Like many great modern musicians, Morgan Wade started her first band on the internet.
Before Wade made her debut album, Reckless, which Rolling Stone named 2021’s best country album, she was a 19-year-old old attending college in Roanoke, Va. A native of the small town of Floyd, Va., Wade was looking to find people to make music with — so she started answering Craigslist ads. Her first meeting with a “super nice” cop didn’t pan out; he wanted to sing. She kept looking.
“The first time I sang in front of people I just went down into this basement with five random men that I found on Craigslist to start a band,” recalls Wade. “I just remember there was a guy sitting out front with sunglasses on at eight o’clock at night, smoking weed. That was really normal. And I just went on in the house, and they were like, ‘Yeah, down in the basement.’ So I went down there, and there were five guys down there. But, here we are.”
It turns out that 19 was a big year for Wade. She’s now covered with ink — but she got her first tattoo during her last year as a teenager.
“I was sitting in my apartment. One of my friends from college, she was there. She was just like, ‘I think you would like tattoos,'” says Wade. “I don’t know why she said that to me, and I was like, ‘I think you’re right.’ Literally drove to the tattoo parlor to get a tattoo. I had like 90 dollars in my bank account.” Wade got her sibling’s initials in hopes of preempting any qualms from her mother. “I got pretty addicted, obviously,” she says.
The hook from “Wilder Days,” the opening track from Reckless — which was just reissued as a deluxe edition — came from a passing comment.
“I do hate the smell of cigarette the smoke. The person who I wrote it about also mentioned that one day. I remember somebody walked by, and then that line came out,” says Wade. “I think I get a lot of my lyrics from something I experience, or what people around my experience. I’m big on if I think of something or hear somebody say something, I’ll jot it down in my phone, or if it’s really good, I’ll just remember it.”