Whitey Morgan makes no secret of the fact it's been " pretty rough" year or so -- the kind of rough that makes for good country songs.
During that time, the singer, songwriter and guitarist from Flint parted ways with his label, Chicago-based Bloodshot Records, and split with his wife. "The (label) thing had been going on for awhile and finally came to a head," says Morgan, 38, who celebrates the impending release of his fifth album, "Sonic Ranch," with a show Saturday, Feb. 21, at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit. Then the divorce thing came on and...it was a lot to handle, yeah.
"But it's been good to get that weight off my shoulders, too. I feel like this is going to be a good year. I'm excited for the future."
The former FedEx driver and body shop worker plans an April release for "Sonic Ranch," a mix of originals and covers of songs by Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Frankie Miller and others that he recorded at the El Paso, Texas studio of the same name. He'll be putting it out independently, too, and Morgan says he's "looking forward to not having to answer to anybody but myself. I'll be good at that."
The independent move comes at an auspicious time. This year marks 10 years since Morgan became a full-time touring act, and earlier this year he passed the "first" million mile mark on the road. Both are achievements Morgan is proud of, especially since he can see growth in both the music and in the crowds coming to see him.
"I always knew I would do it for the rest of my life; I just didn't know if I would be able to ONLY do this," Morgan says. "I flash back to the days of driving around, splitting $30 between five guys on the road and that was the gig money for the night. Hotels were a dream.
"Now it's kind of mind-blowing to think that it's mainly good, sell-out shows where people out front are singing the words to my songs. I've come some pretty intense fans who come to these shows, and it's always a moment when I get off the stage and sit back and soak it all in -- like a good drug, kind of."
Whitey Morgan and the 78's
Saturday, Feb. 21. Doors open at 9 p.m.
Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.
Tickets are $18.50.
Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.
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