By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent
Chestnut Hill Road resident Tracey Saxe says he’s a “sucker for a CD” so when he saw a stack of singer/songwriter Marla Morris’ release, “Ready For The Rain” on the counter at Chip’s Family Restaurant he immediately purchased it. Not only did he love Morris’ voice and the country lyrics, he saw she was living in Nashville – the destination where Saxes’ New Haven law firm, Saxe Doernberger & Vita was planning an upcoming corporate event.
As the wheels started turning about whether he could snag the country crooner to be a headliner at his firm’s Nashville event, Saxes’ wife Heidi realized there was actually a local connection to the singer. Marla is the daughter of Orange natives Dena (Napoli) and Michael Morris who grew up in Bethany and graduated from Amity High School.
Unsure of how to reach her, Saxe called the firm’s venue, the well-known Nashville “Listening Room,” and asked if they could find her. “They said ‘Sure, she’s played here a few times and we love her!’”, Saxe said. For the 22-year-old Morris, the booking was a mystery until the night of the event when she met Saxe during the sound tests. “My friend from the Listening Room had contacted me about playing at a private event, but he didn’t have much information except that it was a law firm and I had no idea who had requested me,” she said. She was further intrigued when another Orange connection, former resident Nancy Mingrone Alletto called Morris’ dad Michael and said her husband Ray would be a guest at the event.
On the evening of the event, Morris finally “connected the dots” and was happy to deliver a rousing show to more than 375 people who attended the annual Construction Insurance Risk Management Convention. “She put on a helluva show, people were dancing and having a ball,” Saxe said. “The music was great and she was yelling ‘Go Connecticut!’ She writes all her own songs and she is a very impressive songwriter. I could not believe how much presence she had on stage. She’s a young kid and she looks like she has been doing this for years.”
It was a great gig for the 22-year-old Morris who has been performing around the country since graduating from Amity and more recently, Belmont University in Nashville. “The Listening Room was packed, which was really great—artists rarely get to perform for that many people in Nashville very often,” she said.
Morris has been hard at work writing songs and recording her latest CD, “While the Streetlights Shine” which comes out today. Visit marlamorris.com for a copy or to hear her music.