. That's the vibe he, Portishead cohorts Jim Barr and John Baggott, and producer John Parish evoke on this sublime CD. And the lyrics match the
genius of the music. Get it. HHHH/5 - Stuart Derdeyn, Music Writer

The Province is the largest daily paper in Vancouver.


Halifax, Nova Scotia

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Another Brit act with a fondness for non-rock orchestrations is Morning Star, a collaboration between Bristol singer/songwriter/guitarist/violinist Jesse D.Vernon and Portishead bassist Jim Barr. Their latest CD, My Place in the Dust (Microbe/D7) dips into pop balladeer territory with delicate arrangements of strings and horns elevating Vernon's straightforward folk-rock compositions to loftier heights.

His yearning voice and ambitious instrumental backdrops create a sense of tension and drama that climaxes in the emotional onrush of This Is For You, seven songs in, brought back to Earth, as it were, by Gravity, a loping instrumental sounding like an approximation of Pink Floyd scoring a spaghetti western. Morning Star reminds me of the moody atmosphere of Tinderbox, but with less grandeur and more intimacy, a dark cabaret where the curtain comes down as the sun is coming up.

Stephen Cooke



May 1, 2003
My Place in the Dust
(D7 Recordings)
The European Press has dubbed Morning Star a modern crooner-a clever blend of Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. Morning Star, hailing from the creative Bristol music scene, is back with this sophomore release, featuring Jesse D. Vernon (AKA Morning Star) as the lead guitarist, violinist, singer and songwriter. Vernon has the ability to put together an enchanting collage of songs and melodies. Track six, "I Hear the Waves," could be one of the prettiest songs ever written, though most of the tracks on this album have a way of flirting with your ears. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Giant Sand, Sparklehorse), this album engages with dreamy acoustic chillin'. It has everything: folk, rock, roots, and jazz, and a hint of Latin. Playing on the album and touring with the band are Jim Barr and John Baggot of Portishead. Recommended to fans of Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, and Tom Waits, this album will find its way into the home of anyone who enjoys music that teases their (auditory) orifices.

Review in the alternative weekly magazine in Edmonton, Alberta


Toronto Star review
My Place In The Dust (D7)
Given that the world already has had at least three other bands named Morning Star, this expansive Bristol ensemble might have considered taking a name more in keeping with the singularity of its approach. Led by guitarist/singer and principal songwriter Jesse D. Vernon, Morning Star relies on a wide range of instrumentation to concoct is dreamy, organic, orchestral folk pop and rock. Strings, horns, accordion, organ, sundry percussion and choral accompaniment - in addition to the customary bass and drums - are all employed to create intricate mix, without ever surrendering the prevailing, minimalist sense of warmth, intimacy and, when necessary, grit.
Vit Wagner