ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 25, 1999
By Steve Newton
On his first two albums, Texas singer-songwriter and ace guitar-slinger Teddy Morgan took a decidedly bluesy approach, but on his third, Lost Love and Highways, he’s adopted a more country-roots stance. Although he now sounds more like a cross between J.J. Cale and Steve Earle than his blues pedigree would lead you to expect, Morgan claims that he hasn’t turned his back on the music that has possessed him since he first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins.
“I’m just young,” says the 28-year-old musician from his mom’s house in Minneapolis. “You know, when I first found blues, it was endless. I listened to blues for years; it was the voice I spoke with, you know, and what I really wanted to learn. But at the time you never know what you’re gonna do in the future.
“I’ve got that base, you know, that real understanding of blues and love for it, but in the last few years it’s just been developing as a musician, being interested in hearing different things, discovering guys like Steve Earle and a lotta old country and soul music.
“Music has no rules,” he adds, “and that’s the beautiful part of it. You just keep the influences comin’, and the more you learn—and the more you don’t try to copy—the more you kinda come up with your own voice. And I feel like Lost Love and Highways is definitely headed in that direction.”
Although born and raised in Minneapolis, Morgan followed his blues fancy to Austin, Texas. He’s been down there for seven years, playing at famous venues like Antones, and he released two discs on the Antones label before switching to Oakland-based HighTone Records for this year’s Lost Love and Highways.
He’s also been touring, which he says is great, especially when it means he can play his hometown and have his mom show up at places like Lee’s Liquor Lounge to cheer him. Morgan’s looking forward to his first Canadian gig, at the Yale on Wednesday (December 1).
Although still young enough to adjust his musical style, Morgan has already experienced a couple of career highlights, one being a stint with California blues shouter James Harman. The other was performing a duet with swamp bluesman Lazy Lester on the new CD’s “A Word About a Woman”, a song the Louisiana legend recorded during his early days.
“There’s another guy that’s a hero,” says Morgan. “And with this record, it just seemed like such a perfect thing. I mean, the record kinda reflects what’s been goin’ on with me the last few years, and Lester’s an important part of that. And so to have Lester come in, man, that’s something I’ll never forget. And there it is, forever recorded, that me and Lester are friends.”