With two number one hits under his country music belt buckle and another one currently simmering up the charts, Morgan Wallen admits that he hasn’t been nervous in awhile.
That is, until he sat down at the piano for the first time… in a long time.
“It’s kind of nice to be nervous again,” Wallen says with a sheepish grin during a recent backstage interview with American Songwriter. “I haven’t been nervous to perform in a while. I want to be at the top of my game at all times, and sitting down at the piano in front of all of these people is definitely pushing me a little bit, you know?”
Because for a mullet-wearing hit maker with the Southern drawl who kicked off his career with number one hits “Up Down” and “Whiskey Glasses,” the idea of taking time out of a high-energy set list to sit down at the piano has to bring on its own set of nerves.
But Wallen says it’s worth it.
“Piano is something I have always kind of liked,” says Wallen, whose current single “Chasin’ You” just might give him a chart-topper of a trifecta sometime very soon. “I used to take lessons and everything when I was like 8 or 9 years ago and I guess I did that for two or three years, but I kind of got away from it. But now that I am making music and stuff, I figured it would be a good time to pick it back up.”
Over the recent holiday break, Wallen found himself spending much time back in his dad’s home office, trying his hand at the old piano to see if any of that childhood magic was still there.
And it was.
And it was this magic that fans couldn’t get enough of during Wallen’s recent “Whiskey Glasses Roadshow” tour, as he brought out the instrument of his childhood for a moment of sweet solitude in an otherwise rocking show.
“Before the tour began, my drummer and I were hanging out and we were talking about the tour and how we wanted to do something a little different and he brought up the idea of playing the piano,” Wallen recounts. “And then he was like, ‘well it would be cool if you could tell a story while you are doing it and show a progression and put a storyline into it.’’”
So he did.
During various shows on the recently wrapped up tour, he performed a haunting cover of the Howie Day song “Collide,” a song that Wallen had performed, albeit without the piano, during his stint on “The Voice” back in 2016. He also would offer a subdued version of his song “Spin You Around” and a cover of the number one smash “You Make It Easy” that he co-wrote for Jason Aldean.
And yes, Wallen’s fans ate up every note.
“Going back to the piano gives me something I can strive to be better at,” concludes Wallen, who is currently out on tour with Aldean himself on his “We Back Tour” and will head out on the road for the summer with Luke Bryan starting May 28 in Cincinnati, Ohio. “I’m always trying to get better, but this is something I can really focus on. It’s cool.”