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Morgan Christopher Geer, the guitarist for Freakwater who also performs as Drunken Prayer, is the son of a New Orleans folk singer and a California mushroom farmer. His charismatic wit comes easy, in whispers, shouts and sneers. He’s a showman–“a barking ringleader with chops between Tom Waits and the Butthole Surfers’ Gibby Haynes” (Willamette Week, Portland, OR).
Sometime in 2006 at a fish market in tiny Sebastopol, CA, Morgan found himself in a conversation with one of his heroes, Tom Waits, about life and art. The talk moved Geer to unleash his trademark sound where sin and redemption bleed into each other– where pool hall gloom and tent revival glory meet. Thus it came to pass that in a fish market between Tom Waits and a bin of dead sockeye, Drunken Prayer came to life.
Geer wrote many of Drunken Prayer’s first compositions while wood-shedding on a farm in Sonoma County, California, before moving to Portland, OR. The songs that made up the first Drunken Prayer (self-titled) record are a mix of dark blues, country and traditionals; dynamic, with “an almost inculpable sincerity” (Mountain Xpress, Asheville, NC). His swampy vocals and angular guitar style create a nicely creepy backdrop for rakish, playful stories of eternal themes at the core of tracks like “What Made Me Kill” and “The Demon”, contrasting sharply with the sweet melody and sentiment of “Pearls and Swine”. Blurt Magazine called the album “one part The Band, one part Tonight’s The Night, and one part sinner’s remorse… Bad Seeds-in-New Orleans noir.”
In February, 2012 Drunken Prayer joined Portland based Fluff and Gravy Records to release Into the Missionfield, an ambitious record with gut-bucket guitars, keys, and heavy percussion. The sounds are bluesy and psychedelic; the horn arrangements are as loose and buoyant as a New Orleans Jazz funeral. The lyrics are as sweet as they are damning. No Depression raved that “Every artist should so coherent when in the midst of such intoxicating revelry”, and the Portland Mercury went so far as to call Geer “Warren Zevon’s medium, showing him the world from the great beyond”.
House of Morgan, the November 2013 release (Fluff and Gravy) finds Geer taking things into his own hands. While the critically acclaimed Into the Missionfield was a densely layered studio undertaking, House of Morgan, was self-recorded using a Tascam cassette machine, a Radio Shack condenser mic, and Garage Band with nearly all of the instruments played by Geer in his bedroom. The resultant tracks are striking in their raw and naked beauty. From an enchanting cover of the old Depression era, “On Mobile Bay”, to screaming punk/blues rants like “KEF-666″ and “Ultrabad”, the musical themes are widely varied.
These tracks offer a window into the mind of Morgan Geer, and the view that it affords is at once unsettling and comfortable. Though the record is sometimes a sharp contrast to previous efforts, this is undoubtedly a Drunken Prayer record. Geer’s trademark vocals, guitar, and wit are the threads that tie these divergent records together. Each track it’s own vignette, ”Taken as a whole, House of Morgan begins to make a kind of sense on its own White Album-esque terms” (Portland Mercury).
Drunken Prayer splits residence between Asheville, NC and Portland, OR.
Geer’s previous band, The Unholy Trio of Asheville, NC, also featured members of The Reigning Sound and Freakwater. On their 5th Year Anniversary compilation Bloodshot Records featured the Trio’s devilish version of Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise”.