Country State of Mind #2 – Sally Rea Morris

Hello strangers! It has taken me a hot minute to get to my second entry, but I have been so busy it’s been difficult to find a moment to sit down and pour out my thoughts! There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, but I have also played over 60 shows since March so that might also explain some of the radio silence.

As a quick catch up, the past few months has been filled with a variety of performances in my duo Gasoline & Matches. We were invited to open up for Phil Vassar in April and I was lucky enough to get to perform a duet with him.

Following on from that, we performed on the biggest stage I’ve ever played at Petlife 2018 ahead of The Vamps, Jessie J & Kaiser Chiefs.

We joined our very good friend Jessica Lynn for part of her UK tour taking the full band up to Scotland. We also hosted our second & third bluebird café style songwriter rounds ‘Nashville Sounds In The Round’ which keeps going from strength to strength. The calibre of the artists that have joined us blows my mind and I hope it long continues. Tickets are available now for our next round at The Kitchen Garden Café in Birmingham on August 29th featuring Izzie Walsh, Danny McMahon & Emma Jade.

Gasoline & Matches ventured stateside again in July for Summer Namm. This is fast becoming one of my favourite networking events. We get to meet so many industry professionals, and the support extended to us from brands such as Klotz & G7th Capo has been incredible. I feel like I could write a whole blog about our time in Nashville alone but here are some of the highlights of the trip; Performing at Whiskey Jam in front of a packed out room with everyone drinking along to our song ‘Never Have I Ever’; co-writing songs with Jenn Bostic & Kenny Foster; being near deafened downtown by the 4th July fireworks (they were seriously loud!); bumping into Chris Young after making our music row debut AND him downloading our track on iTunes!

After our time in Nashville we drove via Niagara Falls to my 2nd home, New England. We visited a lot of my friends who have pretty much become my family over the years. When in Maine, I always have to perform at my favourite venue ‘Bentleys Saloon’ in Arundel. They are always so welcoming, and I always drink far too much! If you ever venture to the north of the east coast, please do yourself a favour and grab a beer and some wings at this place. If Carlsberg did bikers bars, this is it. I promise you won’t be disappointed with the people or the atmosphere. You may even be lucky enough to meet Bentley & Lisa who run the joint!

Fast-forward, we’re into August and festival season is well underway. It’s great to see so many new country festivals popping up around the UK. My band have had their first taste of the scene this summer at Buckle & Boots and Fort San Antone (FSA) festival. It was a proud moment for us to be up on stage with the full band after a couple of last minute acoustic sets when we were only attending last year. We have also been playing a handful of non-genre specific festivals and arts festivals which are a great way to bring a taste of our blend of country and rock to a more diverse audience and we have found the music to be really well received.

One of the best things about attending country music festivals in England (aside from the music) is the fashion. Someone asked me just the other day, ‘do you wear western style clothes because you play country music?’ I stopped for a second to think about it. It has never been a conscience decision because I’ve always enjoyed wearing what I like! I think the fact ‘Country’ became cool was just a happy coincidence and helped make the look more attainable to the mainstream public. I rock my cowgirl boots all year round, but I feel like being surrounded by so many likeminded individuals allows even closet country fans to really express their love for the music by their clothing. Western-wear is easily found on the UK high street. You don’t need a specialist store to get your fix of tassels when you can literally stroll into most retailers and find tassels galore! However, I do very much enjoy finding specialist shops for more unique pieces. Our friends at Country2Western have a fab little store located in Knaresborough in York which is definitely worth a visit if you find yourself passing through.

The newest and most anticipated festival isn’t taking place until the end of the summer; ‘The Long Road’. The line-up is very impressive and I think it’s a positive sign of things to come within country music in the UK.

Well I guess that leaves us here, in a similar place to where we left off last time – about to launch a new single! Our third release is ‘Not into Country’. We recorded a BBC introducing session last week plugging the track, but I still have a whole list of people to send copies of press releases to making sure it gets heard.

I promise I won’t leave it so long next time to check in with you all, but until then, I’ll see you at The Long Road…

Nashville Sounds In The Round
Wednesday 29th August
The Kitchen Garden Café
Tickets Available:
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