Whitey Morgan and the 78’s: Sky City Augusta, Ga. 02/27/2015

“Well I sat down on a barstool in a honky-tonk last night

That little bartender gave me a look; I knew something sure wasn’t right

Well I ordered up another whiskey, one tequila, and one more beer

That’s when that bartender told me son, he said you been cut off in here

I told him I ain’t drunk, hell I’ve just been drinking

I started 5 in the afternoon, lord about 3 days ago

Ever since my baby left me, this old heart of mine’s been sinking

But I ain’t drunk, I’ve just been drinking.”

  • Whitey Morgan and the 78’s “I Ain’t Drunk”

Something you all will soon find out about my musical interests… it is all over the place.  Most people say that they listen to mostly anything, but upon further investigation you start to see where they draw the proverbial line with certain genres or acts.  I offer this caveat because you will see some very obscure artists/bands in my column, many that you may be unaware of or even some you thought no one else has heard of… prepare to be schooled.

I live outside of Augusta, Ga (Home of the late and great James Brown and also this little golf tourney you may or may not have heard of- The Masters.) in a small town called Evans, Ga.  We actually get a good amount of shows at a few local downtown venues which have bolstered some big names like Clutch, Killer Mike, Digital Underground, Sturgill Simpson, DOWN, the Black Lips, Fishbone, and Dinosaur Jr. to name just a few thanks to the man himself, Coco Rubio.  After attending a Shooter Jennings with Waymore’s Outlaws show in Athens back in February, a buddy told me to be on the lookout for this outlaw country artist playing at Sky City named Whitey Morgan and the 78’s.  Well, I am a sucker for good outlaw country.  Fact!  So I made plans to attend this show and learn more about Mr. Morgan and his band of merry outlaws.

Whitey, a Flint, Michigan native, proved to Augusta that good outlaw country is not gone but only strategically kept off the public radio.  The influx of ‘Pop Country’ has taken over Nashville, thus, causing a mass exodus of those considering themselves to be a ‘rebel’ or ‘outlaw’.  This harkens back to the days of Hank Williams, Sr., Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings, as many of these artists were not welcomed due to the nature of their music.  The ‘clean cut’ and ‘wholesome’ image sold in the Grand Old Opry days as it still sells music in today’s C&W music industry.  With the release of their debut album “Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels” (2008) and their follow-up self-titled “Whitey Morgan and the 78’s” (2010), these guys have placed a foothold in the music industry as being one of the most honest and genuine artists in the outlaw country scene.  When Whitey Morgan and the 78’s took the tiny stage at Sky City, the crowd went into an uproar.  The moment of truth had arrived and we were all ready to face the music.  From the moment of the first note, I knew this was going to be a great night.

Whitey’s voice reminds me a lot of the late and great Waylon Jennings (one of my personal Mount Rushmore’s of country music).  Close your eyes and take it in… tell me that you don’t get chills listening to his voice.  Most of the crowd was familiar with his work, as a majority of the attendees sang along with his every word.  For those who know me, I gauge crowd participation as a vital piece in the dynamics between the stage and the floor.  Between Whitey’s voice and the sound coming from Brett Robinson playing the pedal steel guitar, one could divulge they had gone to Honky Tonk heaven.  With songs like “I ain’t drunk (I’m just drinking)” and “If it ain’t broke”, a sing-a-long was destined to transpire this night as the bartenders served up some tasty refreshments to the patrons of Sky City.

Whitey Morgan and the 78’s are still on their current tour (Anyone catch them at SXSW?) across the United States which will end on May 16th in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Lincoln Theatre.  With many dates left to play, you may have a chance to witness outlaw country history in the making.  I mean why would you not want to see someone who uses a 20 gallon Valvoline oil drum container as a place to rest his beers?


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