When Australian singer/songwriter Russell Morris releases an album, there's always a good story to go along with it; that's especially true of his 2012 blues album Sharkmouth, which Morris released in the U.S. for the first time on Sept. 30. To celebrate the project's recent release, Morris is giving readers of The Boot an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at making of the record: Over the next few weeks, fans can learn the tales behind Sharkmouth and its unique exploration into Australia's history. The following is Part One of the four-part series.

With over a dozen studio albums to his name, a 2008 induction into the Australian Recording Industry Association and an astounding 50 years in the music business, Russell Morris is acutely aware of his own history as a musician and recording artist. But when he set out to create his 12th record, Sharkmouth, he wanted to explore something even greater: the history of his native Australia. Based on stories from Down Under in the 1920s and '30s, the disc dives into a world of colorful characters from that time, such as Thomas Archer, a famed Aussie conman.

"I saw a photograph in a paper; the photo was of Thomas Archer, and it was almost like he spoke to me," says Morris in the above video of his encounter with the gangster from the past. "It was almost like he said, 'Write a song about me. Let people know that I lived and breathed.'"

It was Archer who would inspire Morris to pen songs based on the stories of famous Australian criminals, boxers, soldiers ... and thoroughbred racehorses. Archer's 1916 mugshot ended up on the cover of Sharkmouth, and his nickname gave the record its name.

"I sat down, and I wrote the song about him, and it was almost like he handed me a key, and I took that key, and I opened up a door, and there in that room was all those stories that ended up on that album," Morris explains. "Once I found out what the subject matter was going to be about, it became more more enjoyable, and it became a labor of love."

Readers can press play above to learn more about the history behind Morris' roots-inspired blues album Sharkmouth.

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