Lost Love And Highways

Teddy Morgan And The Pistolas

Hightone Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There's been a movement in music recently that seems to be growing in popularity. That movement I lovingly call "roots rock". It's not rock and roll in its purest form, but it's not country either. Instead, it's a healthy dose of both genres, with more than a smidge of folk and blues thrown in for flavor. And the more I hear this genre of music, the more I like it.

This is why Teddy Morgan And The Pistolas come into the picture at just the right time. Their album Lost Love And Highways is a perfect example of why this genre is so exciting at this juncture in time. Morgan follows the path cut by such artists as Steve Earle and Toni Price, but is able to make his own unique impression on the music - and, simply put, it's a welcome one.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sometimes it seems strange that a three-piece group - vocalist/guitarist Morgan, bassist Jon Penner and drummer Chris Hunter - can make such a full sound with only a little outside help. (Producer Bo Ramsey does add some guitar and harmony vocal lines.) One listen to the leadoff track "Bullet From A Gun," and you'll know that you stumbled onto something special. Think about it: this track has a strong country vein in it, but Morgan's vocal is more rock than country twangy, and his guitar work suggests more of a rock and blues flavor. It's like a stew that magically comes together, and the end result is oh! - so pleasant.

When Morgan and crew do augment their lineup, it sounds so natural that you'd swear they were playing all along with The Pistolas. Lazy Lester slips in seamlessly to add vocals and harmonica on "A Word About A Woman," but he seems to be a perfect fit for the group. Even after listening to the disc a few times, after this track, I had to ask myself whether Lester had been playing all along.

Lost Love And Highways is one of those rare albums where it seems like no wrong can be done. Tracks like "Run Down Shacks," "'59 Cadillac," "Should Be Gone" and the title track all shine just as brightly as any other song on this album, and they leave the listener wanting more.

The only misstep seems to come on "One More Night," a track that seems out of place only because it's too gentle of a track. Still, it's a minor point of contention, and it does not ruin the joy of this entire album.

The difficulty Morgan might face is trying to find an outlet to get his music heard. When it comes to both radio and music fans, both occasionally seem stuck in their ways and are unwilling to try something new that doesn't fit a pre-defined pattern. But if you took a chance on Steve Earle at any point, you'll definitely want to take a chance with Morgan and Lost Love And Highways. Any way you look at it, it's a safe gamble that you'll treasure for a long time.

Rating: A-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Hightone Records, and is used for informational purposes only.