When he played with the band Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello's explosive, militaristic guitar was a crucial building block in helping the group meld funk and hip-hop with hard rock. Though Morello's solo work under the name The Nightwatchman leans on percussive acoustic sounds, his surprising guitar work and his old band's left-swerving politics survive. A quote on Morello's MySpace page reads — in an abbreviated version, anyway — "You don't gotta be loud, son, to be heavy!"
One Man Revolution, Morello's debut album as The Nightwatchman, was released in 2007, and last year he put out a well-reviewed follow-up called The Fabled City. Morello has also played guitar in the band Audioslave, collaborated with rapper Boots Riley as Street Sweeper Social Club and played with Bruce Springsteen and Perry Farrell. He'll perform at a number of festivals this summer.