Available for opening slots, clubs, festivals, and house concerts in solo, duo, trio, and larger sizes.
Sounds like: Tom Waits, Howlin' Wolf, Randy Newman, Daniel Lanois
"One listen to Wesley Morgan and his swampy version of Blues and Americana and it becomes glaringly obvious that he pours his heart and soul into his musical creations. Our audience of music aficionados was definitely impressed. He aims to please and was very responsive and flexible to the needs of the venue. "
— Steve Funkhouser, The Boom Boom Room (San Francisco, CA)
"Wesley Morgan is professional, friendly and easy to work with. His brand of dark, sly & swampy tunes captivated our audience, and set the perfect tone for our evening."
— Jim Sweeny, Hubba Hubba Review (Bay Area, CA)
"When Wesley Morgan's on the bill, we know we're in for a great night. Audiences love his unique blend of edgy, sexy tunes tempered with a gritty, rollicking roadhouse energy. In addition, he's a responsible, consummate professional and a pleasure to work with."
— Sarah Mockus, Baxtalo Drom @ Amnesia (San Francisco, CA)
Mountain Winery, Saratoga CA
Boom Boom Room, SF CA
The Uptown, Oakland CA
Elbo Room, Chicago IL
Amnesia, SF CA
Madrone Art Bar, SF CA
Zelda's On The Beach, Santa Cruz CA
Fillmore Poster Room, SF CA
Aubergine, Sebastapol CA
Cafe Van Kleef's, Oakland CA
Angel's & King's, Chicago IL
Disco Volante, Oakland CA
Backstage Lounge, Santa Cruz CA
Wesley Morgan performs a dark blend of broken down blues, junkyard americana, and gritty country with sexy lyrics that dwell on the darker side of creation. This style of music is called Swamp Noir, and it is perfect soundtrack for a night of sin.
Backed by the tight rhythm section known as The V-Twins, Wesley's mix of raw blues twang, moody surf guitar, deep stand-up bass, and unpredictable percussion creates a visceral audience reaction. Dance, drink, fight, stomp, and groove: Swamp Noir inspires it all.
Since starting out as a solo artist 2011, Wesley Morgan has performed with some amazing musicians. He has opened for Chris Isaak and Jack White favorites Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three. He has also performed with guitarist Joe Gore (Tom Waits, PJ Harvey) and drummer Dawn Richardson (4 Non Blondes, Tracy Chapman).
Audiences enjoy the "awesome show" that Wesley Morgan performs, enjoying his "unique style" and calling his music "offbeat and entrancing."
Swamp Noir singer, songwriter, and guitarist Wesley Morgan has released his first EP titled Backroom In Tulsa. Recorded and mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, Primus, Bill Laswell), the four original songs on this EP provide a first glimpse at the singer's dark blend of broken down blues and junkyard americana, evoking comparisons to Tom Waits, Randy Newman, and Chris Isaak.
“Swamp Noir is ragged and raw, with melodies that drop off, bend, and crack,” says the singer. “It's about beautiful devils and angels with broken wings. It's the sound you hear rolling out of a Saturday night juke joint, but it's also the choir when you stumble drunk into Sunday morning redemption.” The singer employs classic instrumentation such as electric guitar, stand-up bass, and honky-tonk piano, as well as various percussion elements including bags of chains, shovels, and rakes. “Not only are we well stocked to play a killer show, but we also do some low-level landscaping. Most club owners appreciate the value-added,” jokes the musician.
At 36 years of age, Wesley Morgan is starting a music career at an age where other musicians have either found success or given up. “Howlin' Wolf was 41 years old when he released his first album,” the artist remarks, “and Tom Waits had his best release ever at the age of 61. Whenever I get worried that I'm not as young as everyone else, I think of those two guys.”
The real inspiration to pursue a music career, however, came in the form of a guitar...his first guitar, to be exact. The singer remembers, “I had to hock my first guitar when I first lived in New York, back in 1998. By the time I saved enough money to buy it back from the pawn shop, it was long gone.” Skipping forward to 2010, the artist found himself in San Francisco, jobless and fresh out of a ten year relationship. “I lost everything and was starting over. One day, on a lark, I stepped into a pawn shop in the Mission, and there she was.” Three thousand miles away, the singer found the guitar he had lost twelve years earlier. He says that discovery forced him to seriously consider music as a life path.
At 35 years of age, Wesley Morgan started playing weekly gigs. After only three months of playing live, he opened for “Wicked Game” singer Chris Isaak at the 2500 capacity Mountain Winery. He recalls, “I only got three hours notice for that gig. The phone rang at 3pm and they asked if I could open at 6pm. My clothes were at the cleaners, I had to borrow an amp, and then make the hour long drive during rush hour. I didn't even have a car! So, I said 'No problem.'”
The show with Chris Isaak confirmed that a career in music was what the artist needed to do with his life. “I was out there by myself, with a thousand people focused on my music. When the last notes rang out, the place erupted in applause. I have video of everyone on their feet, hooting and hollering. That's when I knew music was my path.”
In January of 2012, after spending the previous nine months performing solo, Wesley Morgan began searching for a band and an engineer to record his debut record. While looking for an engineer, the musician kept returning to the sound of his two favorite albums: Wicked Grin by John Hammond Jr. and Mule Variations by Tom Waits. Both albums were recorded and mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer Oz Fritz. Wesley Morgan reached out to Fritz, and the engineer agreed to record the project, even reducing his normal rates so the struggling musician could pay for the sessions. “At that point in my career, less than a year in, I only hoped to work with someone familiar with Oz's work. I never imagined I'd be working with the actual man who recorded my heroes.”
Music Sampler Information
When an outlaw couple pulls into a drive-through wedding chapel, 'Backroom In Tulsa' is the sounds of music playing on the AM dial of their old convertible. It's got junkyard drums stuffed with rusty chains, stand-up bass rambling along like litter blowing down the highway, a piano that sounds like Scott Joplin playing in hell's finest honky tonk, and some pedal steel tossed in to give it some country spice.
Next up is "Flesh and Bone", a tender, country style ballad full of heart and soul, delicate accordion, and pedal steel guitar. It gives a fresh take on the classic scenario of a narrator so devoted to his beloved that he would do anything for her, yet tinged with the melancholy feeling of knowing the limitations of time and space, flesh and blood.
"Break Every Heart I Can" is a song orginaly written by country music star Merle Haggard. Like Merle Haggard, Wesley is from the Bakersfield, CA area. This cover takes Haggard's hard lyrics about broken relationships and lover's revenge, and slows them down into a junkyard stew to be savored.
“Last Call”, an atmospheric instrumental, recalls the spatial immensity of Ry Cooder's soundtrack for the film Paris, Texas. Wesley comments, “That song is the last thing people hear when the room is spinning after a long night of drinking. I imagined a single musician playing at 3:30 am for the last three people in the bar, one of whom is flat on his back.
"In the Valley" is classic Swamp Noir. Featuring some of Wesley Morgan's best lyrics, this version is ragged and raw, with melodies that drop off, bend, and crack. How can you go wrong with a lyric like, "Tell me little girl are you a sinner or a saint? / Down on your knees, no hint of restaint."
This solo, acoustic version of "Snake Rattle" was recorded live on Sleepy John's KPIG show. This is a stripped down version of what audiences hear with Wesley Morgan's live band. Full of dusty imagery featuring charming devils and angels with broken wings.
Born from the live looping he employs in his solo show, “Fade (Backroom Mix Up)” is built up from a simple vocal beat that is reminiscent of the intro to "Closer" from Nine Inch Nails. He then applies different sounds on top of this loop to create an electro-acoustic hybrid that borrows heavily from Radiohead, Lou Reed, P.J. Harvey, and many others. . The song's lyrics present two sides of the same story, a story that dwells in obsession and desire.