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Van Morrison to release new album, Keep It Simple

Van Morrison

Story by Jack Foley

ON March 17, Exile Productions/Polydor Records will proudly release Keep It Simple, the new album from Van Morrison.

The LP will be Morrison’s first album of new material since 2005, and the first in several years in which he penned all 11 songs specifically for one album.

In the interim the legendary artist had a year that may be unprecedented for any living artist, having released three separate collections of his hits, with the latest, Still On Top, entering the UK charts at No.2 and selling platinum, proving the ongoing appetite for his unrivalled work.

Van Morrison’s music has always incorporated the widely varied influences he heard and absorbed since his childhood days on the streets of Belfast – long before the bands of his youth and his initial breakthrough with Them.

On Keep It Simple, Morrison honours all those varied influences – jazz, folk, blues, Celtic, country, soul and gospel – at times melding them all together at once in his own signature sound.

“I felt I had something to say with these songs…” he explains. There is a definite theme that recurs throughout the album, especially in the title track.

In keeping with that idea, Keep It Simple does not boast the big horns or string arrangements of some of Morrison’s previous work.

What it does feature are songs that are rich with emotion and depth, such as the poignant Soul, where Morrison repeats the chorus, as if to subtly remind us that, “soul is a feeling, a feeling deep within. Soul is not the colour of your skin”.

Morrison explains his approach with the track Entrainment: “Entrainment is when you connect with the music… Entrainment is really what I’m getting at in the music… It’s kind of when you’re in the present moment – you’re here – with no past or future.”

Few artists have successfully recorded in as many genres of music as Van Morrison, and even fewer have remained as relevant for as long (only Ray Charles, with whom Van collaborated, comes to mind).

Morrison has done so by constantly moving forward and never sitting still. On the heels of a series of “Best Of” releases, this record starts fresh with what could well be a record full of all new classics.