Whitey Morgan Releases New Song “Honky Tonk Hell”
You hear what passes for a honky tonk song on today’s country radio, and it makes it sound like a fantasy land full of women in cutoffs, where the beer and whiskey flow freely and everyone gets laid. But as we all know, so often the dimly-lit beer joint can turn into a den of hell for many who can’t seem to leave. They get stuck spending their paychecks on potent drinks and video poker, powdered up women just looking for a free buzz make the rounds to guzzle drinks and lighten wallets, while the stools lining the bar are populated with poor souls who simply can’t go home until they’ve attempted to drown their sorrows in amber liquid.
Whitey Morgan is a master of the honky tonk sound and scene, having played more of them than anyone on the last dozen years as the leader of one of the most tirelessly touring bar bands in existence. Recently Whitey’s started a family out near an abandoned Western tourist town in interior California, and doesn’t log the some 300+ dates on the road a year he once did. But if you’re worried this would rub the edges off this hard country war horse, “Honky Tonk Hell” sets you straight.
As the first song off the just-announced fourth studio album Hard Times and White Lines, “Honky Tonk Hell” finds Whitey Morgan and the 78’s singing about what they know best. Slow and plodding like a drunk whose trying to amble off a bar stool towards the set of swinging doors, but is stuck perpetually ordering one more round until last call cuts him off, “Honky Tonk Hell” portrays the antithesis of what most of today’s country does, and the truth of the honky tonk life for many an unfortunate soul.
Recorded at the Sonic Ranch just outside of El Paso with the 78’s, “Honky Tonk Hell” features plenty of steel guitar, and a punishment of the kick drum head Whitey Morgan fans have come accustomed to hearing from the Flint, Michigan native. Hard Times and White Lines is sure to have some different textures and moods filling its tracks, but Whitey chose to start off by slinging out a big ol’ chunk of red meat for his rabid, hardcore country fan base with “Honky Tonk Hell.”
Hard Times and White Lines is now available for pre-order.
August 8, 2018 @ 10:02 am
Definitely, what he does best. In my estimation, a little better than Jinks first release “Must be the whiskey.” But neither of them seem to be stretching out or taking any chances, this sounds like it could have came out 10 years ago.
strait country 81
August 8, 2018 @ 10:49 am
It’s way better than the 2 golden boys of this site anyway.
August 8, 2018 @ 6:50 pm
You best not be referring to Childers.
strait country 81
August 9, 2018 @ 7:52 am
Sturgill and Isbell
August 8, 2018 @ 10:05 am
August 8, 2018 @ 10:22 am
God bless these artists that don’t feel the need to “evolve.”
August 10, 2018 @ 1:19 pm
Hit that nail right on the head.
Dirt Road Derek
August 8, 2018 @ 10:32 am
I was sold by the first chorus. Really looking forward to hearing the full album 🙂
August 8, 2018 @ 10:55 am
Killer track, really dig the harmony in the chorus. Don’t get and better than this dude
August 8, 2018 @ 11:02 am
Love it. The 78’s are the best honky tonk band in existence.
August 8, 2018 @ 11:30 am
What a band.
This song is at the muddy bottom of Whitey’s vocal range. Wonder what it would sound like taken up a whole step.
To me, the 78’s are probably the badass-est band working in country right now. They’re one of the few bands that could follow Scott H. Biram as an opener and not sound suburban.
August 8, 2018 @ 11:47 am
That’s so good I got drunk just listening to it.
August 8, 2018 @ 11:59 am
August 8, 2018 @ 11:59 am
Pretty good choice for a first song…basic and accessible, and will give new listeners a good taste of what Whitey is all about. Really looking forward to the full album.
August 8, 2018 @ 12:15 pm
“…will give new listeners a good taste of what Whitey is all about.”
True, but none of Whitey’s studio recordings will prepare you for his live shows. I love his albums, but his shows are on a whole other level. I took a girl who is moderately into country music (and likes Jake Owen, yikes!), and she was blown away by Whitey and his band. She was basically being baptized into real country music. Hallelujah!
August 8, 2018 @ 12:39 pm
I completely agree. I don’t know what it is but it’s like the music comes alive when you hear it..live. I just remember hearing Brett Robinson on the pedal steel steel and it was so pronounced. Sounded fantastic. I feel like a lot times pedal steel gets forgotten in the background when listening through the car speakers.
Shredding it on the guitar as well. Tony Martinez was great.
August 8, 2018 @ 4:48 pm
I took a buddy to see Whitey and Ward Davis, he is a metal / alternative guy, almost bailed on me last minute but decided to go. What I had played never really struck his fancy However, he was blown away, loved it. Wants to go again next time he is this way. Said to me at least a dozen times “Damn, those guys know their way around those instruments.”
August 8, 2018 @ 5:18 pm
The 78’s have arguably been the tightest band in independent country for 10 years.
August 8, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
Love this and can’t wait til he busts this out live here this month. Dunno why I had this thought, but this is the direction Pantera & DAC Rebel Meets Rebel shoulda taken. Saw the album tracklist and didn’t see a Bill Don Burns song. Trigger, do you know if he did one?
August 8, 2018 @ 1:14 pm
Peering through the track list I’m not seeing a song that leers out at me as one Billy Don Burns wrote, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. May do a deep dive into the track list/songwriters at some point heading to the release.
August 8, 2018 @ 5:49 pm
I did notice what looks like a ZZ Top cover on there with just got paid
August 8, 2018 @ 1:14 pm
Thematically, this cut is on par with Still Doin’Time by Jones and Swingin Doors by Haggard. That steel leaps out of the recording and grabs you hard. And all the menace in Whiteys voice only adds to it. Hard to argue against this one. Real deal.
What a contrast to that weeny jake chokin’s song you just posted.
August 8, 2018 @ 3:36 pm
I think maybe Brett Robinson posted on FB that Larry Campbell is on steel on this track…not 100% sure tho
August 8, 2018 @ 3:45 pm
He really doesn’t do it for me. Lyrically and vocally just a bit weak.
August 8, 2018 @ 5:02 pm
There’s always Luke Bryan.
August 8, 2018 @ 6:36 pm
So you think Luke Bryan is a superior talent? Not sure I’d go that far personally but I respect your personal preference for Luke Bryan.
August 8, 2018 @ 6:38 pm
Well played Sir.
August 8, 2018 @ 7:10 pm
😉 All in good fun.
August 10, 2018 @ 5:45 am
See, now that was not nice and it wasn’t necessary. Just because someone didn’t like the song and you did, you don’t need to “retaliate” by then accusing them of liking someone that is perceived as having very little talent. That’s called insulting their musical taste. I sort of feel like I’m talking to a fifth grader here, but it’s amazing to me how uncivilized the comment section of this site has become. I am a long-time reader and occasional commentor and I truly appreciate what Trigger does for his followers. But I must say, I visit the site less because of all the new, negative people like you. Why don’t we all try to get along? it’s clear that most of the people that visit this site enjoy the same types of music and respect quality musicians, singers and songwriters. We don’t need to insult each other because one person likes Whitey Morgan and the other person likes Sturgill Simpson. Either one of those artists are fighting the good fight and we should all band together.
August 10, 2018 @ 10:39 am
Dude, this ended a couple of days ago. We both had a laugh and that was that. No need for you to make it more than it was.
August 9, 2018 @ 3:45 am
Honestly, (and I’ll get hammered for saying this on this thread) the whole neo-outlaw movement and sub-genre doesn’t really do it for me. With the exception of Cody Jinks (who has proven he can find a more diverse sound at times), its starting to become boring and expected.
August 9, 2018 @ 5:15 am
I think that’s a bit silly to correlate Whitey to the neo-outlaw movement. I see Cody stretching for that persona more than Whitey. Whitey is just, well, Whitey. He doesn’t have to try to be an outlaw and he’s not trying to be one. His music speaks for itself; he’s just a damn outlaw through and through. Whitey is the real deal.
August 10, 2018 @ 3:03 am
You can be yourself and still consequently fall into a niche or stream similar to other artists and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He would probably say he’s not an outlaw just for the sake of not being labeled…the most “outlaw” thing he could do. But as a music consumer, I’m still going to see him as a neo-outlaw type and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. He’s being true to his musical and artistic self and that’s great. All I’m saying is that its becoming predictable and slightly formulaic.
August 10, 2018 @ 7:39 am
I can’t argue that and would agree he definitely falls into that category whether or not it’s a face he’s putting on. I suppose it’s like Waylon said, “Don’t you think this outlaw bit has done got out of hand?” It has become somewhat over done and the authenticity part does play a big role in it and I’m thankful he has that in spades.
August 10, 2018 @ 8:44 am
As long as the ‘neo-outlaw sub-genre’ (and let’s hope that moniker doesn’t stick) is feasting on the corpse of bro country, then that’s fine by me.
Honest, hard-driving country music that is true to its roots? Yes ma’am–I’ll have that. And be back for seconds.
August 8, 2018 @ 4:16 pm
This one will need to grow on me. Mentioning the devil a bunch of times and and having a skull on your dashboard doesn’t necessarily make it a badass song. I could have used some extra variation rhythmically, lyrically, and harmonically between the verse and chorus.
August 9, 2018 @ 10:37 am
I agree. Although I dig the dark sort of tone of the song… the lyrics are pretty B-Team.
August 8, 2018 @ 4:31 pm
Kind of sounds like a rejected Doors song. Post Jim Morrison getting too fat to take a deep enough breath to sing.
August 8, 2018 @ 5:26 pm
Can’t help but think of Hotel California when I listen to this one.
August 8, 2018 @ 6:21 pm
It even has a similar line about never checking out.
August 8, 2018 @ 5:45 pm
Thought this was a Beaumont’s number the way it starts
August 8, 2018 @ 7:27 pm
Never knew he was from my home state!
August 8, 2018 @ 7:42 pm
I enjoyed the lowdown, sinister vibe of the song – reminding me a little of “Red Right Hand” by NIck Cave (but I’m not by any means pushing ol’ Nick as a country artist).
Certainly better than that by-the-numbers Jake Owen song!
August 9, 2018 @ 3:40 am
Wow!! Just that steel guitar in the opening moments is enough to sell it to me! Excellent!!
August 9, 2018 @ 6:32 am
Just listened to this song again. And again.
Just like when Dwight Yoakam and Pete Anderson were working together, everything Whitey Morgan & the 78s does sounds like perfection to my ears.
August 9, 2018 @ 8:55 pm
I’m still drunk, still crazy…. still blue. Whitey kicks ass…. pass me some more Knob Creek….
August 10, 2018 @ 8:37 am
Judging Whitey Morgan by listening to a recording is like judging NASCAR by test driving a Camry.