With a voice that’s unmistakably Appalachian and skin covered in tattoos, Morgan Wade is one of the singer/songwriters that is part of a musical forefront that, in the past few years has taken over Nashville, Texas and other places alike. Honing a sound too gritty to be country, and carrying too much of a twang to be rock, I suppose you could say, Morgan Wade, falls somewhere in the Alt country side of things.
Born and raised in the small town of Floyd, VA in the heart of the Appalachian mountains, the town has a modest population of 442 people, with the main source of the town’s popularity being FloydFest, the yearly music festival right off the Blue Ridge Parkway that brings in just over 14,000 people each year to the town, which Morgan and her band played last year and will be playing again this year. Although she plays guitar and sings now, her first instrument surprisingly was the classical violin. She attended lesson’s for what she thought was going to be fiddle but, turned out to be a classical violin class at the age of 8 and played recitals for several years before making it known to her teacher and her mom that the violin was not for her and she wanted a guitar. Morgan remembers her teacher saying to her mom that “if she can’t stick with violin then it would be a waste to buy her a guitar”, so her mom listened to the teacher and didn’t buy her a guitar but, Morgan’s grandmother did. After that, she taught herself a few chords and would sing and write but not show anybody, due to the fact she thought she couldn’t sing. Throughout her teenage years, she would play and sing in her bedroom while nobody was home. It wasn’t until she met her now boyfriend and band member, Joe Link that anybody ever said to her “I bet you can sing can’t you?”, and she’s been singing, that is in front of people ever since.
Just like any good southern girl, she grew up with a slight obsession with Elvis Presley, he was one of her first influences when she started music and she still looks up to the king today. With her saying the week before we met and did this interview she was sick in bed for a few days and all she watched was Elvis documentary. Though she grew up with a strong bluegrass influence as well, Floyd is also known for their old-time country store where they host bluegrass jamborees every Friday where Morgan as a child would fall asleep in her grandfather’s lap listening to the music. But, still staying true to being born in the 90’s Morgan has a long relationship with the music of people like Shania Twain, not to mention her first concert were The Dixie Chicks.
Playing music for years, Morgan’s first show wasn’t until she was 19, at “Dogtown” in her hometown of Floyd, her first show with her current band Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers was there as well. Since then she has played hundreds of shows, solo and with multiple different bands up and down the east coast. Forming the current lineup was a bit of a mashup of musicians and ways of finding them. Morgan already had Joe Link her boyfriend and piano/ mandolin player in the band but she went about finding her bass player in quite possibly not the safest way for a 19 yr old girl but, she found him through Craigslist. So Morgan and 2 of her friends went to a random guys house, headed down to the basement and heard Ed Mcgee play and recruited him for her now band, there was also a drummer and guitarist there as well, they all played a few shows together and then that fizzled out, But she kept Ed, the bassist. She eventually picked up her drummer, Bengy Wagner, and guitarist, Drew Sprinkle both of which had a punk rock background in music and formed Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers. Since then, the band has been playing for roughly a year and a half and has released their first album “Puppets With My Heart” at the beginning of this year and are gearing up for a spring/summer tour to promote the record.
If you would like to catch one of Morgan Wade’s or Morgan Wade & Stepbrothers shows head on over to their website! You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with their latest releases and show dates!