This is the story of two Americans, living in Germany, who started a band.
Andrew Morris, a talented flat-picker, grew up in Kosciusko County. Julie Bates is a Kansas City girl who knows her way around a fiddle.
The two were bright students in college, earning them both Fulbright Scholarships to teach English in Germany. Morris and Bates met at the Fulbright orientation, and the two ended up living in Leipzig while they were teaching.
“Andrew was like, ‘I play guitar. I need to start a band while I’m here,'” recalls Bates. The Matchsellers were born, and the group began playing Germany.
“I think the music went over really well there,” says Morris. Bates says their Bluegrass style probably seemed kind of exotic to European audiences.
Just as the group were gaining some momentum across the pond, their Fulbright scholarships ended. They could’ve renewed their contracts, but…
“Neither of us were particularly enthralled with the job,” says Morris. So the duo took a shot at being professional musicians. “We just decided to try it,” Bates says.
They scheduled a two week tour around England, and in September of 2013, they booked a month-long tour in the states. This brought the duo back to their homeland, but it also gave them an opportunity to try out a serious tour – and see if they could do it.
The band pulled it off. They decided to do it again, and they’ve been doing it ever since.
“We’re basically on the road all the time,” says Morris. “We always come back to either the Warsaw area or Kansas City every two or three months.”
The band have a few more gigs in and around Kosciusko County before heading to Kansas City and beyond. They’re schedule at Rex’s Rendezvous’s steak night starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3, and on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. they’ll play the Firehouse in North Manchester.
In the Kansas City area the group will be playing a few shows, including a festival slot in Winfield. Then they will embark on one of their biggest tours to date, playing shows all across the south.
“We’re looking forward to that,” says Morris. “We’re seeing a lot of places we’ve never been before.”
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above is the first of what will hopefully be our ongoing ‘In the Office’ concert series. In addition to the video, we’ve included the sound file from the performance for SPO readers to download below.]
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