Can you talk to us more about your song “Hearts In Need of Repair”?
That song was a really a-ha moment for me. I wrote it in the summer of 2016 as part of a songwriter’s challenge that I regularly take part in. During the summer months, we are given a word on a Sunday, and we have a week to write a song (inspired by that word), and film a video of a performance of that song. That week the word was glory. The previous week I had used glory in my title, so I was fairly stumped on how I was going to use that word again, without repeating myself. But then I just started playing around with it a bit and this chorus came to me and I immediately felt that this song was the start to the next album. At the time it felt to me like I was seeing so much division among people, in big and small ways. I loved (and still love) the idea that most often people are more alike than they are different, that we’re all a little bit broken up, and that those messy, broken parts of ourselves are worth holding up to the light. I grew up watching a lot of Oprah, so…. 🙂
Did any event inspire you to write this song?
The particular inspiration was the word, but the deeper/broader inspiration was found in the political climate leading up the 2016 election, the fact that I had been struggling with repeated illness and fatigue, and struggles I witnessed in a few people close to me.
Any plans to release a video for the track?
No. I love making videos so much, but it’s funny, I haven’t dreamed a video for any of the songs from this album. I’ve had a few glimmers of video ideas for the song, “Helium”, but I haven’t chased them down yet.
Why naming the album after this track in particular?
Hearts in Need of Repair felt like a perfect umbrella to hold all of the songs under – each song is about a heart in need of repair essentially – that’s what I write about.
How was the recording and writing process?
So wonderful. The recording process in particular was a completely heart-filling experience. We recorded at RiverRock Studios in NE Mpls, with my good friend Eric Blomquist as engineer and co-producer. We spent 4 days with the core band – Andrew Foreman, Thomas Nordlund, Zach Schmidt – and it was so much fun to bring to life these songs that we’d been arranging for a while, and then also a few songs were arranged on the spot. I feel lucky to have such friends who are willing to engage in all the creative exploration on these songs that are essentially ‘my feelings, set to guitar chords’ when they start out!
What aspect of love and vulnerability did you get to explore on this record?
I’m always examining that in some way through my music, but certainly track 9, Nothing Compares, is one of the more personal explorations of love and vulnerability. I wrote that song for my husband. Track 6, Course Correction, I got to dig around the idea of falling down and getting back up again. How the trick for me is to find the gift in the falling down. For me that song speaks to the idea that when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
What role does Minnesota play in your writing?
I work on the lyrics and melodies when I’m on walks and runs through the parks near my house, so I feel like in a very tangible way for me, my surrounding area is part of everything I sing. I use a lot of nature imagery, so you get pines, willows, snow, water. These elements certainly occur in other places, but when I write them, I’m seeing MY pines, willows, snow, water. Also, in this album I reference Interstate 35 in 2 songs, and for each I had a very specific Minnesota visual.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I often go on mini-tours with my friend Vicky Emerson, as part of our duo The Home Fires. I’m sure we have a few midwest weekends in us for the summer. With the band I’m looking to make a late spring midwest tour. I have two young children, so a longer tour right now is challenging to put together.
What else is happening next in Sarah Morris´ world?
2018 I just want to write as many songs as I can. The more songs I write, the better chance I have that one of those songs is a good one, you know? Also, I’d love to record a Christmas album. That’s been a long time dream of mine, and this upcoming year feels like the one!