Whitey Morgan is cut from a different cloth when it comes to today’s country music. Like fellow country singers Sturgill Simpson, JP Harris and Wayne “the Train” Hancock he avoids the over produced pop infused schlock in favor of music that would make Waylon, Johnny, George and Hank proud. These days Morgan finds himself on double duty with simultaneous releases that show two sides of the man.
First you have Born, Raised and Live in Flint from Whitey Morgan and the 78’s on Bloodshot Records. This record finds the band in their natural habitat in front of a rowdy home town crowd. As the rat-a-tat-tat of the drums rip into “Buick City Blues” listeners are given a taste to what Whitey Morgan and the 78’s can do. The 13 tracks on this album are a mix of originals and choice covers. The music is handpicked for your listening pleasures and as Whitey announces “they are gonna play all night” you can’t help but believe him. As they blow throw Whitey originals like “I Ain’t Drunk” or “Turn Up the Bottle” you can’t help but sing along with him and the crowd. When the band mixes in other people’s songs, such as “Cocaine Train” (Paycheck) or “Where Do You Want It” (Watson) you’d swear they were penned by Whitey himself. Most live albums are another way for bands to pimp out their greatest hits, this my friends is not such an album.
On the second album, Grandpa’s Guitar, we see a different side of Whitey Morgan. The hell raising honky tonk madman is pushed aside as Whitey delivers a heartfelt collection of songs in remembrance of his late Grandfather. The impact the man had on his life is evident on the song “Grandpa’s Guitar”. Choking back emotions Morgan delivers an impassioned ode to the man that introduced him to the art of playing the guitar. The song not only shows you the deep bond between the two but it will most likely have you reminiscing about your own grandfather. With the original “Another Wine” the rest of the record is a collection of cover songs that Morgan’s grandfather used to play for him or just meant a lot to him. With a cracking in his voice he delivers a version of “Highway Patrolman” that rivals the boss’. Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You” Again” takes on an entirely different meaning and the late night drunken display of “Dead Flowers” couldn’t have been pulled off any better. The eleven songs on Grandpa’s Guitar allows listeners to see another side to Whitey Morgan. He is a man that deeply loves his grandfather as well as his music and this record let’s you see how much.
There is more to Whitey Morgan than the hard driving singer belting out tunes about drinking, carousing and having a good time. Everyone knows that man and now we know the other Whitey Morgan, the subdued family man. Which is the real Whitey Morgan? Listen to the passion in his singing on each record and you will find that the answer to that question is both.