Tag Archives: The Morrison Brothers Band

MAGGIE ROSE TALLY HO

MAGGIE ROSE & THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND LIGHT UP THE TALLY HO!

  

GIRL IN YOUR TRUCK SONG – MAGGIE ROSE

Download Maggie’s new single through iTunes: HERE

     Music venues are ranked based on their size and desirability within the industry. Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl, are all marquee venues that indicate one’s status as an artist by having played there. For some, it’s the pinnacle of their career. But prior to performing on those 2014-08-27 11.09.49grand stages, these acts will play plenty of local venues, honing their performance skills in anticipation of big cities, bright lights. The smaller venues scattered across the music map will have to compete with one another for big name acts and patrons alike to fill their limited spaces. The owners work diligently to find their entertainment and even harder to bring the fans in. When you find the right connection between act and audience, the end result can feel like a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall. Something organic happens in small venues. Absent the glitz and glamor, the music takes center stage. You can’t rely on state of the art acoustics, comfortable seating, or media enhancements to your set. You’re there with the basics, and you have to make that work, and and the beauty of that is….anything can happen.

     The TALLY HO Theatre was built in 1932 in Leesburg, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC. It fronts a quaint downtown street in what is now the historic district. It was originally built as a movie theater with a stage for live TALLY HO THEATREperformances as well. It was purchased two years ago by its current owners, Jack and Don Devine, and has since been renovated to accommodate a variety of stage and floor set ups. The theater seats have been removed and the slanted floor remains open to allow for a standing room only crowd of 650. The night I was there it was set 20140822_191807with chairs to the left and right of center stage, leaving an open aisle between for standing and dancing. High top tables with stools were set up along the outer walls. The balcony area above serves as a VIP lounge offering guaranteed seating and access to food and drinks. On the main level there are two bars serving beer and wine, one in the lobby and one in the rear of the theater with high top table seating. A light menu is available offering finger foods made fresh at La Lou Bistro next door. Merchandise tables for each of the artists were set up in the bar area. The show on this evening started at 8pm with doors opening at 7pm. Our tickets were scanned as we waited in line outside the front doors and hand stamps were given to those 21 and over with proper identification. This proved 2014-08-28 17.36.22to be a very efficient way of handling the entry process. In every aspect, the staff at the Tally Ho was polite,  professional, and always helpful. As a matter of additional conveniences offered, free parking is available in the parking garage adjacent to the theater. La Lou Bistro is located next door, providing the perfect spot for a pre-show dinner. They serve exceptional Mediterranean cuisine in a casually elegant setting. At the Tally Ho, happy hour drink specials are offered in the hour between doors opening and show time. The night I was there the special was Blue Moon on tap for $3. This provided the perfect setting for what was sure to be a fabulous night of live music!

     The Morrison Brothers Band brought their local roots to the Tally Ho for a performance that was a declarative statement. Having taken the Ice Bucket Challenge to promote ALS awareness just minutes before taking the Screenshot_2014-08-28-20-17-22stage, it was imperative that they heat up the stage, and their body temps – rapidly. They opened with Delbert McClinton’s classic hit, “Everytime I Roll the Dice.” Lead singer, Willie Morrison, delivers this one like testimony from a tent revival. The bluesy grit he draws through his vocal chords will make you a believer. Amen and hallelujah! Feeling like you’ve Never Been Rocked Enough? Prepare yourself for a country blues sermon, only out here, we’ll call it the Leesburg Address. They followed that one with a couple of songs off their latest album, State of The Union. The instrumentation and vocal 2014-08-23 01.44.13approach they used on these had a different feel than the studio sound. Kevin Nolan led on guitar and set the groove for an intimate jam session with “Easily Pleased.” Willie’s vocals followed the groove and melded with the moment. In “Gimme All the Love,” the jam session unfolded, inviting the other instrumentalists to participate. Harmonies lifted the music and Matt Nolan on drums reigned them in for a finish that had the audience clapping along. Clearly an amen from the crowd!

     Keeping the jam session alive, they debuted a new song that took off like a train ride and we were the lucky passengers. Matt Nolan was clearly in IMG_0951the engineer’s seat on drums with the guitars helping to pull the song along the tracks. Just as it would slow to gather steam, it would race off again at Matt’s command, all with Willie singing off the back of the caboose, reminding us where we’d been in those passing miles. As the trees fall away in the distance, trigger the whistle and the puff of smoke, this relationship just went “Up in smoke, Screenshot_2014-08-28-20-18-06down in flames/Jump on up, rolling like a freight train.” MBB’s cover of “Up In Smoke” could very well be their signature sound. Willie’s vocal is spectacular here and the tight musicianship behind him makes this a standout moment in their set. From there, they debuted two new songs set to be released in the coming months that are both testaments to love. It was a two-sided musical approach to the same sentiment. Either way, the crowd loved it all. Covering Sturgill Simpson’s “Life Ain’t Fair & the World Is Mean” brought that train back to the tent revival. Willie’s vocal was pure honky tonk preachin’ with every instrument providing its own unique amen.

     Having captured the attention of everyone by this point, the last few songs in their set put an exclamation point on who they are as a band. “Without Me” was the only ballad of the night and a showcase song for them to silence the IMG_0954crowd with the emotion they bring to it. This one got a huge reaction, and they followed that up with another show stopper. “Copperhead Road” is an iconic Steve Earle song. For some bands, taking that on might be risky. Not here. Drummer, Matt Nolan, OWNS this song! It’s the only one he takes lead vocals on, twisting the power of his voice around the forceful performance 2014-08-28 16.32.27he gives on drums. The other instruments attempt to take on this venomous explosion of sound but the bite of this copperhead proves fatal, making this a KILLER song! Can’t say he didn’t warn us to stay away from Copperhead Road. Willie rolls out the blues for their cover of Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble.” His THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND LITTLE MISS WHISKEYinterpretation brings a depth of emotion to the song that the instrumentation supports. The set ends with the reveal of another new song set to be released as the snow starts falling. It’s a beautiful song that somehow manages an upbeat bluesy feel to it that will have you wanting to dance barefoot in the summertime. Having done their time at the tent revival, The Morrison Brothers Band leaves us with a shot of  “Little Miss Whiskey.” After all that redemption, the crowd reacted with a cheer for the whiskey and it set the mood for the party the Girl in Your Truck Song was about to bring to the stage!

MAGGIE ROSE GIRL IN YOUR TRUCK SONG PIC

     When I arrived at the Tally Ho, Maggie Rose’s stage set up was in place. The first thing that caught my eye was the drum head. The large picture of Maggie’s face that was on it was tagged ‘MAGGIE ROSE BAND.’ That moniker spoke volumes about the show we were about to see and even more about the Screenshot_2014-08-27-11-47-52woman the band is named for. Maggie Rose is no diva. She does not take the stage and demand the spotlight. She opened her set with a song that invited us to the party she was throwing on her home turf. She grew up just 36 miles from the venue. As the hostess, the first thing she did when the song ended was politely introduce the group by saying, “I’m Maggie Rose and we are the Maggie Rose Band.” It would be the only formality of the evening. From that moment on, we were treated like friends and family who’d been invited for drinks and entertainment after work. TGIF! She made us feel welcome from the outset. At the start of the second song, she engaged with the family and friends gathered there and invited us into the performance. The song, “Fall Madly In Love With You,” explained her reticence for following the rules and expressed her desire to just get on with things. From that bold move, she made another.

     Without giving us a chance to pass judgment on her intentions, the band, as if having her back, played boldly behind her “Mostly Bad” confession. It was Maggie-Rose-2013-300a shameless vocal with no discretion in its intention to make us all sinners. The forbidden fruit she sings of is a dress that’s Cut To Impress, but with her powers of vocal persuasion, fashion choice is irrelevant. The audience reaction was clearly ‘show us your horns, Maggie. Halos are overrated.’ Imploring us to support her choices and join the chorus, she turned up the heat with an ELO cover of “Don’t Bring Me Down.” This throwback to a rock classic was not the least bit out of its era in this setting. Maggie’s musical soul seems to transcend her youth and she delivered20140822_213842 with the authenticity of a vinyl recording. It got a huge response from the crowd. At this point in the set, Maggie brought the audience closer to her, not in a physical way, but rather in making an emotional connection  through her commentary and the music. Embracing the family atmosphere she’d created, it would be the first of several times throughout the evening that she would give a shout out to her opening act. She applauded them as if she were a proud sister, and encouraged us to do the same. From here, she started to share pieces of her life with us as they related to the songs she performed. In the spirit of TGIF, she said they’d written this one in the back of the tour bus to capture the feeling of celebrating the weekend. The band’s emphatic performance of “Goodbye Monday” invited the audience to participate in this joy ride set to music.

     This led to one of the more intimate parts of the set, which included two songs that Maggie poured her broken heart into. She’s begun work on her Screenshot_2014-08-27-11-47-32second album and we were treated to one of the songs that’ll be on it. “When You Drink Tonight” is a bad relationship inspired song that everyone can relate to. There’s a strength and tenderness to it that only Maggie can deliver, making it a musical salve for the heart. Cementing her bond with the audience, she shared her personal connection to her hit single, “Better.” There’s a thread that runs through this song that started when Maggie first heard it. Over the years, as fans have told her what the song means to them, she said it resonates with a deeper meaning every time she sings it. The emotion she captured in this vocal with its accompanying harmonies and instrumentation was simply magnificent. This was performance art at its finest. After this show stopper, Screenshot_2014-08-27-11-44-26Maggie introduced the members of her incredible band. They are: Jason Graumlich on guitar from Nashville; Sarah Tomek on drums from Asbury Park, NJ; Tim Braisted on bass from PA; Zac Lasher on keys from Brooklyn; and Luke Moller on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar from Melbourne, Australia. This mixture of hometowns together on one stage, and that being a country stage on this night, led perfectly into Maggie’s reality check song, “Hollywood.” For those who think they’re above country music lyrics, she holds their lives up to a mirror in this one and tells ‘em what’s what. “Dysfunctions, dysfunction/No matter what state you come from.” The crowd finished this one and roared their approval! Again, showing her love for The Morrison Brothers Band and the many times they’ve played together, she reveals a little secret here. Sorry. What happens in Leesburg, stays in Leesburg.

     As any good hostess would do, Maggie checked in with her guests frequently throughout the show, just to make sure we were all still having a good time. After treating us to some “Good Clean Fun,” she invited everyone to see her 2014-08-28 22.56.27after the show so she could meet all of her new friends. This led into a part of the show that demonstrated the diversity that Maggie Rose brings to the stage. Her rendition of the Hank Williams classic, “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” was a jaw dropping vocal, accompanied by instrumentation that fed off the soul in her voice. Had you closed your eyes and just listened, you would swear you were in a 1940s blues club. No one can top what she did with that song. Stunning, MAGGIE ROSE! Wondering how the hell she was going to follow that, she takes us to an execution. Her own. Providing the background for this single, “Looking Back Now,” her friend, Lisa Carver, wrote it the first year she was in Nashville. Maggie marveled at her 2014-08-28 15.47.33friend’s ability to put “Sodium theopentol drips” legitimately in a song lyric. The novelty of this song was too good to pass on so in a way that only Maggie could, she turned a double murder/execution into a hit song. You go girl! Setting up the next song, she shared a little of her background with drummer, Sarah Tomek. At 15, Maggie was part of a Springsteen tribute band called the B Street Band. She met Sarah while playing at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. What better way to reminisce than with a Springsteen song. “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” brought the Jersey Shore to Leesburg! This was definitely a crowd pleaser. Changing gears and taking us back to the country, the band kicked it up with “You Never Drank With Country.”

     Putting her musical signature on the evening, Maggie finished with three sensational observations from the female side of things. “Girl In Your Truck Song” is her latest single and one that’s perfect for singing along with the maggie-rose-girl-in-your-truck-songwindows rolled down on a summer night. Here, she reminds us what’s missing in all those cliched truck songs and offers to fill that void. This one got a great reception from the crowd. Bringing us in closer, she hesitates and asks if she can tell us a secret. Calling us family, she wants to share the secret behind her dark and dramatic song, “Preacher’s Daughter.” With the drum backing her up for emphasis, she let the bombshell explode across the room. Starting the song off with instrumentation that suggests a showdown in a small western town, this is the original “Got a MAGGIE ROSE I AIN'T YOUR MAMAreal good feelin’ something bad about to happen.” Her dramatic delivery of this one was murder mystery brilliant. I’ll smile every time I hear this song from now on, just thinking about Maggie’s revenge. Sorry, no tabloid journalism is going to reveal this front page secret. If you want to know what really happened, check out Maggie’s tour schedule. It’s best she tell you this one herself. With our hostess ready to say her farewell, she thanks everyone for coming, shouts out her band and The Morrison Brothers one more time, and leaves the men in the room with this thought, “Guys, we love ya, but “I Ain’t Your Momma.” It was a perfect end to a MAGGIE ROSE kind of night.

     Live music events are a staple of weekend entertainment plans. The vast majority of these will not take place in grand venues like Carnegie Hall. Instead, local concert halls, theaters, and bars will play host to up and coming acts as IMG_0950well as seasoned veterans of the concert circuit. Acting as a supportive family, they provide the stages and a place for fans to gather, listen to, and applaud their efforts. Coming to the Tally Ho felt like being welcomed in by an old friend. It’s a warm, inviting place where you can share a few drinks with friends and listen to some fantastic live music. Every aspect of the experience they provide shows a deep appreciation for music and the potential that hovers over a live performance. As a fan of live music, conditions don’t come any better than this. It’s a TGIF environment without the hassles of a typical bar scene, alive with the possibilities an unrestrained jam session can MORRISON BROTHERS BAND ALBUM COVERbring. The combination of homegrown talents, The Morrison Brothers Band and MAGGIE ROSE, was a perfect display of the best our State of The Union has to offer. Local talent, combined with a local venue and the people who’ve been fans supporting their journey, is a fitting tribute to the community effort it takes to launch a music career. Dreams of bigger stages start on smaller ones just like this. The Morrison Brothers Band‘s “Small Town” explains that “To save my soul I need another taste/of the place I used to be.” Having gone off to New York City, they realize “This big city sure has found/the small town in me.” The quality of their live show is big city. The sentiments expressed are small town. Their delivery is jam session passionate, intimate and full of raw emotion. What connects them to MAGGIE ROSE, like family, is the deep way they connect with the music and the soul 2014-08-27 11.42.13their music reveals. Willie Morrison called Maggie Rose “the queen,” but you won’t see her sitting on any throne. Maggie’s throne is the stage on which she sings the blues. No crown needed to display the command she has when she sings. She rules from the microphone. “Put Yourself In My Blues” is a formal invitation to her live show. No one gets more life out of the music than Maggie Rose, and what she gets, she gives back tenfold to her audience in a breathtaking performance. Leaving the show, someone said to me, “WOW! That MAGGIE ROSE can really sing.” The only answer that seemed appropriate…  “Hell yeah!

  From WAYNorthofNashville.…..Bev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

Note: The other two members of The Morrison Brothers Band who were not mentioned by name in this article are Truman Morrison on guitar and Dave Benson on bass.

Because Maggie considers her family too, a big shout out goes to the fabulous Raina, who handles the merchandise table brilliantly! Her recommendation of the pink shirt was spot on! LOVE IT Raina! Thanks!

MAGGIE ROSE GRAY SWEATER

Visit Maggie’s website for tour dates and ticket information about upcoming shows: http://iammaggierose.com/#up

Like” her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IAmMaggieRose

Follow her on Twitter @IamMaggieRose

Follow her on Instagram: http://instagram.com/iammaggierose

Subscribe to her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/MaggieRoseVideos

Maggie-Rose-2013-300

Cut To Impress is available through iTunes: HERE

Watch the video for “Looking Back Now”!!

MORRISON BROS BLACK AND WHITE

Visit THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND website at: http://themorrisonbrothersband.com/

Like” them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheMorrisonBrothersBand

Follow them on Twitter @TheMorrisonBros

Follow them on Instagram at: http://instagram.com/themorrisonbros

Watch their YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/27Footsteps

Preview and purchase their albums through iTunes:

MORRISON BROTHERS BAND MIDNIGHT IN VIRGINIA

Midnight In Virginia: HERE

MORRISON BROTHERS BAND SHOTGUN SILHOUETTE

Shotgun Silhouette: HERE

MORRISON BROTHERS STATE OF THE UNION CD

State of The Union: HERE

Watch the video for “Little Miss Whiskey”!!

There’s nothing better than LIVE music and nothing worse than a loved one not returning home from that great concert. Drink responsibly. Enjoy the show. Drive safe. Thanks for the reminder Budweiser!!

©2014Bev Miskus

MORRISON BROS BLACK AND WHITE

MEET THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND!

Making the STATE of THE UNION worth hearing!!

MORRISON BROTHERS BAND ALBUM COVER

LITTLE MISS WHISKEY STATE OF THE UNION

Download the song through iTunes: HERE

     When we think of Washington DC, images of monuments and politicians come to mind. It is commonly referred to as our nation’s capital. When Willie and MORRISON BROTHERS 930 CLUB ADTruman Morrison think of the DC area, they call it ‘home.’ It was kind of a surreal moment for me to be waiting at the 9:30 Club, in the middle of Washington DC, to hear a country band with roots just down the street. It’s rare for this club to host country artists and probably a first to have residents playing country music on that stage. Liken it to the odds of members of Congress agreeing on anything. There aren’t any back roads, dirt roads, jacked up trucks, or tattoos on this town (well, not many). What you will find is a sampling of Americana, with roots that reach in every direction. The sound of THE  MORRISON BROTHERS BAND is a compilation of traditional country roots, modern country, alt rock, and classic rock, with a little 2014-07-19 21.47.04international sound mixed in here and there. In other words, they are musically what the DC metropolitan area is demographically. You can cast a wide net from the heart of downtown DC to the countryside of Maryland and Virginia and the bodies of water that protect their shores – the Atlantic Ocean, Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay. The State of the Union speaks to the lives of all who live in these areas and everywhere within our borders. Nowhere is this better stated than in The Morrison Brothers Band’s third album, STATE of THE UNION.

MORRISON BROTHERS ALBUM RELEASE PARTY

     The core of THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND is comprised of two sets of brothers and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Dave Benson. Willie Morrison (lead singer) and his older brother Truman Morrison (guitarist/vocalist) started the band at a young age not knowing where it might lead. By chance, they met Kevin Nolan (multi-instrumentalist) and his older brother Matt Nolan (drums/percussion/vocals) in New Orleans while attending a Derek MORRISON BROTHERS BAND PICTrucks and Susan Tedeschi concert six years ago. Matt Nolan was attending Loyola University in New Orleans at the time and the Morrison brothers were back in the DC area after attending college in LA. They quickly discovered their hometown connection (the Nolan brothers are from Laurel, Maryland) and their similar taste in music. Combining their talents, the nucleus of this band was formed. Dave Benson would join them a few years MORRISON BROTHERS BAND GUITAR CASElater. The band uses a collective songwriting effort when creating and honing a piece of music to suit their wheelhouse. The sophistication in their songwriting is far beyond their years. On the studio album, they use a host of additional musicians to achieve a full-bodied sound that perfectly compliments the depth of the music. Their three studio albums have all been independently released with great success, adding business savvy to their other many talents.

     My first introduction to THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND‘s music was in viewing their video for “Little Miss Whiskey,” the fourth track on STATE of THE UNION. I kept replaying it because I couldn’t believe I was watching an unsigned MORRISON BROTHERS BAND VIDEOband that was not based out of Nashville. The quality of the song and the video easily surpasses some of those I’ve recently viewed on cable stations devoted to such things. As it turns out, some decision makers in Nashville agree with my assessment because the song has since been recorded by Clay Walker and is due to be released shortly. After seeing this video, I couldn’t wait to listen to the full album. If the State of the Union address delivered from the floor of Congress ever sounded as good as TMBB’s version, our founding fathers would rise from their graves and applaud the effort. STATE of THE UNION is a modern country musical proclamation of life as it is. The songwriting doesn’t lean too heavily on one familiar scene or list of desires. It’s a sophisticated album with a playful MORRISON BROS BAND WITH ALYSONside, balanced by situations that involve an emotional investment. The constant throughout the album is the strength of Willie Morrison’s vocals and the impeccable studio performance by the musicians. Unlike many of the albums being released in country music today, the theme of this one doesn’t play to a singular audience with a narrow focus; it relates the experiences that unite us as individuals. Relationships begin and end for everyone, regardless of the setting or geographical location.

     The lead track on the album is “Treat Me Right.” The vocals here are shared between Willie Morrison and Alyson Gilbert. It’s a strong start to the album and throws you right into the push and pull of a relationship. The instrumentation Alyson_Gilbert_Willie_Morrison6encourages the battle of wills and suggests that neither side is going to back down. Through the remaining nine songs on the album, the struggle will unravel in temptation, desire, and resignation to what’s meant to be. “Easily Pleased” is a recitation of the joy that can be found in the MORRISON BROS BAND EASILY PLEASEDsimple things in life. It’s got a light, uncomplicated feel to it that makes sitting on the back patio with the one you love, sipping sweet tea, seem like paradise. “If There’s Love” is a tender ballad that allows the heartfelt vocal to intertwine with the anguish the music conveys. It’s an unveiling of the risks involved in opening up your heart to allow love in and the leap of faith that requires.

     The next two songs on the album are a let loose joy ride. “Little Miss Whiskey” is a testament to the fun that can be had in following your desires to an unknown end. The familiar trappings of a honky tonk setting are all here, MORRISON BROTHERS ALBUM RELEASE GROUP PICreminding us that boys will be boys anywhere there’s liquor and hot girls. “Always a good time, break out the moonshine” is a universally agreed upon theory. “PBR” states its intention when the top pops to open the song. If you can’t hold a beer and dance at the same time, just put it down, because there is no possibility of sitting still for this one. The natural high that comes from being in love will have you kicking up your boot heels until the music stops. The lyrics here simply state what your heart feels in the moment – unbridled elation. “Small Town” has a MORRISON BROTHERS BAND MIDNIGHT IN VIRGINIAstrong traditional country sound embedded in the modern rhythm of the music. The lyrics describe the need to follow your dreams and chase the success you crave, even if that means trading the comforts of small town life for the possibilities that exist in the big city. This song could describe the necessary move to Nashville inherent in seeking a career in country music. Most everyone who dreams of the big stage in this genre will have to trade their small town zip code for the neon lights of Music City. Willie’s vocal and the tempo of the music combine to make this one of the unique tracks on the album. The sound pays respect to classic country’s roots while recognizing the fact that time moves on, and we have no choice but to go where it takes us. “Gimme All the Love” feels like a sing-along you’d here in a local bar with a piano in the corner. The “yee-haw” yell that opens this one tells me it’s a cowboy bar and some boot heels are MORRISON BROS RICK JONES PIANOSabout to hit the wood floor. Someone starts to play and sing and the music is so infectious everyone else joins in, adding whatever they can to this fun romp. There’s a lot of R&B in here as the lyrics beg an estranged lover to roll the dice and give love one more shot. The gospel-like chorus at the end of the song turns that request into a prayer. The musical camaraderie, showcasing Rick Jones on the piano and some intoxicating blues guitar playing, makes this a divine effort!

     “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Youis a stunning piece of music. It suggests intrigue and deception from the first notes played. Picture Mata Hari and you get the idea. It’s got a lot of classic rock tendencies in it and just when you’re The_Morrison_Brothers_Band___Matt_Nolan2getting comfortable with that, the bongos start to play and Kevin Nolan takes over on slide guitar, or should I say Carlos Santana! There are so many forces at play in this song with Matt Nolan’s drumming spicing up the entire piece, the additional flavor of Aaron Fischer on the Accordion, and Willie’s punctuating vocal that pulls it all together. This track illustrates the incredible depth the band has and a polish that defies their youth. And from the complexity of this, they deliver a “State of The Union” that MORRISON BROS KEVIN NOLANcaptivates in its simplicity. Willie told me the belief at the heart of this band is that the song itself is the most important thing. The title track is a tribute to that belief. There’s a reverence to the way it’s performed here as if the tone of the guitar and the delicacy of the vocal can never be out of balance for fear of harming either one. The lyrics support that in attesting to the delicate balancing act of a relationship. Without an equal yin and yang, even two loving hearts can find themselves at odds with each other.

     The album closes with an exclamation point on the importance of the song. “Without Me” is stripped down to the bare essentials in its telling of the end of MORRISON BROTHERS WILLIEthis story. Sometimes no matter what you’ve put into a relationship, it just isn’t meant to be. Willie’s vocal is accompanied by Rick Jones on piano to create a musical melancholy as beautiful as it is sad. As it ends, you’ll find yourself wishing it hadn’t – meaning either the relationship or the album. Whenever I get to the end of this record, I find myself wanting to start it all over again, just like we do with relationships. The high associated with falling in love is worth the risk of the free fall, even with its uncertain landing. STATE of THE UNION has the quality I’ve come to expect from the likes of the Zac Brown Band. If I had to compare THE MORRISON MORRISON BROTHERS TRUMAN WITH ZAC BROWNBROTHERS BAND to anyone, ZBB would be it. Their approach to the music is similar and their devotion to the song and instrumental interpretation is apparent in the finished product. With a record this good, the next step is to transform the magic achieved on the studio recording into an equally impressive live performance.

     For those not familiar with concert venues in the DC area, the 9:30 CLUB is THE premier spot for seeing some of the hottest acts in music from a wide DC 930 CLUBvariety of genres. It originally opened in 1980 as a spot for local bands and those touring the east coast to showcase their music. In those early years, it staged mostly rock and alt rock bands. As the 80s ended and 90s music took over, the venue hosted a lot of new wave and hardcore punk bands. The club offers seating that includes bar, balcony, and standing room only options and capacity is 1200 people. In 1996 it relocated to its current location, not far from the original. Over the years, many big names in music have performed there and the venue has been named Top Club by various organizations multiple times. Rolling Stone online rated it the #1 Big Room in America. What has been largely missing in this famous room is country music, mostly because the demand just wasn’t there. Combine the rarity of seeing country artists at this location with it being home turf for the Morrison Brothers, and you get a sense of just how special it is for them to play here.

 

     There’s something different about seeing a band perform versus a solo artist with a band. The energy is amplified because it comes from the entire group MORRISON BROTHERS BAND WILLIE AND TRUMANrather than a singular star. Willie Morrison told me if you don’t have energy on stage, your audience won’t have it either. Willie is an outstanding frontman backed by an equally outstanding group of musicians. He runs the stage like an orchestral conductor, knowing exactly when to focus the attention on a MORRISON BROTHERS ALYSONparticular solo or multi-instrumental section of the song. On this evening, power vocalist Alyson Gilbert joined them on a few songs at the end of the set, and Willie showcased her seamlessly. Sensational fiddle player, Alex Ruiz, was a guest of the band for this show and you would never know he wasn’t a full time member. Again, Willie stepped aside appropriately to allow Alex’s fiddle playing to MORRISON BROTHERS ALEX RUIZshine. With Willie anchoring the front of the stage, Matt Nolan on drums anchors the back. Throughout the show, I was drawn to Matt’s incredible playing. There is an energy and excitement to his style that is not overstated but you feel it in every song. Willie says he often feeds off  Matt’s energy because it’s a constant presence. The two of them are like a magnetic force field that draws you in from start to finish. MORRISON BROTHERS KEVINAdding to this burst of musical energy is Kevin Nolan’s guitar skills. He does not have a flamboyant style that announces his intentions. Like a gun with a silencer, you don’t know it’s coming until it happens. He attacks a solo with an unassuming force that makes it appear as if his entire body is immersed in the sound coming from his guitar. Truly awesome to watch! Dave Benson and Truman Morrison add their vocals to Willie’s to provide a complimentary tone to the music. Their MORRISON BROTHERS BAND DAVEadditional guitars provide the strings that pull the instrumentation together into the powerhouse sound that it is. On this night, their set included many of the songs from STATE of THE UNION, four new songs that are to be released in the next few months, and two covers that blew me away – Blackberry Smoke’s “Up In Smoke” and Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road.” Both were outstanding and Matt Nolan’s lead vocal on “Copperhead Road” was sublime!

MORRISON BROTHERS MATT NOLAN

     My initial reaction to hearing that there was a country band with roots in Washington DC was one of skepticism. Knowing how deeply rooted country music is in the culture of the South, I figured they were taking on an identity that didn’t match their geographical DNA. What I learned from listening to their STATE of THE UNION over and over, was that you shouldn’t judge people based on their physical address. The album cover for TMBB’s STATE of THE UNION is MORRISON BROS WILLIE AND TRUMANdraped in the American flag, a symbol of patriotism. Growing up without a state to call your own, as DC residents do, makes you a resident of the United States of America. With a strong grounding in history, these citizens accentuate what unites us rather than divides us. THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND has a deep appreciation for the roots of country music. Willie and Truman grew up listening to classic country artists routinely. As the links of this band came together, they took the unique talents of each individual and formed “a more perfect union.” Together, they offer a MORRISON BROTHERS BAND TRUMANsound that is steeped in tradition yet current in its interpretation. What struck me most while watching this band perform live, was the joy they showed in the music. At no time was their a selfish moment of showmanship. Each member poured their all into the performance for the good of the individual songs and the concert experience for the audience. Their mastery of this ideal intention will take them far in attracting fans and sharing their unique music coast to coast. For those who would refuse to consider their brand of country music the real deal, consider it American country music, soundtrack to the State of the Union.

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From WAYNorthofNashvilleBev Miskus

Bringing the stories of country music to life!

Visit THE MORRISON BROTHERS BAND website at: http://themorrisonbrothersband.com/index.html

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Visit their website for tour and ticket information: http://themorrisonbrothersband.com/index-5.html

MORRISON BROTHERS SUMMER TIME SHINE TOUR

For a tease of how AWESOME they are in concert – WATCH!!

Like” them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheMorrisonBrothersBand

MORRISON BROTHERS FACEBOOK

Follow them on Twitter @TheMorrisonBros

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Watch their YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/27Footsteps

Preview and purchase their albums through iTunes:

Midnight In Virginia: HERE

Shotgun Silhouette: HERE

State of The Union: HERE

©2014Bev Miskus