Hailing from Bristol, Jake Morgan is a husky-voiced singer-songwriter fusing elements of folk, country and bluegrass bringing the sounds of yesteryear to the 21st century. Recorded in four days, Morgan releases his new album From The Ground Up. We had a chance to speak with this talented artist about From The Ground Up, coping with Covid-19 and future plans.
OSR: Why did you decide to become a musician?
Morgan: I don’t think I ever did. Long as I can remember I played instruments, but I got into guitar later when one of my younger brothers was having lessons after school and gave me some tips. When my parents got divorced and my family was going through a rough patch I started writing songs but I didn’t start performing until my twenties after I came back from my first time travelling; experiences in Australia and India must have inspired me.
OSR: Describe your music in a single sentence.
Morgan: Think Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Cat Stevens and you’re getting close.
OSR: What can you tell us about your album From The Ground Up?
Morgan: From The Ground Up relates to a new beginning in me starting a self-healing journey. ‘You’re Coming Back’ is the opening track that’s about a message I got from a reiki session. I did a podcast about the album with Bristol Made Music and I think Simon Campbell hit the nail on the head when he talked about an overall feel of overcoming in the songs.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when composing and recording the album?
Morgan: I kind of challenged myself by booking the musicians and the studio before I had written all the songs. In the weeks running up to recording the album, I sent voice note demos of new songs as I wrote them to the musicians. There were no rehearsals; the first session was the first time we all met together and over the next four days we recorded all the tracks live in the studio for a natural sound. I take my hat off to guitarist Holly Carter, double bass player Bill Frampton and drummer Oliver James Dennison for their creativity throughout.
OSR: If you could change one thing about From The Ground Up, what would it be?
Morgan: For future projects, I would like a photographer or videographer to document the process. It was too much for me to do and I missed out on capturing some great moments to share.
OSR: How are you dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown?
Morgan: There have been discos on the road I live on in Bristol which was featured in The Guardia Weekend Lockdown Living feature in April. We have also had street concerts including Bristol harpist Scarlett Smith and my friends Luke Kelly and Adam Harding came and sang at one I played. I have been writing songs, playing live streaming events for Poetry Mondays, Cafe Kino and Folk Tales TV, plus the album release has kept me busy.
I made a little video using public domain footage for the single ‘Sylvia’ off the album that received a copyright infringement on Facebook from Song BMG using the Sheree North/Tiger Dance clip, but luckily they accepted my dispute and it’s out there now albeit after the single came out; so I have been learning too. Yeah, I guess keeping busy has been my way of dealing with lockdown.
OSR: How do you think this global pandemic will affect musicians and the musical landscape?
Morgan: I don’t know, but I hope for the best in these uncertain times.
OSR: Who inspires you on a professional and personal level to keep creating music?
Morgan: The muse, my fans, songwriters and friends. Musicians I know, like Luke Kelly, Ben Westbeech, Lady Nade, Holly Carter, A Different Thread, Ryan McMurty of Sugarmoon, Gabriel Moreno and Adam Beattie. I looked to all those people for inspiration when I started trying to promote myself more this year.
It’s about time after 15 years of making music with little impact, but that was always like a block for me until I did a skill swap with Paige Bloomfield exchanging guitar lessons for reiki sessions. It helped me realise I needed to seek support in my life and in doing so it has opened doors for me to support others through my music.
OSR: What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding your music career?
Morgan: “Turn your amp up!” when I was busking at Harbourside in Bristol.
OSR: What is next for Jake Morgan?
Morgan: Another album is on the cards with the new songs I have coming along. My kind friend is letting me renovate his unused basement for a rehearsal space. To find out how I get on, you can subscribe to my newsletter at the official website, or follow me on Facebook and Instagram.