Morgan Evans On The Power Of Country Music

"I knew things were changing here when I heard Florida Georgia Line playing at Bondi Beach"
Morgan Evans
Image: Chady Awad

If you were to have stumbled into the foyer of the Sydney Opera House last September, you’d have been forgiven for thinking you’d arrived at the wrong destination. Gone were the venues usual pearl-clad patrons, and in their place was a energetic pool of well-worn trucker caps.

The evening marks the first of Newcastle-born country artist, Morgan Evans’ two sold out Sydney shows, a welcome sea change for the venue that has only opened it’s doors to two Australian country artists (Slim Effing Dusty and Gina Jeffreys) before Evans.

Now, six months after Evans stepped out of the stage spotlight following his magnetic tour, the now Tennessee-based artist is indulging our eyes, ears and soul with a new live album and his hotly-anticipated “Life Right Side Up documentary filmed at Sydney’s iconic venue.

Ahead of the release of their release, marie claire sat down with Evans to chat returning to his roots during his time at home and the power of country music.

marie claire: Last year, during the Australian leg of the Life Upside Down tour, you played at the Opera House. What was that moment like for you?

Morgan Evans: There’s something about being on the Opera House stage, you definitely feel the weight and importance of it. It was a really special night in every way.

MC: It was probably the largest number of trucker hats the Opera House has ever seen.

ME: I think we broke the trucker-hat record.

Morgan Evans

MC: You brought out Australian icon John Williamson as well as Kita Alexander. Is there anyone else you would love to collaborate with on stage?

ME: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty. They’re the three rock stars right at the top for me.

MC: Returning to your home town can often evoke a mixture of feelings. Is this something you’ve experienced?

ME: As a musician coming up in [NSW’s] Newcastle, if you play the Civic Theatre you’ve made it. I really enjoyed seeing a bunch of strangers’ faces in the crowd, as well as people from different parts of my life, whether it was teachers that taught me in school, my nieces and nephews, and all the way through to my grandparents, who are 96 and 94 years old. The home-town gigs meant a lot. Obviously the Newcastle Knights [playing well] in the NRL was a nice parting gift.

MC: Your single “Thank God She’s a Country Girl” is a version of the famous John Denver track “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. What are your memories of the original?

ME: John Denver was definitely part of my childhood. That song was a part of the greater psyche of the world. I liked that this song was a tip of the hat to the original, but that we could also offer it to both a new audience or the same audience with a different spin.

Morgan Evans

MC: What sets a country girl apart?

ME: It means a different thing to everyone, but there’s a certain resilience and easygoing nature. It’s such an incredible time for country music right now.

MC: For the first time in 40 years, a country music artist has secured the No. 1 and 2 spots on Billboard 100. What’s that like?

ME: I grew up listening to this kind of music and it’s great to see a whole bunch of people in my home country discovering it and loving it, too. I love that every time I return home I’m hearing country artists more and more. I remember the first time I knew things were changing here was when I went for a swim at Bondi Beach and I was crossing the road and a guy on a Harley drove by and he was listening to Florida Georgia Line. There’s something in country music that will resonate with everyone; they just have to look and find the right voice.

MC: What does your new music say about where you are in life right now?

ME: Those songs are celebrations of life and that’s the feeling I want people to have wherever I’m playing. For me, that’s the point of life.

Live at the Sydney Opera House is out now. His documentary “Life Right Side Up”, which follows Morgan as her prepares for his epic sold out shows, is premiering globally on Monday 15 April at Dendy Newtown in Sydney. Visit for more.

Morgan Evans

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