I could not think of a better pairing than Blake Morgan and Tracy Bonham. That was evident last week at their final tour stop at Hollywood’s Hotel Café. The music was sublime, the stories were funny and the chemistry was perfect. It easy to see why the tour was sold out – twice. So many Angelinos wanted tickets to see this New York combo that the original Second Stage on the Hotel Café was sold out so they were moved to a larger Main Stage venue which was then sold out.
The minute Morgan hit the chords for “I Can Hear You Say” the audience knew it was on its way to musical heaven. When Bonham joined Morgan on stage for “A Helping Hand” they knew they had arrived in musical heaven. And it kept getting better as Blake moved from guitar to piano, giving the audience such favorites as “Haunt Me” and ‘My Love Is Waiting”.
The diminutive Bonham took the stage as Morgan stepped down and wielded the violin, piano and guitar along with jokes and her infectious smile. She mixed songs from her albums with stories about past boyfriends, duets with Blake, and new material. Everyone in the room applauded when she launched into “The Devil’s Got your Boyfriend”. The evening was perfect.
And no wonder. Blake Morgan works hard at giving both fans and artists the best experience possible. As the founder of the ECR Music Group, he has built a global music company that operates under a principle unprecedented in the music world: all of its artists and labels own 100% of their master recordings. And he fights for the same kind of fairness throughout the music industry. His music advocacy has taken him to Capitol Hill numerous times where, as the founder of the #IRespectMusic movement, he continues to fight for fair royalties and fair contracts for music makers’ rights in the digital age.
This dedication to the well-being of artists has enabled him to sign Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning powerhouse artists who might otherwise consider “big labels”. And, combined with Morgan’s guitar and piano chops, urgent vocals and poetic songwriting, it opens up opportunities for collaboration. They know him and his musical quality and his dedication to their welfare so they love to tour with him, Whether it is LA-based David Poe or fellow New Yorkers Tracy Bonham and Janita, the combinations that assemble around Blake Morgan attract and reward fans across the country.
Morgan’s two-and-a-half year residency at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall is a hot ticket in the Big Apple and is always sold out. One reason is that he is joined by stars like Bonham, Jesse Harris, Michael Leonhart, and Chris Barrow, who are featured on the upcoming third season of his ongoing artist-in-residence concert series. As always, each guest performs alongside Morgan, continuing the tradition of unique on-stage collaborations that the residency’s audience has come to love. Special guest Brendan Hines will accompany Morgan at the Season Three Finale on May 16th, 2018.
Morgan’s run in New York has also fueled a string of recent headlining performances around the globe: Morgan has performed over 120 concerts across 70,000 miles of touring on both sides of the Atlantic. He has recently headlined a large-scale solo tour of Germany, along with extensive tours of The UK as well as the United States.
The night at the Hotel Café was a small piece of a large and growing picture that Morgan is painting – a record company that puts its artists and fans first, a founder/CEO that tours and collaborates with those artists, and a steady stream of killer songs, recordings and performances. The tour ended but beat goes on and I look forward to his next swing through California.