With Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello help create the hard rock/rap mash up genre that got ruined by lesser bands in the late nineties. Then he took a step back in time with the seventies arena rock of Audioslave. Now he is going even further back in time musically with his latest outfit, The Nightwatchman. As the one man band, Morello is channeling such folk heroes as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. The Nightwatchman came to fruition during the Audioslave era when Morello needed an output during the Bush administration with lead singer’s Chris Cornell’s moratorium on political songs.
So between Audioslave gigs, Morello would go to local coffee houses and sign up for local mike nights under the moniker The Nightwatchman with songs about the war. And with Audioslave on indefinite (and it looks now like a permanent) hiatus, Morello had time on his hand to make an album of these songs called One Man Revolution. And just like Audioslave was pretty much how you expected a combination of Rage Against and Soundgarden, The Nightwatchman is pretty much what you would expect Morello would sound if he unplugged and did his best Bruce Springsteen circa Nebraska impression.
With his weapon of choose, the guitar, rendered useless by going acoustic, Morello has to rely on his voice and lyrics to get his point across without a front man to do it for him. To hear him sing is at first a little jarring with the deep baritone. The lyrics are hit and miss as Morello isn’t adept to writing folk songs yet and even clumsily steals the line, “three times I shot the sheriff, but I did not spare the deputy.” And with the little background noise, you will notice Morello’s out there political views, which is something you can overlook with Rage because, well, the rock.
Though hearing anti-war songs from Tom Morello are much more palatable than ill-advised ones from Maroon 5 or Sum41 who just seem like jumping on the “Yeah we hate Bush too” bandwagon because it is in vogue. Although oddly enough the only administration aide Morello calls out by name is Colin Powell who is long gone but Morello never cared about letting the lesser of two evils off the hooks as Rage famously protested the Democratic National Convention. But as anti-war albums, Neil Young’s Living with War is still much better than One Man Revolution.
Song to Download - The Road I Must Travel
One Man Revolution gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.