Whitey Morgan’s third album captures him on home territory turning the venue into a partisan hometown honky-tonk and evoking the outlaw spirit of the likes of Waylon et alv. The thirteen songs are a mix of originals and covers. The themes are what you would expect from a man steeped in the pleasures and power of this gritty, genre specific music. Songs with titles like Buick City, Cheatin’ Again, Turn Up The Bottle, Honky Tonk Queen and I Ain’t Drunk sum up an attitude and a lifestyle.
Behind the exuberant and effusive frontman are a tight, focused and musical adept band that included at the time of recording guitarist Benny James Vermeylen, steel player Brett Robinson, bassist JD MacKinder and the keyboards of Mike Lynch. This set of seasoned players are right behind Morgan’s big voice giving the songs they kind of depth they need. Throughout Morgan gives these players the time to shine with plenty of space for the guitar, keyboards and steel to stretch these sound beyond the more restrictive needs of the studio recorded versions.
The choice of cover songs is equally instructive you get Johnny Paycheck’s Cocaine Trail, Bad News from Johnny Cash, the Dale Watson song about Billy Joe Shaver Where Do You Want It and Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire, the closing song is Hank Snr’s Mind Your Own Business. Though it has to be said that the set runs smooth and these songs are just part of the overall set with no difference in content and quality between Morgan’s own songs and the outside songs. A testament to his and the band's delivery on what was obviously a good night for all on both sides of sides of the stage judging by the audible response.
This live album marks a perfect introduction to this hard workin’ honky tonker. He will be back next year with a new studio album and also has a solo album, just him and guitar, available. Whitey Morgan is representative of a whole slew of bands and singers who have remained true to their notion of country music as espoused in Nashville and those who are enticed by the notion of the outlawisms of the mainstream would do well to check this out as it never falls into the trap of diluted metal rock. Rather it stays true to Morgan’s vision of the music he so obviously loves.