Whether it’s Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, Zooey Deschanel, Jack Black or Kevin Bacon, there’s always a healthy skepticism surrounding popular actors who gig and record original music. Fans of their films and series will show up and cheer regardless, but they must still show genuine passion, talent and performance chops to be and stay legit. When you see them perform, the question is, could they succeed- and would you listen – even if they weren’t famous for their other career?
In the case of multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Rob Morrow – also an incredibly versatile singer/songwriter, guitarist and the charismatic frontman of The Rob Morrow Band – the answer is an emphatic yes.
Since his multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nomination-filled heyday as a the star of Northern Exposure, Rob Morrow has become one of our most versatile character actors, lighting up the screen in recent years as a judge on Billions and angst-filled reporter on Designated Survivor. He’s also become a notable director, and joked during his kick-ass 75 minute set at the ultra-hipster Westlake Village club Bogie’s (and livestreamed on the Alert The Globe platform) that he always tries to squeeze in some of his original tunes on the shows he helms. He hit paydirt placing the rumbling, high-octane rocker “Out & About” on “The Fosters” (Freeform Network). His explosive rendition, featuring cool harmonica lacings from keyboardist Jason Libs, had a chugging quality that reminded me of Bo Diddley’s early rock classic “Who Do You Love”?
Another highlight was the intensely hooky, singalong jump-jangle rocker “Jean Jane Joan,” a tongue in cheek ode to common girl names populating a world where he happily married a woman named Debbon. Working with an amazing crew of seasoned rockers - including blistering electric guitarist Carlos Calvo, bassist Carlos Costa (the “second” Carlos!) and drummer Marc Slutsky - Morrow pushed the edges of pop/rock with some definite blues influence throughout. Yet he started the show on the acoustic guitar for He effectively switched to acoustic for the inviting opener “What Have We Become” and effectively switched to it to share his latest single “The New New Face,” a dreamy-mystical folk-rock number with a spirited organic beat and lush vocal harmonies by Morrow and Calvo.
A few songs into the set, the singer’s emotive, rangy voice – so capable of high end lushness and rougher expressions – brought to mind mid-80’s hit maker Corey Hart. The fact that I had to go back over three decades to find a comparison speaks volumes about Morrow’s innate talent and originality. And the band even rewarded my 80’s trippin’ with a rousing closing number, a delightfully soulful re-imagining of Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” The Rob Morrow Band is the real deal, and you should check them out next chance you get!