& Free Trip to Margaritaville
They have made a name for themselves as one of the best live acts on the Texas Country Music Scene. Darrin Morris Band–based out of Gilmer, Texas–knows how to deliver a high-energy show that is perfectly balanced with sing-along songs and whiskey-smooth harmonies. The guys have been making music together since 2012 and continue to earn die-hard fans in every town they play. While the pandemic has slowed touring, DMB has seen an opposite effect on Texas country radio, as their two most recent songs have soared up the charts. Dancing in the Rain made it all the way to the No. 5 spot on all major charts, becoming the band‘s first Top 10 single. And by late August, Country to the Bone had broken into the Top 20, continuing to move full steam ahead. If that’s not enough – DMB earned nominations in four categories at the upcoming Texas Country Music Awards. Lead singer Darrin Morris talks about 2020 – a year for the history books; and one award nomination that means more to him than he can express.
What a crazy year you guys have had – but let’s start from the beginning. When did music become important to you?
My dad was a minister, so we were always in church. That’s where I started singing. Then I got into choir in high school and loved doing musicals and acting. I just loved performing and singing. In the ‘90s, when I was in high school, Garth Brooks was the man. I was definitely influenced by his music and by Keith Whitley, who is my favorite artist of all time.
How did the Darrin Morris Band get its start?
I was doing electrical work as a career, but after getting laid off a couple of times, I finally said, “Forget this.” I loved to sing and had done some weddings, and people encouraged me to pursue it. In 2012, I decided to start my own band. We started playing at local restaurants and venues in East Texas. I love different types of music, but country music is where my heart is and where I naturally fit in – especially when it comes to writing. I grew up a pastor’s son, but I also grew up a country boy with cows, horses, and chickens – and have always loved hunting and fishing. So, we started playing locally in the Gilmer area, then started getting booked to play in other areas. It just took off from there.
You guys have had success on the music charts, but this year has been incredible. Dancing in the Rain was your first Top 10 song. What was that like?
I am still amazed at how well it did. When you’re wedged between Casey Donahew and Josh Ward and those guys – it’s so cool and really makes you feel good. It was definitely our breakthrough song in Houston. People started calling me and messaging me to tell me they heard it in Houston and in Conroe – it was crazy. Because of the success of this song, we got invited to play in the KILT – The Bull tent at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. It was phenomenal.
What gave you the idea to write that song?
I was taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon, and I have no idea why or where this came from. It wasn’t a rainy day – it was beautiful with the sun shining – but I woke up, and in my head, I started singing, “She likes dancing in the rain.” It was so weird. I don’t know other than the Good Lord above just planting that song in my heart – but within about 15 or 20 minutes, I had written that whole song, based on that one line I woke up to.
I love the message of the song – it’s about appreciating the simple things in life…
I will say, looking back on it now – that song is really how my family lives our life. We try not to focus on material things that life can give you – and there’s nothing wrong with nice cars and big houses – but it’s those moments that you spend with family and friends that matter. It sounds cliché, but moments like those are really priceless. I will always cherish the times I got to hunt with my dad, or the times now that I can hang out in the front yard and play kickball with my kids. I truly believe when we spend so much time trying to get better jobs and accumulate stuff, we miss out on what’s really important.
The song has certainly resonated with so many. What reaction have you gotten from fans?
People will send videos of them dancing and singing in the rain or swinging on a porch swing – so many people relate. It’s been really cool.
You guys followed that song with Country to the Bone, which is still on the charts. Why is this song important to you?
This song has two meanings – Country to the Bone is about living the country lifestyle – being in the woods and riding the backroads with a 4-wheel drive, a gun and dog…or having a campfire in the front yard. But it’s also about the country we live in. We live in the best country that God ever allowed to exist. I’m pro-USA all the way. I am proud to be an American. To me, that’s an important message.
Let’s talk about your live shows. You guys have so much energy.
Yeah… we do. (laughs) I like to move around a lot. I love to interact with the crowd. If I can, I will get out in the middle of the crowd, on a bar or on a table. I love to be right there with our fans, because our fans are crazy awesome.
And they are dedicated!
They are so dedicated and loyal. Anything I ever ask them to do – whether it’s on social media or at a live performance – they do it. Not only do they do it, but they make their kids do it, their husbands or wives do it – and their mammas, aunts, and uncles (laughs). We may not have the biggest fan base, but they are go-getters. We have been up against people at different award shows that should have killed us in every category; and we’ve ended up winning some of those categories. That proves our fans are 100% behind us. We’ve been on the Texas Country Music Cruise, and our fans purchased more cabins than those of any other artist the first 2 years. They are the absolute best!
You mentioned awards. You guys are up for four awards at this year’s Texas Country Music Awards in November. That must feel good.
Yeah, it’s incredible. Blake is up for Bassist of the Year, and Jeremy is up for Drummer of the Year. We are up for Band of the Year, which we were blessed to win in 2018 – again because we have incredible fans. We are also up for Christian Single of the Year for a song called Preacher Man. I cannot express what this nomination means to me. I originally wrote Preacher Man for my dad, who was a pastor for 48 years and passed away a few years ago. My parents were married for 53 years. I just recently lost my mom, and I’ve come to realize that my dad could never have been the successful pastor he was without my mom being by his side every step of the way. There is a line in Preacher Man that specifically talks about my mom. This song is really about their journey together for the cause of Christ. I am so glad they raised us to want to go to church. My wife and kids – even though two of my daughters are grown – we all still go to church together on Sunday mornings when I’m not traveling. That is the most important thing and will always be the most important thing in our lives.
Darrin Morris Band would not be what it is today without the four guys standing up there with you each night. How would you describe these guys?
These guys have the biggest hearts. We all grew up in the church and have the same perspective on life – and we have the same goals, which is so important. What is unique for us is that Jeremy, Michael, Blake, and I have been together for 8 years. Phillip joined us two-and-a-half years ago and fit right in. But, that’s a really long time to have the same group together. That’s why the music is so tight. We know what each other is going to do. If one of us messes up in a live performance, we all know how to cover for each other. Being together for so long has been a major blessing for sure.
What are your hopes for DMB in the future?
Just to keep making new fans, writing and recording great songs, and getting to perform across the state and the U.S. We’ve been blessed to take our tour outside of Texas and hope we continue making a name for ourselves across the country. It’s all about making great music.
Darrin Morris Band has a new single coming out next month called I Will. It will be available to download on all music platforms. Visit darrinmorris.band to find out when you catch a live show.