As far as I've been concerned since I hit upon them a few years back, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s are a bright spot in a modern country landscape that all too often feels light years removed from its dusty, lonesome, bar-fighting glory days. It's sad to say it (and I bet ol' Merle is spinning in his grave), but "outlaw country" is more of a brand than an ethos these days. That is, unless you're Whitey Morgan, a son of Flint, Michigan with Southern roots, whose people migrated north via the Hillbilly Highway and never forgot where they came from.
We first featured Morgan back in 2015, and not much has changed in terms of his music or his mission (I bet you anything he's still selling "Fuck Pop Country" shirts, too). As his profile has risen, he's kept his nose to the grindstone, cranking out old time country music with a heavy debt to the rabble-rousers of old – your Waylons, your Willies, your Kristoffersons, and of course, your Merles. In other words, the good shit.
Alongside his spiritual brother Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan has staked his claim on the rough and tumble side of the country line, and it's working out rather well; his hell-raising honky-tonk tunes like the swaggering "Just Got Paid" and more introspective, whiskey-soaked ballads like the somber working man's lament "What Am I Supposed to Do" channel country's twin sacred cows of bourbon and the blues, and as someone raised up both (plus the work of classic barroom troubadours), I couldn't be happier about it.
"The goal of this record was simple: make an album that sounds like Whitey Morgan and is better than the last one," he told Noisey. "Working with guys like Travis Meadows brought a chemistry and motivation that was definitely lacking in my usual process. This record will sit in the musical landscape where I have always sat – a big stubborn granite rock with waves of bullshit crashing against it for another 20 years."
Listen to Hard Times and White Lines in full below, and snag it October 26 via Thirty Tigers (keep scrolling for tour dates!).
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s are hitting the road this month, including a stop at Stagecoach Festival – catch 'em if ya can, they always put on a helluva show.
October 25—Charleston, SC—Pour House
October 26—Asheville, NC—The Orange Peel
October 27—Charlotte, NC—Neighborhood Theatre
October 28—Raleigh, NC—Lincoln Theatre
November 2—Grand Rapids, MI—The Intersection
November 3—Detroit, MI—The Fillmore
November 7—Cleveland, OH—Beachland Ballroom
November 8—Indianapolis, IN—The Vogue
November 9—Des Moines, IA—Wooly’s
November 10—Springfield, MO—The Complex
November 14—Wichita, KS—WAVE
November 15—Colorado Springs, CO—The Black Sheep
November 16—Grand Junction, CO—Mesa Theater
November 17—Greeley, CO—Moxi Theatre
November 29—West Hollywood, CA—The Troubadour
November 30—San Francisco, CA—Great American Music Hall
December 1—Chico, CA—The Senator Theatre
December 2—Petaluma, CA—Mystic Theatre
December 6—Seattle, WA—Neumos
December 7—Eugene, OR—Hifi Music Hall
December 8—Bend, OR—Midtown Ballroom
April 28—Indio, CA—Stagecoach Festival
Kim Kelly is the only hell her mama ever raised on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Noisey US.