Singer-Songwriter Lauren Morrow on Performing and Personal Growth
Lauren Morrow is an acclaimed Nashville-based songwriter and performer. Her music is unique, blending genres like rock and classic-country with her adept storytelling skills and expressive voice. Like Lorilee, Lauren has come to embrace and draw on her own background to create from the heart. With this approach, her individual experience has resonated with people from many walks of life. Lauren joins Lorilee for a personal conversation about what drives her as a creative, why she takes risks in her art, and how she pushes through negativity and self-doubt to make incredible music.
- On Lauren’s playlist: “It’s About Damn Time” by Lizzo
- Lauren’s creative roots
- Using performance as a vehicle for growth
- Why she tells her own story through music
- Pushing through negative self-talk
- Embracing good things
- How the personal can speak to universal truths
- One tool for our G&G toolbox
Mentioned in this episode:
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Darrell Scott
- Lauren’s new single, “Alabama”
Sponsored by Her-Bank.com
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Episode 17 – Lauren Morrow Transcript
[00:00:00] Lorilee Rager: Hey, I am Lorilee Rager and this is Ground and Gratitude. It’s a podcast about designing the life you want, one that not only grows, but also gives.
Before we start the show, I want to tell you about our sponsor, Her Bank. Her Bank by Legends Bank goes well beyond banking. For me, they have filled in the gaps in areas like financial literacy and helped my own confidence when it comes to banking and business decisions. Trust and relationship really are first and foremost for Her Bank. Visit Her-Bank.com to learn more about banking from a woman’s perspective. Her Bank is a brand of Legends Bank and Legends Bank is member FDIC equal housing lender.
Now onto the show.
My guest today is Lauren Morrow. Lauren is a singer-songwriter who is kind, curly headed, and loves her golden retrievers, and cats, and husband. She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where her first EP had widespread critical acclaim and landed her on many of the Best Of year end lists, from Rolling Stones to Garden and Gun. She’s about to debut her new album in early next year, which I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of recently. You can find her, like the rock star she is, performing on stage, singing things from a little Americana to alternative indie rock, even a classic country cooner, and maybe even a traditional lovesick ballad. She is a storyteller full of heart who is not afraid to take risks. There is a unique impression my friend leaves with you when she sings that is unlike anything you have ever heard before.
Welcome Lauren, and thank you so much. I am just so dang excited to have you on my podcast today.
[00:02:28] Lauren Morrow: Yay! Thank you for having me on your podcast today. I’m excited to be here.
[00:02:33] Lorilee Rager: Thank you. I appreciate your time, cause I know how busy you are, absolutely, based on your touring and based on all the fun things that you’re starting to do.
[00:02:44] Lauren Morrow: Yeah, it’s thankfully a busy time right now. Um, cause, you know, there was two years where there was absolutely nothing going on. So it was seriously like jumping right back in. You know, now it’s like so busy. But I’d rather, you know, do that than be sitting around on the couch.
[00:03:03] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, yeah I get that.
[00:03:04] Lauren Morrow: I love sitting on the couch, but.
[00:03:06] Lorilee Rager: Same. I really embraced, uh, Leslie Jordan’s, you know, “what y’all doin?” from his bed.
[00:03:16] Lauren Morrow: Yes.
[00:03:17] Lorilee Rager: But yes, jumping right back in is definitely what I’m ready for too. Well, I laugh at my kickoff question. I didn’t change it for you based on you being an incredible singer-songwriter, but I’m still gonna ask, what is the song that you have on repeat on your playlist today?
[00:03:39] Lauren Morrow: I’ve had, uh, Lizzo’s new song, About That, About Damn Time. Like, you heard that yet? Do they have to like censor it or something? Cause I feel like maybe, sometimes people say it’s like, About That Time. But anyway, um, yeah, it’s About Damn Time. I am like obsessed with it. It’s so fun. I know, so good.
[00:04:04] Lorilee Rager: Yeah.
[00:04:05] Lauren Morrow: She always can write a song that kind of gets me pretty hype. Like I’m getting ready to, like, go do you know, like, um, what was her like big hit? Uh, was it last summer, summer before last? Um, I can’t think of it now, but anyway, uh, it was like total hype song.
[00:04:22] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, all of her big hits have been really good hype songs for me too. I mean, I love it.
[00:04:29] Lauren Morrow: Juice, that’s the one.
[00:04:30] Lorilee Rager: Juice. Yeah.
[00:04:31] Lauren Morrow: Yeah, yeah. So good.
[00:04:34] Lorilee Rager: Good. That’s what we need. We need uh, a summer of Lizzo. That’s what we need.
[00:04:38] Lauren Morrow: I know.
[00:04:40] Lorilee Rager: Perfect. Love it. Okay, very good. All right, diving into, um, topic, number one is really something I’m excited, because you know, we met a few years ago and I’ve heard you sing and think, thankfully, you helped me pick out a guitar and your husband and you helped, you know, paint some stuff and all of the stuff. So, we know each other, but what I don’t know is what I like to call your origin story. Um, like where, where did your love of songwriting and singing begin? And tell me a little bit about, about your story.
[00:05:20] Lauren Morrow: So. I grew up in a family of people who loved music, but they weren’t musical. Um, but like we always had, um, you know, the radio on or MTV on, definitely MTV. And my brother’s eight years older than me. So I was born in 85, so you can kind of imagine like, just that the heyday of MTV being on all the time. Um, and there was really no restriction in my household of, like, what I could listen to or watch or whatever. Like, it was just kind of like whatever. My mom was too busy, she worked all the time. Um, which I appreciate now as an adult, because I think that I was exposed to so much music growing up that like I adore still. Um, so I have these like very vivid memories of listening to a lot of like U2, which is still my favorite band and Hush Mode, and, um, my mom was a big Southern rock fan. My dad’s from South Africa so he, uh, was a lot of like rock and roll. And, um, and so it was my mom too, but, um, Bonnie Raitt and, you know, Steely Dan, you know, all kinds of stuff like that.
But when I was, um, really little, my grandpa used to tell me that I would like make up songs and I would kind of sing them and like just, uh, you know, whatever, just like how little kids do. But then when I got into high school, um, I was just obsessed with music. I worked in a Media Play, which was like a national chain that ended up, um, going under I think. But I decided when I was 15, I wanted a guitar and then I tried to take guitar lessons, but, um, I hated it. Cause I think that I, I don’t like people to tell me what to do, so. I don’t have, like, the attention span to like really, like, I don’t know. I just was like, ah, I don’t want to learn this theory. I want to just play Wonder Wall and like leave me alone, you know. So I went home and like, you know, internet was kikcing, and, um, I would go to like Tabs.com or something and my print off, like these, any song that I wanted to learn, basically could find the cord and then could like figure out what. You know, to play. And kind of taught myself how to play doing that.
And then the song writing aspect came after the fact, that I could play these chords, and then I could sing a melody on top of it, and then the words would kind of come out of it. And, um, when I was, uh, 15, I won this contest to sing at Music Midtown, um, in Atlanta, in front of like 90,000 people with this guy, Butch Walker. And it was his, um, it was his band, uh, Marvelous three was the band out of Atlanta. And like that was, when you talk about kind of like this moment in your life where you’re like, well, at what point did, like, something happened where you just were like, well, this is what I’ve got to do now. And that was it. Like just, yeah, just being in front of people, I mean, I was scared shitless, but like loved it.
Okay, so this is getting really long-winded, but then I, I recorded like an EP when I was 16.
[00:08:39] Lorilee Rager: Oh wow, that early, okay.
[00:08:41] Lauren Morrow: It’s awful. Um, but, uh, yeah, I recorded that. And then, um, and then I moved to, like, through high school I would write songs but I was too nervous to sing them in front of people. So I would just, I had a few close friends that I would allow them to like, sit with me, like in my bedroom where like my mom couldn’t hear and nobody could hear, and I would play them my songs. And then when I moved abroad to England, when I was 19 to go study abroad, um, I played my first show ever over there in front of people with my original material. And like, it was different because it was like, nobody knew me there, so there was no judgment of like, wait, what, like you can sing or what what’s that about whatever. It was just totally like a clean slate. And then after that I moved back and I started a band in Atlanta. And then, uh, then we broke up. I started my next band, The Whiskey Gentry with my husband, Jason. And that was probably 14 years ago, 13 years ago. Um, and then yeah, it’s just kind of keeps going from there. So, been chasing it down since I was 15, basically. 22 years of like, you know, not being able to like give up on it, but.
[00:09:58] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Oh, I love it. It’s so, I love to the, the culture and the time period that you and I both grew up. And when MTV was really music television and really just back-to-back music and videos and just creative and, and stuff like you’ve never seen or heard before.
[00:10:20] Lauren Morrow: And just a way that, like, I feel, like I was talking to this guy just literally two nights ago and he’s 10 years younger than me. And I felt like I was, like, speaking Greek to him. Cause I was just talking about like how, I was like, and then I could stay up really late at night, I would watch 120 minutes by Matt Penfield. And you know, that was like, I learned so much about music from watching those shows on TV. Um, I dunno, yeah, just like being exposed to it. And living in the era of like the music video was just my favorite. I still am obsessed with music videos.
[00:11:00] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, I am too. I always thought that they were just fascinating and, um, I even liked VH1’s pop-up videos.
[00:11:08] Lauren Morrow: Loved it. Yes.
[00:11:10] Lorilee Rager: Oh my gosh. Yeah. The facts that would show you behind the scenes and things that were happening. I was obsessed with that.
[00:11:17] Lauren Morrow: Yeah, totally. I still will, like, I still have facts like logged in my long-term memory of things that I learned on pop-up video. Like the, like the, in November Rain, the video by Guns N’ Roses. There’s a part where Slash is soloing in front of a chapel in the desert, and they picked up that chapel and they literally moved it out to the desert just for that shot. Which is something that, I mean we’ll never experience that lavish decadence of music videos ever again, but, you know, we lived through it. It was awesome.
[00:11:55] Lorilee Rager: I love it. And I do, I probably do the exact same thing to the boys, like driving down the road. If you hear the song and I’d be like, did you know that? Give some random fact.
[00:12:05] Lauren Morrow: Right. Yeah, totally. It’s like you can’t remember like anything short term, but like for some reason it’s all stuck in your brain from, you know.
[00:12:15] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. And when it does, I’ll have that moment, like, where’d that come from? Well, yeah, I know, right. Yeah. Oh, good. Yeah. Well, um, so yeah, and I was curious to know, you know, when you first ever performed, so winning that contest and being on stage. And I really find it interesting and super great about your story that you went to England, where you could just be somebody new, or anybody, or not in front of your peers. And, and that level of freedom to, to do, sounds really pivotal and important too, as part of your story.
[00:13:00] Lauren Morrow: And oh, for sure. And I think that like, at the time in my life too, um, my mom had just come out of rehab, she was getting sober. I was like, I gotta get the hell out of here. I’ve, I wanted more than anything to leave Georgia. I was just like, I got, I’ve got to go. And I was obsessed with England as a child and like an Anglophile, specifically about like British music, and, um, I just, I , if I hadn’t had that experience, I don’t know that I would have had that much growth so quickly because I desperately needed that time to escape out of the trauma in the world that I had been living in through my late teens, to really get out on my own and like thrust myself into this very scary situation and be like, okay, I’ll figure it out. And it was, I mean, still is, it was the best year of my life, you know?
[00:13:56] Lorilee Rager: Um, yeah, that’s that, uh, that, that leads me to the next topic, when you said that, is, is, you know, why is it scary? Why, why is it scary to, as you said to me before we, before we started this, uh, to take that leap and that risk? And why do you think, why do you, and, you know, tell your story and stand on that stage?
[00:14:25] Lauren Morrow: I think that, like, for me, a lot of my childhood and, I mean, even up until now, you know, there’s a lot of, um, uh, negative self-talk, um, that I think stems from just feeling, you know, from, uh, one of my parents, like I was never good enough. Um, that trying to pursue a career in music was stupid, um, you’ll never make any money doing that, like whatever those things are. And, you know, like I said, I really hate it when people tell me what to do. And if somebody tells me something I can’t do, it’s almost like this thing where I’m like, uh, no, like, watch me. And I think that they’re, like, so it, it swings like a pendulum for me still between a lot of overconfidence that, that, um, almost is like overcompensating for like my lack of confidence, if that makes any sense, like,
[00:15:27] Lorilee Rager: Oh yeah.
[00:15:28] Lauren Morrow: you know, like I was always kind of in high school, like having to be different, or not having to be, but wanted to be different and wanted to be like, you don’t like me then fuck you, like whatever. And kind of had this attitude because really deep down I was this, a sensitive person who, you know, was scared of not being liked by people or, you know, not, um, not fitting in or whatever it was. So I guess, like for me now kind of as an adult, I feel like every time, you know, I have apprehension about like getting on the stage and being judged or being told some there’s, you know, whatever, and I can still like get into my head about it. But it’s like, I have to force myself to move past that and deep, dig deep into something, some of that stupid confidence and be like, no, like do it. Like, you know, and especially, I think that after all this time too, and spending so much time and energy and money and all the things, like I don’t have time to waste to give that negativity power. And I, I’ve watched negativity like that ruin people in my family for so long. And it really took me like meeting my husband, Jason, for him to be like, you’re so , like, why are you always like worst case scenario? And I’m like, well, that’s the way I grew up. It’s the, the lifestyle that, that, it’s my protective thing around me that protects me from getting hurt or let down or disappointed or. Anyway, I just feel like, yeah, you know, it’s, it’s something that I feel like I have to like really just like take a deep breath and kind of lean into it and go like, okay, here we go.
And I’m like not a daredevil. Like I hate anything that’s scary. Like, I don’t want to jump off a building, I don’t want to do any of that stuff. But the only way that I can like, and kind of what I go through in performing or having to do something, is it feels like that to me, like having to kind of go like, okay. You know, and go do it, you know.
[00:17:27] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, wow. I resonated with everything that you said because, ooh I feel it in my bones. Um, I think, I think we are raised in, through generations, of, of certain beliefs and of course, we take those on as, as our own personas and really think that there’s this kind of what I call scarcity mindset that we can’t do it, or we see the fear in it first, not the fun or not the success. And, and I, I agree that, you know, it’s, it’s one of those things where we have to kind of muster up something or pull up our bootstraps to get through it. Because there is something deep in us that still wants, wants that and still craves, craves that.
[00:18:19] Lauren Morrow: Absolutely. Because that’s where we feel our most, like our fullest. And that’s where you feel, you feel like different, like you’re like elevated and you’re closer to something bigger than yourself, once you can push past it and you go like, wow, like, I did that. And that’s what I want to do all the time. You know, if that makes any sense.
[00:18:42] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah, it does. You said something about too, I agree. I don’t want to jump off a building and, and why, you know, the pendulum swings to the dramatic side to the other side. And now, just to realize what you said back to you, as you actually said, you just, you just lean into it. And it is, it’s like we have this resistance and we think to ourselves, it’s jumping off this building, it’s blowing up something, it is the worst, most extreme end, but really it’s just leaning into it. It’s, it doesn’t have to be as that dramatic of a step for you to get on that stage, I feel like.
[00:19:24] Lauren Morrow: Absolutely.
[00:19:26] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah. And you had mentioned, uh, that you really enjoyed, earlier when we were talking before the podcast, about The War of Art being a book that you really like. Why, why that one? Why that one, tell me.
[00:19:42] Lauren Morrow: two that I kind of read at the same time, um, Big Magic and The War of Art. And yeah, and it was, it was at this time too, when I had just, we just moved to Nashville and I, we just decided that we were going to disband Whiskey Gentry, and we were going to start this new, you know, basically start over as me as a solo artist under Lauren Morrow. And like, you know, I knew that, like I had all these things and like I wanted to say, or like song ideas and things and, you know, but, um, being creative, for me, can be, um, it can feel like a impassable, um, I don’t know, like wall sometimes, where I feel like I get stuck and I can’t like get past this thing. And I it’s hard for me to like verbalize, but I started reading these books as kind of a way to think differently about being creative and think of it more as like, you know, at least with War of Art, like a, like an energy, you know, where you have like light and dark and resistance and, you know, um, and then also like, I mean, Big Magic is just incredible. I feel like I should read it like every week, you know, to remind myself all of these things about, um, you know, the act of creating.
I don’t know, like the, I really resonated with like the resistance aspect that he talks about in The War of Art. And, um, he has a really great episode with Oprah on her podcast too, just kind of likening it to like the darkness and, you know, and almost like an evil entity that doesn’t want you to like, kind of move past, um, uh, and, and move into your higher self and do the thing that you Know, that you feel closer to God when you’re doing. And I really liked that. And it, cause to me it felt like, oh, this feels like something that I could, like a battle that I could win or something. If that makes sense. Like, I don’t know, it just felt like, oh, like, again, like that whole thing, like you can’t tell me I can’t do that, so I’ll push past it. Um, but it still doesn’t make it easy for me to write songs or easy for me to be creative. It’s just that like, you know, like my producer Parker who is one of my best friends and a songwriter that we write a lot together, um, you know, he’s like, you just have to keep doing it. It’s like showing up every day and just doing it and just showing up and working through it. And like, that is how you ultimately get past it. If that makes any sense.
[00:22:18] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, it, it does. And, I’ve read both of those books and I love them both very much and agree, we could, I could them every week and takeaway different nugget, for sure. That resistance and the darkness that does pull it, all of us as humans, and especially as creatives, you know, I think it can really tank us if, if we would let it. And, um, there’s something you said about, you know, your energy and it moving you closer to God that, that resonates with me from a recovery standpoint, because we talk about living our truth and using our voice and telling our story. It’s really hard. It’s really hard to open our mouth to save our lives. Um, but when you do it, you get closer to this, you know, greater divine, or God, if that’s what, you know, I personally choose or that spiritual power on the other side of what you push through, makes that scary, fearful feeling of, of that darkness and that wall, um, worth it. And I think we have to remember that and hold onto that.
[00:23:31] Lauren Morrow: And I think for having brains like you and I have discussed that we both share in some ways it’s like when, when you’re already kind of prone to negativity or fear base or scarcity mindset, it can be really hard to kind of cut through that resistance because I’m already genetically disposed, or is that the right word? Um, genetically like, yeah,
[00:23:57] Lorilee Rager: Dispositioned?
[00:23:59] Lauren Morrow: I don’t know. I can’t think of a word. Anyway, I already have to battle that, you know. So it’s like for me, you know, um, yeah, like just trying to get past it and feel some sort of, I think like what you’re saying too is like, once you can kind of push through, it’s where you get to your, your, feels so much more peaceful and there’s so much more like, you feel like you’re walking in your truth and you finally kind of feel like, oh, like the flow of everything feels different and your life flow feels different, you know. I mean, we felt that on this last tour that we were just like, wow, like, everything’s always working out. And, and there’s this part of me that wants to just is literally like, when does the other shoe drop? Like, I know that something has to happen.
[00:24:46] Lorilee Rager: Yes.
[00:24:46] Lauren Morrow: And I’m like, but what if it doesn’t have to happen? Like what if I can live within this flow? Because I, I’m, I am doing the right things in my life and I’m a good person. And like, I don’t know, you know, yeah.
[00:25:00] Lorilee Rager: Yes. Yes. That’s exactly right. My therapist, last week’s note was stop thinking, when will the next shoe drop? I was like, fine. And I mean, I’m 43, done all this work, do all this work continuously, and I still have to fight that. It’s not as hard, but the no negative self-talk it has become a complete, uh, rule in my life because I’ve now understand how quick it can tank me.
[00:25:30] Lauren Morrow: Oh yeah. Yeah. And, oh, absolutely. And, and how, like, I mean, I literally have to do this thing now that when, whenever I feel it creeping up, I have to literally shift my focus. Cause it it’s, it’s, it’s weird, it’s like a poison, you know, where like, or, uh, weird nasty fungus that grows, and the more that you keep it in the dark, it just kind of continues to invade your brain. And like, I have to literally be like, uh, good things can happen to you. Like, you can believe that good things will happen to you. And I, I’ve tried to start living more in this mindset of like, why not me? Like, why do I feel like everybody else is, is available and can have all of the things that they’ve dreamed of and that they’ve worked for? Why not me?
[00:26:16] Lorilee Rager: Yeah.
[00:26:17] Lauren Morrow: You know?
[00:26:18] Lorilee Rager: That’s right.
[00:26:18] Lauren Morrow: I’m enough. I’m deserving of it.
[00:26:21] Lorilee Rager: That is right. And enough, that is a statement, not an amount. That is so true. Yeah. Well, uh, the listeners can’t see how much I’m nodding my head to all this. It’s so good. And it’s just, it just helps to hear you say it too. Because I’m in such a share, share your story to help others and to know I’m not alone and I don’t feel this way too, I’m not the only one that feels this way. And I see how absolutely gosh, everything from, I think you’re so cool to so incredibly talented to so beautiful and funny. And, and, and to hear, and when people, you know, see what’s online versus what, what’s behind the camera, you know, it’s like, yeah, we, none of us know what we’re doing here. We’re doing the best we can.
[00:27:16] Lauren Morrow: Yeah. And like, and I think that I was just talking to, um, one of my best friends, um, last night about this, that like, um, you know, everybody in the music business, they, like, you know, will say like, well, you’ve got to, like, what’s your narrative? Like, what’s your story? You know? And like, you’ve got to like, you know, kind of like come up, it’s like this PR angle or it’s like, you know. And, and like, yeah, I’ve had some like shit happen in my life that wasn’t comfortable and like I’ve had stuff happen, but I would really rather my story, now that I’m older, be that like, you know that you can be weird and you can be different and you can be whatever, but you can still be vulnerable and, and a real person. And like, I feel like we’ve lived the last, you know, with social media and all this stuff, like having all of this, like, plastic fakeness thrown in our face and we compare ourselves to it, it makes us feel shitty about ourselves. And kids are suicidal and all this other bullshit. And it’s like, you know, like somebody has to just, I think the more real that you can be, that just resonates more now. I hope, at least.
[00:28:27] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Agreed. I think it absolutely is. And the more you do it and I do it, the better, to help those behind us and around us. Because I completely agree that when people ask that, even like with me in recovery and we’re like, oh gosh, how bad was it? Like they want to compare. And they want to know, ooh, I don’t know if I was that bad. And I’m like, no, it doesn’t matter, like how, how bad was it or what happened to me for you to check off on your list of, well, I didn’t do that so I’m not that bad. Or, you know, it’s like, I don’t want to tell it that way.
Um, so I did want to, you said something too that, from yourself, your, your latest song, Alabama, which I love. It is such a beautiful story about your childhood and, uh, you had, do you have a line in there that says, “I was always a weird kid who preferred to play alone.” and when I heard it, I was like the, yes, that’s me, and it’s okay to be the weird kid that wanted to just play alone.
[00:29:29] Lauren Morrow: Well, and I think to it’s like, as creative people, I don’t know if this was like how you were, but like I loved being alone, um, because I was always like in some other place in my brain. So like always playing pretend, always imagining something else. There was a different reality that was happening that was actually the reality that I was living in. It was just fun. You know, I’d walk around, I’d be talking to myself, I’m sure. Like, you know, whatever. Like, probably like, wow, this kid. Um, and like I had friends, you know. Like I, and I have, you know, but it was definitely just, I liked that. And I still like it. I still love moments when I am alone, by myself, in my house, doing whatever I want, not talking to anybody. It’s the way that I feel like I have, you know, decompressed probably since I was a kid, you know.
[00:30:25] Lorilee Rager: That’s right. That’s exactly right. And the fact that you still realize it and hold onto it and do it is the healthiest thing, I think, ever. Because it’s something I just realized that I did, that I just realized that I did as a kid. And then I stopped like through my thirties and it almost killed me. And now that I’ve listened to it, yeah, home alone under my weighted blanket, just being weird with the dog.
[00:30:52] Lauren Morrow: Yes. The weighted blanket. Jason got me one for Christmas and I sometimes forget that I have it. And then I’m like, yes, and then I remember and it’s amazing. I love it.
[00:31:04] Lorilee Rager: We have 4.
[00:31:07] Lauren Morrow: Oh, hell yeah. That’s awesome.
[00:31:09] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, that way we each have one and we have one for a guest. That’s how much we love our weighted blanket, that’s how much.
[00:31:15] Lauren Morrow: You’re like, get cozy under this 30 pound blanket.
[00:31:22] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah. I love it. Okay. Well, um, moving on to that, into, uh, what I wanted to ask too, you know, what do you think about, as we creatives do learn to reveal our personal side, we, you know, part of this new journey for you, I think, uh, is being solo and using your voice and your own, telling your own story that, that. How, or what have you learned about that so far in revealing your personal side? And how, how has that helped you reach more of your greater potential and helped your path?
[00:32:09] Lauren Morrow: Um, well, you know, I think that like, um, there’s this songwriter named Darrell Scott, and, uh, he’s written a lot of songs that you would probably know. But, um, we were on a songwriting panel thing together at this 38 Songwriters Festival. And we were talking my band at the time, my band had just been covering You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive, which is a song that he wrote. And it is a very specific song to his family’s journey being coal miners in Kentucky. And that song has been covered, I mean, Brad Paisley covered it, Patty Loveless covered it, all these people have covered. It is, it is the most, it’s a song that like, every time I hear it, I’m like, oh my God, this is incredible. And he was saying that when he put out, he was like, no, one’s gonna relate to, you know, like, like this is so specific, you know. And I feel like I learned so much from that because he, and especially this was like right when we were transitioning into Lauren Morrow and I was like, you know that sometimes when you think that it’s so personal, it ends up being so universal. And that there are things that like, you, you know, like me saying, like, I was always a weird kid that preferred to play alone. Like I wouldn’t have thought, like, you know, I bet there’s a lot of young women out there who, you know, whatever. But like, that, we are, you know, there is a universal thread that goes through us and our experience can be similar yet different. You know, we can have, I can say very specific things about that house in Alabama that meant so much to me, but I have people from all over the country who will be like, I have that same experience, but it’s different, you know, the details are different, but that same feeling that is invoked out of the song, whether it’s longing or nostalgia or whatever, is something that like, can feel really real to people.
So I think that that’s been something for me that I’ve not been as scared to be, um, kind of definitive or define experiences that I go through. Because it, number one is easy for me to write about because I’m not making it up. So it’s, you know, it’s, it’s the truth that I’m telling. And that truth seems to resonate, you know? So, um, yeah, so I think, you know, yeah.
[00:34:38] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah. I, I agree. You know, I know that my, my own experience is why, it’s why I have this podcast now. And I think it’s why I have a deeper friendships and new friendships and new relationships, because I, I learned to be truthful and use my voice and tell my story. Never, ever thinking that, yeah, kentucky cornfield, you know, farmer’s daughter who does graphic design would resonate with anybody. That’s very specific.
[00:35:14] Lauren Morrow: Right, totally, yeah.
[00:35:18] Lorilee Rager: Um, so.
[00:35:19] Lauren Morrow: Well,
[00:35:21] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, go ahead.
[00:35:22] Lauren Morrow: You’re also a , you’re also speaking your vulnerability too, which I think is like, again, like what we talked, you know, what we’ve been talking about, you know, it’s just that like, and that is a universal thing, you know, that like, it may be very specific that you’re, you know, you know, farmers, you know, Kentucky farmer girl, but like that is your, more so your story and what you’ve been through. I think it’s, and your vulnerability and it is really wonderful, you know?
[00:35:53] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that, that was a quote I’d read about you, again when I was researching for the podcast and reading all the goodness. And, um, it said that your solo project uses story songwriting to reveal a more personal side of herself and explore a universal truth.
[00:36:15] Lauren Morrow: Hey. Hey.
[00:36:15] Lorilee Rager: And I was like, that’s it.
[00:36:20] Lauren Morrow: Yeah, I guess so. Makes sense.
[00:36:25] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. You just, you don’t think so much about something that happened to like me and my grandma and a story she tells, but how it really does touch a global issue or things like that, of where others have suffered and yeah, that common thread, no matter, no matter if I’m in Kentucky or Seattle, Washington, or you know, England.
[00:36:50] Lauren Morrow: Absolutely.
[00:36:52] Lorilee Rager: I love it. Um, so tell me a little bit about your new album and some of the songs I was so lucky enough to get a preview of it, which blew you and Jason up via texts. Like I laughed and I cried and I listened again and I cried again. Um, I mean, it’s, it’s just really, really great stories. Beautifully done too, beautifully done. Tell me a little bit about it.
[00:37:22] Lauren Morrow: Um, so we, we started recording and writing this, like this record in 2019. And then of course, you know, we all know what happened in 2020 and 2021, and what like, you know, still going through to a certain degree. But, um, it was, uh, definitely a interesting creative process because it was the first time that I had tried to write songs or written songs with someone outside of Jason. Um, and so when we met Parker Cason, who is, who produced the record and writes songs with us and is one of our very best friends, it felt just very kismet. Like it was, he understood, I think where, where I needed to come from creatively to kind of express my influence, like without it. Cause I can, I can sing very country, I can sound like Dolly Parton and Natalie Maines, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s my truth. Like I grew up a nineties alternative kid. So, but I just, you know, I, I was limited, I feel like, in songwriting sometimes by what I could you know, could, could sing, like, if that makes sense.
So, um, so the songs, you know, were songs that either, like I had written on my own and brought to the guys, or, or we had collaboratively written. There were, there are moments and there are songs that I listen to, where I really had to reach lyrically for something. And that’s not always easy for me because I feel like sometimes if it’s not there from the jump, then I’ve totally missed the muse and like she’s gone and, and I, I have a hard time, like forcing it back. Um, but they are, you know, there’s, there’s so many like little nuggets of audio goodness on it. And there’s landscapes that sound beautiful. And the songs are very lyrically important to me and are very personal to me and my stories. And, you know, I like, I’m incredibly proud of it. And I don’t like, you know, we’re in the process of figuring out how we release it. I don’t think that will be released until probably early 2023. Um, but I want it to be able to, to it’s I feel like brew and grow so when it finally has ready to be out, it reaches the most amount of people and, you know, can get out to the world in the right way.
[00:39:59] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Yeah. Well, lyrically, it’s really, really powerful and I can’t wait for the world to hear it for sure. And, um, I don’t know a lot about music. I love music and I am now trying to learn to play guitar, just for fun. Absolutely for fun. Which is great to do, something just for fun and not for a grade or a presentation. But, um, it’s, it just sounds, the things I hear in it, and it reminds me of, yeah, growing up the, the music I heard growing up from everything Garth Brooks, to certain, it, to not, uh, but, um, George Strait. And it’s just got some beautiful sound that I, that I even heard with my baby ears.
[00:40:47] Lauren Morrow: Well that’s good. I do think that it’s accessible. You know, like it’s, it’s, it’s one of these kind of, like, kind of things where I feel like people always want to ask what your genre is and they want to kind of try and figure it out, because that’s the only way that their heads can make sense of what you’ve created. But I do feel like there’s a lot of genre bending in it, where it can have moments where it sounds country, but then it sounds spacey and then it sounds, you know, um, like a rock record. You know, it just kind of, it moves, I think, fluidly between a lot of different things. So I think there’s something for everybody on it, you know, in that way.
[00:41:25] Lorilee Rager: Yeah. Kind of like your website says, which I agree with is, a little Americana, alternative indie rock, and classic country cooner with, with a traditional lovesick ballad, which is definitely, definitely delivers.
[00:41:42] Lauren Morrow: Definitely true. Yeah.
[00:41:44] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, yeah.
[00:41:45] Lauren Morrow: Love a ballad.
[00:41:46] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, absolutely. But all right, well, one of the last things I wanted to ask you about is, you know, we’ve, we’ve really covered a lot, from truth-telling to , you mentioned vulnerability, to, and I love being the weird kid and just being ourselves. Um, what, what would be something that you would leave in our, what I call the Ground and Gratitude toolbox for others? Um, that, that just helps people like, you know, like you said to me when you’re both scared, when you’re scared and you still jump, like what’s, what’s some tips or tools or things, mantras that you even use?
[00:42:37] Lauren Morrow: Um, I’ve been trying to think of the answer to this question since you and I talked about it, like briefly. But, um, I, I really feel like the biggest one that I keep kind of coming back to right now for myself personally, is just this like, like, um, you are enough. And like just really trying to kind of not give the negativity the power that it doesn’t deserve. Um, recognizing that I’m scared of something and being able to kind of work through it and push forward, I feel like that’s the thing that I kind of keep saying for like, like a broken record today, but like how often I really have to just dig into something within me and just jump. And, you know, it’s like being on this last tour with the guy Corb Lund, we’re playing these sold out venues, there’s 1200 people there. It’s just Jason and I as a duo. There are, you know, rowdy ranchers from Missoula, Montana, or, you know, Greeley, Colorado, or whatever. And having to just be like, here I am, and I’m going to stand in this and I’m going to present myself, and if you don’t get it, or you don’t like it, I’m not going to be for you, but that’s okay. That doesn’t, it doesn’t make me any less. So yeah, I’ve always tried, I feel like in some ways in my life to, you know, unfortunately seek approval from outside. And I think right now what I’m trying to learn, and what I’m truly trying to drill into myself, is like, that, the approval that I need comes from within myself. And I have to really dig into that. And it’s not easy. I think about it all the time. I can always find something wrong with myself, wrong with myself, you know, in air quotes that, like, I don’t like, that, you know, whatever. But, like, I have to, like, I don’t have any time anymore to get. I’ve got something that’s like on the horizon that I’m very excited about, and I can’t let other people’s opinion make me not follow my path in truth. If that makes any sense.
[00:45:02] Lorilee Rager: Yeah, it absolutely does.
[00:45:04] Lauren Morrow: It’s very large toolbox that I carry. So I don’t have one specific tool for your toolbox. That was a lot of tools, but
[00:45:15] Lorilee Rager: It could be a whole bag, a whole satchel, a whole trailer truckload full. It’s a million little things. It really is. That’s why I think this question is so valuable because it takes all of that, and it takes all of that constantly. And you constantly reminding yourself and, and hearing somebody else needing that reminder too. And I think it’s, I think it’s really, really important. Um, you are enough and I think, um, you are great. So I’m just, so so so thankful that you’re here and that you gave me your time today. Yeah, absolutely.
Is there anything else you wanted to shout out or cover or anything before we wrap it up?
[00:46:07] Lauren Morrow: I don’t think so. I’m always really bad at like remembering last minute things, but, um, let’s say it really just, yeah, I don’t have anything.
[00:46:17] Lorilee Rager: You dropped some truth and some good stories, and some honesty, which is what we all need more of. So keep doing it.
[00:46:26] Lauren Morrow: Thank you. You too.
[00:46:28] Lorilee Rager: Alright. Thank you so much for being here today.
[00:46:31] Lauren Morrow: Absolutely love ya.
[00:46:33] Lorilee Rager: Love you.
Okay. All right. Hang on. This is where we usually end the episode. But before we go, I just have to share some of Lauren’s music with you all. I absolutely love this song, and I know you will too. Here is Alabama by Lauren Morrow. Enjoy.
[00:47:00] Lauren Morrow: I was always a weird kid who prefered to play alone.
So I love to spend the summer my grandparents’ second home.
It was just across the state line out on 20 West to a town of 300, 350 at best.
We get there on Friday and stay a few.
Have to dust off furniture, shake out all the sheets.
The front door slam too hard. The tin roof always leaked.
It might have been a dump to many, but it was paradise to me.
My grandma’s making dumplings, walking the floor.
It felt like we’re in a time machine. It was 1994.
No telephone, no TV grabbing water from the well.
It might have been 1800 as far as any one could tell.
At night we’d hear the Braves game on the AM radio.
We were gonna win the pennant, I just knew it in my soul.
We had Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine and our pitching can’t be beat.
And I would cheer on David Justice from the edge of my seat.
The warm wind blows through the window, curtains flutter in the breeze.
I am putting together a puzzle while I’m sitting on my knees.
I’ll swing out on the front porch where my feet can hardly reach.
And fall asleep at night, to a cricket symphony.
I walk down to the train tracks, and put pennies on the rails.
Spend the afternoon with grandpa trying to find out where they fell.
See that copper glitter like a hundred shining suns.
And walked back hand in hand when our treasure hunt is done.
[00:51:03] Lorilee Rager: Thanks again to Lauren for sharing the layer behind the spotlight and getting real with us about her life and her passions. And thank you for tuning into Ground and Gratitude. You can find previous episodes and more information about the show at GroundAndGratitude.com. Be sure and join me next time for more honest conversations, exploring what it means to truly live alive, grounded in gratitude. Also, I would love to hear from you. We are on Instagram, our handle is @GroundAndGratitude. You can also leave us a review on apple podcasts. Ground and Gratitude is produced by Kelly Drake and AO McClain LLC.
That’s it, we did it.
[00:52:15] Lauren Morrow: Yay.
Yeah, it’s over.