Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wesley Morgan - Back Room in Tulsa

I'm pleased to announce the official release of Back Room in Tulsa an EP by up and coming singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer/engineer Wesley Morgan. I was fortunate to work with Wesley and a stellar band he assembled on two of the tracks, Back Room In Tulsa, and Flesh and Bone at John Vanderslice's studio, Tiny Telephone, in San Francisco. It was an all analog recording  through a vintage Neve console onto a Studer Multitrack machine then mixed down to an Ampex 1/2" never once passing through an A/D converter en route. This certainly made a difference in the quality of the recording. I was especially happy with the vocal sound we got. Wesley brought his own microphone, a Neumann M149, the reissue of the classic M49, and we used a Neve mic pre and one of  Tiny Telephone's vintage compressors. He told me the exact signal chain we used but I must have deleted that message. Maybe he'll let us know in the comments. As a rule I never notate these things preferring to just go with what feels right in the moment, but I was so impressed by the intimacy of the vocal sound we got that I asked if he remembered the signal flow.

Morgan's songwriting hails from the Tom Waits school of gritty, dark and brutally honest expression with an implied promise of redemption if from nothing else than the very fact that it can be sung about.  That fits the first song, Back Room In Tulsa further described on his website as:  "what you might hear being played at a drive-up chapel on your way to hell. Full of dark imagery and lost love, "Backroom in Tulsa" is a rollicking good time that you will regret the next day."  The musicians do an excellent job of creating the appropriate atmosphere.  You will feel like you are there.

Flesh and Bone is a tender, country style (check the pedal steel in the background) ballad full of heart and soul. It gives a fresh take on the classic scenario of a narrator so devoted to his beloved that he would do anything for her yet tinged with the melancholy feeling of knowing the limitations of time and space, flesh and blood.

 The third song, Fade, is described as: a slightly different adventure. Born from the live looping Wesley employs in his solo show, Fade is built up from a simple beat box loop that is reminisicent of the intro to "Closer" from Nine Inch Nails. Wesley then applies different sounds on top of this loop to create an electro-acoustic hybrid that borrows heavily from Radiohead, Lou Reed, P.J. Harvey, and many others. The song's lyrics present two sides of the same story, a story that dwells in obsession and desire

The closing song, Last Call, an atmospheric instrumental, recalls the spatial immensity of Ry Cooder's soundtrack for the film Paris, Texas.

All of the songs can be previewed and the EP ordered HERE.

Wesley and group are performing a free CD Release show Thursday August 2nd, 7pm at Amensia in San Francisco's Mission district.



  1. Hey Oz,

    Thanks again for the help. The vocal chain was the Neumann M149 > 1073 Clone > Retro Sta-Level to tape.

    Tube > Solid State > Tube >Tape

    -- wesley

  2. Hey Oz,

    Am intrigued to hear this but the previewing/EP ordering link isn't working at present.