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In a Rhythm

The Evolution of Singer-Songwriter Anna Morsett

Since Anna Morsett was a toddler surrounded by toy musical instruments, music has played (quite literally) a significant role in her life. As a kid growing up in the Pacific Northwest, she tinkered with her mom’s trumpet and her dad’s guitar, and she sang in the school choir. For her 12th birthday, which is two days apart from her dad’s, the two picked out an electric guitar. “We chose it together,” Anna says, “but it was really just mine. I started playing it, and that was the beginning of leaning into music. It felt like solace from the melodrama of my teenage years.”

Anna’s music taste was largely inspired by the grunge bands of Seattle and local alternative radio stations like 107.7 The End. From recording the station’s top 10 countdowns on a cassette tape (hits from Bush, Soundgarden and Nirvana) to poring over a gifted book about Jimi Hendrix, she found herself captivated by the sounds of alt and indie rock, and motivated to pursue a music career.

It started slowly—in college, she’d anxiously play open mic nights, powered by nerves as she rushed through songs. “I was really scared, but also really driven,” Anna says. “I knew that was the way forward, even though it was challenging.” Following a move to New York City, she felt increasingly comfortable playing small shows with friends and traveling as a guitar tech for various bands. It was in New York where she formed her own band The Still Tide, but it was a happenstance move to Denver 10 years ago that led her down a path she longed for.

“I was hired to play with Jesse Elliott’s band called These United States,” Anna recalls. “After a six-month tour, he ended up in Denver. On a whim, I visited and was only supposed to be here for a month-long writing retreat. Then I just fell in love with the beautiful, supportive music community. I said, ‘Oh my God, this is everything I wanted.’”

Alongside her The Still Tide bandmates, Mark Anderson (drums); Jess Parsons (keys and vocals); Miles Eichner (lead guitar) and Daniel Vollmar (bass), Anna became enamored with Colorado’s music scene. They’ve played shows all over Denver, from The Hi-Dive and the Bluebird Theater to the Gothic Theatre and Globe Hall, and at numerous venues in Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Crowds connect with Anna’s lyrics and vocals, and The Still Tide’s sound — hauntingly powerful melodies that blend nostalgia with hopeful longing. Unlike in New York, Anna finds that when people tell her they’ll come to a show, they actually come. The support she’s felt is unlike anything she had before. “So much of the reason for playing shows is to connect with people. In Denver, suddenly something clicked.”

The Still Tide has released six records and toured the country in the decade since Anna relocated to Colorado. She still keeps her guitar tech gigs; a few months ago, she was in Europe with Feist and on the road with Gregory Alan Isakov, tuning guitars and taking care of mid-show swaps (sometimes every song can have a different guitar). This month, she's in Asia guitar teching for Canadian band Alvvays. Her personal guitar collection has grown from that first electric guitar to many, including a Gretsch baritone, two Epiphone Wilshires and a rubber bridge Fender Telecaster she loves for its cool, low sound.

Much like her band’s name implies, Anna remains comforted by what she knows yet intrigued by what could happen as her career continues to evolve. “I love that brief period when the tides change and there's this slack water,” she says. “Tension between the before and after. It’s those still moments that could then shift one way or the other.”

For show dates and more details on The Still Tide, visit TheStillTide.com.

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