The Country And The Coast Side A - EP
When Morgan Evans set out to follow up his 2018 debut album Things That We Drink To, the Australian-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter had a more intentional vision for how the project would play out. Having honed his chops on the road, Evans wanted to capture the feeling of a live band with great chemistry playing together. The trick, though, was to do so in a way that still sounded like Evans, who built his early career on melodic, pop-heavy country with playful lyrics and infectious choruses, qualities easily heard in The Country and the Coast Side A standouts “Love Is Real” and “Country Outta My Girl.”
Also key for Evans was to make sure that his guitar playing—he cites Charlie Worsham and Keith Urban as influences—was more prominent, and served as something like a second voice on the album. To bring this vision together, Evans tapped veteran producer Dann Huff, a country music fixture who has worked with everyone from Faith Hill to Rascal Flatts. “Making an album with someone like Dann Huff, who I'm also aware has made so many albums, I really wanted to be intentional about making sure it sounded like me at the same time,” Evans tells Apple Music. “So he and I sat one afternoon and just played guitar. And I was like, ‘Look, dude, this is the guitar that I write all this stuff on. I really want this up front, leading the band like it will be when we go on the road.’” Below, Evans shares insight into several key tracks on The Country and the Coast Side A.
“Love Is Real” “‘Love Is Real’ was definitely the first step in this whole thing. It felt like it did when we wrote ‘Kiss Somebody.’ I remember when we wrote that song, I was like, ‘Okay, the rest of the album starts there.’ It was the first time that we'd been around other humans for six months or something. It was a very inspiring time. I had the title for a little while, and every time I went to write the title, I would get too clever about it. I would try to say things that weren't real. And that always just feels like you're too planned. I think the whole point of this song was just to capture that feeling of one of those moments where everything's right in the world.”
“Country Outta My Girl” “What I love about that song is that it's just about being proud of where you come from. I feel like where I come from in Newcastle, Australia, people have the same kind of feeling. Maybe the folks in Sydney refer to us as the ‘bogan town.’ Bogan's like Australian for redneck or whatever. But we all wore that as a badge of pride.”
“Beautiful Tonight” “To me, that's the pure love song of the project. And to me, it’s like a continuation of this song ‘Dance With Me’ on my first record, which was about me and [my wife] Kelsea [Ballerini] and that whole experience. I had the concept of it and that hook, the way that kind of lands at the end of ‘you look beautiful tonight’ going in. I don't think we could have written that chorus in any sort of planned way, because it doesn't feel like a ‘songwriter’ chorus. It just kind of lands. And to me, that's the magic of it.”