The Australian singer-songwriter, who is married to fellow Country star Kelsea Ballerini, returned in 2018 for C2C: Country to Country and later that year he released his debut album Things That We Drink To.
Evans will be back in the UK this September to perform at The Long Road and he’s announced a series of headline shows around that appearance.
I caught up with Morgan recently to talk about the tour, discuss the success he’s had over the last couple of years, and to find out the status on new music.
You’ve just announced that you’re going to be doing a UK tour around The Long Road Festival. How are you feeling about coming back to the UK and playing over here again?
Man I’m stoked. Since that very first time when I first talked to you I feel like I felt an instant connection with that place, which I guess is probably no surprise as I’m from Australia. The country music fans over there are very similar I think to the country fans in Australia. They’re just so appreciative and so stoked that people come over and play music for them. Having experienced that in Australia it’s fun to leave America and get over and experience that somewhere else in the world as well.
The last time you were here performing was C2C 2018 wasn’t it?
Yes! That was the last time I was over there performing. I was over there in October for a couple of private things. I’ve been going back and forth a decent amount but C2C was a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.
Since the first time we met, things have really blown up for you with the release of Things That We Drink To. How has that experience been for you?
(laughs) Oh man it certainly has been a crazy, crazy couple of years. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I feel like having done it for so long that when you get to experience things like Kiss Somebody going to number one in America and Day Drunk, being by far the biggest song I’ve had anywhere, (going to number one) in Australia, it’s a good place to be able to really understand how cool these experiences are and really appreciate the moments.
As you mentioned you’ve been doing this a while back in Australia but you’re basically starting again as a new artist in the US and overseas. Has that been a bit strange for you?
I have a lot of respect, especially when you come to a town like Nashville or you go to a city like London, for the music that’s been made there and the music history those places have. Just to be a part of it is cool and then to become a part of the songwriting community and now starting to experience some success there, it really means a lot. The starting over factor doesn’t worry me at all. I guess the only time I really notice it is (laughs)… well last year when I did a couple of festivals instead of going on in the dark, you’d go on earlier in the day. That was the only time that I felt like, ‘oh hang on a sec, we’re back to the start again’. I have a really strong respect for music history in those places and I’m stoked to able to be there and be a part of it.
I always think it must be odd when you get nominated in new artist categories at US awards, when you’ve been making music for years…
There’s always got to be some criteria for an award and I guess there’s loopholes for everything. It is kind of funny to see that but I feel like in the end it all kind of works out.
You’re going to be on the road for most of the year. How do you prepare for such long and gruelling tour schedules?
Man I’m really stoked! I just finished up a couple of months with Old Dominion and I just finished up another couple of months with Dan and Shay already this year. We’ve been going hard at it and we’re off with Rascal Flatts this summer. It’s going to be awesome. Man, I feel like the start and end of a tour for me are real bookends on my live show. Every single tour I try to add something or step it up in some sort of way. During the tour I’ll think about how can I make this better and then get out to do whatever that thing is for the next tour. Thankfully over the last couple years the crowds have been singing these songs louder and louder as well. I love playing live and I’m stoked to be able to do it in the country music format, which means basically you can tour non-stop (laughs).
Country artists do seem to be on the road all the time. I have no idea where you get the stamina from!
Yeah it’s interesting. I thought about that a lo.t I think because pop artists usually go out and they’ll go out for a few months but they’ll play six days a week so they play twice as many shows as what a country artist would play in a week. When the country format goes out on tour it’s usually Thursday to Sunday or Friday to Saturday or whatever, and you play less shows each week but you play more weeks to get the same amount of shows in. I think that’s honestly built around the fact that the big stars in country music have families and they want to be home for their families and have some sense of a normal life. That works for me too man (laughs). I’m happy to go out there a few nights a week and give it everything and then get back in the studio for a couple days.
Have you started to think about the next record yet?
I’ve just started getting back to it. That first year on the road as a new artist in America is just so gruelling. You really don’t have time to make music. I think the year before Kiss Somebody came out, I think I wrote 100 or 120 songs and then the year after it came out I think I wrote six (laughs). I just got back in the studio the last few weeks and I’m just starting to get really excited about new music. In terms of a new album taking shape that’s a long way off but we definitely have a handful of songs that could be the start of something.
Will you be taking writers on the road with you while you’re on tour?
Absolutely. I’ve done it a couple times already this year. Honestly that’s my idea of truly living a dream, when you get to be out on the road with a couple of your best mates… you get to write songs in the day time and play a show at the night time. I’m really grateful to have collaborators that are willing to jump on a tour bus for the weekend and leave their family or their friends behind and come make music. I’ll do that as much as I possibly can.
You and Kelsea got married since we last spoke. How do you manage to juggle your professional and personal life so you get to spend time together when you’re both so busy on the road for much of the year?
We do crazy things man! I’m on a tour bus going through Georgia right because I had a day off and she’s playing tonight. That’s just one example of the crazy things we do.
What else are you hoping to pack in this year?
There’s the German shows that are the first shows of the world tour that we’re going to be doing. We’ll be racking up a whole bunch of frequent flyers going to different countries. I’ll be getting to play my own shows for the first time in a long time. I’m really excited to share songs from the album that I haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to play live yet in the shorter sets that you get when you open for someone. That’s probably one of the things I’m looking forward to most about getting back to the UK and America and other parts of the world, to play my own shows and have the full experience.
Morgan Evans’ album Things That We Drink To is available now. Watch the music video for Day Drunk below: