Before Whitey Morgan and the 78’s took the stage at Midtown Live in New York City, the crowd of about forty people was singing along proudly to the Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson that played over the speakers. A man passed by me with the words “FUCK POP COUNTRY” on the back of his t-shirt. If you were looking to hear some straight-shooting country music with few flairs and a tough attitude, you were in the right place.
Morgan and his band were there to play, and it was simple as that. The group had a striking presence—awkward between songs but charismatic during. Morgan was unapologetic for his attitude, even going as far to express how annoyed he was that an audience member asked him about his beard. Still, they put on a hell of a show, captivating the crowd’s attention throughout the night. Along with originals like “Bad News,” “Crazy,” and “Honky Tonk Queen,” Morgan and the 78’s played some covers. A honky tonk version of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” was one of the coolest moments that night.
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s are releasing their third album Sonic Ranch tomorrow, May 19 on Bloodshot Records. You can check out their official website for more tour dates, and keep up to date with the band on Facebook and Twitter.