“What’s a Kosciusko?” is something Andrew Morris hears way too often. Although he doesn’t mind explaining to out-of-towners how the word is pronounced — and that it’s the county he was raised in — he’s pretty sick of the question by now.
“It might have been a dumb idea,” he laughed. “I answer that question 14 times a night!”
Morris, a guitarist, and his bandmate Julie Bates, a fiddler, are the bluegrass duo known as The Matchsellers. The pair released their album, “Kosciusko County,” in December. They’re currently touring the country, playing nearly a show a day.
Morris, from Warsaw, and Bates, from Kansas City, Mo., met in Germany a few years ago and started playing music together. It wasn’t until his stay in Germany that Morris really started listening to and playing bluegrass music.
“In high school, I played in a blues rock band. As soon as I really listened to bluegrass music, though, I was hooked,” said Morris, who started playing the guitar in 8th grade. “I stopped listening to anything else. I figured I had a lot of catching up to do.”
About a year and half ago, The Matchsellers hit the road to play music. They haven’t looked back since.
“Now that I’m used to being on the road, I really like it. Our music is on the upswing and that’s so exciting. I never imagined getting to travel all over the country,” said Morris. “We now have good friends all over the country, who let us spend the night when we’re touring. If I’m lucky, they’ll have a guest bedroom. More likely, it’s a couch though.”
A recent highlight for the band was playing seven showcases at the International Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City. They also taught a workshop for kids on old time music and country dancing.
“It’s a really big deal with musicians from all over the world,” said Morris, “There are people playing music everywhere, all the time. I got to meet Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which was something.”
The Matchsellers’ music is also being played on a few radio stations, from Kalamazoo to Kansas City.
“That’s really kind of cool,” said Morris. “To hear our song, ‘Wake Me, Oh Wake Me’ play first thing in the morning on a radio show in Kansas City was pretty unbelievable.”
Other tracks on the “Kosciusko County” album pay tribute to some familiar, local towns: Beaver Dam, Burket and Claypool to name a few.
“To get to sing about my home and family every night is really special. Even though we’re on the road, I still get to think about home all the time.”
The Matchsellers plan to return home in May. They’ll be playing a few shows in Indiana, with the closest being in Syracuse at the Huntington Street Bar and Grill from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, May 3.
For more information about the band and their tour schedule, go to thematchsellers.com.