5 Questions with Sarah Morris on her upcoming album New to You and show May 5 at the Icehouse

Sarah Morris has a gorgeous new album, Here’s to You, releasing on May 5 with a show at the Icehouse. There’s a lightness to the music that we need so much in the world today and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Also be thanks to Sarah for taking the time for some questions and sharing a sneak preview of the album in the video below.

I often start out asking folks to introduce themselves, but we’ve talked too many times to do that. So … how does it feel to have been nominated for Midwest Country Music female vocalist of the year? And what are you looking forward to about the event?  

I love that we’ve talked too many times :). You are a face I am always so thrilled to see out and about.  It feels pretty wild – it’s a huge honor. Maybe especially so in that – I know my music leans a little out of the country-sphere, but my singing, I think/hope that that still rests in country territory – to me, there is no other genre that honors WORDS and STORY with the same level of adoration.  The other nominees are such accomplished singers, out there fully dedicating themselves to their music and any chance to be nestled in a group with women like that – that means the world to me.  I’m looking forward to getting to hear so many artists I admire in person, reconnecting with people I haven’t seen since last year’s event.  Also – I’m co-hosting the show, so I’m both really looking forward to that and FULLY TERRIFIED!  But the good kind of terrified!  My co-host, Monica Austin, is amazing, and I know we’re going to have a blast.

To be fair, I’m only two songs but in even without lyrics and if I’d never heard either before – I would know which album had been released during the pandemic, Between Here and There or the newest, Here’s to You. Is the current lightness intentional or simply a reflection of life? Or maybe – are you making a point to have champagne on a Wednesday or just noticing that it’s happening?   

Oh, I love this question.  1) It’s Wednesday right now, and I think totally deserving of some Champagne!  2) The lightness isn’t intentional, but looking back, I think the journey makes a lot of sense.  Production wise, I worked with Dave Mehling.  I love his music, the way he creates, the sense of play and ‘sure, why not’ is palpable.  I absolutely wanted to ‘play’ a bit more sonically, and play and light feel like good friends 🙂  Many of these songs were written in that middle to late pandemic time, where there was still plenty of uncertainty, and also a sense of ‘ok, now how do we LIVE within this’.  Let’s start exactly where we are and celebrate THAT.

Tell us about Come Back. I know we spoke about your kids when we talked about Like’s It’s Gospel. I wonder if there are a collection of songs through the years that are akin to family albums – even if only for you. 

Absolutely that collection exists in my heart.  Brighter, Ends With A Prayer, You Are (Champagne on a Wednesday) is partially for ‘adult Millie’, I have written a few non-recorded songs for them as well.  Plus there are songs for my husband, my mother…no family member is safe with me 😄.  Come Back was written primarily to my son, he’s an official teen now (how?! WHAT?!) and learning how to adjust my parenting to meet his needs, learning how to observe rather than fix (wait – can’t I just FIX? 🤣), allowing him the room he needs to grow – those things all played a part in this song.  With any long-lasting relationship, there are times where connecting comes easier than others, and as a parent, I see that in my relationships with our kiddos.  It feels like sometimes the best thing I can do is say ‘hey love, you go on see and do and be and I will just be here loving you the whole time and you’re welcome back whenever’.   I wrote this song almost entirely in my morning journaling, and somewhat loosely at that.  It came on its own timetable, which is different from a lot of my writing which has a deadline.

You do regular concerts in your big green bathroom with various artists around town. They are very fun to watch but I’m wondering if you can see fingerprints of those interactions on your music. In Ruthless, you have a line “wash my hands in the bathroom skink” and I had to laugh thinking how usually that would be very personal imagery – but we’ve all seen your bathroom!  

Ha!  That’s a great observation.  That line felt really uncomfortable to me when I wrote it because…despite having my bathroom be a venue that I invite people to on the regular, the act of washing up after an intimate moment such as I was picturing in that song felt outside of my comfort zone.  AND that’s why it belonged, I think.  I have used kitchen sinks, coffee imagery, and quite a few reference the dining room table (oh, the many ways I will work domestic life into songs!), so maybe it makes sense that I finally turned to the bathroom sink?  Beyond that, the fingerprints of my bathroom sessions on my music are that I regularly get a chance to sing with fantastically talented humans  – some good friends, some almost strangers – and I learn so much from these opportunities.  Not too mention the big, huge gratitude I feel for the person who says “Sure! I’ll jump into this singular musical moment with you and then we’ll share it on the internet”.  I’m a lucky person

Do you have any upcoming shows? (Aside from joining us in the studio on April 15!) 

Well – I am very excited for that day!!!  The big show, the big BIG show – is the album release show at Icehouse MPLS on Friday, May 5.  8pm, and the night begins with Emily Haavik – she is such a thrilling singer-songwriter.  Over the last few years she has been writing as part of the Songwriter Challenge group I belong to and every song, EVERY SONG that she writes, leaves me inspired a-new at this thing we do.  I adore her actual singing voice, and the way she uses her writer voice in the world.  I’ve got a full band of fully wonderful humans who will be joining me that night, we’ve got a few cool merch partnerships that I think will add some extra loveliness to the night.  I love that album release shows are a chance to get together all the people who worked to make this THING happen (the musicians, the producer, the Patreon subscribers, the community) and just celebrate the heck out of them.  And!  I’ll get to say “Here’s To You” to each and everyone of them!  There are still a few tickets left!  Come on out and celebrate with us!

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