To feel the spirit of Morgan Evans' new album Things That We Drink To, you just need to listen to the title track.

In 2016, Evans traveled across the world — from Australia to Nashville — to make a new home in the U.S., and he's been part of Music City's artist community since he landed. He's been diving in the deep end of songwriting, working alongside some of the industry's best who've helped him turn his journey into 11 fresh songs, available for purchase on Oct. 12.

"I've learned to be more honest and tell my story rather than the story that I think someone wants to hear," Evans tells Taste of Country. After writing hundreds of songs, Evans culled the parts of his identity he hadn't yet shared into an album, but one of the most important songs is "Things That We Drink To." It's an anthemic track built from loss.

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Evans' longtime confidant and manager Rob Potts died in a motorcycle accident a year before the album hit stands. Potts actually discovered Evans in Australia and told him to come to America — and convinced him to stay when the singer found it too challenging.

"He was like family to me," Evans admits. On the day of his memorial service in Nashville, Evans and co-writers Chris DeStefano and Josh Osborne were in the studio. The weight of the tragedy was not lost on them.

"We hadn't really talked about it so much as acknowledged that we were all thinking about him that day," Evans reflects. "I started singing this melody, the melody you hear on the song, and the line, 'Things that we drink to' just came out."

While the writers could've taken a more somber approach, Evans couldn't help but recall the joyful moments he and Potts shared together, so he chose those fond memories to build upon for a song that's a toast to a life well-lived.

"We started talking about it in the way of writing a song like that, a tribute song to someone you've lost as a celebration for all the life that you got to live together and the things you got to do with each other because you're in each other's lives," he explains.

"'Gonna raise up a tall glass / Tonight as we look back / Back on all the life that we lived through / Yeah, the things that we drink to,'" he sings with sincerity in a chorus that honors his late friend.

"I feel like we tried to write it in a way that was very specific, and at the same time very open to interpretation for anyone that's lost anyone. I feel like it was respectful in that way to him," Evans says.

Celebration is an overall theme of Things That We Drink To as Evans looks back on the times that have defined him since he started building a new life on the other side of the world. "When the track listing for the album was coming together, I realized that songs were finding their place as there were these moments, whether it was drinking to someone you've lost or drinking to meeting the girl or finding a new home in America," he says. "They're all these moments you can raise a glass to."

Things That We Drink To is available now.

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