What lies ahead after tragedy is the stuff that builds character: introspection, growth, and change. While living in the shadow of darkness, the few who put the soulful work in can find some light. Americana quartet Morgan’s Road came together from a senseless act of violence that claimed a former bandmate and good friend. Five years later, the four-piece shines on with a pastoral collection of story-telling folk tunes. In advance of its sophomore album, Morgan’s Road issues the singles “Olde Cumberland” and “Better Than.”
The band has been christened in honor of the group’s fallen comrade Chris Deaver’s daughter, Morgan. “There is so much meaning in the name for us. The name came to me in the middle of the night some time after Deaver’s passing as I thought about Morgan’s journey ahead without having her father in her life. It salutes the legacy of the great man who taught me how to be in a band and how to treat others, and it salutes Morgan and her path,” says frontman, Ben Woodruff. “The message the band name sends is that tragedy may pull you down, or set you back, but the only way forward is through carrying on,” says lead guitarist Skot Bradley.
Morgan’s Road exhibits an expansive musical range, traversing modern rock, funk, indie, Southern rock soul, Americana, folk, and blues. The band features frontman/ primary songwriter/acoustic guitarist Ben Woodruff, drummer/vocalist Tyler Perry, lead guitarist Skot Bradley, and alternating bassists Matt Chmielecki and Brook Sutton.
Onstage, Morgan’s Road uplifts audiences with positive energy, accomplished musicianship, and sincerity. The four-piece group has built a robust profile through tirelessly gigging regionally and nationally. The group has played to crowds that range from hundreds to 25,000 at clubs, venerated venues and festivals. With Morgan’s Road, or in other musical configurations, the musicians have the shared stage with such icons as Bob Weir & RatDog, moe., Umphrey’s McGee, John Scofield, Steve Winwood, Hootie & the Blowfish, Sister Hazel, Kellie Pickler, Colt Ford, Lee Brice, The Marshall Tucker Band, Devon Allman, Atlas Road Crew, and the Blue Dogs.
Morgan’s Road came onto the scene five years ago. At the time, the band was the Kingstreet Band, and reeling from the death of its bassist Chris Deaver. Deaver was a father and a husband murdered while working at a pawnshop in Florence, South Carolina. Hundreds in the Florence community mourned his tragic passing. His energy and larger than life personality also shaped Kingstreet Band’s core musicians, Ben Woodruff and Tyler Perry.
“Everyone who knew Chris Deaver loved him,” shares Tyler Perry. “We got started because of him. Before I met Deaver, I was scared to play in public. He pushed me out of my comfort zone, and helped me start my career in music alongside Ben.”
This fresh collection of Morgan’s Road songs exudes a mature and graceful rootsy vibe, evoking the alt-country gold mined by Ryan Adams. It’s a move away from the balmy party vibe of the band’s previous album due to maturity and life changes, most notably Woodruff’s move to Nashville where he brought guitarist Skot Bradley into the fold (Currently, members of Morgan’s Road reside in South Carolina and Nashville).
The new material is directly inspired by classic Nashville’s esteemed heritage of emotionally authentic storytelling, concise songwriting, and heartfelt hooks. As of this writing, the album is taking shape from fevered writing sessions.
The upcoming singles will be “Olde Cumberland” and “Better Than” written by Woodruff. On “Olde Cumberland,” the narrator is out searching in vain for traces of a beloved ghost—that richly distinctive Nashville sound that once defined Music City. The song’s metaphorical approach conjures a search for the Nashville of yore—before Music City went bubblegum—while also hinting at a search for a lost love. “Better Than” ties into Morgan’s Road’s brave journey. It’s about putting the world on your shoulders to remain authentic and finding truth and redemption in the least expected of places.
Pondering the path leading to Morgan’s Road, Tyler Perry says: “The most meaningful thing for us has been overcoming adversity to offer something positive and healing. Deaver was the person who got me into playing, and I know he would be happy we are spreading joy.”