Don Peris – Go When the Morning Shineth

Don Peris
Go When the Morning Shineth

The album cover displays an image of a bunch of kids happily playing amongst inner tubes in the water with the sun bouncing off the ripples in the distance. The slightly washed-out tones and brownish tinge give the photograph an old-timey look that suggests a memory of the past. It is this image or feeling of a joyous time that is the basis for Go When the Morning Shineth, the solo effort from the man behind the shining guitar in The Innocence Mission.

I can relate to this album, since my childhood summers consisted of spending every waking hour out at the lake in my small, secluded home town. Those were happy, carefree times back in the days of running to the corner store to see how much candy I could buy with my mom’s spare change and roasting marshmallows over a campfire by the waters edge. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything, because, as Don Peris’ music suggests, those times are special and should be cherished.

This album not only attempts to express the joy of one’s youth but also wishes to create a feeling of contentment in the listener. When I no longer had the opportunity to spend my summers at the beach from sun up till sundown, I found myself waiting tables in a small cafe. The shelves overflowed with knick knacks, lace curtains adorned the cherry-framed windows, and flowers were found in every available corner. Everyone was a regular, and there was no such thing as a quick meal. When people entered the door, they acted as if time didn’t matter and they had no place to be but right where they were. Soothing guitar melodies wove through the air and invited them to sit and have some tea. If I hadn’t had to make drinks, bus tables, and take orders, I almost certainly could’ve fallen asleep in one of the booths.

Like a bed and breakfast getaway, the first part of the album is a wash of fresh air and much-needed peacefulness in a hectic world, but just as time away from the everyday can become dull, these tracks begin to blend together and lose their emotional pull. It is tough to hold on to an audience with floating, layered guitar that changes very little in tone from track to track. Luckily, Peris doesn’t fall into the trap of letting his songs continue on into oblivion but rather keeps the majority right around the three-minute mark. “North Atlantic Sand” with his wife Karen and “Young as You Feel” with Dennis Witmer provide the only tracks to feature vocals. These help to break up the album and keep it from floating away. While the guitar is beautiful, his talent on the cello in “Recital” is a welcome addition, and while he is successful at creating an album based on happiness and nostalgia, it lacks in the ability to hold one’s attention for the full duration.

This is a slow-moving, sentimental album full of joy and childhood memories, and while it may never mean as much to anyone as it does to Don Peris, whose heart and soul are wrapped up in each track, it is likely to bring out those long forgotten memories of fleeting carefree moments in any listener.