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Willie Alexander and Frank Morey

Warp & Weft, Lowell, MA

March 12, 2022

Willie Loco
Willie Loco at the Warp and Weft, Lowell

I trooped up to Lowell Saturday for beat poet/writer Jack Kerouac’s Centennial event on his actual 100th birthday. Organized by Lowell native and promotional mogul Chris Porter, it included poetry readings of Kerouac by three renowned poets at the main building of Middlesex Community College. The musical aspect, which I’m reviewing, was a performance by local rock legend Willie Alexander and Lowell roots rocker Frank Morey at the Warp and Weft, an Irish bar/restaurant in the city’s hip downtown area.

Coming straight from Middlesex CC, the bar was packed at capacity and seating was pretty nonexistent, but the good vibes were plentiful and I personally enjoyed mingling with old and new acquaintances (I was a graduate of UMass-Lowell and grew up in the Merrimack Valley) so certainly I didn’t mind being SROed as it enabled me to make the rounds and catch up with everyone!

Willie Loco
Mark Chenevert and Willie Loco

Eventually I managed to find seating and watched Willie Alexander (accompanied by sax player Mark Chenevert) play his Boom Boom Band classics, including, of course, his tribute song "Kerouac."

Willie was in fine fettle vocally and physically, no mean feat for a 79 year old. He currently resides in Gloucester, so most of his gigs are situated in the North Shore these days, with occasional Boston events like last September’s Paradise show with The Nervous Eaters and Barrance Whitfield.

Frank Morey

Following Willie was guitarist/singer/songwriter Frank Morey, who has been quietly been performing for three decades mostly in the Lowell area. His style is more roots-blues-folk rock, and he brought it all back home with backing by his fellow Mill City cronies Joe Faria on standup bass and Scott Pitman on drums. Joe and Scott also did nice doo-wop backing vocals on a couple of songs.

I think Mr. Kerouac was well served on his special day. On top of the shelf, up there with nobody else.

Frank Morey solo


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