It was just before Christmas when I met up with Jake Morrell in the rooftop terrace of the Karma Sanctum Hotel in Soho. It’s always fun to hang out when there’s no agenda such as a gig, promo night or an awards ceremony. Well, there was an agenda of sorts – the No Chords But The Truth podcast was being prepped to launch and I was keen to have Jake on as an artist who is at the top of the country, roots and Americana tree in the UK, thanks to his relentless touring, festival slots and big support gigs. And let’s not forget those songs of his.

So… what is Jake Morrell’s musical style? Country? He’d say no. Folk? Not really, though folk is undoubtably a big influence. Americana? I’m not sure, but as we conclude in the chat, maybe he is….. without knowing. It’s a fascinating conversation that leads into talk of his musical roots, his decisions to stop playing music and even British artists performing with American accents!

But all this got me thinking.

With the rise of country music specifically here in the UK in the past four or five years, are music listeners more accepting of the genre or have the proverbial Stetsons (goalposts) moved?

Festivals such as C2C: Country to Country and The Long Road are thriving but additionally alongside those, we have The British Country Music Festival, Buckle and Boots and a whole conference and awards week dedicated to UK Americana music with AMA-UK.

So, what is the cut off? Even with big fan favourites such as Freewheeling and Englishman (“I don’t wanna go to Nashville!”), Jake Morrell doesn’t class himself as country. Is that due to the literal lack of pedal steel and two-step Honky Tonk beats or is it by choice? Let’s be honest, he doesn’t exactly sound like Shania Twain or Hank Williams, does he?

I’ve said for a long time that as country music grows, the audience will widen and the music will diversify. I saw it when punk ‘sold out’ with Green Day’s release of Dookie and now we’re seeing it with pop and rap artists like Lil Nas X, Bebe Rexha and Halsey all putting out country records in recent years.

The beauty of the UK is that we do have a rich history of roots music. Our folk music (Albion Band, Show Of Hands, Chris Wood) has blossomed into sub genres and Americana alongside the emergence of mainstream folk rock. Mumford & Sons, for example, has brought about the acceptance of country music and has allowed that to flourish – notably a big influence for this has been Bob Harris’ Under The Apple Tree video series. Now even large-scale media corporations are getting on board, with Bauer last year launching the first national country radio station, Country Hits Radio.

The key word here is acceptance and that’s just fine. How cool is it that we even get to have this conversation? Here’s to country music and the rest of our scene.

You can hear the full conversation with Jake Morrell on the No Chords But The Truth podcast on iTunes, Spotify and all your favourite podcast apps.

Full Transcript

Jake Morrell: Stopping Music, Dermot O’Leary and Acceptance  

Matt Spracklen: Welcome to the first episode of the ‘No Chords but The Truth’ podcast in association with The British Country Music Festival. My name is Matt Spracklen and in this episode I’m joined by my good friend Jake Morrell on the rooftop of Karma Sanctum Hotel in Soho, where we talk about what he finds hardest on tour, how Dermot O’Leary helped his career and why he stopped playing music. So, let’s jump on in. Here’s Jake Morrell.

Jake Morrell: …..If it’s anything like this year (2019), it’s going to be wicked.

Matt Spracklen: I was speaking to someone last night and I feel that for country music here in the UK, I know it’s been growing for a good five, six years and I know it’s been really exciting for the last three years, but it just feels like 2019 was the one where everyone was everywhere all of the time. First those festivals, it felt like there was a festival every week, there were gigs all the time. Every country gig sold out because it’s country, do you know what I mean?

Jake Morrell: I feel like people have really started to take pride in their craft and particularly live shows and stuff like that and people are trying to make much more of a thing and I think it’s really cool, I’m always trying to improve as an artist. I feel like this year has been a really big year for country music and I think that’s very cool.

Matt Spracklen: What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re out because obviously you play with the band, you play solo, you play in rounds? You can meet people, talk about it. There are so many places where as an artist, you can go and do something. It can be different wherever you go.

Jake Morrell: They’re all kind of on a par. As long as the energy is good and that kind of thing. I love rounds. I love singing in the round. It’s so much fun because you just don’t know what’s going to happen and you don’t know who’s going to jump in on a song and that’s where I think knowing your songs comes in, knowing every which way round your songs….because if someone jumps in and you don’t realise they’re going to jump in and sometimes say oh, that’s really cool, now I’ve forgotten all my lyrics, which does happen!

Matt Spracklen: I noticed that because you did the round at The British Country Music Festival. Who was in that? Twinnie?

Jake Morrell: Twinnie, me..

Matt Spracklen: You..

Jake Morrell: And The Luck

Matt Spracklen: And then Tim Prottey-Jones hosting it.

Jake Morrell: Why Tim wasn’t singing I don’t know

Matt Spracklen: But he joined in a bit though.

Jake Morrell: Yeah.

Matt Spracklen: And that’s what I like, I mean it is very Nashville. You get someone else, another artist who knows your music enough to join harmony, or maybe you play a lick on guitar or they harmonise or something like that?

Jake Morrell: Yeah. I think it’s wicked and I think it’s really cool and I also think it shows a level of musicianship when you can just jump in on to someone else’s track, even if you have never heard it before. It’s really cool.

Matt Spracklen: I remember I was at The Round Up and Eddie Smith was playing and Lewis from Two Ways Home just started playing guitar stuff. You know you would have no idea if he knew it….

Jake Morrell: Lewis is a great guitar player man, he is a great guitar player and he is really cool when he does that.

Matt Spracklen: He just joins in doesn’t he?

Jake Morrell: Yeah.

Matt Spracklen: Yeah, that is cool. Where did we meet? I was trying to figure this out the other day. I think I know, but do you remember where we met?

Jake Morrell: No, I don’t remember. I don’t remember a lot of anything.

Matt Spracklen: Well, that’s why I’m surprised I do. I think you had an impression on me.

Jake Morrell: Wait, didn’t we meet? We met at C2C.

Matt Spracklen: Did we?

Jake Morrell: I swear we did.

Matt Spracklen: Oh, this could be embarrassing. This could be one of these things where I thought we have maybe known each other longer than I thought we have.

Jake Morrell: I think you started to be around in the scene and then I officially met you through I think Tim (Prottey-Jones), at C2C.

Matt Spracklen: Ah in the bar? All Bar One?

Jake Morrell: Yeah.

Matt Spracklen: Yeah, I do remember that and I was leaving.

Jake Morrell: Yeah.

Matt Spracklen: And he said ‘This is Jake Morrell’ and I said ‘Yeah I’ve heard of you’.

Matt Spracklen: Yeah. I think that’s where we met.

Jake Morrell: But you know, the first time we met was at the Triple Fret launch.
That was a really fun night actually.

Matt Spracklen: That’s what I was pinpointed to. Yeah, that was really cool.

Jake Morrell: That was good fun. Free gin.

Matt Spracklen: You can’t go wrong with free gin.

Jake Morrell: You can’t.

Matt Spracklen: Well, actually, let’s start off ….when I played in a punk band there was a time when we started out that our singer sang in an American accent to the point where we’d be reviewed on it. Why is that happening? That happens, doesn’t it in the country scene?

Jake Morrell: I will not comment on this.

Matt Spracklen: Why not?

Jake Morrell: No it does. But that’s because people are heavily influenced by the American scene and I think that just comes with it. I try not to do that.

Matt Spracklen: You don’t.

Jake Morrell: I have been known in the studio to slip into it and I tell the producer, if I start singing in an American accent, tell me and I will sort it out because I don’t want that to come across, but their twang really helps with words and singing and making it sound quite poetic and I think that’s where people slip into it.

Matt Spracklen: It’s like when you go somewhere you pick up…. even in the U.K., maybe you go up north for three weeks, you end up dropping in the odd ‘hey up’, do you know what I mean?

Jake Morrell: I went to Ireland for four days last week and I was saying ‘grand’ like you wouldn’t believe, it was ridiculous. So yeah, most of us I think listen to a lot of country music all the time, and I think that just gets ingrained into your subconscious effectively and then it just comes out when you start writing a song, but each to their own.

Matt Spracklen: Yeah, I don’t think it’s detrimental. I just find it interesting because also we don’t hear many…..

Jake Morrell: ……I’d find it strange if you sang in an American accent and then all of a sudden you start talking in the harshest Essex accent ever. I find that very strange, but again, each to their own and if it sounds nice, it sounds great doesn’t it?

Matt Spracklen: It’s just one of the things I have to chuck out on Twitter every now and then. Not my opinion. Basically, I drafted a tweet that said ‘English singers with American accents, thoughts?’ Just to see what people might bite at, but only in the devil’s advocate kind of way, because you’re right, it is easy to slip into that, that’s why I prefaced it by saying I was in a band with a singer and he did it really easily.

Matt Spracklen: Were you a musician, an artist, a writer before country music or was it country music that made you sing?

Jake Morrell: How far back do you want to go?

Matt Spracklen: As far as you want? Well, when was the first time you picked up a guitar?

Jake Morrell: When I was about 16.

Matt Spracklen: Oh really, okay, you surprise me.

Jake Morrell: I actually started playing piano first and then just really struggled with the whole reading music thing. So I scrapped that and picked up a bass because I could do a lot more with my ear and then me and my brother, my little brother, were having guitar lessons at the same time and I was playing bass and he was playing guitar and I was like ‘can I try the guitar?’ and then I never gave it back to him! Basically, he stopped having lessons and I carried on playing.

I started doing musical theatre when I was really young. I’ve been on stage forever. My family are very musical, my Dad has always been in rock bands, although more recently he has made himself a folk band and I’ve just been around music, always taking gigs, went to Cambridge Folk Festival for the last however many years. It’s an amazing festival. It’s wicked and then just started writing as soon as I picked up a guitar really…. but trust me, the songs are terrible. They’re awful. No one should ever hear them. I just kept playing and then I kind of stopped when I was at uni and I was like okay I’m here to do a degree, I should probably try and concentrate on that.

Matt Spracklen: And what was that career? What were you trying to do?

Jake Morrell: Graphic Design.

Matt Spracklen: I say trying. You were probably really good.

Jake Morrell: I was very average, I’ve always been a very, very average student. Just an average human being actually.

Matt Spracklen: No, I’m not having that. So you consciously stopped playing music?

Jake Morrell: I stopped writing songs. I kind of stopped writing songs at the end of college when I was going to uni, and then started playing a few open mic nights and some of my friends really got behind me. After uni, I was just like, I don’t want to do graphics, I really don’t. I’m absolutely sick of it. Trust me, it’s a really useful skill to have, I do all of my own stuff. It saves me a lot of money, but then I just went to my parents and said ‘guys, I really want to try this music thing’ and they were amazing, do it, crack on and I did and I haven’t stopped.

Matt Spracklen: So, how did you support yourself?

Jake Morrell: Graphics work. I worked on building sites. I’ve done everything, my parents helped me out, they’re amazing people.

Matt Spracklen: You tour all the time.

Jake Morrell: Yeah, only proper touring within the last couple of years when I picked up my agent who’s doing an amazing job, and I said to him, I just want to be out. I just want to be playing, I want to be seen, I want to be gigging, it’s my favourite thing to do. I love seeing new places. It’s the excitement for me and I just want to work and work and work. I was chatting to Lindsay Ell because I supported her a few weeks ago and I’ve got a work ethic.

Matt Spracklen: Talk about work ethic.

Jake Morrell: She takes it to a new level. I said to her you are very much an inspiration for how hard you work. I think you have to be a little bit careful around your mental health and your well-being and I still want to have an element of a social life but you know I just want to play, I just want to work, I want to gig, I want to write songs, I want to be in the studio all the time. I want this as my life and I will go and get it.

Matt Spracklen: And that brings so much fun along the way.

Jake Morrell: You meet some amazing people in this world, man. I’m not going to say you, because you’re here (laughter)

Matt Spracklen: You can say it, I’ll just edit it out

Jake Morrell: You meet some incredible people, particularly in London. I’ve been here for six or seven years now. There’s just an insanely cool bunch of people here.

Matt Spracklen: The community in country music is, you know, it’s not even like everyone’s got together and gone right there are about five thousand of us here, we all love country music and we have seen how it is in Nashville, so this is how it has to be. It is just intuitively friendly and supportive and exciting because people get excited about the music. People get excited about the artist. People will go out to show after show after show and support the scene and it is the best way of making friends in music. It is one of the coolest things in the world.

Jake Morrell: It is amazing man. Going back to your original question, I started off incredibly folky. I mean, serious Bob Dylan kind of vibes and then I just sort of very naturally transitioned into more Americana and then when I did my first proper country style EP ‘Wire and Thorns’, I was like, cool, this is where I want to go and I started bingeing on country music and all that kind of stuff.

Matt Spracklen: There will be people listening that will go yeah but what is Americana?

Jake Morrell: Oh, no one knows.

Matt Spracklen: What is it to you?

Jake Morrell: I think it’s a grittier folk music. I think that’s what it is to me.

Matt Spracklen: Earthier?

Jake Morrell: Yeah and it’s adding in, I don’t really know how to explain it….

Matt Spracklen: I don’t think anyone does. I heard someone say the other day, it’s all the music that no one knows what it is…. call it Americana.

Jake Morrell: That’s a very, very good description. That’s so accurate. I don’t really know.

Matt Spracklen: I think that’s detrimental to some of the incredible Americana artists, because obviously it is the sound.

Jake Morrell: I just think it’s that middle ground between folk and country, hip hop country.

Matt Spracklen: Yeah.

Jake Morrell: Because there’s still a pop Americana kind of thing.

Matt Spracklen: Blue grass?

Jake Morrell: Yeah. I mean, they’re all under that kind of bracket of just wooden instruments.

Matt Spracklen: …..and then Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello.

Jake Morrell: Yeah. I mean Springsteen I’d say definitely huge sort of rock Americana, bluesy, amazing. Definitely one of my influences. Huge.

Matt Spracklen: Which is cool. It is also an entry into country music. I mean there are still people out there….. I met an artist the other night. I met a friend of mine over from Canada touring and recording an album here. She says “I never want to do country and people keep saying to me, all that sounds bit country”. She hates country music. It’s the one thing she doesn’t want to do but she’s got songs that are just country music. I’m like, well, it’s basically Americana. She’s like, yeah, but I like it. Every artist that she was labelling, (I said) ‘you are listening to Americana music. You are recording and writing Americana music, go with it.’

Jake Morrell: In all fairness, personally I don’t class myself as country. Other people do that. I just love being part of the scene. I just write music; I just write songs and I’m heavily influenced by country. I love it. I love the scene. I love the people. I love Nashville, even though I’ve got a song that says [“I don’t need to go to Nashville”] yep, been there, it’s amazing. I will be going back. I let people shove me in whatever bracket they want. I hate the question: “What genre are you?” I say country for ease of peace of mind.

Matt Spracklen: …To get you into C2C!

Jake Morrell: Well I mean. Yeah, why not. Why would it not open doors for me like that? That’s the whole game is opening doors.

Matt Spracklen: Let’s not get away from the fact that there are people out there that have decided to be country to fit into a scene whereas sometimes, when it’s natural, that’s just what you write. You don’t need to label yourself. It’s what you do. Because, songwriting is your thing.

Jake Morrell: Yeah. I love songwriting.

Matt Spracklen: You write with a lot of other artists as well. That’s growing as well, obviously people getting in contact with you saying I’m writing music, I want someone to…. how do those conversations happen? Do they just want help? Inspiration? Guidance?

Jake Morrell: A bit of everything, I don’t know. People see me out touring a lot which helps to get my name around and then (they) probably go out and check out my music and then think ah ok he doesn’t write crap songs. We can write together. A lot of people just message me saying I’d love to write with you, and I’m like awesome, great, let’s do it. I don’t care how good or bad you are, you can still write an amazing song. I don’t think you should ever be afraid of approaching someone to write a song. Definitely not. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are.

I’ve worked with some very amazing people who have done some hilariously big things and it’s a little bit scary but everyone’s just a person and I just love it. I love it.

I was writing with Emily Faye yesterday. I got contacted by a girl called Mairead. She messaged me yesterday saying, can we write in the new year (2020) and I’ve been talking to Elles Bailey about writing, which I think will be so much fun and then I have writes next week….. I’m always writing. Always, always, always writing. I just want to get that back catalogue. I write with Sue McMillan a lot who is a phenomenal writer and we are setting up new projects.

Matt Spracklen: It is an avenue that is understandably ignored by even artists and musicians, that power of the songwriting side of things but it is intrinsic. Who inspired you to write the way you do? Who are your biggest inspirations artist wise? Writing wise?

Jake Morrell: This might shock some people. I’ve been massively, heavily influenced by the likes of Coldplay and Keane and I grew up listening to Dads’ records so things like James Taylor, Springsteen obviously, Rolling Stones. The stuff that has always been there in the background. I’ve just always been around music, it’s always playing in our house.

My drummer Lewis has the most insane music taste ever. Obviously, when we were touring and we’ve done gigs for years, we’ve made music together since we were about 15 at some vague level, he’s just always introduced me to a whole eclectic mix of music. It ranges from classical right through to Bon Iver. I want to absorb as much songwriting capability as I can, not just shove myself into one genre and write about trucks!

Matt Spracklen: I feel like the strap line for this is going to be the nicest man in country music.

Jake Morrell: I’m trying to give Keith Urban a run for his money.

Matt Spracklen: Dermot O’Leary. What was that about?

Jake Morrell: That was thanks to my Mum. So, he used to do a thing on his show called ‘Some Mums do Indie’. I don’t know if you remember this feature? This was before he moved to the breakfast show back in 2016, even though I still ramble on about it. So, he used to do that and basically, my Mum, without me knowing, sent in my track ‘Wire and Thorns’. They absolutely loved it. They played it on the show. I got a huge response which led me to getting a slot Glastonbury that year via an invite from Emily Eavis which was amazing, and then they heard about that and invited me back in to play live on the show, which was terrifying because in my head, I was still quite fresh.

So, we did. I took three of my band members. We went to the show and I think it was a few million listening to BBC Radio 2 and then that’s how I met my management because he recommended me. He said I was at the top of his list of song-writers to look out for. It was really amazing and he’s a really lovely guy. He made me feel incredibly welcome and his whole team are really lovely and I literally owe him a lot as well as my Mum. My Mum’s a legend mate. She’s nuts, but she’s a legend.

Matt Spracklen: What’s beautiful really is that musicians and singers and artists and bands, they still and rightly so, feel that radio play is just…. it’s almost like…. the Holy Grail. Do you know what I mean?

Jake Morrell: I think it still is. I think streaming is coming up in that kind of getting on a big playlist.

Matt Spracklen: But to hear yourself on the radio. There is something about it isn’t there?

Jake Morrell: Yeah definitely. I have been played on Radio 2 since. Brad Paisley gave ‘Freewheelin’ a spin earlier this year which was amazing. I think he just took a few UK artists….

Matt Spracklen: ….I think he heard my show to be fair?

Jake Morrell: Yeah!

Matt Spracklen: Yeah, yeah. He’s been listening to it.

Matt Spracklen: In reality does that then have a knock on effect to popularity, streams, social media growth? If you get radio play….

Jake Morrell: ….I think it’s huge. I think it’s still massive. What do you do when you get into the car? You either put a Spotify playlist on or you put the radio on and it’s normally a BBC radio station unless you’re in London and you love the pirate stations, that kind of thing. I think it’s massive. I think if you can get on a A or B playlist for Radio 1 or 2, you’re in, unless you do something drastically wrong and stop producing music and stop working. There’s a gateway there and I think that’s what everyone’s asking for. That’s what everyone wants. I mean, look at The Shires, Ward Thomas and their radio play on Radio 2. I think it’s helped form their careers.

Matt Spracklen: Well, it unlocks doors as well into the bigger festivals.

Jake Morrell: Massively. Your audience just quadruples. Massive. It’s huge. It’s ridiculous. And I don’t think people still understand how big that is. It’s the reason why you have to pay pluggers and things to take your music into these places. It’s expensive and it sucks and you are like ahh what am I paying for? I don’t know but they have a job and it is a really important one if you want to grow as an artist.

Matt Spracklen: Do you enjoy the whole social media side of it as well?

Jake Morrell: I do enjoy social media.

Matt Spracklen: You are a bit of a vlogger as well?

Jake Morrell: I’m trying, I’m trying so hard. I watch YouTube a lot. I’m getting really into my photography and that kind of stuff just as an external hobby so when I don’t want to think about music, it’s there and I can still be creative but it’s just for me. The vlogging side of it, I don’t know, I just kind of wanted to give people an insight to what it’s like to be an unsigned artist trying to just do his thing and earn a living and that kind of stuff. Funnily enough, I had Tim Prottey-Jones messaging me about vlogging yesterday. I think he wants to start doing it and it’s a very American thing, vlogging. I don’t know a lot of U.K. people who do it, apart from you.

Matt Spracklen: Well, yeah, I don’t really vlog though, I just sort of…..

Jake Morrell: ….It’s a form of vlogging though wouldn’t you say? It’s showing someone behind the scenes and that kind of stuff and that’s all I’m trying to do. I’m just a little bit of a nerd in that aspect. I love the editing side of it and that kind of stuff.

Matt Spracklen: But there are also a lot of people that do want to see that as well. When you think of Tim and yourself?

Jake Morrell: I hope so yeah. When you think about it, we get to do some pretty cool stuff and we get to see some pretty cool people and meet some cool people and yeah, we travel a lot. I’ve been to Scotland three times this year.

Matt Spracklen: Well, I had a Twitter question earlier on from Jeff King that said ‘when are you next coming back to Newcastle?’

Jake Morrell: Jeff is relentlessly trying to get me back.

Matt Spracklen: Right, that’s just a tweet I got in.

Jake Morrell: I am going to be touring I can imagine all of the year. I’ve just got emails through about festivals and things coming through already. It’s going be a really busy year and of course I would love to go back up to Newcastle. I had so much fun.

Matt Spracklen: Newcastle’s fun.

Jake Morrell: It’s a wicked city man. I’d never been before but I did the Introducing Nashville this year at Sage (Gateshead), which was one of my favourite venues of all time. It was like, you know, where they have the council meetings in the Star Wars films. It was like the inside of that, it’s mad man it’s so cool and they were all really lovely, but the city was wicked, really cool.

Matt Spracklen: So, here is a thing, people watching social media, people seeing that you are travelling around, we have talked about like how fun it is, talked about how cool it is to tour, hang out with friends, write music, record music in the studio or get radio play. What is it, that maybe more than one thing, but what is it you struggle with the most or find really hard about what you do?

Jake Morrell: I would have to say it and it is certainly definitely apparent this year, is being on my own a lot. I am on my own all of the time and I don’t mind my own company, I think I’m okay, but it does get a little bit lonely sometimes, and it’s when I get the opportunity to bring my band or just my guitarist or whoever along for the trip, it makes it a lot more fun and a bit easier. I do a hilarious amount of miles on my own and that’s what I really struggle with and that just plays on the mental health side of things.

I grew up around mental health, so it’s very much a key thing in my head. My parents ran a mental health home back in Norfolk, so I’m aware how brutal this industry is. Hence, why I took some time last week to just play golf. I went to Ireland and took my missus and stuff and it was lovely. I just think sometimes you need to reboot. Yeah, it’s definitely the being on your own thing.

Matt Spracklen: So have you got ways of dealing with that?

Jake Morrell: I talk to people. I will talk to strangers. The thing is about the country music scene is the people will just come and talk to you. If they are there to see a gig, maybe you are supporting or whatever, they will just come and talk to you. They will be just like ‘oh, hey, how’s it, going?’ and you just interact with people and that’s really lovely. The struggle is then when you get in the car and you’ve got a four-hour drive to do on your own and it’s really boring. So, yeah, I just kind of do that. I try and be social. I try and go out to shows and see people who are in the scene because everyone’s working all the time and it’s very busy so yeah…. I feel like I’m rambling.

Matt Spracklen: No, it’s a good thing. Going to see other shows is a good thing as well. There’s a lot of people that wouldn’t get to go out and see other bands play.

Jake Morrell: That’s the great thing about being London, there is usually always something on which is quite cool.

Matt Spracklen: Coming at it from the home-grown side of things, we are a relatively small country and there are a lot of shows that go on all of the time and this actually might roll into probably the last question I would want to ask and that would be what is your advice to anyone who wants to get to the level you’re at? You know, the records you are putting out. What would you say to someone who would ask the question ‘how do I get there in this scene that is like a home-grown community’?

Jake Morrell: I would say work hard. Don’t be afraid to approach venues and write or at least try to write the best songs possible, really vet yourself. I’m very lucky to have my Dad for instance, my parents are very critical, but in such a good way whenever I perform, and if you don’t have someone to do that for you just try and do it for yourself. Quality over quantity I think would be my main message. Just work hard. I think if you want it, you’ve got to go get it and I think that’s the most clichéd thing I probably could have said, but it’s actually true. You’re going to have low points and you’re going to have high points and you need to, when you are at the low point, you need to remember why you’re doing it. You need to remember that feeling because it is tough, it’s not easy. I’m exhausted all the time, but I don’t care because I want it.

Matt Spracklen: And it gives you inspiration to write more songs?

Jake Morrell: Absolutely. Yeah. Just take life by the scruff of the neck and say cool, let’s have fun. That sounds terrible doesn’t it? That’s not good. Yeah. Keep writing. So many things. There’re so many things.

Matt Spracklen: What’s the best thing you’ve done so far in your music career?

Jake Morrell: That is a really hard question because there is a lot.

Matt Spracklen: If you could go back and do one of the things you’ve done again, what would it be?

Jake Morrell: I would love to do The Long Road gig that I did this year (2019). It was unbelievable. I was on such a high after that. It’s not even the biggest stage and I don’t care. It was the atmosphere and the crowd were unbelievable because I think I went into it with such low expectations. I was like ‘it’s Friday! It’s Friday at 4:00 o’clock, everyone’s going to be still at work and there is going to be no-one there and I turned up and it was rammed and they were all singing and they were all dancing, having a great time and yeah, phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.

Matt Spracklen: There’s probably an argument that it is better than a Sunday afternoon, because everyone is there getting into it. Everyone’s knackered by Sunday!

Jake Morrell: Yeah. I mean it was definitely my festival highlight this year (2019)

Matt Spracklen: And it was a proper Jake Morrell show as well, do you know what I mean because everyone was singing along?

Jake Morrell: Everyone was singing, and if I can get that to an arena level, I would be a very, very happy man.

Matt Spracklen: Thanks for listening to this episode of ‘No Chords But The Truth’ in association with The British Country Music Festival. We would love it if you subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, and extra love if you’d give us a lovely five star rating. You can even review the podcast and leave a comment with who you’d like to see on. You can find me on social media @Matt Spracklen and follow The British Country Music Festival on @TBCMF See you next time.


Matt Spracklen is a radio and television presenter as well as a reputable music blogger. Matt currently hosts his own show on Bauer Media’s Country Hits Radio and having studied music in Nashville, he is seen as one of the UK’s leading authorities on all things country and Americana. He is known for championing British artists and continues to provide a platform on his radio show not just for headliners, but also emerging talent. He was a judge on BBC One’s All Together Now, he is the main presenter for the main stage at The British Country Music Festival and is in demand as a host for corporate events and music awards shows. Matt is an avid blogger and social media guru and has a considerable social media following, ensuring he is on most PR companies VIP lists for key music industry events. @mattspracklen

Sarah Bishop  is a well respected radio producer who has worked with names including Edith Bowman and Arielle Free. She is currently the producer of The Frank Skinner Show on Absolute Radio as well as The Times’ podcast Walking the Dog. Sarah also works closely with high profile talent on television programmes such as the award-winning sitcom Catastrophe and award shows including The BAFTAs, The Brit Awards and MTV’s Europe Music Awards. @sarahbishop92

Commissioned by:
The British Country Music Festival  We are delighted to bring you No Chords But The Truth and we would like to thank all the talented artists who will be contributing to the show.  When we first discussed the podcast with Matt and Sarah, it was clear that we all shared the same passion to provide a voice and platform for UK home grown country & Americana artists and songwriters.  Please follow, subscribe, review, comment, fill in those little stars and join our community. Thanks for listening. Martin & Marina @TBCMF  #NCBT

Karma Sanctum Hotel, The intimate Roof Terrace comprises of three inter-connecting areas. The inside bar, covered lounge with fireplace and adjacent resident’s area provides a unique hangout and escape from the bustling streets of Soho. In house guests benefit from 24 hour bar service and access to the hot tub. It’s also open all day until 1am to non residents (Sunday 10:30pm), booking essential. @karmasanctumldn

The Virtual Temp, Debbie is our go to resource for transcriptions, minutes and admin services.

Click the link to find out more About The British Country Music Festival , explore our history, our place in the UK Country music scene, and our future ambitions.

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