The latest bit of big fun to emerge from the Morells camp isn't a new album -- although one's in the works and will likely be released early next year -- but rather a TV ad for one of those ubiquitous malt beverages in which the band's resident wiseguy, Lou Whitney, portrays a grizzled fry cook at a dingy punk club. In the ad, a youngish emcee wonders from the stage whether anybody in the house can play the bass. To the surprise of everyone, the fry cook steps up and straps on an instrument. The crowd looks embarrassed for the guy until he cranks out a hellacious riff and the band falls in behind him, thus saving the show. It's hard to say whether the ad will entice anyone to drink the beverage, but if you've ever seen Whitney perform (and if you live in Missouri and haven't, it's not his fault), you'll agree that his appearance in this ad is, to use another commercial's tagline, priceless.
As for the Morells, they remain America's best bar band. On this trip through town, they're once again headlining a bill of artists associated with Slewfoot, a southwest-Missouri label that continues to amass an impressive roster and deliver lots of great music. Stop by to congratulate Whitney on his shiny new SAG card, but feel free to drink whatever you want.