What were you doing when you were fifteen years old? When I was fifteen I was listening to lectures about the birds and bees in Coach Seixas’ Sex Education class, playing Little League baseball and preparing to take my driving test for a learner’s permit. Hailey Morgan, on the other hand, was recording her first professional debut album You & Me.
When I first heard the CD I figured this was an incredibly good twenty-something pop rocker. Then I saw the promotional materials. This is one driven lady with an incredible voice ready to kick butt. Her voice is powerful and racked with emotion. I was floored when I realized she was 15. Before I read about her I thought that she had probably paid her dues in whiskey joints and two bit dance halls honing her craft through hard knocks and extensive backwater touring. However, the truth is young Miss Morgan has been signing and performing since she was three. You or your kids (if you have any) have probably heard her even if you have never heard of her. She has appeared in TV commercials for Cap’n Crunch cereal and Lysol cleaning products and in many independent short films.
Her debut album is a combination of driving rock and modern mellifluous piano ballads. She chose her producers well - Larry Anschell, who has produced Sum 41, Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan and Allison Crowe, and Rob Begg, who has produced Ron Irving and White Wolf, and played bass for The Knack, Tom Petty and Berlin. Incredibly, Miss Morgan has written all of the songs herself and they are good - damn good. Think Sarah McLachlan meets Kelly Clarkson with an edginess neither McLachlan nor Clarkson can match. Hailey’s parents are both professional musicians and I suppose this helps explain her amazing talents at such a young age.
Here is a a quick overview of what you will hear on the CD. I suggest, however, that this is an artist that you must experience for yourself. So go to her website at http://www.haileymorganonline.com/ and take a listen. The entire album is streamed there for free.
The first track, “Let Go,” will have you up and pounding your feet to a driving pop rock melody doubled with amazingly accurate harmony. Track two, “Walkin’ Down This Road,” is a slow, mournful piano ballad that allows Morgan to put her vocal range on display. The third track, the album’s namesake, “You & Me,” is a pop rock tune that builds into a rock anthem. The next song, “I Guess I Was Wrong,” is a soulful, melancholy piano ballad that contains a powerful angry break and a self-loathing ending. “How Does It Feel” is another rock ballad. It has a harder edge with more angst than “I Guess I Was Wrong,” but, contains much of same texture and rhythm. Track six, “Trapped Inside Your Love,” is a wonderful rocker that creates a complete tapestry of musical textures from electronica to thumping boogie. “Broken Heart” is a piano ballad that made me think of a cross between a harder-edged Karla Bonoff and Melissa Etheridge. The song “We Were Meant For Each Other” is a well written mournful pop tune that will wrap around you and bring you back to the days of your first love - it is a beautiful “coming of age” love song. Track nine, “Move On,” is another piano ballad. This one provides an interesting insight into this young teenage girl. It seems to be about her feelings as she comes of age. The final song is “Pour On Me” a pop rock anthem accompanied by a bit of slightly distorted guitar and orchestral strings and also reflects the changes Miss Morgan is experiencing as she grows into a woman.
If this is what she can do with a debut I can’t wait to hear what she writes and sings as she gets older. This is a young artist to watch. Hell, most girls her age are playing with nail polish and writing texts to their BFF about the “OMG cute boy in their English class.” Not Miss Morgan. She is 15 going on 26.
- Old School