‘“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 http://youtu.be/FC8REACjVTs ) 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: http://www.keith-morris.com’
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.
|All songs written by Keith Morris except
Diamond Mask (Chris Cullhane; add’l lyrics: Keith Morris).
Edited by: David N. Pyles
No shows booked at the moment.