I have been doing this for many years, writing about my favorite bands and artists. Venues, festivals and everything in between. I followed many people around for many miles, and met many new friends along the way. In that time I have compiled a rather lengthy bucket list for myself, because I believe one of the keys to success is setting goals for yourself.
My right arm Mr. Joshua Wallace has always been worth his weight in gold to me, and I don’t feel I do enough for him, even though he enjoys working WITH me on this website. I used to say he works for me, but to be honest he works WITH me folks. ALL of those record reviews you read on here are all done by HIM, not me. HE GETS the material, and decides what to do, and shortly he will bring you his review of this man Mr. Whitey Morgan and his band of Outlaws called the 78’s. This website has been reporting on them for many years, since it’s RE LAUNCH in 2013, and before on my older website I started on MySpace.
To say that the band as a whole has advanced to a whole new echelon of finesse is a gross understatement. They have evolved into a gigantic well oiled machine, both in sound and stage presence. That busted up, rusty old Valvoline oil drum has stood at attention for a good while now.
Ironically, the scenario last night in town was amazing for local music, if you consider Mr. Whitey still at the local music level. To me, he is in transition from local venues to big venues, like last night where he received a high accolade for any performer..a headline concert at the historic Ryman Auditorium. This particular event was integral for them, because of the bigger name mainstream acts that surrounded him. Now folks, many other bands would have suffered ticket sales in lieu of the other 4 major events, but not Mr. Whitey.
Look at it THIS WAY here, you got Mr. Whitey and the 78’s playing this venue, and ALL AROUND HIM you have more larger national acts, yet the Ryman was STILL packed full of people. YOU had a choice, and a decision, and you chose wisely if you ended up at the Ryman. Right across the street you had Def Leppard and Journey, right down the street you had Taylor Swift, AND next to that you had Three Doors Down…yet WE CHOSE to be at the Ryman. It’s funny how this all works out folks, you have Mr. Whitey who is finally crossing the threshold into major national attention at the OLD venue for the Opry, and Mr. Garth Brooks, who is returning to full swing from a “Daddy Break” at the current Opry house. Not to say that the music Mr. Whitey plays is the same as Mr. Garth Brooks….ohhh no…my point is…real music is catching up AND BEATING the watered down junk…and the powers that be are pissed because they have NO CHOICE BUT to respond.
Mr. Whitey himself stood in awe, as they raised the lights up, and he bellowed “I just cannot believe all you motherfuckers showed up here tonight, and I cannot thank you enough. It’s like a party you planned nobody to show up for, and you end up with a ton of motherfuckers instead”. Tons of motherfuckers indeed, have been the case, and after Loud And Heavy Festival In Texas you can tell by his merchandise stock that people are beginning to respond to his music. EVERY style of shirt they had was out of XL sizes and 2X, hell they were out of stock on mostly everything…that’s NOT a complaint, that’s a HIGH FIVE.
The one man band that was introduced to me many years ago called Tennessee Jet opened the show tonight,my last encounter with him was at Third And Lindsley With Mr. Cody Jinks.He is truly one of my favorite one man bands equal to the likes of Mr. Scott H Biram, or Miss Molly Gene.
His stage show is a bit eclectic in itself, as he trades guitars for different set portions, there exists background narrations, and media clips from movies and television. He opened the show (and his set) with a song for veterans called “Never Forget”, that contains well written lyrics that haunt the listener with references of medications and a veteran’s struggle to return to society.
A cover of Waylon Jennings 1975 “Long Time Gone” was next from the album “Dreaming My Dreams” , which was also later played by Whitey Morgan in his set. He delved into his full length self titled album once again with a song called “Hwy 51 Blues”, and also included the dark and poignant “Dead Belles And Bones”. The later song is one of the ones that includes the one man drum kit accompanied with his guitar skills, and more Gothic lyrics than most of his originals.
His version of “I Saw The Light” was unique point in the show for me, for the simple fact that many years ago Country Legend Hank Williams Sr. performed that very song on that same stage. There is no denying that Country Music was alive and well in this institution tonight, in every aspect.
Mr. Alex Williams was next up to open the show, touring right now for his “Better Than Myself” album that graced many a TOP 50 lists of it’s year. Even he displayed tremendous growth since my last report of his in Glasgow at the Plaza Theater, he was also sporting a new haircut.
“Hellbent Hallelujah” opened his set tonight, as he riled up the crowd with his band. His next song was called “Strange Days” which was a song that addresses modern day struggles of life. You can interpret this as a religious issue song or modern day struggle song as well, both of these songs came from his album.
His next song was a GREAT cover of Texas Country Legend Mr. Terry Allen, as he played the great “Amarillo Highway” from 1979. I thought he played a superb version of that song tonight, and it received quite an awesome response from us tonight. He returned back to his original music with the song “Freak Flag”.
The best song on his album was a song some of us can relate to called “Little Too Stoned”, which is a down right awesome party song that set up the mood for Mr. Whitey quite well. “Old Tattoo” was a song he wrote about his grandfather. It’s a very personal song for him, and you can tell the lyrics came from his heart. It talks about time don’t heal, and the passing of an old soul.
Mr. Whitey arrived after some intro music. The 2010 self titled album ushered in the first song called “Bad News” which set up the mood for a perfect night of Honky Tonk Country Music for us. His facial expressions tonight made me aware of the immense appreciation he has for this iconic venue, and how he got to this pinnacle in his career. I have been reporting on Mr. Whitey Morgan for SO MANY years, and it’s fun to watch these artists grow.
“Buick City Blues” was next, which in it’s own right represents his Motor City area origins. Unlike many of the artists of his current ilk, he hails from the northern region of Flint Michigan. This man and his band plays an easy 250 plus shows a year, and has been working the local circuit for a long long time.
The lead steel guitar intro to the next song called “Cocaine Train” has always been one of my favorites, despite the fact of it being a classic Johnny Paycheck song from the 1979 album “Everybody’s Got A Family, Meet Mine’. Mr. Brett just always hits every note with precision and grace. Next up was “Low Down On the Main Streets” and one of my favorites about torn up love called “Back To Back”…after the loving. For those lovers that have drifted apart and are together for sexual desires and no longer connected any other way.
His new album called “Hard Times And White Lines” wasn’t represented as strongly as I had initially anticipated upon arrival, but the two that were included were truly fine teasers of what is to come. Honestly, right now I already know what is to come…but I cannot totally divulge that information accept for the track listing. His first single off the forthcoming album entitled “Honky Tonk Hell” displays some truly fine production work, and I’ll say it honestly…this album is BY FAR his BEST offering to date.
Next up was a bunch of classic Whitey Morgan songs that I have enjoyed for many years now, including “Honky Tonk Queen”, which garnered a huge response from us tonight as he referenced all the awesome local bars we have been in this weekend. All over town within this scene I enjoyed pics of my friends at various bars and venues. Mr. Whitey also played “Long Time Gone” and the song that was also cut by Mr. Scott H. Biram “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue”..
He covered the hallowed anthem of Mr. John Prine called “Paradise” which was followed by Dale Watson song that he wrote about Outlaw Legend Mr. Billy Joe Shaver. “Where Do You Want It?” was not necessarily a cover song per say, but a song both artists have always played since the beginning. Also later on down the line he played the Marshall Tucker Band “Fire On the Mountain’, and a version of Merle Haggard’s “Swinging Doors”.
“Me And The Whiskey” was another wonderful drinking song included in his set tonight, as he proclaimed to have assembled a “Perfect Ryman Drinking Set” for us tonight. “Goin Down Drinking” was a prime example of this statement, as was “I Ain’t Drunk”, and many more.
The encore they played was rowdy and hardcore, and included the songs ‘Sinner” and the song “Waiting Around To Die”. As they exited the stage, they left the Ryman Auditorium on another level in their careers as they join an elite few of artists that can draw several thousand people now. Traditional Country Music is indeed catching on and becoming a viable alternative to pop country now, and it is rapidly growing at an alarming rate!