The Mississippi Delta is known for its fertile flatlands, rich agriculture, and deep southern mannerisms. It has also long been considered the birthplace of the Delta Blues and Rock and Roll, which has taken root in the upcoming mini-album from Southern Halo. Now performing as a duo, sisters Nata and Tinka Morris are calling this edgier sound a “fresh start” as they jump feet first into the river of adulthood.
“We were so young when we started and we went thru a lot to figure out who we are today,” says drummer Tinka of the happy go lucky pop/country recordings of their teen years. “But that’s the best part of the music industry -- you never stop growing and now that we’re in our 20s, we’re excited for this year.”
“No matter what you do in life or what career path you take, you are going to learn a lot of things. Some don’t work and some do. It just feels good to have the confidence to be this real,” adds lead writer, vocalist, and guitarist Nata.
Much of the credit goes to the band’s new producer, industry veteran Cliff Downs. Also serving as co-writer and mentor, Downs has consistently encouraged the duo to break down the walls, claim their independence, and connect to their audience instead of focusing solely on industry expectations. As a result, their identity as musicians and individuals has been enhanced without changing the core of their Mississippi upbringing.
It’s an approach that has helped define the careers of some of the sisters’ greatest musical influences. The Eagles, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Bryan Adams, and Grace Potter all bring a reflective yet pulsating dynamic to the table, which Nata and Tinka hope to emulate in their own way -- especially when it comes to their live shows. The duo’s electrifying stage presence perfectly balances southern rock grittiness with a more stripped-down vulnerability. A keyboard will now be available for the ivory driven tunes, further showcasing their instrumental versatility. Vibrant harmonies, controlled musicianship, and surprise elements have always been a Southern Halo staple and will only intensify with the addition of new band members -- just in time for festival season.
One surprise, however, is that their youngest sister and bass player Hannah will not be joining them on the new project. Although they will certainly miss their best friend’s musical contributions and fiery show appeal, the close-knit family is supportive of Hannah’s decision to pursue her academic studies. Of course, Hannah is using her designing talents to help her sisters and they have made it clear that she is welcome back with open arms anytime.
After all, as a trio, the Morris girls had been making music together their whole life, winning local and regional talent contests playing a wide range of artists from Taylor Swift to Aerosmith to BB King. By the time the teen years hit, they had followed the yellow brick road all the way to Nashville’s Ryman stage to compete in the Texaco Country Showdown.
Following the release of a Jeff Cook (Alabama) produced debut EP in 2014, the sisters teamed up with hit songwriters Gerald O’ Brien and Catt Gravitt for two full-length projects in 2015 and 2018. The latter, Just Like In The Movies, gave the trio two Top 25 hits on the MusicRow Country Breakout Chart with “Anything Is Possible” and “I Think Too Much.”
Using each project as a stepping stone, the sisters embarked on multiple radio tours and three trips to the UK to perform for global audiences. Their finely tuned stage shows have earned them spots at CMA Fest, Bluebird Café, the Grammy Museum Mississippi, and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, among others. Media coverage from Billboard, MusicRow, All Access, iHeart Radio, and Radio Disney Country has helped solidify performances with headliners Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Randy Houser, Easton Corbin, Brantley Gilbert, and even legends Dionne Warwick and B.B. King.
And now as a duo, they are ready to shine their light down the river brighter than ever. Nata and Tinka often joke that they are like “champagne and whiskey” -- one brings the “bubbly”; the other brings the “fire.” Perhaps it’s the fact that they felt more drawn to instruments at an early age, even though their schoolmates were playing sports. Perhaps it’s the natural sisterly bond that runs thru their blood. Or perhaps, as the title of one of their new tracks suggests -- it’s just “Somethin’ in the Water.”