By Martine Ehrenclou
Gettin’ By On Gettin’ Down by Sam Morrow out on Forty Below Records, is a blast of fresh air, fuel for your pandemic-weary soul. Produced by award-winning producer and president/label owner Eric Corne, the record is funky country rock with a modern feel.
Gettin’ By On Gettin’ Down gets down in all the best ways. Outstanding vocalist, songwriter and guitarist Sam Morrow has a serious feel for groove that’s inherent in each of the nine songs. With slinky slide guitars and super-tight drumming and bass, this album is a musical feast. Morrow is a compelling artist with a unique sound, backed by top-tier musicians who have a tight grip on rhythm. Band members include Sam Morrow (vocals, guitar), Matt Tecu (drums, percussion), Taras Prodaniuk (bass), Sasha Smith (piano, organ, Moog, Wurlitzer, Clavinet), Doug Pettibone (electric guitar, slide guitar), Eli Wulfmeir (electric guitar), and Eamon Ryland (electric guitar, slide guitar.)
Texas native, Sam Morrow kick-started his career after three previous albums (Concrete & Mud 2018) to move to Los Angeles and link with Eric Corne who co-wrote most of the songs with him, and drummer/percussionist Matt Tecu (Echo In the Canyon.) You know you’re in for tremendous musicianship and production with Eric Corne, and this album is no different. Morrow and Corne embrace their experimental side with layered arrangements as distinctive as the songs themselves.
Sam Morrow’s sound and songs are unique–funky rock and roll with some nods to his influences such as Little Feat, Los Lobos and Queens of The Stone Age. Most of the lyrics are witty with sharp insight and social commentary. Morrow is not one for B.S. and for that alone, I can appreciate an artist. But Morrow has a lot more going on than just a penchant for the straight up and real.
Kicking off this killer album, is “Rosarita,” written by Morrow, Corne and Jaime Wyatt, a greasy, swamp-rocker with Morrow’s smoky vocals leading the way. Mid-song I cranked it, reveling in the syncopated percussion, fuzz-rock riffs and superb musicianship. Purists might thumb their noses at the ultra-tasty slide guitar with hints of Little Feat. Not everybody can pull it off like this. Morrow is upfront about it with a reference to “Sailin Shoes” in the lyrics. It’s high time we embrace a modern funky, rootsy rock record with a few nods to a couple of past icons. This album is too good not to.
“Money Ain’t A Thing” is a driving rock and roll tune with feel and plenty of rocking guitars. Morrow is straight up about the trappings of money, status and power and sings that it isn’t for him. Keeping it real. This is a great song on so many levels; vocals, lyrics, musicianship–a musical hat trick. Press play and get ready for your morning run.
With a syncopated beat, “Wicked Woman” has a swampy vibe, tight beats, tasty piano and slide guitar licks. Turn up the volume so you can hear the nuances of Morrow’s rich voice, the killer drums, bass, guitar and piano. This song is fun. I hear a little of The Feat and Skynyrd and I welcome that. It’s been a while since I’ve heard an artist as talented as Sam Morrow and an album this good.
One of my favorites is “Sit Crooked, Talk Straight.” A song with a different breed of swing and swamp, Morrow sings, “Aren’t you tired of standing around just playing it safe. Yeah, …you’re just like the rest, dressed for success but full of B.S…. Sit crooked and talk straight.” All of this with wonderful syncopation. Morrow’s voice never sounded better, singing lyrics with a dose of humor. The guitar solo is playful and fun, and inspiring at the same time. The orchestration of this song is superb.
Morrow brings on the heat with his vocals on “Golden Venus,” a groove-heavy rock-ish tune with catchy bass and guitar hooks. Morrow sings the melody line along with guitar and bass to nice effect. The addition of delay on guitar provides some nice atmosphere to the tune.
We all need a boost right about now, and Sam Morro’s album Gettin’ By On Gettin’ Down is your shot of expresso.
Listen to “Rosarito”
Order link for Gettin’ By On Gettin’ Down
Sam Morrow Online