William Michael Morgan – Vinyl

You. In the back, near the exit sign. Yes you – the guy in the cowboy hat and starched shirt with the scowl and pretty sister. Oh, she’s not your sister? That’s too bad. You’ve been pissing and moaning about no ‘real’ Country music being played on the radio anymore (don’t get me going on what constitutes ‘real’). Well, it’s time to turn that frown upside down, bub, because William Michael Morgan is here to breathe a bit of old-school back into the genre.

Morgan’s eleven song Vinyl won’t please the bitching set who long for the days of Merle Haggard and George Jones, but fans of artists like Randy Travis and Alan Jackson will love it. From the opening rollick of “People Like Me,” to the album-closing romp of “Back Seat Driver,” Vinyl does not disappoint. The former is a telecaster-smoked track that straddles the line between old and new nicely, while the latter is a foot-stomping number that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Blake Shelton album.

Introduced to audiences in March of this year with a self-titled EP and debut single, Morgan proves you don’t have to sell your soul to Rock and Roll to make it in Nashville. Although there’s plenty of good old-school leaning Country music being released these days, very little of it is being played on mainstream radio. Thankfully, Morgan’s voice and top 5 debut single “I Met A Girl,” an easy-going love song that will have listeners hitting repeat, were just too good to ignore.

It’s nice to hear steel guitars and fiddles that aren’t simply token props used to dress up Rock songs disguised as Country songs (Editors note: the author likes his Country Country and his Rock Rock). Morgan utilizes traditional instrumentation throughout Vinyl. The Mississippi native covers all the topical bases on the disc, as well, including good times (“Beer Drinker,” “Somethin’ To Drink About”), heartache (“Lonesomeville”) and love (“Spend It All On You”).

It’s rare for an album to live up to the hype that preceded it, but William Michael Morgan’s Vinyl does just that.