Making Moves in Nashville: The Morrison Brothers Band Takes Country to New Heights
Jul 06, 2017 04:00PM ● Published by Nicole Gould
The band, consisting of brothers Willie (vocals) and Truman (guitar) Morrison, Kevin (guitar) and Matt (drums) Nolan, and honorary brother Derrick Royer (bass) were discovered by Nashville recording artist and fellow D.C. native, Maggie Rose.
Before moving to the Country Music Capital of the World, The Morrison Brothers Band released their first album, State of the Union, featuring their award-winning debut single “Little Miss Whiskey.”
Since moving to Nashville, the band released their Self-Titled EP, which reached the top 20 on iTunes Top County Albums Chart. With their first album under producer Maggie Rose, the tracklist features a little piece of family, friends, Rose, and blues singer, Shemekia Copeland. The EP showcases lead singer, Willie Morrison’s, southern grit, drawing from his unique and undefined sound, which can be heard through singles, "Caroline & Carolina" and "Party at My House."
Fusing elements of southern rock and country, with a newly added genre of funk, The Morrison Brothers Band is currently working on their third offering, including their newest upcoming single, “Loud Love,” set for release on July 14th.
“The song is kind of a feel good, have fun with a little sexual feel to it. It’s about being with the person you love, the person you’re with in the moment, without holding back and letting yourself be enveloped by the passion. It’s a little bit risqué and a little hot and heavy. It’s supposed to be a vibe song.” – Willie Morrison
Don’t miss the chance to hear The Morrison Brothers Band, with appearances by Them Vibes and Tom Maxwell, perform their newly released single at Gypsy Sally’s on Friday, July 14th, 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and the event is 21 and over. Check out our interview with lead singer, Willie Morrison below.
Originally hailing from D.C., what was the transition like moving to Nashville? How has not only the band, but the band’s music developed since the move? When did you officially move to Nashville?
It was easier than we thought in many regards because we were lucky enough to know a few people here and in some ways, they helped us move. Here, they have a strong community of people that allowed us to get where we are now. It was wonderful.
When you’re sort of trying to break into the scene, you’re hungry and eager, so you’re going to play and meet people. This town is pretty receptive to young, hungry people and they embrace that and everyone is kind of doing the same thing. It’s nice to be amongst a community of peers trying to do the same thing.
It’s kind of funny because Nashville is the country music capital of the world. I wouldn’t say we’ve gotten more county, but less country, and not in a bad way. We love this town to death and we love country music.
As a band, we’re sleeping and breathing music together. We’ve really grown into ourselves because we had the time, opportunity, and pressure to do so. We’re most thankful that this city has allowed us to explore a bunch of new avenues and find our new sound.
Officially forming as The Morrison Brothers Band in 2007, how did the band begin to come together and what is like working with one another, especially since there are two sets of brothers?
The core four of us have been together since the very beginning. I don’t think it’s possible to know each other more than we already do. The newest addition, Derrick, has been the easiest and seamless transition of having someone new. I’m sure it’s intimidating with a group of two sets of brothers. He’s been a huge asset to the band. We all get along great. You kind of have to at this point. We’re very honest with each other, especially when writing. We always want to improve. None of us are hesitant to give our opinion. We don’t take it the same way someone else would, we really trust each other.
What was the experience like putting together and releasing your first Self-Titled EP in 2016? Did you ever imagine it would reach the level of success that I had, hitting the top 20 on iTunes?
It was really cool recording for the first time in Nashville. We did it in a big studio and the process was slightly faster than what we were used to doing in Maryland. It was awesome getting to work with Maggie Rose. We all played on the album, which is important to us, and not often done here. We’re really happy how it came out. It was our first experience recording on music row, it was fun. We’re most excited about what we’ve been doing recently. You kind of have to, otherwise why are you doing this? We believe in our music a lot and we’re just trying to get it to reach as many people as we can. We believe in ourselves a lot. I think we’re really good and we have a lot to say. We’re really excited to get it out there.
What song do you most enjoy performing from this tracklist?
“Caroline & Carolina” is one we all wrote and it was awesome because we had two of our close friends, Maggie and Shemekia Copeland, whose an amazing blues singer, come in and sing the tracks. They absolutely crushed it. Maggie and Them Vibes are part of another track and we have some family and friends involved as well. They kick ass on it.
How did it feel when you heard your first song playing on the radio? What would you say is the hardest part about releasing a new song?
Definitely the marketing. It’s not that you don’t have something to market, but you have to be creative. However, you don’t have that money yet to maximize that reach to as many people as possible. Whether it means social media or YouTube videos, Spotify, or whatever outlet it may be. It’s always an honor to be played on any radio station. I don’t like hearing myself talk, I don’t mind hearing our music or myself singing, but on the radio, for some reason when I hear myself doing interviews, I’ll get a little squirmy. I have a much harder time hearing myself talk than sing.
Tell me some more about your newest soon-to-be-released single, “Loud Love,” where the inspiration for the song developed, and how its sound will differ from previous songs. What’s it been like working with country music sensation and your producer, Maggie Rose?
We’ve got this next little batch of four songs that we just finished. The first release will be “Loud Love.” The song is kind of a feel good, have fun with a little sexual feel to it. It’s about being with the person you love, the person you’re with in the moment, without holding back and letting yourself be enveloped by the passion. It’s a little bit risqué and a little hot and heavy. It’s supposed to be a vibe song. We tried to funk up the four songs in this next batch. It’s not funk, funk, but taking pieces of certain influences from our lives and trying to incorporate them a little more. “Loud Love” is a feel-good rhythm and everything comes together cohesively. It makes you want to get up and move, which is first and foremost what we hope it does.
It’s always awesome and a privilege to work with Maggie. She’ll come in with a notebook full of notes and have a million ideas of what to do. She hears stuff we don’t hear sometimes and that’s why we like having her, she’s a different perspective. She’s a person we respect. We may not take ourselves individually that seriously, but we take our music very seriously. We wouldn’t let any old Joe Schmo come in and tell us what to do. We have to have high level of respect for them in order to listen to their input. Maggie’s as close as that and more. It’s an honor we get to have her come out. She’s badass.
What can people expect when they come to a live show? What’s next for The Morrison Brothers Band?
They’re going to have a hell of a time. We have new music and lots of new merchandise. We’re going to play all these new songs at these shows and obviously ones from past. Our show in D.C. is actually going to be the release date of “Loud Love.” It’ll come out that morning, so it’ll be kind of nice to play it that night.