Van Morrison

Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

Phases & Stages

Van Morrison

Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

"No wavelength, no mileage ... nothing is what it's supposed to be," sings Van Morrison on the second track of Keep It Simple, a simple declaration that the Man is back in the saddle. Morrison's first collection of originals in longer than most of us can remember relies on a characteristic combo of jazz phrasing and bluesy riffs that should please die-hards and maybe bring in a few latter-day converts. Without working too hard, Morrison also bestirs a classic sense of spiritual longing with his inspiring harmonies. "Soul" is a little pat ("Soul is not the color of your skin"), but we can forgive Morrison, because for nearly four decades, the cantankerous Belfast cowboy has been redefining how his audience thinks of soul rather than "blue-eyed" soul. Early highlight "That's Entrainment" – not "entertainment" – has a supple "Tupelo Honey" feel, while the spiritual Morrison turns up on the forlorn "Lover Come Back." The organ-inflected, fiddle-backed "Song of Home" sounds like a leftover from his so-so 2006 C&W effort, Pay the Devil, which isn't a put-down. "Home" has a heartfelt aura that would've helped that album. This one's good to go.

***

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Shearwater
Jet Plane and Oxbow (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, Feb. 12, 2016

Texas Platters
Matthew Logan Vasquez
Solicitor Returns (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Feb. 12, 2016

More by Dan Oko
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
Spotlight: Richard Thompson
10pm, Antone's

March 15, 2013

Ballroom Dancing
SXSW Keynote: Dave Grohl
SXSW panel reviews

March 15, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Van Morrison

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, SXSW Daily Edition

Our latest from SXSW 2016, delivered March 11-20

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways