Mike Morgan received his first guitar while in the third grade, but he didn’t begin to take playing seriously until he discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan’s album, “Texas Flood,” in 1985.

Daily Journal staff report

It has been about 15 years since Kankakee favorites Mike Morgan & The Crawl last played in the area. The Texas native’s previous show here was at the Kankakee Valley Boat Club.

There is anticipation for the return of this Lone Star State guitar playing, singer-songwriter, who wears a patch over his right eye. Morgan and his band will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday back at the Boat Club at 1600 Cobb Blvd. in Kankakee.

From mid-1990s through early 2000s, Mike Morgan & The Crawl appeared five or six times at various venues in the Kankakee area, including the Kankakee Valley Boat Club, the former Sam ‘N’ Ella’s (now On the Rox) and Manteno clubs. Since 2006, Morgan played mostly local Texas gigs as he became the full-time sales manager at a Mesquite, Texas-based motorcycle dealership.

Its recent closing has freed Morgan to take his show back on the road.

Since forming in the late ‘80s, The Crawl’s fiery, live performances and Morgan’s guitar playing on a Fender Stratocaster have earned them rave reviews from critics and a devoted audience worldwide. Morgan is currently fronting a three-piece version of his band with Kevin Schermerhorn on drums and Drew Allain on bass.

Fronted by Morgan’s rousing guitar playing, the trio performs a blend of hard-driving Texas blues and aggressive roots rock that has fans outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area excited for its return.

Called “a genuine Blues guitar hero” by Guitar World Magazine, Morgan says the lure of the open road is calling his name once again.

Morgan was born in Dallas on Nov. 30, 1959, and he grew up in nearby Hillsboro, Texas. He displayed an avid interest in music as a youngster, listening intently to the impassioned soul sounds of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett on local radio stations, according to a news release.

Morgan received his first guitar while in the third grade, but he didn’t begin to take playing seriously until he discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan’s album, “Texas Flood,” in 1985.

“When I heard Stevie’s first album, that was it,” Morgan said. “I already knew how to play the guitar, but Stevie showed me a lot of things I didn’t know. After that, I dove headlong into playing the Blues.”

Developing a style all of his own, Morgan moved to Dallas in 1986 and soon hooked up with experienced vocalist Darrell Nulisch to form The Crawl. Darrell had a tremendous knowledge of Blues and a deep collection of Blues records, and he exposed Morgan to the music of the Chicago Blues scene and many of its key players.

Mike Morgan & The Crawl found a national audience with the release of their debut recording, “Raw & Ready,” in 1990. Backed up by national and international touring, Mike Morgan & The Crawl continued to amaze their fans, releasing five more albums,

In 1994 Morgan recorded “Let The Dogs Run,” a highly acclaimed album that paired him with fellow Dallas guitarist Jim Suhler, another Friends of the Blues favorite.

At the end of 1999, Lee McBee left to form his own band back in Kansas, and Morgan took over as front man. In 2000, “Texas Man,” Mike’s first vocal outing, was released on Severn Records. “Texas Man” met rave reviews and was followed up in 2004 by “Live in Dallas.”

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