T. HARDY MORRIS
- July 2015 -
HAVE A BEER WITH T. HARDY MORRIS
On June 23, T. Hardy Morris released his new album Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountain Top, out via Dangerbird Records. The Athens, Ga., based songwriter, who also lends his talent to Diamond Rugs and Dead Confederate, spent the past year writing and recording the new album, the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2013 solo debut Audition Tapes.
The album as a whole is a melding of competing forces, as Hardy toes the line between his southern rock heritage and his coming of age during the heyday of alt-rock’s slacker generation. The result is a record that would be just as much at home in a Macon, Ga., dive bar as it would a parents-out-of-town ’90s house party in Olympia, Wash.
We had a quick talk with T. Hardy Morris in the press tent at Lollapalooza, where we chatted local brews, tequila, “crunge” and the evolution of Metallica.
Each track reverberates with a rebellious, defiant and occasionally even sympathetic Southern aesthetic. Morris’ yearning voice becomes more distinctive as the songs rumble on through the album. – American Songwriter
Listening to T. Hardy Morris and the Hardknocks will leave you feeling dirty, in a really good way… Morris is just the right amount of punk rock with a little country swagger and a carefree rock ‘n roll energy that electrifies the songs on his new record. - No Depression
If Audition Tapes was a high and lonesome mellow-roast with musical touchstones like Harvest era Neil and driving down a windy backroad alone, ‘Drownin On A Mountaintop’ blasts out of the garage like some high-octane muscle car full of friends, blasting Mott The Hoople on the way to the last-call dive bar. - Patterson Hood of Drive By Truckers
The Gig: Delta Spirit with T. Hardy Morris // Friday, July 31, 2015 // Subterranean
Drinks of Choice: Budweiser/Miller High Life
Kristen from A Beer with the Band: Welcome to Lollapalooza. You made it.
T. Hardy Morris: We made it. Barely. I overslept. I woke up and then I went back to sleep, which was part of the problem.
Kristen: Where are you guys staying?
T. Hardy Morris: We're at The Freehand on East Ohio. It's a little boutique hotel. It's pretty sweet.
Kristen: Yeah, I think I’ve heard of it. What’s your drink of choice? Obviously right now we’re drinking some good old Budweiser…
T. Hardy Morris: Well, I love alcohol, so…
Kristen: Go on…
T. Hardy Morris: If I'm just at home drinking beer, I drink Miller High Life. That's my go-to beer. I also like Kentucky lager, which is refreshing. I live in Georgia so it gets pretty hot. There's a brewery in Athens, Ga., where I live now, called Creature Comforts that has a really awesome sour beer. And lately I’ve been into tequila and I’ve been enjoying trying different kinds. I like the taste.
Kristen: Dude, I wish I could be there with you but I cannot do tequila.
T. Hardy Morris: You got too drunk on it too many times?
Kristen:It was unfortunately the 21st-birthday drink of choice and then, from that point on…
T. Hardy Morris: I got lucky because my 21st-birthday drink of choice that made me so ill was Jägermeister ... and who gives a shit about Jägermeister?
Kristen: That’s a good point. Let’s talk music. You came out with a record — Drownin’ on a Mountaintop — relatively recently.
T. Hardy Morris: It just came out a few weeks ago, yeah. It's still kind of bubbling and getting out there but reviews have been really good. All my peers that have gotten it love it. I love it.
Kristen: What was the creative process like making that record?
T. Hardy Morris: We recorded it in Athens and mixed a good bit of it over in Nashville. My buddy Adam Landry, who produced it, Adam Landry and Justin Collins. They're Nashville-based, but they came over to Athens so we could record because I was about to have a baby. I kind of needed to be closer to home. So, we recorded there and mixed a bunch over in Nashville. It's a really loud record — but with pedal steel.
Kristen: I read that about a very particular “genre” your music has been coined as.
T. Hardy Morris: "Crunge?" Yeah. A friend of mine is who came up with that term. It's exactly what it sounds like.
Kristen: I’d say the phrase fits your sound pretty well.
T. Hardy Morris: Yeah, I had a few songs that kind of did that…and Adam, the producer, said, "What if you did a whole album like that?" There are a couple more chill songs but, for the most part, Drownin’ on a Mountaintop, that. We basically just exploited that idea of country and grunge. I've always thought of good grunge music as kind of rural music, anyway. I think the country thing kind of bleeds into it and it works pretty well. It's not that big of a stretch, really.
Kristen: Have you always been interested in those two genres?
T. Hardy Morris: Yeah, those are my favorite sounds: classic country and then bands like Nirvana and The Meat Puppets. I was all about them when I first started playing music.
Kristen: My brother is a huge Meat Puppets fan.
T. Hardy Morris: Me, too. I've actually toured with them a couple times. They're awesome.
Kristen: What's it like touring with a band that you respect and look up to so much? I imagine it would be somewhat intimidating.
T. Hardy Morris: Not really intimidating, especially not with those guys because they're so down to earth. They're not typical rock stars, at all.
Kristen: And last night you played a Lollapalooza aftershow with Delta Spirit.
T. Hardy Morris: Yeah, at the Subterranean. It was awesome. And Subterranean was the first venue I ever played in Chicago. Ten years ago. So, it was pretty cool to be back.
Kristen: Who are you looking forward to seeing here at the festival?
T. Hardy Morris: I gotta see some Metallica. I gotta see some of that.
Kristen: They're old dudes, now, aren't they?
T. Hardy Morris: They're like grandparents. I’m sure it’s quite a production. It'd be worth seeing them. That'd be a good interview. You know, when they were first a band and touring, they drank tons. People used to call them “Alcoholica.”
Kristen: I'll see if I can get in touch with their press person for an interview [Laughs]. I'll let you know how that goes.
T. Hardy Morris: They probably don't like to talk about that too much anymore.
Kristen: Yeah, they're on a 15-year cleanse now.
T. Hardy Morris: Have you seen the Metallica documentary? It's fucking hilarious. It probably came out in the early 2000s. I think it's called “Some Kind of Monster.” It's a documentary on the band and it's kind of where they are now…but they’re all in therapy together. It’s obvious that they’re just trying to be real about the band, but it makes them look so dysfunctional. It’s actually really funny. It's worth watching.
Kristen: I’ll have to check it out. So, now that we’ve covered “rock-‘n’-roll,” I have to ask: what’s the least rock-‘n’-roll thing you’ve done in the past week?
T. Hardy Morris: When I was home for a day and off tour I did some yard work. I like mowing my grass.
Kristen: Do you have one of the ones that you can drive?
T. Hardy Morris: No, but I thought about getting one of those!
Kristen: I picture those being a big thing in the south, where there’s a lot more ground to cover. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
T. Hardy Morris: Well, I did really bad in school. Not because I was misbehaving but because I just couldn't get it, you know? But my dad, he always told me, "It's not how smart you are; It's how are you smart." More kids should probably hear that. His point was to do what you're strong at, focus on what you’re good at. Don't worry about the test scores and all that crap.
Kristen: Did that advice encourage you to pursue the music?
T. Hardy Morris: For sure. That’s why I started writing songs. They might not be the best songs in the world but it's the only thing I'm good at. You know what I mean?
Kristen: Well, that’s not true. You can mow your lawn and… [Laughs]
T. Hardy Morris: Well, music isn’t the only thing. But, you know, when you're coming along trying to figure out what you're going to do. You think to yourself, "Well, I can kind of do this ...And I like it.” So I just kept on doing it.