CONCERT REVIEW: Blake Morgan and Janita: The Dynamic Duo at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Written by Jessica Klausing

 Blake Morgan and Janita at Hotel Cafe. Picture by Jessica Klausing

Blake Morgan and Janita at Hotel Cafe. Picture by Jessica Klausing

Blake Morgan and Janita have remarkable musical chemistry! Both are masters of poetry-in-motion storytelling and guitar talent. Separately, their music is unique; Morgan is more pop rock while Janita leans more towards the blues. Together their music blends deliciously into a dreamy soulful concoction. Honest, heartfelt, inspiring, and passion were heard last Thursday on the second stage of Hotel Café.

To say Blake Morgan is a busy man is an understatement. He’s a recording artist, producer, founder and owner of ECR Music Group, and most notably, the founder of the #IRespectMusic campaign. The campaign supports the artist pay for radio play. This ethical movement has received national attention with over 13,000 signatures in support of the Fair Pay, Fair Play Act. His love for music really shines through on stage.

 Blake Morgan. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Blake Morgan. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Blake Morgan opened his set with the beautiful piano ballad, “Haunt Me.” His grace with the keys was like the gentle raindrops on a rooftop. Next, he picked up his custom made Gretsch Silver Jet guitar for “I Can Hear You Say,” off the album, Diamonds in the Dark. Morgan played through each song with such precision-like care. Nothing felt rushed or overly done. The night was pure magic as he mesmerized with his guitar, keyboard, and bell-pure vocals.  

Two new songs were introduced into the set. “We Won’t Look Down” was reminiscent of a Coldplay tune with Morgan’s Chris Martin-esque ‘woos.’ “Violent Delights” was a much grittier alternative rockin’ tune but still relatively chill.

Morgan’s music invites listeners into his intimate space. His songs are mostly mini-dramas about love, heartbreak, and the lingering nostalgia. One example was “We Left Off.” This song is about Morgan’s breakup from a failed relationship. As he strummed the melancholic guitar chords his voice cracked a bit during “I don’t know where I begin,” which made the song more emotional.

The pace picked back up with the upbeat “My Love is Waiting.” More glee followed when Janita joined in for the closer, “Don’t Want to Let You Go.” The duo captivated through lush call and answer vocals. This song was merely a taste of what was yet to come.

 Janita. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Janita. Photo by Jessica Klausing

After a brief intermission, Janita took the stage with Blake Morgan as the backup this time. Opening with “Beautiful You Are,” Janita belted out pitch perfect notes that had left everyone speechless. Her music bares the soul of a woman that refuses to be put down.

Comfortably dressed in a dark business suit, Janita’s sheer confidence and wit were quite infectious.

“Who’s Gonna Tell the Wolf She’s Not a Dog” reigns girl power with “I used to do tricks/I used run after sticks/I used to play with all you pricks/I call no one master/I own my own body/I own my own brain.” Her tone softened in “I Forgive You,” a hauntingly beautiful new song about letting go of the hatred to move on.  

The set continued with mostly songs from Didn’t You, My Dear?  Produced by Blake Morgan for ECR Music Group, the new album shares her experiences as a Finnish immigrant.

Before launching into “No Excuses” Janita opened up about the hardships of an immigrant trying to become a US Citizen.  This hard driver served as a “musical fuck you” to the current U.S. Immigration law.

She switched gears for the bluesy Tom Wait’s cover of “Clap Hands” then returned for more soul-baring in “What My Silence Means.” Ending the evening with a cover of the Finn Brothers’ “Gentle Hum” brought the duo a thunderous ovation.

The double-billed performance of Blake Morgan and Janita is one not to be missed! Twice the great music for the price of one is already a win. However, two artists with unique sounds that compliment rather than dominate the other on tour is a diamond in the rough.

 

Blake Morgan Set

1.       Haunt Me

2.       I Can Hear You Say

3.       Down Below Or Up Above

4.       This One Wins

5.       We Won’t Look Down

6.       We Left Off

7.       Violent Delights

8.       My Love is Waiting

9.       Don’t Want To Let You Go

 

Janita Set

1.       Beautiful You Are

2.       Who’s Gonna Tell the Wolf She’s Not A Dog?

3.       I Forgive You

4.       Easing Into Sanity

5.       Traces Upon Your Face

6.       No Excuses

7.       Clap Hands

8.       What My Silence Means

9.       Gentle Hum