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“Incredible album! Without a doubt, one of the best albums I have heard in a long time.”


km2If the heavens opened and rained music down upon us, I am certain it would sound exactly like Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers’ new album, The Dirty Gospel. The Charlottesville, Virginia band released 10 tracks of gritty, southern soul, dusted with gospel, southern rock, and blues.

The album incorporates some way cool harmonica, dynamite organ, and some beautifully played slide guitar. And let’s not overlook the divine choir that swoops down to touch your soul.

km1The songs are wonderfully melodic and moving, poignantly personal, yet they resonate across the universe. There is a prophetic sentiment throughout, and at times, I felt like shouting Hallelujah, grabbing a beer, and asking for forgiveness, as Keith Morris exposes parts of humanity we often wish we could forget about. Favorite tracks: ‘Psychopaths & Synchophants‘; ‘Pale Moon‘; ‘Are You Free Now?’. Incredible album! Without a doubt, one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Check it out here, and then buy 2 or 3 copies. Play it often. Play it Loud. Let the heavens hear it.

I Can’t Believe My Earz Dirty Gospel Review

“After tragedy, Crooked Numbers’ Keith Morris finds solace in his writing…”


         Sunday, April 3, 2016, by Mary Alice Blackwell, The Daily Progress

Writing and music have been a part of Keith Morris’ life for years.

As a journalist — both for The Daily Progress and C’Ville — he has had a lot to report about the Charlottesville music scene.

But, several years ago, he decided to put down the pen — and pick up a pick.

“I worked a variety of jobs over the years,” he said. “I am just focusing on the music now.”

Keith Morris and the Crooked Numbers, his band, will be celebrating the release of their third CD, “The Dirty Gospel,” on Friday at the Ante Room.

So how do you interview the master interviewer?

“If I were writing this story, I think I would go through the lyrics,” he said. “That was a big part of it. All of my songs on this album are lyric-centric … that, and a great band behind it.”

Apparently, he couldn’t put the pen down for long. It was an integral part of the new CD.

“It is the darkest record I have made so far,” he said.

Although Morris is reluctant to bring up the past, his music is overshadowed by the past that has created his present story.

“A couple of years ago, my brother committed suicide,” Morris said. “This record is fallout from all of that.”

Robert Morris was an award-winning architect who also was the subject of many articles for his company’s designs. He was featured in Southern Living, Better Homes and Gardens and The Washington Post, to name a few.

But, according to his brother, “Rob had a lot of problems. He was bipolar.

“When something like that happens, you just get clobbered. The only thing I could think of was that this is going to be a horrible couple of years.”

Morris turned to what he did best.

“Write, write, write,” Morris said. “So that is what I did. Every night, from 10 o’clock on, I would spend it writing and just being in touch with the music.”

A lot of the songs on his most personal album came out of that.

“There was a lot of anger,” he said. “It was like the stages of grief … a lot of anger, a lot of hurt, a lot of frustration.”

He told his story through the music.

“We all grew up in Georgia,” Morris said. “My brother was several years older than me. He was growing up in the ’70s in the Deep South. He knew from the time that he was 5 years old that he was gay. Rob suffered a lot from that.”

The family was brought up in the Baptist church, he said, where the culture at the time was to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

It was a time when televangelists heaped on the guilt.

“He suffered for that,” Morris said. “I think a lot of the emotional problems he had were the result of that. His anger and loathing of the mindless religious culture.

“I’m not saying that religion is bad, but I am talking about people who use religion to target other people. After he killed himself, it hit me hard. That was a lot of my anger. I had to sort that out. The emotions were so strong. Everything was so raw.”

All of it was right there in front of him. He just had to write it down.

“Once you get in the flow of writing and the songs are coming through, something interesting happens,” he said. “You have songs that just fall in your lap.”

“Dopesick Blues” came to him while he was driving.

“I didn’t write it,” he said. “All of a sudden, I just heard the song in my head. I pulled the car over and recorded it on my iPhone.”

It was the chorus — the back-and-forth with his chorus on the fourth cut of his latest album.

“Within 45 minutes, the whole song came to me,” he said.

“Psychopaths and Sycophants” had a similar beginning.

“It came to me in a dream, with the words attached,” he said. “The first verse was there when I woke up in the morning.

“So this CD came to me in two different ways. One was my ongoing need to write, and the other were the songs that just fell into my lap.”

“Pale Moon” and “Chipper Jones” were two more examples of the latter.

“Pale Moon” came to him the night he heard of his brother’s death.

“It was like I could feel his presence in the room with me, and it said, ‘Pick up the guitar,’ ” he wrote. “I did … It didn’t feel like I wrote it; it felt like it was given to me.”

His new CD is much different from his first two. Darker, he says, but very personal.

“Songs from Candyapolis,” his first album, was upbeat and light. “Love Wounds and Mars” had a darker edge, “but nothing like this,” he said.

All three have garnered praise in the press — something that he dished out when he used his writing to review other local bands. It was through that process that he met and befriended many of his own Crooked Numbers band mates.

“Bud Bryant was the Hogwaller Ramblers’ bassist,” Morris said.

He also rounded up Stuart Gunter, Tom Proutt, Mike Kilpatrick, Mike Cvetanovich and the choir — Keith’s wife, Jen Morris, and twins Davina and Davita Jackson, who also sang for the likes of Corey Harris.

“Stuart has been a friend of mine for a long time, Morris said. “After our first rehearsal, we started the band.”

Morris has many more words of praise for his musician friends, but perhaps it’s best to let you hear them for yourselves when they celebrate the release of “The Dirty Gospel” with some more of their musical friends at the Ante Room.

Sarah White and the Pearls will be on hand with Mister Baby, the duo.

“I knew a lot of these musicians when I was writing about music,” he said. “Sarah White is a wonderful songwriter … and I just love the way Megan Huddleston writes songs.”

Go hear what they all have to say.

Mary Alice Blackwell is a correspondent for The Daily Progress.


First press for The Dirty Gospel

“Keith and I have been acquaintances for a few years now. I always thought I knew where he was going but he has caught me completely off-guard with The Dirty Gospel. Full band, full sound, full-on power— not just a step but a few steps forward for him. And his band. This is the first album which allows The Crooked Numbers to really shine…”

Full preview can be read here.

‘love wounds & mars’ makes best albums of 2012 list!

Frank Gutch Jr: The Best of 2012, Vinylly— The Shoes!, and Notes…..

New Review from Jaimie Vernon

New Review by Jaimie Vernon: Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers, Love Wounds & Mars

‘“Love Wounds & Mars”
When I first put ‘Love Wounds & Mars’ on I was instantly transported back to smoky nights at Toronto’s Cameron House listening to The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir or Glen Stace or John Bottomley playing their loosely knit acid Folk music with friends of friends of friends in colliding acoustic driven symphonic cacophonies. But when I looked at the package I saw that Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers were from Charlottesville, Virginia. Had the same Appalachian musical migration that turned Ontario’s The Band into 1970s Americana icons done the same for Cameron House alt-Folk two decades later in the Southeastern USA? Unlikely, because Keith & Co. do what they do a lot better. The edges are refined and the melodies are pronounced – hell, there’s even harmony vocals on many of the tunes. The stand out tracks come when the six-piece are in lock step. The Blue Rodeo-like tunes “Nowhere Road”
and “Colorado” (with its Neil Diamond “Solitary Man” melody) are uplifting toe tappers. The ensemble is augmented with pedal steel and harmonica on the anthemic “Leora Brown”. And they drive a southern Mexi-Cali Jimmy Buffett summer ditty like “Bordertown” with accordions. The group is also diverse enough in their eclectic sound to bring on a treacle-less melancholy. Jen Morris takes lead vocal duties on the beautiful “Peaceful When You Sleep” and the haunting Dylanesque “Like a Haze” (the best track on the disc ) allows Morris to show an uncharacteristically sombre, emotive depth to his vocals. If Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers can’t be Canadian I’m happy that they can play Canadian – better than many Canadian acts in the same style. I’d love to see them on a double bill with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings or The New Pornographers. The band doesn’t include their URL on the CD so here it is:’

Like A Haze video

Video for “Like A Haze” off our album “Love Wounds & Mars”.

FAME Review

FAME Review: Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers – Love Wounds & Mars

Love Wounds & Mars
Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange Love Wounds & Mars

by Mark S. Tucker

Keith Morris pals around with Devon Sproule (here) and Paul Curreri, so when Devon calls Morris “an eccentric Southerner”, she knows whereof she speaks ’cause Paul’s her hubby, and he issued a CD a couple years back (here) that’s rather unique, memorable for its own idiosyncrasies. Thus, once y’all discover the two of them appearing on Love Wounds & Mars and know that Curreri was ambling about in various extraneous whatnots while Jeff Romano put a buncha sparkling co-pro and hi-tech (engineering, mixing, mastering) on the top end, not to mention some cool-ass harmonica and percussion, well sir, that’s kind of an invite to let yer wig loose for a bit, bite into a side order of cynicism, and yank that bottle of rye out’n your coat pocket. Add to this the keening of Tom Proutt’s righteous electric guitar, and we got us a wingding with a lot of RIYL (Recommended If You Like) referents: Neil Young, later Dylan, Paul Mark, Nils Lofgren, later Band, some Leon Russell, and a clutch of roots, folk, and south of the border influences.

However, before Keith gets his chance, lemme mess with you a bit first. In casting around, I found this 2008 video, and it crawled under my skin ’cause the thing’s just so damned backwoods and bitingly retro-modern simultaneously:

…and then there’s this one, from the CD now under the microscope:

Only when you see the first video can you really understand how Love Wounds began and what underwrote it. The transition is rather dramatic, and the disc’s very first song, Nowhere Road, is the exact nexal point. From there, the clash of time travelling modes is evident, a collision that never resolves and shouldn’t, keeping the odd tension that attracted the Sproul/Currerri/Proutt combination. Blind Man then tosses in an Allman Bros./soul swamp sideways combo, largely in Proutt’s slide and inflections atop Morris’ alligators and bougainvillea, and, from there, everyone kinda settles in to hydroplane the byways and hotfoot the sweltering trailer park nights. Hell, there’s even a Graham Parkery cut, Don’t Look Down, that just plain-out rawwwks. When it’s all over, you’ll realize you knew all this stuff all along………but never looked at it that way. That should wake ya up.

Favorite cut? Well, it’s gotta be the closer, Diamond Mask, ’cause the damn thing tears my heart out amid sighs and tears, so, hey, don’t bogart that sweet sweet bottle, bro, pass it on over here. I need to wash away a few memories.

Track List:

  • Nowhere Road
  • Blind Man
  • Leora Brown
  • Bordertown
  • Peaceful When You Sleep
  • Colorado
  • Like a Haze
  • Mexico
  • Don’t Look Down
  • Diamond Mask
All songs written by Keith Morris except
Diamond Mask (Chris Cullhane; add’l lyrics: Keith Morris).

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Nowhere Road (Official Video)

Love Wounds & Mars released!

Come visit our MusicStore to check it out!.

Our new cd, ‘love wounds & mars,’ is now available on CDBaby, Itunes, and Amazon. The website has been updated, and you can listen to, and read about, the album there. We’ve made some videos that I’ll start rolling out tomorrow. ‘love wounds & mars’ is a document of the years and a true reflection of experience–some good days, some pretty rough.

I’m excited for you all to hear the songs. They’re quite good, if I dare say so myself, and the band is absolutely kicking. Actually, the record’s a showcase of some of my favorite Charlottesville musicians: Stuart Gunter, Bud Bryant, Tom Proutt, and Jen Morris make up the Crooked Numbers, and we’re joined on various songs by Morwenna Lasko, Charlie Bell, Aaron Evans, Matty Metcalfe, Doug Wanamaker, Wells Hanley, Jeff Romano, Paul Curreri, and Devon Sproule. The gospel choir assembled is made up of Jen, Richelle Claiborne, and the amazing Davina and Davita Jackson. Like I said, I’m very excited for folks to hear the record.

You can read what No Depression. says about ‘love wounds & mars’

What a couple of my songwriting compadres say:

Finely conceived and fully realized…a sonic landscape…a bordertown of the mind…slash lines smart like Dylan…the core at the center is this Keith Morris character: every song, he defines himself, how he deals with his world, views it, beats it, and is beaten by it.

On his first release, Songs From Candyapolis, he wanted to confound the critics, and he did. This new CD, “love wounds & mars,” is like a top-of-the-line classic album from the early 70’s, each song “belongs” as a part of the whole. The songs, the lyrics, are smart when you get around to it, but again it’s the sound, the instrumentation, the background vocals. Morris has made an album that makes the old new again without sacrificing anything at any altar. I get the idea he made exactly the CD he wanted to. Just like he did with the first one.
–Tom House, Singer/Songwriter

The first impression of a sonically sturdy jam session — sometimes a bash, sometimes a collective bashing — is completely satisfying. But Love Wounds unfolds to reveal a woven gut of lonely characters, angry towns, toll roads leading to highways that stretch out. It’s an album you listen to by yourself, a soundtrack for making your big plans to break the fuck free.”
— Paul Curreri, Singer/Songwriter