Music » Critics' Picks

Whitey Morgan and the 78's

9 p.m. Friday, November 20. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

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On last year's Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels, Whitey Morgan's bellowing baritone drawl sounds straight out of some sleepy Southern locale, circa the glory days of outlaw-country music. But he and the 78's, his gang of twang bandits, actually hail from Flint, Michigan, where factory closings and rising unemployment have created a culture of folks ready and willing to drown their collective sorrows with Morgan's type of bitter, down-hearted country pickin'. On "If It Ain't Broke," he laments, "Nowadays in Nashville, it's like the Hollywood of the South/So-called country singers singing songs they know nothin' about." Of course, these tipsy barroom testimonies to country-music traditionalism wouldn't be necessary if the overblown Nashvegas establishment didn't exist to rail against — and Whitey Morgan and the 78's do it better than most, with a rabble-rousing honky-tonk attitude that "sure sounds like country to me."

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