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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
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

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
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

No Depression Reviews Love Wounds & Mars

“…..I plan to follow up in a few months time and hope to get him to tell the stories behind the songs. At this point, I get the feeling that they may be too personal, that it may be too soon. I mean, I not only want to know, I need to know. The songs are that good.”

and

“….The name is Keith Morris. The band is The Crooked Numbers. Write that down. You could regret it if you don’t.”

Read full No Depression review of love wounds & mars here.