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Whitey Morgan and the 78's
Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels


Whitey Morgan and the 78's are:
Eric Allen: Guitar, Lead and Backing Vocals
Ben Vermeylen: Guitar and Backing Vocals
Jeremy Biltz: Guitar
Mike Popovich: Drums
Jeremy Mackinder: Bass

Additional Musicians: Fred Newell: Steel Guitar
Eric Hoegemeyer: Drums on "Prove it All to You" and "Sinner", Organ on "Sinner", Tambourine on "Sinner." Liz Mackinder: Backing Vocals on "Back to Back" and "Love and Honor."

Engineers: Eric Hoegemeyer @ Rustbelt Studios and Jerry Bridges @ Nighthawk Studios.
Mixing: Al Sutton @ Rustbelt Studios.
Mastering: Chris Gooseman @ Solid Sound.


Reviews for Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels...


With their tellingly titled debut album, Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels, Whitey Morgan & the 78s try to transform the Motor City into Music City (that's Nashville, TN, for you Yankees out there). Surely no simple task, most would agree, but it seems that the Flint, MI-based quintet shares a singular obsession with the outlaw country movement, and, in the case of Morgan himself, an outright fixation on ol' Waylon Jennings. Accordingly, this 2008 debut, though recorded entirely in the Michigan chill, never wanders north of the Mason-Dixon Line, musically speaking. On the one hand, it boasts numerous laconic acoustic guitar numbers spiked with wonderfully weepy pedal steel, including the wistful lament, "Hold Her When She Cries," the soppy "Love and Honor," and the Waylon, Hank, Earl Scruggs, and Cash-citing country establishment screed, "If It Ain't Broke" -- not to mention a beautifully stylized cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" that fits right in. On the other hand, it finds the boys perking up to tackle several whiskey-drenched honky tonkers like "Crazy (By Any Other Name)," "Honky Tonk Angel," "Another Round," and the candid and amusingly self-critical "Cheating Again." So aside from a selection of less-inspired iterations of these templates rounding out the album, the only major knock one can level at the group is that they may come off rather like an outlaw country tribute band to seasoned fans of the genre. Then again, who could begrudge Whitey Morgan and his crew's earnest desire to perpetuate the outlaw aesthetic in its purest form, least of all by opening quite a few eyes to its wonders among Small Stone's predominantly hard rock fan contingent? Like the song above says: "If It Ain't Broke"...

- Eduardo Rivadavia

September 12th, 2009

Gears Of Rock

Whitey Morgan and the 78’s steers clear of new country’s gloss, instead taking to the far-removed backroads to deliver a slice of rocking outlaw country music on HONKY TONKS AND CHEAP MOTELS. This 12-track affair sticks to the most prolific themes by some of the genre’s best while laying down an authentically composed collection of tunes complete with pedal steel pluckings and twangy melodies, driving home the down home appeal of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Conway Twitty on cuts like the subtle “Cheatin’ Again” and the poignant “Goodbye Dixie.” Hailing from the downtrodden town of Flint, MI only helps Morgan and company’s case to convincingly sing with the heavy heartache portrayed on “Love and Honor” and “Hold Her When She Cries” and rock out with the desolation attached to “Sinner.” If you secretly stow a pair of cowboy boots and a ten gallon hat in the recesses of your closet, this album will provoke you to break out the duds and crack open a bottle of whiskey and contemplate.

-    Mike SOS

December, 2008

Dagger Zine

Wow, I'm used to getting plenty of what they call "alt-country (that way overused term…. and I'm as guilty as anyone of using it) but these alcohol consumers hail from… erm…. Flint, Michigan. True, it's not Nashville but this gang, led by Eric "Whitey" Allen aren't conjuring up Mr Gram Parsons, nope these guys are going more for a Merle Haggard or Waylon Jennings vibe and they succeed mightily. Looooove that pedal steel and tunes like "Hold her When She Cries", "If it Ain't Broke", and their superb cover of The Boss's "I'm on Fire" prove these guys aren't just some flash in the pan trying to cash in on country's popularity.  I call it the “real thing”.

 - Tim Hinely

January 1st, 2009


I’m sure Nashvegas hasn’t even noticed, but real country music is making a comeback. Thanks to folks like Dave Gleason’s Wasted Days and Hellbound Glory, C&W is getting gritty again, with tears ‘n’ beers replacing wine coolers and self-empowerment. Well, maybe comeback isn’t really the word – I doubt Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney are worried about falling chart placements – but the good stuff is bubbling under again. Whitey Morgan and the 78’s could stand proudly on the stage with Waylon Jennings (their most obvious influence), Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck without flinching – this ain’t ironic, nudge-nudge alt.country here, it’s the real, heartbroken, bruised-knuckled, blackout drunk thing. Morgan’s baritone was made for this music – I imagine as soon as he hit puberty his path in life was set, like it or not – and his band of young longhairs obviously grew up on their parents’ outlaw country stash. Morgan’s tunes sound like they come straight from his world-weary gut. Goodbye Dixie, If It Ain’t Broke  and Love and Honor have it all over anything Carrie Underwood’s ever done – even a country cover of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire is worthy of scuffed boots and a Stetson. Sinner  comes closest to rock, but only by the same percentage as ol’ Waylon might have done. Are y’all ready for the country? Whitey Morgan bets you are.

 - Michael Toland 

November, 2008

Baby Sue / LMNOP

When we popped this little sucker into our player we were expecting to hear modern alt-country. But Whitey Morgan and the 78's sure took us by surprise...because their music has the sound and style of early country artists from the 1950s and 1960s. And what a voice Morgan has (FYI, his real name is Eric Allen). This guy has a deep country voice that is immediately effective and real. The press released that accompanied this disc claims that Morgan "...channels the spirit of Waylon, Merle and Willie." Our initial reaction was that this was just another inflated claim (which is customary in the world of press releases)...but in this instance, the claim is absolutely true. These guys play nice, subdued country pop without frills and without the extra gloss that makes so many twenty-first country artists sound generic and phoney. Country fans around the world will no doubt delight to tunes like "Hold Her When She Cries," "Back To Back," "Another Round," and "Prove It All To You." Solid country pop with real balls. (Rating: 5)
November, 2008

Today's Country Magazine

These days there is a trend for country music hopefuls to pack their bags and head to Music City in an attempt to submerge themselves in the thick of it all. There is something to be said for that, however there is something to be said for staying put and seeing life from a different point of view, then incorporating what you see into your songs as is the case for Whitey Morgan and the 78's. Flint, Michigan, their hometown is not the mecca for country music, as a matter of fact I don't even know of any country bands to come out of there, but it is a blue collar town perfect to influence the country outlaw sounds that Morgan and crew state as influences. On their debut effort "Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels," the embrace the legends like Waylon, Merle, and Willie, and bring you a true from the heart country album. If it's classic country music that you are looking for where the lyrics sung focus on a variety of subjects from losing the one you love due to your own faults then you'll love tracks like album opener "Hold Her When She Cries," or "Cheatiní Again." If it's a drinkin' song you want then give a spin to "Another Round." And for all of you outlaws out there, listen up to album closer "Sinner" to get your fix of relatable lyrics. Whitey Morgan and the 78's are about as close to traditional outlaw country as you can get these days. There are no cliches in the lyrics, no polished production to make things sound slick, and no one dimensional sound to this album that follows a songwriting formula, but rather you'll get something honest and straight from the real world when you hit play on "Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels." - David Pierce
October 13th, 2008

Album Tracks

  1. Hold Her When She Cries
  2. Crazy
  3. If It Ainít Broke
  4. Back to Back
  5. Cheating Again
  6. Honky Tonk Angel
  7. Iím on Fire
  8. Another Round
  9. Goodbye Dixie
  10. Love and Honor
  11. Prove It All To You
  12. Sinner

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