REVIEW of AMERICAN RECKONING
"It’s easy to imagine Keith Morris as perpetually frustrated. His last album, after all, took on psychopaths and sycophants, and the title of his new release American Reckoning doesn’t suggest happy thoughts. There’s plenty of bile on these five tracks, of course, but Morris approaches the album like a scholar. The opening verse describes the US as 'Machiavellian: the mean just never ends' before referencing Othello and Yo-Yo Ma (the latter for a 'yo mama' joke). If Morris and the Crooked Numbers just raged, they might be justified, but they’d be less interesting. Instead, they use a wide swath of American musical styles to thoughtfully consider racial (and racist) issues in our contemporary society. 'Half Crow Jim' turns a Southern piano tune into a surprising tale about the fallout from slavery. It’s a sharp moment, and it highlights that the only disappointing part of this release lies in its brevity. Morris has said he has more music on the way, and if he continues to mix styles, wordplay, and cultural analysis, it’ll be worth a study." // Justin Cober-Lake, Dusted Magazine
New Album American Reckoning Out Now
On the heels of a tumultuous week in America, Charlottesville singer/songwriter Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers has released a new album American Reckoning. The album explores Race in America - historically, up to present day, over a soundtrack that expertly weaves elements of Americana, blues, jazz, folk and rock.
Opening folk-rock track, "Entitled & Exploitative," kicks back at the Trump Administration's abject racism, and its reliance on misinformation, manipulation, gaslighting and scapegoating to marginalize and oppress. The blues/funk "Black Sheep" explores the long-term effects of injustice on a group of people. "Half Crow Jim" paints the picture of life in a small town during slavery, illustrating the ways community and institutions were intertwined and complicit in maintaining a system beyond moral justification. Closing track "Flutterer" was written by Morris’ friend, Colorado songwriter Jamie Smith (DangHead), and given a raw emotive life by Morris. “It’s about bringing a child into the world when you're an outsider to mainstream society...maybe even a conscientious objector of sorts. It’s about the struggle one faces to find authenticity and meaning in life, and then the challenges involved in holding onto it. Yet that individual struggle is what leads to positive change in a culture.”
American Reckoning was recorded just outside of Charlottesville, VA at White Star Sound, with producer/engineer Stewart Myers and a top-notch group of musicians, including: Daniel Clarke (K.D. Lang), Charles Arthur (Slaid Cleaves), Stephen McCarthy (The Long Ryders, The Jayhawks), and John O’Reilly Jr. (Fun).
Morris’ first four albums, Songs From Candyapolis, Love Wounds & Mars, The Dirty Gospel, and Psychopaths & Sycophants received great acclaim from press and fans alike. Love Wounds & Mars and The Dirty Gospel both were included on several “Best Albums” lists-- from the likes of No Depression, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and others. No Depression wrote, “Morris is a monster of a songwriter.... Who else could put together an album so personal and yet so universal?” I Can’t Believe My Ears said of The Dirty Gospel, “If 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…without a doubt, one of the best albums I have heard in a long time.”