The Nightwatchman

Tom Morello, the virtuoso guitarist from Rage Against the Machine, has taken to calling himself the Nightwatchman and has been stealthily slipping in and out of coffee-shop open-mike nights. But don't get your hopes up. With his new project, Morello leaves all of his prescience and talent behind in favor of a convoluted singer-songwriter shtick, billing himself as some neo-folk messiah here to lead the masses to true freedom. On One Man Revolution,his first solo attempt, Morello audaciously builds the Nightwatchman's identity as Woody Guthrie's heir to the folk-protest throne, compares himself to Martin Luther ("95 Theses," not"I Have a Dream") and declares that he's the one hiding "in the bushes with a baseball bat." If Morello didn't have the major-label backing that his reputation garners, the Nightwatchman would be a lot like the guy on Colfax banging his guitar and yelling about political conspiracy and government corruption — only the guy on Colfax is a lot more prolific.

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