Chris Morrison's first record was released in 1988, under the name of "The Sloppy Guitarist". The 22 year old's 6 song EP, entitled "Pieces", was largely inspired by the music of then-unknown urban folk artist, Billy Bragg. In the following year Chris began working with bass player, Gerard Schumacker, the first of many drummers, and formed The Lonely Trojans. This power-pop trio released their first single on Toxic Shock/ Westworld Records in Tucson, Az, where they played for a charismatic audience regularly.

The Sloppy Guitarist, 1984
The Sloppy Guitarist, 1984

Chris put his new band on hiatus when he moved to London for a year where he worked and lived in a pub in Chiswick. While playing several acoustic shows that were reminiscent of his days as The Sloppy Guitarist, Morrison wrote new songs and honed his delivery for what was to follow.

Upon returning to America, Morrison moved The Lonely Trojans to Chicago where, within one year, he landed a deal with the indie label Limited Potential, played every major club in the city, including a sold out show with Naked Raygun at the Riviera Theatre, and and a Midwest tour with Pegboy.

Chris with The Lonely Trojans at The Lounge Ax, Chicago, 1990

By 1993 the industry had undergone some drastic changes. Nirvana had changed the musical landscape by bringing DIY rock to the mainstream. Grunge was the new Alternative and, just as new wave wiped out the last of the hair bands a decade earlier, bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam left little room for other styles of music to prosper. Morrison decided he'd had enough for a while and returned to Arizona to pursue other interests.

Just prior to moving, Christopher and his band had completed somewhat of a breakthrough recording session with producer Iain Burgess (Naked Raygun, Big Black, Mega City Four, Ministry). 3rd World Underground quickly released a 7" of Ten Past Five backed with The Green Chair and Now, Not Later.

By this time Chris was ready to take a break and finish his schooling. New influences, however, had already began directing his next musical offering and it wasn't long before the world was introduced to Bargain Town. Recorded on a variety of 4 and 8-track tape machines in his home, Bargain Town was a scrapbook of ideas, happy accidents, and rough sketches, in the lo-fi vein of media darlings Guided By Voices. Lo-fi is where the comparisons end, however, as the first Bargain Town release showcases Morrison as a multi-instrumentalist, able to play whatever arrangements his songs required.

Over the following eight years, Morrison has written and produced four more Bargain Town albums that were recorded in Chicago, Tucson and San Francisco, while working as a junior high and high school History and English teacher. Each album has its own particular theme and style showcasing Morrison's ability to write songs that pay tribute to his influences yet maintain a raw and unaffected honesty in a style all his own.

Article: Welcome to Bargain Town by Jon Roig

Chris, Jake, Thomas (Ranger Able) in Chicago, 2004
Chris, Jake, Thomas (Ranger Able) in Chicago, 2004

In 2003, in addition to working on Bargain Town, Morrison collaborated with longtime friend and pop songwriter, Thomas Cray, in the Ranger Able project. They have reworked some Bargain Town songs and have written new songs together, recording them in a modern digital studio, often times via the internet. Their collaborations are more pop oriented and more accessible to the masses. What began in 2003 as a curious experiment has proven challenging and rewarding to both musicians and this collaboration will likely continue indefinitely as inspiration allows.