Matt Morson is a Wanted Man. As the name of his 2016 single suggests, demand for the rural Ontario musician is growing, and he has become an increasingly familiar face on the Canadian summer fair circuit.
Like many, he is adapting to the challenges of being a musical artist during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the upside, staying home has afforded him more time to get outside and with his golden retriever and partake of one of his favourite pastimes: hunting. He’s been a waterfowler since age three.
Morson, who has been playing music since he was 11, has also been using the time to write new songs. His newest single, Take a Chance, is now available on most streaming services.
In this interview with Ontario OUT of DOORS (OOD), the Nobleton native shares more about his greatest passions.
OOD: How has it been for you during the pandemic, being a musician unable to tour as you have in the past?
MM: It has been difficult, to say the least. Obviously, we really enjoy performing. It’s a large part of our summer. This year things have been different.
OOD: Have you been hunting more or less lately as a result?
MM: Much more. That being said, I am quite lucky to have multiple properties close to my home where I have permission. So even before the pandemic, I got out quite a bit. With a little more free time, I got to enjoy the bush more this year.
OOD: Do you have any pets?
MM: I do. I have a golden retriever. He’s just over a year now. I have been training him to be a gun dog and he actually retrieved his first mallard in October.
OOD: What is your favourite game to eat?
MM: Honestly, I love it all! I am a third-generation hunter so I have been eating it all my life. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be moose. My family has few different recipes for it. I would be here all day talking about it!
OOD: Did you partake in the cormorant hunt this past season?
MM: I did not. It has been something I’ve thought about, but I live in an area where the nearest large body of water it 45 minutes or so away.
OOD: Do you find the pandemic has helped or hindered your creative songwriting process?
MM: A bit of both actually. It’s hard to explain. It gives me a lot more time to massage the stuff I have started. However, it has been difficult to create from scratch. That’s my experience anyway. I have started new stuff though. Just not as far along as I would like.
OOD: What’s your preferred firearm to use at the moment?
MM: Well, that depends on what I’m doing. For waterfowl and turkey, I use a Remington 1100. It’s an old 2 ¾-inch chamber. I got it from my dad when I was 12, so I’m pretty good with it. For big game, I have a very old Norma 308. Pretty much takes care of anything you wish to harvest. That being said, I bow hunt as well.
OOD: What is one of your earliest hunting memories?
MM: The first time I went, for geese, I was three years old. My dad took me and my brother quite often. We were just there to watch and observe. To learn. He would teach us to move properly, to call, and to be quiet. It was quite impactful on me.
OOD: What’s the best part about being on stage?
MM: Honestly, it’s the energy. Especially when to do your job up there and the crowd gets fired up. When that happens, we feed off of that energy and it just becomes something that is unexplainable.
OOD: You’ve played many summer concerts over the years. What’s your favourite Canadiana fairground event?
MM: I shouldn’t pick favourites, but I must say the Havelock Jamboree was a goal of mine, so that stands out.
OOD: Who are your musical influences? What contemporary artists do you follow at the moment?
MM: My influences reach far and wide. I love the classics such as Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, and Charley Pride. But I also love artists such as Shawn James, Heavy Horses, and Marcus King, to name a few. I love anything that sounds unique.
OOD: Your second-latest single, Take a Chance is a musical shift for you. Do you see yourself exploring different genres, or do you defy being labelled as having any given style?
MM: I love this question because I can explain my thinking. I love to write and play music. The genre is not something I worry about while I write. I want a song to sound right. If it strays off the beaten path to do so, then so be it. As long as the finished product appeals to listeners and is true to itself, I am happy.
OOD: Where do you like to fish in Ontario?
MM: Growing up we had a small “cottage” on Cook’s Bay in Lefroy. That’s pretty much home base for me.
OOD: Would you ever move outside of Ontario?
MM: It’s not something I think about too often. I don’t know, to be honest. If I needed to or an opportunity arose, I think I would. That hasn’t happened yet, though.
OOD: What do you hope for in 2021?
MM: I’m easy going. I just want to improve on the past. Obviously, there is the elephant in the room we all want to go away (COVID), but aside from that, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. Moving forward.