The swirly, catchy but naturalistic pop music of Springtime Carnivore is the latest musical project from singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greta Morgan.
The Los Angeles-based Autumn Tone Records released the L.A.-based Springtime Carnivore’s self-titled album debut in November. Morgan and a portion of the rotating musicians who are the touring versions of Springtime Carnivore are heading south to play the group’s first New Orleans show Friday at Gasa Gasa.
“Everybody in the band is looking forward to it,” she said last week, a day before the tour’s opening date at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles.
Morgan has a New Orleans connection through her friends in the local indie-pop band Generationals. She met Generationals, aka Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, years ago in the middle of nowhere when Generationals and one of Morgan’s previous bands were each on their way to the South By Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas.
More recently Morgan submitted a proposal to open for a Generationals tour. She got the gig and toured with Joyner and Widmer last fall in the Midwest and on the West Coast.
“When you’re in the music industry and you’re touring long enough, everybody kind of bleeds back into each other’s lives,” she said.
Morgan had been a Generationals fan since she heard the group’s pop gem “When They Fight, They Fight.”
“I just said, ‘Oh, my God. This sounds like the best Frankie Valli song that never existed.’ I fell so in love with it. It was our convertible cruise song for a summer,” she said.
Just as Generationals and Springtime Carnivore were well-matched touring partners, so, too, were Morgan and the Zombies. She toured with the classic British band of “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season” fame in August.
“That was like a childhood dream come true,” Morgan said. “They were one of my favorite bands in high school. They were a huge inspiration for my first band, the Hush Sound. We were a piano-pop, four-part harmony kind of band. We all loved the Zombies’ ‘Odessey and Oracle’ album.”
Because the Zombies asked Morgan to tour with them as a solo act, no band, Morgan invited her mother, also a Zombies fan, to be her traveling companion.
“A mother-daughter trip,” she said. “It was just so fun. The Zombies played all the songs my mother loved when she was young and dancing every night. And the Zombies still sounded incredible and they were so gracious.”
Morgan grew up with the music of the Zombies’ era, the 1960s, as well as the 1970s. Her father stocked his classic Wurlitzer jukebox with 45 rpm vinyl singles.
“Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in front of the jukebox listening to Peter, Paul and Mary and Dion and the Belmonts, the Motown stuff, Fleetwood Mac,” she said. “That music holds such a huge place in my heart that it naturally develops in my songs.”
In addition to touring with the Zombies last year, Morgan had another close encounter with one of her ’60s faves, John Sebastian. She wrote the former Lovin’ Spoonful leader a letter, asking him if he’d do some co-writing with her.
“He checked out my music and said, ‘Yeah, if you’re in the area, come on up.’ ”
Morgan later visited Woodstock, New York, where Sebastian lives, and they wrote a song together. By chance, a few months ago, Sebastian and Morgan were both in Austin, where they recorded their yet-to-be-released co-composition.
A Chicago-area native, Morgan loves living in L.A., her home since 2012.
“Once every few weeks, there will be a night, an experience that couldn’t happen anywhere else,” she said. “Like being at a small club in L.A. and seeing, like, Zach Galifianakis come do 20 minutes of comedy when no one was expecting him. Seeing particular artists in different settings, it’s like seeing endangered species in the wild. You get these really nice Los Angeles surprises.”