Luke Morley has stood at the very heart of UK rockers Thunder since 1989 as their guitarist, chief songwriter and producer. He’s been a lynchpin in their 14 albums’ success and served a crucial role in building up these rock heroes’ loyal fanbase and enduring popularity. That’s helped Thunder enjoy 7 UK Top 10 albums and 18 Top 40 singles: impressive metrics, but there’s more to Luke Morley than most know or expect, and his brand-new solo album ‘Songs from The Blue Room’ brings other aspects of his talents into the limelight, as he confidently steps into the arena of Rock-tinged Americana.
The new album is a tour de force for Luke Morley’s multiple talents: songwriter, singer, musician, and producer. Not only is he a renowned guitarist — and a left-handed one at that,— but he’s a multi-instrumentalist and plays all instruments on the album, bar drums (with Dave McCluskey taking on those duties.) ‘Songs from The Blue Room’ also brings Luke Morley’s strong, but nuanced, rock vocals to the fore where he sings lead on all tracks.
Luke has released solo material before, such as 2001’s El Gringo Retro (made for EMI Japan and self-released in the UK), which included songs written with Andy Taylor (Duran Duran) — his friend and colleague from Luke’s time in the latter days of rock supergroup The Power Station.
What’s more, in just the past 5 years Thunder have released no fewer than three UK Top Five albums. Even lockdown couldn’t hold the band back, as they were still able to release All The Right Noises (2021) and the 20-song double album Dopamine (2022) during the pandemic, despite all its restrictions. Dopamine rode the Top 5 and Thunder set out on a UK arena tour that climaxed in a storming show at Wembley Arena.
However, the COVID years did force Luke Morley and Thunder to take a pause and work differently, under the lockdown and restrictions on gigs, venues etc. Working from home, Morley put his time to brilliant use on his own record.
“It was kind of between Thunder albums,” says Morley, “and I thought ‘I’ve got these other ideas, maybe I’ll do a bit of work on them.’ Not with any purpose, really, but then with a bit of encouragement from people around me – close friends and my missus saying ‘This is really good, there’s an album there’ – I thought ok, I’ll try and make an album. That’s really how it came about.”
There were so many great songs that Luke felt wouldn’t quite sit right for Thunder frontman Danny Bowes to sing. Instead then, they strengthened what was already feeling like the backbone of a solo project.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with fantastic singers. Danny (Bowes, of Thunder), obviously,” reflects Luke, “then in my ‘in-between’ project The Union: Peter Shoulder had a beautiful voice. And I did a couple of years on and off with Power Station, with Robert Palmer, but I’ve always liked singers like Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, Tom Petty as well. If you’re gifted with an incredible set of pipes, it’s easier not to think about what you’re doing. The less gifted amongst us have to think a great deal about how to interpret the lyrics. It’s crucial, because if I’m not saying anything, what’s the point?”
‘Songs from The Blue Room’ is built on solid foundations of smart lyrics and infectious melodies: fundamentals that Morley learned long ago.
In the words of journalist Paul Sexton, “Luke has taken a temporary detour from his role as chief songwriter and lead guitarist with Thunder to make the record in his own name that so many have always hoped he would. He’s probably too modest to say it himself, but the self-produced ;Songs from The Blue Room’ is a revelation, gloriously crammed with adhesive melodies, great guitar textures, surprising twists and turns and charismatic lead vocals. It might be the most surprising Americana album of the year.”
The album, Songs from The Blue Room is out on 23rd June 2023 on CD, digital and limited-edition blue vinyl.
A limited amount of signed LPs, CD and an exclusive signed postcard are available to pre-order from Luke’s music store now.
The first single from Songs from The Blue Room is the semi-autobiographical ‘Killed By Cobain’: a first-person story about how grunge did for Thunder’s original ambitions in the US.
Released on streaming platforms on 12th May, along with the promo video, Killed By Cobain can be pre-saved using this link: