Thunder guitarist, chief songwriter and producer Luke Morley will release his new solo album Songs From The Blue Room on 23 June 2023 through Conquest Music. The first single, Killed By Cobain, will be out on 12 May 2023.
“It was kind of between Thunder albums, and I thought I’ve got these other ideas,” Morley told us of when the idea began to form in his mind for a follow-up to his El Gringo Retro album released in 2001. “Maybe I’ll do a bit of work on them. Not with any purpose, really, but then with a bit of encouragement from people around me, close friends and my missus saying, ‘This is really good, there’s an album there,’ I thought ok, I’ll try and make an album. That’s really how it came about.”
El Gringo Retro, made for EMI Japan and self-released in the UK, included songs written with Andy Taylor [Duran Duran], Luke’s friend and colleague from the early days of Thunder and from his time in the latter days of rock supergroup The Power Station.
Songs From The Blue Room finds Morley covering all instrument duties, bar drums which are courtesy of Dave McCluskey. Morley also brings his strong but nuanced rock vocals to the fore, singing lead on all tracks.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with fantastic singers,” Luke said. “Danny [Bowes, Thunder], obviously. Then in my ‘in-between’ project, The Union, Peter Shoulder had a beautiful voice. And I did a couple of years on and off with Power Station, with Robert Palmer, but I’ve always liked singers like Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty as well.
“If you’re gifted with an incredible set of pipes, it’s easier not to think about what you’re doing. The less gifted amongst us have to think a great deal about how to interpret the lyrics. It’s crucial because if I’m not saying anything, what’s the point?”
Songs From The Blue Room finds Luke entering a style of rock-tinged America. Killed By Cobain is the first single, a semi-autobiographical first-person story about how grunge did for Thunder’s original ambitions in the US.
“That [grunge] changed the landscape massively in America for us,” Luke told MetalTalk in an interview last week. “That made it very difficult for us in America. The first album [Backstreet Symphony] did quite well, although we’d not gone out there. We had not had the opportunity to go out and tour. We were set to go out and tour, and we had to cancel.
“We were supposed to go out with David Lee Roth and Cinderella, but the tickets didn’t sell. One of the contributory factors to that was that a lot of the rock radio stations in America changed their format almost overnight as soon as grunge happened. I think we found ourselves lumped in with a lot of what I would describe as Hair Metal bands, which I don’t think we ever really were. We were marketed that way, I guess, in the States. So that backfired on us a little bit.”
Songs From The Blue Room is built on solid foundations of smart lyrics and infectious melodies, fundamentals that Morley learned long ago. It may well become the most surprising Americana album of the year.
Songs From The Blue Room is out on 23 June 2023 on CD, digital and limited-edition blue vinyl. A limited amount of signed LPs, CD and an exclusive signed postcard are available to pre-order from https://lukemorley.tmstor.es.