After an exciting ride up the music charts, where he sold 200,000 albums and hit the Top 30 on Billboard’s Country Album chart and Top 10 on its Independent Album chart, Cory Morrow was wondering what to do next. He decided to ask his fans what they wanted to hear. Their answer?
“They told us they wanted to go two-stepping,” he said.
And “The Way Things Used To Be” Texas dance hall tour was born.
Morrow took the top 25 or 30 most requested tunes and put together a set list. He’ll be running through a few of those at his pre-tour gig at Fredericksburg’s Backyard Amphitheater on Saturday, March 21, sharing the stage with Cody Canada.
In a way, it’s back to beginnings for Morrow. Official bios put him in the Red Dirt category of country music, to differentiate his ilk from the Nashville scene. He doesn’t dwell on categories.
“I just tell people my influences are Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen and Led Zeppelin, with a little bit of ‘La Bamba,’ Huey Lewis and Merle Haggard in there.”
The Houston native was more of a rocker in high school and college. But after hanging out on the music scene at Texas Tech in Lubbock, he started hearing more Robert Earl, Jerry Jeff and Willie.
“I knew some of that but not a lot,” he said. “I said, you know, maybe I need to learn some of those songs. So I did, and it just kind of grew from there. I started writing along those lines of country, three chords and the truth, so to speak. As the years have gone on, I took the liberty to write more in the vein of where I came from, more of a rock and roll feel.”
For “The Way Things Used To Be,” Morrow will perform all of his old songs at dance halls, roadhouses and Texas country institutions. So far, the response has been positive.
“We’ve played through them a couple of times and got an amazing response. I haven’t felt that kind of love in 15 years.”
Fueling Morrow’s growth is his decision to get sober a little over seven years ago. He is not shy about sharing the rediscovery of his religious roots as well.
“For me, my faith is what drives me,” he said. “It grounds me and keeps me centered and directed in life. My family and relationships are what keep me alive. And the gift of music and getting on stage and getting that energy — and giving that energy out — is catalyst to my faith. It makes me feel more alive.”
The metamorphosis has helped him fall in love with his music, his life and, mostly, his fans, all over again.
“The fans are the reason we do what we do. The blessing to be able to play music for a living is enormous. We are honored to have been a part of the sound track of their lives.”
Even after all this time, Morrow is still having fun.
“I want to go out and meet with the people. I talk with them and see where they are at and let them know there is something amazing out there. I want to be there for them. I can feed into them in a meaningful way, and we can give each other a little bit of love.”
It’s always about the fans.
“Hopefully these are the songs they want to hear and haven’t heard for a long time,” he said. “If they get up off their butts, I’ll give them something to make them glad they came out.”