This ambitious album by the Innocence Mission’s guitarist might make listeners feel as content as one of the tykes pictured on the cover, floating in an inner-tube during what appears to be a Peris family vacation. Drifting on the surface of an ocean can be a soothing release from worry, and it can be an amazing experience if you stop to consider the millions of creatures sharing the water with you and the expansiveness of the water surrounding you. But floating in the water with nothing but an inflated ring of plastic can also get old pretty quickly. The same can be said about Go When the Morning Shineth; the album requires an imagination for it to really be inspiring.
The album leaves no doubts about Don Peris the musician. Its distinctive moments are sparse, but it also contains no lapses in its soothing instrumentals, during which Peris, an accomplished guitarist, also explores the bass, cello, drums and keys. The production and overall package, however, leaves something Peris can improve upon in future endeavors if he learns that a record with fourteen tracks of predominantly melancholy instrumentals is not exactly captivating.
The album hits its peak in the fourth track, “Glimmer,” thanks to a guest drummer and guest bassist. The inclusion of a cello in the next track, “Recital,” displays Peris’s talent, but he reduces the momentum he needs to keep the album flowing. Other highlights include “Flyer” and closer “After the Fair.” Peris should be commended for his ability to fill a mostly instrumental album with a feeling of nostalgic melancholia, but this feeling is most accurately conveyed by the Don Peris pictured on the album’s cover rather than Don Peris the musician.
The two tracks with vocals, “North Atlantic Sand” and “Young as You Feel,” are pleasant deviations from the instrumental tracks, the latter featuring Denison Witmer, whom Peris will be touring with in support of this album. Don’s wife, Karen Peris, sings “North Atlantic Sand,” which is a song Peris has said he considers emblematic of the album. The repeated verse, “Your mother and your dad/ the North Atlantic sand/ Try to understand how much we love you” left me wondering if all Peris’s lyrical capabilities were poured into this one track. If so, there is indeed more for Peris to learn.
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