They say big things come in small packages. In the case of Morgan Wade, that would certainly be true. I’m not sure many people in attendance at Morgan’s show at Mercury Lounge on a Friday night were prepared for what was to come. Imagine this: a tiny, tattooed, blonde woman in Red Wing boots and work coat comes out on the stage. Without much of an introduction, or fanfare, she launches into a song. The Virginia drawl that she speaks with turns into a powerful voice that highlights the raw emotion of her lyrics and proceeds to blow everyone away. Then repeat that for the next hour and you’ll have a good idea of what Morgan’s set was like.
Morgan is an artist I’ve been familiar with for about a year. In that short time I’ve watched her popularity explode. With one album under her belt, Puppets With My Heart, released in early 2018 with her band, The Stepbrothers, Morgan has slowly been releasing singles like, “The Night” in the last year. “The Night,” like many of her songs, is raw and real, a song about anxiety, depression and alcohol abuse. Things that Morgan is very open about struggling with in her own life. If you’re listening to her set, you’re going to hear songs about struggles that many people have, observations or things that could have happened to your or a friend. The songs she sings are winsome, longing for someone or something to make her feel something. Singing about pain, feeling lost and at times about love. Whether that’s love that’s been lost, trying to discover it, or wishing she’s known someone in their wilder days.
Morgan fit her Tulsa debut in between opening shows for Cadillac Three. That’s only the beginning of 2020 for Morgan, as she’ll also be opening shows for Ashley McBryde and The Steel Woods. She’s also been working on her newest album, which is produced by Sadler Vaden, whom you might know from his time touring with Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit.
Morgan started out her set with, “Songs I Won’t Remember” and followed it with “Matches and Metaphors,” “Roses,” “Crossing State Lines,” “The Night” (as mentioned above is one of her latest singles) and my favorite of the night, “Wilder Days.” With lyrics referencing loving an older man and wondering what he was like before he met her, who hasn’t had a relationship like this? Even though I may not be able to relate to all of Morgan’s lyrics or struggles, I firmly believe everyone can find something in her songs that hits them on a personal level.
You say I’m too young for you
You’re scared I’m too right for you
You say you hate the smell of cigarette smoke
You only used to smoke when you drink
When you lived in Chicago sure as the wind blows
I wished I’ve known you in your Wilder days
And now here we go you’ve got me falling in love again
You’ve got a secret I want to keep it
I wished I known you in your wilder days
Opening that night for Morgan was Oklahoma musician, Jack Waters, accompanied by Mike Satawake on acoustic guitar. Jack was a last minute fill in, as the original opening band, Landon Bullard & The Mostly Sober were unable to make it due to vehicle issues. Waters is usually backed by his band, The Unemployed, but tonight it was only the two previously mentioned. Jack’s band describes their sound as “country blues and southern rock fusion.” They always draw a crowd and anytime I’ve seen them, Jack’s number one fan, his grandmother, is always in attendance. This night was no different, as she was perched on a stool, listening to Jack sing originals and even singing along to his cover of “Waymore’s Blues.” https://www.bandsintown.com/a/13758393-jack-waters-and-the-unemployed
I know it’s still early in the year, but I’ve already seen a lot of shows, and this one was one of my favorites. Go catch Morgan playing in smaller venues while you still can. I have no doubt as this year progresses she’ll be playing larger and larger venues. Although her songs will still have the same vulnerability and verity, it’s always good to see an artist in your favorite dive bar or club, before they hit it big and end up in the ballrooms and arenas with a decidedly less intimate feel.
You can check out Morgan here: https://www.morganwadeandthestepbrothers.com/