With the release of her third album, Hearts In Need Of Repair, Minnesota singer-songwriter Sarah Morris offers eleven new songs spanning the Americana sonosphere, blending folk-rock and country influences. Hearts In Need Of Repair showcases Sarah’s signature vocals and conversational lyricism, exploring vulnerability, heartbreak, and grown-up, imperfect love. Here, Morris answers her Essential 8 and talks the story behind her album's title, early morning writing, and much more.
What’s the story behind your album’s title?
I belong to a summer songwriting group, where we each write a song a week based on a prompt. I wrote the song "Hearts in Need of a Little Repair" inspired by the word glory. This was summer of 2016 - I'd been struggling with my health all summer, I had friends who were struggling with loss, awful things kept appearing in the news - it felt like the world was breaking a little. My husband is really good at fixing things, but he often laments how things aren't manufactured to BE fixed anymore, they're made to be thrown away. So I thought about how that relates to a 'broken' heart, and as soon as the title for the song came to me I had the A-HA moment that this was the title for my next album. I write all around the big and little ways that hearts can feel broken - this song felt like the perfect umbrella to put all those other stories under.
When/where do you do your best writing?
I'm a mom with young kids, so the only time my house is quiet enough for me to put a cohesive thought together is in the early morning, before they wake up. I'm up around 5:30am making coffee, and then I sit down with my notebook and write 3 pages of freeform writing - sometimes I just write the same few lyrics over and over until something new pops up, other times I use it more as a journal. I get ideas through the day, but I flesh them out in the morning pages.
What’s your favorite food on the road?
Good Coffee! And raw almonds. And I will always search Yelp and Google to find a really solid breakfast. Breakfast on the road is special to me because I actually get to sit down and eat it, rather than standing at the counter at home shoving toast in my face while packing the kids lunches! (ha! Have I overshared now?)
Do you have any touring tips?
Get those compression bags that let you bring more stuff but in a small compact space! And bring your own pillow! (and put that in a compression bag!!)
How do you kill the long hours in the van?
When I travel with my friend Vicky Emerson as part of our duo The Home Fires, we actually write songs on the road. I bring a tiny guitar and balance the notebook on my lap and she drives and sings and we've gotten some songs we love out of it! Usually when I'm with my band, I drive, and we listen to music, and maybe solve all the problems of the universe.
Favorite (or first) concert?
When we lived in Nashville, my husband and I went to see Chris Thile at The Station Inn - we are huge fans of his, and The Station Inn is this fairly small venue, so we were excited for the show. Then midway through the performance, DOLLY PARTON got on stage to sing a few songs. I was about 7 feet away from her!!! I think I was smiling so hard that I was drooling. I can't imagine another concert experience topping that one for me.
Do you have a favorite gift from a fan?
Recently a nice person made me customized guitar picks with a little logo that he designed after the title of the album (it's a heart with a wrench). I make these little video demos of my songs and he noticed the kind of pick I use and sent me a huge bag of these Sarah Morris picks. I love them!
Is there a recent release you cannot stop listening to?
The Nashville Sound from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - still - even though it came out months ago now, I adore it. Ooh - and Kelly Clarkson's new album, Meaning of Life! So sparkly and fun and big! The exact opposite of what I listen to most of the time, but this album has a real palpable joy to it.
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