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"Keep It Simple" by Van Morrison

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Few singers know as many paths to the heart as Van Morrison. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has spent most of the past five decades seeking and discovering new inroads to that spiritual core. He’s journeyed far and wide since, but, inevitably, the man Bob Geldof called “the one true genius in Irish music” has invariably come back to the philosophy summed up in the title of his new Lost Highway album: "Keep It Simple".

“It’s just a song about how everything’s gotten now, so complex and how things have become so complicated and nothing’s easy to do anymore,” Morrison says of the title track, a statement of purpose that helps define this disc. “So the song’s a kind of prayer – or what have you – let’s hope we can get back to something simple, otherwise, we’re screwed.”

"Keep It Simple" is a self-produced collection that exemplifies Morrison’s awareness of the idea that the details are every bit as important as the big picture. The elegiac underpinnings of “Song of Home” are underscored by both the gospel-tinged backing vocals and spare instrumentation redolent of a misty heath -- elements that, tweaked ever so slightly, imbue the hazy “No Thing” with a good-naturedly bone-weary vibe. On the other hand, he and his core band open things up to great effect on the spiraling “That’s Entrainment,” a song that Morrison illuminates with precision.

“'Entrainment' is when you connect -- when you connect with the music,” says Morrison, whose connective aptitude has earned him such honors as enshrinement in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Irish Music Hall of Fame, in which he was the first inductee. “’Entrainment’ is really what I’m getting at in the music – where I’m able to do what I used to call my thing. Entrainment is based on accessing a sort of hypnotic kind of thing – not stage hypnosis, but more like tying in with the music. Its kind of when you’re in the present moment – you’re here – with no past or future.”

For a personal favorite track, I would choose "No Thing," including its profound comment that "Only a fool would surmise everyone is sane..." Click below to hear samples of each track or to buy MP3 copies of them:

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