2018 Kerrville New Folk Contest winner Sarah Morris has spent the last 8 years earning a reputation for engaging performances – with a voice both clear and lush, and a
2018 Kerrville New Folk Contest winner Sarah Morris has spent the last 8 years earning a reputation for engaging performances – with a voice both clear and lush, and a penchant for sharply-crafted songs. Sarah hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, music was etched upon her DNA at a young age. Morris immersed herself in her parent’s eclectic record collection before finally falling in love with the storytelling and songcraft in country music. The music of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alison Krauss, and Kathy Mattea changed Sarah’s course entirely.
After graduating from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, she wasted no time packing her bags for Nashville. Her years in Music City instilled a traditional songwriting sensibility fully on display over the course of her recent albums: 2017’s Hearts in Need of Repair, and 2015’s Ordinary Things. Both albums received critical acclaim, international airplay, and reached the top 100 of the Americana Music Associations radio chart. In addition to her recent win at Kerrville, she was a top 4 finalist in The 2016 NewSong Music Contest at Lincoln Center in NYC, took 2nd place at the 2016 Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, NC, was a 2016 Americana semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, and received an honorable mention in the 2018 Telluride Troubadour contest.
Sarah has opened for JD Souther, Suzy Boggus, and Teddy Thompson, among others. Deeply rooted in the Minneapolis music scene, she maintains a national touring schedule as well – as a solo artist, with her longtime backing band, the Sometimes Guys, and as part of Americana duo The Home Fires – alongside good friend and fellow Americana artist Vicky Emerson.
Singer/songwriter Vicky Emerson has been heralded by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and No Depression for her gorgeous, dusky voice and songwriting chops on previous releases but her new album, Steady Heart, which she self-produced, will firmly establish her as an essential, strong female voice in Americana music.
Emerson was raised in rural Wisconsin, has lived in New York City and San Francisco before relocating back to her roots in Minneapolis with her husband to raise her children. She continues to tour the nation as a solo artist as well as with her Americana duo, The Home Fires, with good friend Sarah Morris. Emerson and Morris have also launched Front Porch Music Group, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm for singer/songwriters. She has opened for Gregory Alan Isakov, Malcomb Holcombe and her previous release, Wake Me When the Wind Dies Down (2016), rose to #5 on the European Americana Charts and #58 on the US Americana Chart on a radio campaign that she championed on her own.
“There are stories in this world that need to be told,” says folk artist Kelly Augustine. “The essential human story involves pain and suffering, but it also involves beauty, hope and redemption. It’s my aim, as a songwriter, to shed light on all of it. Stories that make us feel more connected and less alone, stories that shake us up and call us to action – those are the stories I want to tell. As Woody Guthrie said, ‘It’s a folk singer’s job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people.’ I consider it an honor to call myself a folk singer.”
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