CD Review: Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers “Psychopaths & Sycophants”

Posted: March 6, 2018 in Music
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Keith MorrisThroughout history, there have been issues that made people stand up and take notice. And some of those issues even resulted in the more vocal groups within the people to demand change. Times like the Vietnam era where America became embroiled within someone else’s fight led to people becoming rather vocal and taking stands against what they knew was wrong. We are currently living within yet another era where people are taking a stand against things that they believe are not right. And just like the Vietnam era, a lot of musicians are adding their voices to the fight. One singer-songwriter making his opinion known is Charlottesville, Virginia-based Keith Morris.  

Charlottesville, Virginia-based Keith Morris was largely influenced by many singer-songwriters who have made their voices heard over the years. One such person who had a large influence on Morris was Leonard Cohen. With how vocal Cohen had been during his lifetime, the songwriter would have had plenty to say about what is going on in the country today. But Cohen died before things like the election of Donald Trump happened. That event as well as several other newsworthy others would have been just right for Cohen to write about if he had lived just a little while longer. To make up for that, Keith Morris has created an entire album of songs that have their beginnings in real-life events that are now sending shockwaves through the nation. Originally entitled “Trump Songs for Leonard Cohen” (a title that was abandoned when Morris was told he could not use it), the new album from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers is called Psychopaths and Sycophants.

The album of Psychopaths and Sycophants from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers begins with the track “The Future”. This track was originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen when he started looking at what the future may actually hold for mankind. Looking back at what the songwriter had written, the track’s lyrics seem rather haunting as a lot of what Cohen had predicted has taken place. But the track as recorded by the band gives the song a lot of energy as the Rock and Roll within the song contains a driving feel to the music. That driving feel gives the track more of an upbeat approach than the lyrics seem to contain.

Along with “The Future,” Morris and the band also do an interpretation of yet another Cohen composition entitled “In My Secret Life”. While the original version from Cohen was created around the sound of the guitar, the inclusion of the organ on the new version from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers gives the track a slightly more upbeat feel. And the slightly quicker musical delivery also adds to that more upbeat feel. Add to that the Gospel Choir in the background and “In My Secret Life” brings the new release from the band to a close on a strong note.

In-between the two tracks originally written by Leonard Cohen, Psychopaths and Sycophants from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers finds the singer-songwriter and his band approaching very controversial topics. The song “What Happened to Your Party” covers the topic of when people within a party get firmly behind a certain candidate for president (Trump) and those people leave their beliefs behind to follow blindly along. The song “Charlottesville by Name” finds Keith Morris creating a tune written in response to the hatred and violence that took place within a rally where several people were killed. And the track “The Narcissist” deals with a man who is too stuck on himself to see the big picture of what is going on around him. And of course, the title track of “Psychopaths and Sycophants” deals with all of the wrong people who are running things today. These tracks and others give Psychopaths and Sycophants its politically-charged feel.

While the subject matter contained within the nine songs that make up Psychopaths and Sycophants is very political, the musical side of the album finds Keith Morris and the rest of The Crooked Numbers creating music that is widely varied. Throughout the tracks on the album, the Folk, Rock, Gospel and other musical influences blend together to create an album that is as musical diverse as the political themes that run through the subject matter. That musical diversity proves that there is a lot more to Keith Morris than just the emotional side to the writer that drives his desire to take a stand; there’s also a musician side that helps to shape the way his songs sound.

 

Psychopaths and Sycophants from Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers has yet to be released. The album will be available in the very near future. Stay tuned to the website for Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers to stay updated. But until the newest release from Morris and the band is available, check out the title track to the upcoming album.

For more information, check out the PR firm for the band, Whiplash PR.  

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