Whitey Morgan

Central Oregon has a thing for the new wave of outlaw country artists.

You could see it the first time Cody Jinks stopped in Bend and packed a room bigger than most touring artists can pack on their first local show. You could see it when Tyler Childers played to a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at Oregon Spirit Distillers in Bend on his first time here, too. And even though he has postponed twice, you can see it in Colter Wall’s ticket sales. The guy is hardly a household name in the world of country music, yet he sold out months in advance!

Whitey Morgan was playing to big Central Oregon crowds before any of those other guys. The Michigan honky tonk artist harks back to the glory days of outlaw country, specifically legendary Texas troubadour Waylon Jennings, and he strikes an imposing figure onstage, which he backs with an impressive skill for writing a damn good country song.

Over the past 15 years, Morgan and his band have released five studio albums, including one called “Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels” and another called “Hard Times and White Lines.” I’d tell you more about what they sound like, but you already know.

Whitey Morgan and the 78’s: $25-$80; 8:30 p.m. Friday; Midtown Ballroom, 51 NW Greenwood Ave., Bend; midtownballroom.com.

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Ben Salmon is a Bend-based music journalist and host of Left Of The Dial, which airs 8-10 p.m. Thursdays on KPOV, 88.9 FM and streams at kpov.org. You can find him on Bandcamp and Twitter at @bcsalmon.

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