The Still Tide is the creative force behind reverberating indie rocker Anna Morsett.
The Still Tide saw its first sounds materialize in Brooklyn, where Morsett met future bandmate Jake Miller and began writing music influenced by his upbringing in Olympia, Washington. Influences from Jimi Hendrix to Pearl Jam and Nirvana ran through Morsett and Miller’s early compositions, and they tried to find a home for this sound among the hyper-saturated indie-rock scene of late 90s New York.
Eventually, Morsett was hired as bassist for rock band These United States and embarked on a fateful tour that would alter both the sound and fate of her music. “We did this really long tour, and during this tour my partner and I had separated, so I decided to leave New York,” she says. “I think I was getting really frustrated knowing that all these ideas were there, but you could never bring them to fruition.”
After the These United States tour ended, Morsett found herself in limbo, living with her parents and disillusioned with the romance of Brooklyn’s legendary music scene. “I was really depressed after I left New York and wasn’t sure where my life was going,” Morsett recalled. “After this really long touring season – I think it was April to December, it was just a long, brutal tour – I didn’t know where to go.”
At the time, American songwriter Jesse Elliott was living in Denver with his girlfriend and asked Morsett out. She accepted the offer but was still cynical that it was going to do anything. “Jesse and his girlfriend, Lindsay, were like, ‘Just come to Denver. Come here for a writing retreat or something!'” Morsett recalled. go. ”
In Denver, she started a roots rock band with Elliott called Ark Life, which had its own golden moment in Denver before its members scattered to the winds.
However, despite her band’s dissipation, Morsett fell in love with the stage. “I just couldn’t believe how supportive, encouraging and kind everyone was, especially within the music community. I was so amazed at what would happen when people said, ‘What are you doing? Do you have an upcoming show? I will come to your show,” she said. “I feel like people would say that in New York and we would never see them. But in Colorado – I remember opening for a band at hi-dive, and that was my first gig in denver [as a solo artist], so I was really nervous. I had talked to some people about it, and they were like, ‘Oh, we’ll come, we’ll bring our friends.’ And I was like, ‘Of course, whatever.’ Contrary to what she assumed, these random people showed up and brought their friends.
“It actually made me more nervous, because I was opening for this act that I think I was a huge fan of, going into the world as a solo artist,” she recalled, ” and now all these people that I just met showed up, and I was like, ‘What the fuck?!’ »
In Denver, the support of the community and fellow musicians encouraged her to find the space and time to succeed. This contrasted sharply with the hectic nature of Brooklyn. The new context allowed her to focus on the more sentimental and less aggressive side of her songwriting – something she had struggled with on the New York bar circuit, which she felt required a more explosive approach. While she didn’t consider the grungier songs she wrote for the New York underground to be inauthentic, her sound wasn’t where her heart lived. Instead, she wanted to leverage her experience as a guitar tech for bands such as Kaki King and The Tallest Man on Earth, and explore the more timbral side of rock music. She teamed up again with Miller — who had also moved to Denver — and formed the Still Tide.
Since then, her career has been on an upward trajectory: she was named by NPR as an “on point” Colorado band and went on tour in support of Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. Then a pangolin had sex with a bat and the whole world went into lockdown, bringing Still Tide’s momentum to a halt.
Morsett thought his creativity would flourish during the pandemic, but he missed his community and collaborators. “I think I didn’t realize how much I needed other people, because I’m an introvert, and all the songs I love the most are written in such a soft, quiet, alone space,” she says. “I had a lot of realizations about how much I needed people, which was kind of frustrating, because I like the idea of just being a lone wolf. I was like, ‘I can do anything. this shit in Pro Tools and I can write all these songs’ but you can’t get that until now I needed my people.
These people include the members of Still Tide, which is a modular entity with Morsett as the only static member. Even Miller is less involved with the band now, contributing creatively here and there remotely from London as he completes graduate school.
However, each time the band changes and new members emerge, each addition brings a fresh perspective to the compositions, which Morsett says keeps the band exciting. “I think it’s been interesting, because we’ve had certain players for a few years and then people’s lives just moved on. And I kind of like that about the project, in how it can kind of changing hands, and seeing what different people bring to the project is really exciting,” she says.Currently, the band consists of Mark Anderson on drums, Miles Eichner on bass, Dan Vollmar on bass and Jess Parsons on keyboards and vocals. Morsett is particularly interested in incorporating more synth work into her compositions, a timbre she’s become more attuned to making music on Pro Tools during the pandemic, and something she sees Parsons contributing to. strongly.
Despite the pandemic and a new group, the Still Tide continues its trajectory. Currently, the group is recording music with Ben Wysocki du Fray and preparing to release a series of singles. It will also hit the road with Strand of Oaks in June, and on Saturday May 14, the Still Tide will play with the Walters at Summit Music Hall.
The Still Tide supports the Walters on Saturday May 14 at Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake Street. Tickets are $25.