This piece is part of the Algorhythms project: artists telling stories about music they discovered from humans. Because where we discover music is an important part of its impact, and not all music is discovered through an algorithm.
Drunken Prayer is the moniker of one Morgan Geer, a San Fran-born troubadour who splits his time between Portland, Oregon and Asheville, North Carolina. He spent 2019 on the road in support of the new DP record, Cordelia Elsewhere, and today, in forced isolation, he spends his time working remotely with Paul Oldham (Palace Brothers) on a new LP and contemplating the existential effects of watching a global pandemic while holed up at home.
For his Algorhythm, Morgan shared the story of how he discovered the alt country band Freakwater and then, a decade later, came to find himself in the band…
When I was a kid my best friend Nancy brought home an uncredited mix tape, a cassette. On it was a particularly hard hitting song we both fell in love with. Having no idea the name of the artist or the tune or even in which century it was recorded, we played it over and over, loving the enigma of this strange music. It was uniquely ours. We went our separate ways as people do, but through the years the mystery of this song and who might have sung it served as a glue that kept us connected through thick, thin, and thousands of miles.
The moaning of old time country women with smart ass, punk rock wit clung to me like a ghost. For years I would ask anyone I thought might be into whatever weird genre of music this was if they too had heard the rattling of these chains. No dice.
I was sitting in the back of a steel guitar player’s Subaru before a set with a honky tonk band in Asheville, North Carolina. The bass player beside me had just moved to town from Chicago. He had made records and toured the world playing what I had just come learn was called ‘Alternative Country’ music. And so I asked him too if he had ever heard a song by a couple of women about an old drunk friend. He grinned and said, ‘That’s my band.’ The name of the ghost is Freakwater.
10 years later I’m onstage at Beachland in Cleveland. It’s the first show of a long, international tour and I’m in a surreal place. The crowd cheers as my band, Freakwater, plays ‘My Old Drunk Friend.’
Interested in discovering a band from your best friend and then maybe playing guitar with that band later? Check out the Grey Matter beta.