Guitarist Mike Morgan has told the story more than a thousand times: "When I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan's first album (`Texas Flood') - man, that was it!"
During a phone call from San Jose, Calif., Morgan said he already knew how to play the guitar, "but I didn't really know how to play, if you know what I mean."Stevie Ray showed me what I didn't know. And I remember going headlong into playing the blues."
Mike Morgan and his band the Crawl will play the Dead Goat Saloon, May 18. Doors open at 7 p.m. The concert will celebrate the release of Morgan's new album, "The Road."
Raised in Dallas, Texas, Morgan formed the Crawl after getting together with vocalist Darrell Nulisch.
"Darrell actually was the one who pointed me into another direction with the blues," Morgan said. "He showed me the Chicago blues scene and, you could say I became obsessed with trying to find out all I could about the blues."
The hard part occurred in the early days. "I was basically learning how to play while learning how to run a band. I did things the old-fashioned way - bookings, rehearsals and gigs."
Then in 1990, Morgan's career went into a whirlwind, which, by the way, hasn't really settled down.
"We got a record deal with Black Top records," Morgan said. "We weren't expecting it. It really shocked me. And to tell you the truth, I didn't know if I was ready for it. The band wasn't even together for two years."
During that period, however, Nulisch left. The opening was quickly filled by Kansas City harmonica/vocal legend Lee McBee. Bassist Johnny Bradley and drummer Marc Wilson rounded out the lineup.
"Looking back on everything, though, things have been good," Morgan said. "Now the real pressures are about making better albums. And I think we do that. We don't really approach making the new albums any differently that we did the others. I do have different ideas. Like bringing out more rhythm and blues. But for the most part, it's still the same gut-bucket stuff."
On "The Road," Morgan said he toyed with making the music a little bigger sounding.
"I added backup vocals and put in a few horn arrangements," he said. "I'm pretty happy with it."
These days, when Morgan looks out into the audience, he finds a slew of new listeners - which he finds quite satisfying.
"The crowds are getting better," he said. "We're selling more albums and our credibility has grown.
"I'm not the type to make any goals for the future, but I do know I'd like to write songs for other people and keep making better albums. I'm really happy where we are now. There are things in my life that I'd like to do differently, but not much of that has to do with music. The choices I made with our music have been pretty solid and beneficial."