Cary Morin’s All-New Album Innocent Allies Draws Heavily From The Art Of Famed Western Painter Charles M. Russell

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Friday, January 26, 2024

“Situations depicted in his paintings that might not be obvious to some are subtle cultural or ritualistic details,” says Award-winning, “Native Americana” fingerstyle guitarist and songwriter Cary Morin of the overarching inspiration for his new album: the famous Western artist Charles M. Russell. “As an Indigenous artist, I bring a perspective to this aspect of Charlie's work by way of this body of songs,” says Morin who released his collection of Russell-inspired stories, Innocent Allies, today. Morin is also quick to note that Charlie Russell was a friend to the Plains Tribes, concerned with the destruction of Native culture and portraying Native Americans in his paintings with a dignity that was largely absent from other artists’ portrayals of the time.

From the album-opening “Big Sky Sun Goes Down” which was inspired by a host of Russell’s paintings like When The Land Belonged To God, Salute To The Robe Trade, Piegans, and more; to “Indian Hunters Return” which drew from only one piece of art from which the name was drawn; to the joyful closer, “Montana Sky,” which came about in a co-write with Nashville songwriter D.L. Duncan after Morin explained the concept of his latest project, the whole of Innocent Allies reflects Morin’s love for Russell while blending in his own experiences in Great Falls, Montana, where Russell lived and worked. “This record is a masterpiece worthy of its place among the great works of art it was created to honor,” says Trina Shoemaker, the Grammy-winning producer who mixed and mastered the album at her Alabama studio.

Today, Innocent Allies is available for all to stream or purchase at this link, check out the music video for “Montana Sky” right here. For more information, please visit

Innocent Allies In The News:

“Morin has been able to use Charlie Russell’s paintings as a musical and lyrical ekphrasis to access parts of his own story. It’s that rare, earnest passion project that allows both the subject and its interpreter to flourish...” No Depression

Morin dove deep into the record and his inspirations in an interview with Billings Gazette.

“‘Cinematic’ is a good way to describe the entire album, a sprawling, ambitious collection of stories and meditations full of emotion and big-sky landscapes.” - Adventures in Americana

Country Living shared Innocent Allies’ second single, "Indian Hunters Return."

Morin spoke with NPR stations Montana Public Radio and KUNC about the release.

Innocent Allies Tracklist:

Big Sky Sun Goes Down

Waiting and Mad

Waiting for a Chinook

Old Timer’s Poem

Good Medicine

Killing the Blues

Indian Hunters Return

Whiskey Before Breakfast

Big Nose George’s Outlaw Blues

Fire Boat

Bullhead Lodge

Wally and Keeoma

Where the Trails Cross the Big Divide

Montana Sky

About Cary Morin: Internationally acclaimed as a mesmerizing live performer, Cary Morin’s soul-stirring voice and jaw-dropping fingerstyle guitar playing have captivated audiences for decades. “Cary is a unique and brilliant player, songwriter, and singer. I have huge respect for his style and technique,” says legendary multi-instrumentalist and songwriter David Bromberg. “If you haven’t heard him yet, you should.” 

Morin’s career catalog fuses the best of American roots music: blues, folk, soul, bluegrass, and the timeless and distinctive sounds of the rural countryside, from the Western Plains and Rocky Mountains to the rhythmic melting pot of the deep South.

His music has reached millions through prestigious performances at venues like the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center as well as national television and radio programs. He has shared stages with Taj Mahal, Los Lobos, and Bonnie Raitt, among countless others, while earning multiple awards including two Indigenous Music Awards for Best Blues CD. When not performing across the US and Europe, Morin finds inspiration in Northern Colorado, which he proudly calls home.