Photos by Mark McLennan
So Sam Morrow has that one thing going for him that not everyone has—the guy is cool and all of his work is imbued with that. I was introduced to him a couple years ago when he played a few shows in London before I moved over to NYC. I was a fan of his previous record Concrete and Mud and was able to go out and shoot some photos for him. But I was not prepared for the aural assault he and his touring band were going to put on that first night. Songs like “Paid By the Mile” and “Heartbreak Man” were cranked past ten and I’m pretty sure I saw some warm beer being blown out of the cups in the front row. Shout out to bassist Adam Arcos and guitar player Damon Atkins.
And only after a couple of songs, the whole audience was falling down into the grooves Morrow and co. were laying down deep and I’m snapping pictures thinking alright these guys are the real deal. But then, Morrow decides to play some ZZ Top and the best damn “Waymore’s Blues” cover I’ve ever heard—there’s some videos of Waymore’s on YouTube that’ll prove the point. Now there’s guitar solos screaming, beards and hair everywhere and I think all of East London could hear what was going on in the basement of the Slaughtered Lamb it was so loud. I sort of imagined all of the delivery guys at the take-away shops near the venue were probably leaning back, nodding along like hell yeah buddy during the guitar pandemonium that was unleashed. I’m pretty sure I went out and bought a glass slide a couple days later.
Ever since then I’ve been excited to see more and hear more from Morrow. So it really was a welcome surprise that Morrow would release his follow-up record Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down on October 30, 2020. And truly, in the last two weeks that I’ve been spinning the album it’s really alleviated lots the pandemic blues. The album sounds live, sounds like Morrow is playing with his buddies at some dive bar down the road. Which, since we can’t actually experience the tunes right now, is exactly what you want right now. “Rosarita” has been my quarantine jam, “living on cold pizza” and “mixing up my days” here in locked-down Williamsburg. “Money Ain’t A Thing” has that classic swagger that’s absent from guitar music these days. “Make ‘em Miss Me” is basically a manifesto and is exactly what Morrow does at his live shows. It really is a shame that we are going to be locked out from hearing these songs in their natural habitat for now. But, when we’re back, and Morrow is on tour, I’ll be at every show I can get to. Morrow deserve all the support and attention he can get. The songs are great; his band is wicked; and he’s a certified good dude.
Gettin’ by on Gettin’ Down is out on Forty Below Records. Stream it. Buy it. Buy a copy for a friend. It’s country and its not. It’s rock and roll and R&B. But mostly it’s just groovy as hell. Enjoy. https://www.sammorrowmusic.com