Grace Morrison: Country recording during covid
ROCHESTER -- When her tour with Shawn Mullens was cancelled by the pandemic in 2020, Grace Morrison sat down to write a five-song EP.
Instead, she ended up with a full 15-song country album, featuring the likes of Lloyd Maines (father of the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines), Teddy Mathews of Wareham, and Grammy-winning songwriter Lori McKenna.
Despite the big names -- and the “imposter syndrome” that comes along with working with them -- Morrison said her upcoming “Daughter” is her most solo and personal venture yet.
For Morrison, it’s been a year of live-streaming weekly concerts and festivals -- a far cry from intimate house shows and bar performances. (James Spader once gave her a $20 tip at the old Hardware Cafe in Marion.)
“This is the first time in my life since I was a kid where I’m performing by myself,” she said.
But those online-only performances haven’t been without their benefits. Morrison met Maines through a virtual festival they both played.
Morrison never met Maines in person, but she figured she could shoot him an email just as easily as she would have been able to talk to him backstage at an in-person festival. She was right.
Throughout the production of “Daughter,” Morrison held tight to that do-it-yourself attitude -- even recording one song, “Friends of Mine,” in her basement.
For that song’s music video, Morrison solicited clips from the community, looking for video of her friends and neighbors keeping themselves occupied during the pandemic. Some sent 80s-style workout videos they’d recorded, others sent TikTok dances.
“Everyone is just being real,” Morrison said, “which I think is really cool.”
After Morrison was vaccinated for covid, she was able to record the rest of the album, produced by Jon Evans, in-studio.
Morrison’s funding of the project, which is entirely handled by her (she even skipped using services like GoFundMe or Kickstarter in favor of making her own donation page on her website gracemorrison.com), is another feather in her DIY cap.
Having just passed a 500-follower threshold on Spotify that Morrison said could help her get on the music streaming service’s curated playlists, doing it herself seems to be paying off.
And the personal subject matter of “Daughter” fits right in with that independent attitude.
One song on the album, a reflection on her years growing up, was filmed on the beach near her childhood home that ended up being auctioned off in a situation out of her and her family’s control.
“All I want in my life is to be able to go back to that home,” Morrison said. But she knows that what she’s looking for in that place, her father who died five years ago, is gone.
Morrison is now working toward her $20,000 funding goal, which she said will help with promotion of the album. A thermometer that raises with every donation on Morrison’s website shows she’s just under the $5,000 mark.
“Daughter,” the album’s title track and first single, released on June 11 and can be found on all streaming platforms. The album is set to be released in August.