Artist: Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers
Album: The Dirty Gospel
Label: Mista Boo Music
Release Date: 07/01/2015
I recently photographed and reviewed a Cowboy Junkies concert, as well as their latest album. In the process, their PR person, Liz Campanile, asked if I would like a CD from Keith Morris. Though I wasn’t familiar with him, I immediately said “yes, please!” I find that new things that drop into my lap tend to stick well with me. Once again, a very happy occurrence. When I listen to an album, I like to really listen to it. I play it over and over again, sometimes as background music to get an overall feeling, but ultimately taking my time to focus on it so that I can get deeper into it. I was listening to music in the car one day on my way to a baseball game and “Pale Moon” came on. Not being a fan of songs with a lot of repeated lyrics, it initially caught my attention in a negative way. But then Tom Proutt kicked in on the guitar, and it hit me hard. All I could think about was Jefferson Airplane. The Dirty Gospel isn’t a San Francisco sounding album, but listening to “Pale Moon” prompted me to focus on the album.
Keith Morris is one hell of a songwriter. His lyrics seem to be influenced by strong songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Neil Young. Just listen to “Prejudiced & Blind” and “Devil’s Stew” and I’m sure you’ll hear it as well. Alongside Morris you have the Crooked Numbers, some of the best musicians in Charlottesville, VA, who make up a huge part of the overall sound. Morris’s slightly gritty voice is backed by a stunning choir. The two come together in a magical way that works. The last song on the album is a tribute to Johnny Gilmore, a legendary Charlottesville drummer, who died in a fire.
I quickly became a fan of this album, and it definitely helps that there happens to be a song 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