Craig Morrison is a Montreal ethnomusicologist and musician. Raised in Victoria BC, he bought his first guitar in 1966 and played in coffeehouses see the article "I Was a Teenage Music Head in the Land of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead". As a teenager, seeing concerts of blues (beginning with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee), jazz (including Louis Armstrong), and rock (including Janis Joplin) led to an interest in music history. Playing in bands gave him a deeper appreciation of music styles. He sings, plays guitar, keyboards, and lap steel guitar, and has also recorded on mandolin, clarinet, harmonica, and electric and upright bass.
After researching rockabilly for a master’s thesis at York University (Toronto), eventually expanded and published in 1996 as Go Cat Go ! Rockabilly Music and Its Makers by the University of Illinois Press, Morrison moved to Montreal in 1984. He formed Craig Morrison and the Momentz, a band specializing in roots rock. He also wrote articles for the Encyclopedia Britannica and several other reference books, until he was asked to write a whole one by himself : American Popular Music : Rock and Roll, published in 2005 by Facts on File of New York. Morrison earned his Ph.D. in 2000 at Concordia University, writing his thesis on San Francisco psychedelic music, which is now available via online sources, including amazon.com. He taught for five years at McGill University and currently teaches at Concordia University in the Department of Music and the Faculty of Fine Arts on music and culture. His courses include Rock and Roll and Its Roots (such as ragtime, jazz, blues, folk, country, gospel, and pop), Pop/ Soul and Its Roots, Black Music, Music of the Beatles, Psychedelic Music, Musical History Tour (on the traditions of seven cities), and Montreal’s Festival Culture.
As part of his research, he has been interviewing veteran musicians (over 125 of them) since 1982. Several of the interviews can be read on this website. Five other interviews have been published in Rockabilly : The Twang Heard ’Round the World (2011).
Besides his books, Morrison has 11 CDs on the market :
Rock and Roll Dance Party by Vintage Wine
Live At the Oscar
That’ll Be the Day : Buddy Holly and Friends Remembered
Stand By Me : Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Motown and Soul
Blowing in the Wind : A Tribute to Bob Dylan and his Musical World
Deep Water by The Never-Be Brothers
Dreamland Blues (acoustic solo album)
Roots, Rockin’, Rollin’ - Live In Montreal 1988 - 2011
and two albums of bluegrass and other early country styles : Echoes From the Blue Angel, and Echoes From the Wheel Club, documenting his long association with the Montreal institution known as Hillbily Night (which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary).
He also plays for dances, parties, weddings, and conventions in a quartet called Vintage Wine, plays mostly 1950s music (blues, rockabilly, and country) in a band called The Roots Rockin’ Rollin’ Revue, and teaches private music lessons.
A musical journey.
The story of growing up music crazy in the 1960s in Victoria BC !
Eight young musicians have some wild times rocking and rolling across Western Canada in the summer of 1974.
This interview covers Morrison’s teaching, interests, and motivation for being an Ambassador for Music.
The day before the 12th Annual Roots of Rock and Roll show - "That’ll Be the Day : Buddy Holly and Friends Remembered" - the Montreal Gazette published this profile.
Craig philosophizes about teaching, music, service.
Craig Morrison was filmed while giving a talk at a conference in 2014 about how he became an ethnomusicologist on the trail of rock and roll.