With a new band behind him and a reinvigorated spirit, Hoboken, New Jersey legend (and yes, that phrase is completely justified) Glenn Morrow, will release his latest collection of raucous rockers, the eponymous Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help. It’s a winning amalgam of energetic guitar blues, mesmerizing Velvets-style rhythms and grooves, witty storytelling, and the sort of no-frills, straight-to-the-gut lyrical and descriptive rock that Hoboken’s famous for.
Yes, he is, indeed, a local legend, and he’d probably demur: he’s a modest guy, and he prefers to let his songs do the talking. But in Hoboken — a town that has always celebrated idiosyncratic rock musicians — people know better. Morrow has been central to musical movements in the Mile Square City for more than three decades, both as a songwriter/performer and as the head honcho of Bar/None Records, an imprint that has always flown the flag for courageous artists. He was one of the first musicians to play at Maxwell’s, the epicenter of the scene for decades, and when Maxwell’s closed in 2013 to great fanfare (it’s since reopened under new management) it was Morrow onstage with his old bands The Individuals and “a” to bring the curtain down. And I KNOW. I was there (as many of you know as well…).
But previous musical incarnations aside (“a”, The Individuals, Rage To Live), this one’s a corker. Starting off with “Bleecker and Third”, which reminds me of Southside Johnny (who I love), it’s pure riff and twang rock with melody, heart and mind. “The Days To Come” is an uplifting piece, musically and nowhere else are you going to hear a song with the word “perinicium” in the lyrics (!) but this is an epically-sculpted track; “Pony Express” is a clean, nifty rockin’ number with a just-right fuzzy guitar and “Third Act” is lush rock that harkens back to my ’70’s youth. “When Night Falls” has the crispness and tension that makes this feel like an early ’80’s type of narrative, complete with stops-and-starts and perfectly balanced acoustic guitars (and I love the lyric “…speak softly and carry a smile…”) and “Electricity”‘s bouncy feel is just good-time music; a modern-day update to a Lovin’ Spoonful kind of vibe.
Whatever musical incarnation Mr. Morrow chooses, they’re always interesting and different. That he can still find the drive and desire to continue doing this is a joy as so few writer can keep the fires burning. Being a “man of Hoboken”, however, it really is no surprise. So, in the final analysis, we should simply be comforted to know that Glenn Morrow will not only be out there supplying us with great music from Bar/None, but that he’s willing to give us his own musical visions to share and revel in. Of course, the wonderful irony is that this album is far from a “cry for help” but really, a call to arms.
(click on above for Glenn Morrow’s “Hoboken Musical Family Tree”!)
Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help will be released on Friday, June 23rd, 2017