Britton Patrick Morgan – I Wanna Start a Band
What happens when you get to make a childhood fantasy a reality? That is exactly what Britton Patrick Morgan did with his second album I Wanna Start a Band, which is releasing on May 25, 2021. The album’s title stems from Morgan’s childhood fantasy of starting an all-star band. Morgan is a multi-instrument playing singer, songwriter and producer based in Louisville, Kentucky. I Wanna Start a Band was produced by Morgan and features an all-star lineup including Darrell Scott (slide guitar and pedal steel), Dave Roe (Johnny Cash), Kevin McKendree on B3 (Delbert McClinton) and Taylor Shuck on banjo (Mama Said String Band).
I Wanna Start a Band opens with the story of one of Eastern Kentucky’s most notorious bad men, “Bad Tom Smith.” A distant relative of mine, “Bad Tom Smith” terrorized Eastern Kentucky for years as a feudist and outlaw. From the opening line, “Don’t put your head out the window, Bad Tom Smith’s on the hill,” Morgan paints an accurate picture of Bad Tom.
In “Baxtor, KY,” Morgan pines for the idyllic coal country town of his raising. “Baxtor, KY” showcases the distinct smooth but sandpaper of Morgan’s voice while remembering the small-town life he enjoyed growing up.
“The times of my life are all woven threads,” Morgan sings in “Wove.” “Woven” describes the colors of the threads that make up his life. From love, to loss, each moment is woven into the thread of his life, “the worst times are the blues, but the best are bright green, and those memories that I’ve lost, are just the spaces in between.” “Woven” is one of those songs that grows on you the more you listen to it.
“Fish and a Time to Kill” (written by Sara Trunzo) channels visions of Ernest Hemmingway, “looking more than wind worn” headed to the ocean. The harmonies on “Fish and a Time to Kill” are absolutely beautiful and really make this song. Hidden in those harmonies is the line “looking for a higher place to pray from,” after spending a year in the middle of a pandemic, that line really resonates.
“Time Just Goes Away,” the current single release off I Wanna Start a Band, opens with the haunting pedal steel of Darrel Scott over Taylor Shuck’s banjo playing that makes this one of the prettiest songs on the album. Lyrically, “Time Just Goes Away” is right there with the rest of the album. “The light that shines between the early morning and the dark of night, makes my skin warm, and turns everything in my world right. And I turn around and trade this gift for some pay. And in my rearview mirror, all I see is another day.” “And Time just goes away, and we never get the chance to say all we want to say.” Listening to this track, I can’t say anything more beautiful about it than its lyrics already do.
The title track, “I Wanna Start a Band” brings up his childhood fantasy of building the all-star band, “I wanna start a band, I want it to be the best in history” “I want Levon Helm on the drums, every once in a while, he’ll sing a song. I want Emmylou in there too.” “I want rock and roll, and rhythm and blues, and old-time country like Hank used to do” The line up gets more amazing as the song rolls along “Derek Trucks playing slide for Marvin Gaye.” The lineup he put together to record I Wanna Start a Band is not the one he imagined as a kid with a radio in his bedroom, but they came together to release a very fine album.
“When I Think About You” is a bit more upbeat than the tracks before it. A lighthearted romp of a love song. “Well life is short, and it don’t last too long. Guess that’s why I’m singing this song.” “When I think about you, does it mean you’re thinking about me?”
“Southern Gothic Love Story” in Morgan’s words is the “west side story on the south side.” A rollicking tale of a love triangle turned tragic. It’s the story of best friends William Joe McAllister and Robert Montgomery McGee and Penelope Jones. “Bobby had eyes on Penelope, but she only loved Billy Joe.” Here is what went down, “Bobby hit Billy, Billy hit Bobby and they fell in the river and drowned.” As I listen, I keep finding my foot tapping to the beat of this one even though the lyrics say I should be doing anything but.
Closing out the album is “Home”: “the grass is blue where I call home, the toughest women that ever lived, the fastest horses that ever did run. People with nothing but their hearts to give.” “Home” paints a beautiful picture of Morgan’s Eastern Kentucky raising.
I Wanna Start a Band from start to finish is one of those albums that is perfect for drives around the lake or sitting around the campfire with a bunch of family and friends. Having grown up very similar (and one county over from) to Britton Patrick Morgan, that is one of the highest compliments I can type here as to what kind of album I Wanna Start a Band truly is. You can get your copy at http://www.brittonpatrickmorgan.com/ as well as all streaming platforms.