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Trou­ba­dour find­ing new in­spi­ra­tion with higher pro­file

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - MUSIC - By Bob Mehr

Ris­ing Amer­i­cana singer-song­writer John More­land will play a solo show Sun­day night at Lafayette’s Mu­sic Room. The gig will mark the Tulsa, Ok­la­homa, tune­smith’s of­fi­cial de­but in town — he played a pri­vate house show a cou­ple of years back — but he’s well fa­mil­iar with the Mid-south and its mu­si­cians.

“My mom’s side of the fam­ily is ac­tu­ally from Cold­wa­ter, Mis­sis­sippi, so I grew up hang­ing out there, and com­ing up to Mem­phis some,” More­land re­calls. “When I was about 20, I saw a doc­u­men­tary on Lucero. They were record­ing with Jim Dick­in­son at his farm, and it said ‘Cold­wa­ter, Mis­sis­sippi.’ ... It was a to­tal co­in­ci­dence that it was all go­ing on not far from me. But I had no idea. So I re­searched Jim, and have since met Luther Dick­in­son and the Lucero guys and be­came bud­dies with them.”

In fact, More­land has done sev­eral runs open­ing for Mem­phis alt-coun­try crew Lucero on the road, in­clud­ing a re­cent tour in April. It’s one of sev­eral fac­tors that have raised More­land’s pro­file con­sid­er­ably since the re­lease of his third album, “High on Tulsa Heat,” in 2015.

“I’ve been tour­ing hard, plus the last record was the first one where I could hire a pub­li­cist, which got more press. And I played on the ‘Late Show’ — that was the big­gest sin­gle boost,” he says. More­land has been bub­bling up in the pop cul­ture land­scape for a while, hav­ing placed sev­eral songs in the FX se­ries “Sons of Anar­chy.” “I guess if peo­ple know me or the mu­sic a lit­tle more now, it’s been a cul­mi­na­tion of all those things.”

More­land is part of a rich class of roots mu­si­cians who have emerged from Tulsa in the last few years: a bur­geon­ing bunch led by JD Mcpher­son, John Ful­bright and Parker Mill­sap. It’s the sort of run that has some pre­dict­ing Tulsa as the coun­try’s next mu­si­cal hot spot.

“Tulsa has had an ac­tive mu­sic scene

PHOTO BY KRIS PAYNE

Amer­i­cana singer-song­writer John More­land makes his of­fi­cial Mem­phis de­but with a show at Lafayette’s Mu­sic Room Sun­day night. 8 p.m. Sun­day, July 31 at Lafayette’s Mu­sic Room, 2119 Madi­son Av­enue. Tick­ets: $10. Avail­able at lafayettes.com/mem­phis

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