Sam Morrow makes groove-thick music full of rowdy Texas swagger and hazy California cool greased along by stellar, tone-heavy guitars and knuckle-crackin’ lyrics. The Houston native turned Los Angeles troubadour excelled on 2018’s Concrete and Mud, an album often cited as one of the better “country” efforts to emerge that year– but at its core, the record introduced a finer grit brand of Southern-ish rock that moves both modern jammers and nostalgics while appealing to fans of plain ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll.
In the far-from-settled pandemic frontier of October 2020, Morrow released the excellent Gettin’ By On Gettin’ Down, a funkier, nastier beauty that dialed back the twang and ratcheted up the attitude to offer some of Sam’s best songs to date. Partially conceived as an homage to the L.A. music scene and heroes like Little Feat and Los Lobos, GBOGD was a “right place wrong time record” that as good as it was, needed a tour that just couldn’t be possible amid COVID-19.
“That record was done before all shit hit the fan! I didn’t wanna hold onto it– it was done, and I didn’t wanna wait ’til COVID was over to release a record. ‘Cause we didn’t know,” says Morrow gearing up for a major run of dates that will cruise through Macon on Friday, May 5th with Black Dirt Country progenitor David Quinn. “We just went ahead and put it out, didn’t really have any touring goin’ on, and a lot o’ radio stations, people weren’t even goin’ in!”
In August of ’22, Sam released “More”, a fever of reverberation, quiet angst, keys, and now signature guitar smolder. Primed to offer a new album, Morrow instead called a legitimate audible at the very, very last minute.
“I finished a record in September of last year and it was mixed, mastered,” reveals Morrow. “I was drivin’ to Texas ’cause that’s where my family is and I was goin’ to see them. I was listenin’ to the record on the way there, and I decided it wasn’t done yet. Half of it I liked, but I don’t think they were the songs that really fit the record for me. It wasn’t fully the record I wanted to make. They had the tracks already about to get put on wax, and I called my manager and my producer and I said, ‘We need to redo half this thing.’ We had plans to put out more songs– I think we had a plan to put out one late last year and then another one early this year– but everything got pushed back and we just finished it– again– a month ago. That was the hold-up! I had to axe it!”
Satisfied, Sam is aiming for a fall date for his latest album, but in the meantime has just released a low-ridin’ cover of Robert Palmer’s grinding “Addicted To Love”.
“We figured, ‘We’re in the studio, might as well cut some covers while we’re in here…” Some songs that we already play live or just some songs that I wanna cover,” says Morrow. “We recorded a few other covers too and we’re usin’ those as some cool placeholders until we start releasin’ record tracks– which hopefully is pretty soon! We’re gettin’ all the label stuff figured out. Hopefully, it comes out this year– October is what I’m hopin’ for.”
Morrow & company break “Addicted To Love” down to elements of R&B, Southern Rock, and funk, leaning on an admiration of Lowell George and Little Feat. A special treat is the appearance of former Gregg Allman Band leader and current Little Feat maestro Scott Sharrard on slide guitar.
“Me and Scott have just been “Instagram friends” for a while, just kinda commentin’ and likin’ each other’s stuff back and forth, messagin’ here and there. The whole idea behind “Addicted To Love” was kinda to bring it back to more of that Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley feel– which Lowell [George] produced and the Meters played on,” says Morrow. “We were tryin’ to think of a guitar player to have on it and I was like, ‘Why don’t we get Lowell?’ Which, Scott is “the Lowell” now of that band. He would never say that– Lowell’s Lowell— but Scott’s an amazing player and he’s honed in that whole sound as he’s played with [Little Feat] for years now. I just reached out to him and asked him if he would play on it, and he was cool enough to do it. He killed it, man!