Lisa Morales’ Rain in the Desert sheds light on human rights (“Freedom”) and the opioid crisis (“Flyin’ and Cryin’”) among other sociopolitical issues. We recently spoke with Morales about the politically driven new EP.
“I had a house full of people living with me during the pandemic,” Morales says. “I needed to get away for a few days and asked my friend who has a place in Taos if I could (go there) to write a bit. I wrote these five songs in five days.”
Alt-Country Specialty Chart: Describe the album’s common lyrical theme.
Lisa Morales: The current political climate. I was just so fed up and so tired of both sides being so crazy. I grew up in a mixed political household with Democrats and Republicans and we got along just fine.
Explain what was bothering you most.
I was bothered by people saying they’re Christian, but they’re not loving each other. So, yeah, I just holed up in that house and purged all my thoughts. I was saying, “It’s dry out here. I need rain in the desert.”
The opening track ‘Freedom’ fits that theme.
‘Freedom’ is about the lack of the love your neighbor (concept). I can’t believe we’re in this century but all the way back in the 1950s. Shocking. I’m appalled as a Mexican-American. I had to stand up and say something. I was watching everything that was happening and not seeing anyone speak out. I had to speak out.
Social media certainly doesn’t help.
It definitely feeds it. The idea that everything you read on Facebook is hilarious. Then there’s the idea that there’s one television station people listen to and it’s completely the polar opposite to what the rest of the world is saying. People listening to that just boggles my mind. My relatives aren’t speaking to each other because of it. I’m talking about eighty-year-old people. Crazy. News used to be not opinionated. They used to just state the facts. It’s very slanted today. We’re getting news polarized.
Tell the story behind writing ‘Flyin’ and Cryin’.’
I had written the song and asked Rodney Crowell to sing background vocals. I sent him the song and he called me the next day. “I’ve listened to the song five or six times,” he said. “I understand what this is about. I want to help you write that.” Rodney Crowell wants to help me write a song? I’m in.
You’ve known Rodney for a while, right?
We had been friends for years, but it was so cool to have the opportunity to work with him. The song was about a friend who I didn’t realize was hooked on oxycodone. Unfortunately, he died. Rodney knew someone in a similar place with addiction. It was great timing for both of us to write together.
- Brian T. Atkinson
Artist: Joshua Hedley
Hometown: Naples, Florida
Album: Neon Blue Release
Date: April 22, 2022 Record
Label: New West Records Artist
Common lyrical theme on Neon Blue: “The last bastion of country music was the early 1990s. You could turn on the radio and immediately know you’re hearing a country song. You could still hear steel guitar and fiddle, but there was a hard fork around 1996 or ‘97 when country veered off into pop territory. Neon Blue asks, ‘What if that fork had never happened? What if country kept on sounding like country’” – Joshua Hedley
- Brian T. Atkinson
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