Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week, we are featuring songs by bands performing during the 24th Annual Shake The Shack Rockabilly Ball, September 22-24 at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Today’s selection is “I Ain’t Drunk” by Whitey Morgan and the 78’s from their 2010 self-titled release on Bloodshot Records.
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s are not trying to forge new ground, only keeping the spirit of honky tonk alive. And while the songs reflect contemporary feelings around their hometown of Flint, Michigan where the jobs are scarce, the folks are bitter, and factories sit vacant Morgan’s music is in the same vein as his grandfather, William Morgan, did more than 30 years ago when southerners migrated to Flint for work and new opportunities. The times have changed, and Whitey Morgan’s aim is to resurrect the classic barroom country sound a la Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck and maybe make you forget your cares for a bit with a few lap steel guitars and lots of drinking.
“I Ain’t Drunk” is a perfect representation of just what classic, barroom country music is all about. Tongue in cheek, Morgan slings the lines “I aint drunk, hell I’ve just been drinking… I started at five in the afternoon, about three days ago” Devil may care what this outlaw is doing, but Whitey sure doesn’t.
If you’ve forgotten that country music isn’t either Whiskeytown style alt-country or the pure pop of Carrie Underwood, that the underbelly of true outlaw country is still kicking, then Whitey Morgan and the 78’s live show will whip you into shape. They will be turned loose on the Tractor Tavern this Friday, September 23rd at the 24th annual Rockabilly Ball (buy tickets here), and you’ll be able to hear him live on KEXP next Thursday, September 29, on Swingin’ Doors at 7:00pm. Find out where they’re headed next on their MySpace page. In the meantime, check out a taste of what’s to come, live footage of “I Ain’t Drunk”: