I recently photographed and reviewed a Cowboy Junkies concert as well as reviewing their latest album. In the process their PR person Liz Campanile asked if I would like a CD from Keith Morris to review. Not being familiar with Morris I immediately said yes please. I find that new things that drop in my lap tend to stick well with me. Once again a very happy occurrence. I really like this album. It has taken me a while to get to this review (sorry Liz) mainly because I like to really listen to an album over and over sometimes as background music to get an overall feel but also very specifically to get deeper into it. I was listening to music in the car one day on my way to a baseball game (remember the destination) and Pale Moon came on. Now i’m usually not a fan of songs with a lot of repeated lyrics and it caught my ear in originally a negative way. Then Tom Proutt on guitar kicked in and I said wait a minute who does this sound like. It hit me hard…The Jefferson Airplane. Now the whole CD isn’t a San Francisco sounding CD. Trust me it is totally Keith Morris but listening to Pale Moon prompted me to start my deeper dig.
First of all Keith Morris is one hell of a songwriter. My ear hears the influence of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and other great songwriters. Great company to be in. He belongs there. Just listen to “Prejudiced & Blind and Devil’s Stew. I’m sure you'll hear it as well.The sound is all Charlottesville. The players in The Crooked Numbers are some of the best in Charlottesville. The musicians and the choir are superb and a huge part of the overall sound. Morris’s voice, slightly gritty, backed by the choir is such a great sound. It works. Nuff said. The last song on the album is a tribute to Johnny Gilmore, a legendary Charlottesville drummer who died in a fire. Loved it. OK, So why did I say to remember I was going to a baseball game when Pale Moon jumped off the iPhone? Well number 9 song on the album is about Chipper Jones, legendary third baseman for the Atlanta Braves. It seems Keith Morris is a big baseball fan. To my thinking just one more reason to love him and this CD.
Mark J. Smith
Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers - The Dirty Gospel (Mista Boo Music)