Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Frank Morey: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

The first time I learned about Frank Morey was in an article in the Boston Phoenix by Ted Drozdowski a few years back. I found a few Morey's CDs on and at Boston's now-defunct Hi-Fi Records store and, as cynical as I am, I was a little surprised that Morey was not already some huge musical commodity...

Sure, at first listen you might think Morey is a Tom Waits knockoff, but truthfully Morey’s roots trace back through a a diverse set of blues, folk, and honky tonk music, including some other musical heroes, such as Louis Armstrong, Howlin’ Wolf, Ray Charles, Leadbelly, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen, all of whom have helped inspire Morey to craft his own unique sound. In combination with true skill at storytelling and singing, each of Morey’s CDs has improved on the formula and brought him to his fifth CD, the wonderful MADE IN USA.

Morey’s earlier CDs include Bourbon Soaked Halo from 1998, Father John’s Medicine in 2000, and Cold in Hand and The Delmark Sessions (released by Delmark Records), both of which came out in 2002.

Based in Lowell, Massachusetts, an industrial city northwest of Boston where Jack Kerouac spent much of his youth before heading out on the road. Morey is still based in Lowell and speaks in the interview about how this city with its industrial roots also has influenced him and his writing. As often quoted, Morey says, "You can sit down in some bar in Lowell and there’s going to be somebody in that place that you couldn’t invent. They’re beautiful and crazy and for some reason they all want to sit next to me."