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Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers | Psychopaths & Sycophants

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Psychopaths & Sycophants

by Keith Morris & the Crooked Numbers

“This album is one of 2018’s most satisfying musical statements.” -gashouse.com “This is must-hear for anyone engaged with music and our world today – it’s thoughtful, challenging, and beautiful in many ways.” -No Depression
Genre: Rock: Americana
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Future
6:16 $0.99
2. What Happened to Your Party?
8:45 $0.99
3. Thousand Mile Stairs
4:23 $0.99
4. Psychopaths & Sycophants
4:31 $0.99
5. Canebrake
6:39 $0.99
6. 67%
5:20 $0.99
7. Charlottesville by Name
6:30 $0.99
8. The Narcissist
3:42 $0.99
9. In My Secret Life
6:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Passing away on November 7, 2016, a day before the election, the legendary Leonard Cohen missed the dawn of this troubling time in America known as the “Trump Era” by a single day. Yet his social consciousness and prescience concerning the cultural and political battles to come is alive and well in the outrage, cries for justice, and artistic vision of veteran Charlottesville, VA based folk/rock Americana singer-songwriter Keith Morris.

Morris was originally going to call his masterful new album “Trump Songs for Leonard Cohen” as a tribute to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, but when Cohen’s estate wouldn’t allow it, he came up with the perfect alternative – Psychopaths & Sycophants, which Morris calls the “paradigm of fascism.” He explains, “Trump is the psychopath and the GOP members in alliance with him--Pence, Ryan, Devin Nunes, etc, who know better, but still support Trump in hopes of future rewards-- are his sycophants. Fox is their propaganda machine. Hitler and Stalin had their sycophants as well. You see it in every fascist regime.”

The title track is a soulful, jazz re-working of a song that first appeared as a blazing rocker on The Dirty Gospel, the critically acclaimed album by his band Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers in 2015. “I got the feeling that people weren’t getting the lyrics fully, so I cut back the noise so that people could focus on them,” the singer says. “Originally, I went in the studio and started making another record, but when Trump happened and his fascist rhetoric became the dominant national conversation, it made sense to shift gears and record an album that could have an impact addressing these issues.”

Cohen wrote “The Future” in the early 90s and “In My Secret Life” in 2001, yet their insight and prescience about the current zeitgeist make them perfect bookends to the artistic warning statement Morris makes as he sings truth to power. After ferociously conveying Cohen’s theme that “I’ve seen the future, brother/It is murder,” the singer gets down to business, addressing (in cool, Cohen/Dylanesque talk-sing fashion) the Trump, and the Trump-led GOP’s, ills and failings head on with the slow, simmering “What Happened To Your Party?” The track features Daniel Clarke (Ryan Adams, k.d. lang) on piano, and Stephen McCarthy (The Long Ryders, the Jayhawks) on pedal steel. Fashioning a powerhouse musical statement that stacks up with seminal protest songs from throughout the rock era, he spares no one - blistering Fox News, fundamentalist Christians (who “got devils elected”) and the fact that now “the Kremlin is in power” while a “con man, a killer, a racist and a coward” holds court.

The soulful ballad “Thousand Mile Stairs,” a true civil rights anthem for the Trump era, addresses a shattering of faith amidst the broken promises of a more inclusive America; and the brooding, bluesy “Canebrake” uses the image of a rattlesnake loose in the house as a spot-on metaphor for the unleashing of a Pandora’s box of unabashed racism in America. Yet the core of Psychopaths & Sycophants is the Charlottesville epics, “67% / Message from Charlottesville” and “Charlottesville by Name.”

In “67%”--named for the percentage of of Republicans who agreed with Trump’s remarks that blame for what happened in Charlottesville fell on both sides--Morris laments “the murder of Heather struck down in Hitler’s name,” and calls out Trump for siding with those Nazis. After Morris’s expressive anger regarding the “smearing of Charlottesville’s name,” guest vocalist Devon Sproule (an accomplished and acclaimed Charlottesville-based singer/songwriter) takes the baton and asks poignantly, “What if on 9/11, the president had explained / That our dead were as guilty as those who flew the planes?”

“Charlottesville by Name,” a thoughtful acoustic ballad written by Tom House, Morris’s friend, mentor, and “one of America’s greatest living songwriters,” showcases the eloquence of House’s writing--even amidst fear and despair for what happened in Charlottesville. The song taps into the spiritual brokenness of the Alt-Right, and though condemning, it also surprisingly expresses empathy for their plight: what “led you here to wallow in your sorrow and your shame/ In Charlottesville, they called you out by name.”

“I started writing these songs in 2016 as Trump’s campaign gained traction,” Morris says. “Having grown up in the Deep South, and having studied the rise of Hitler, Trump’s fascist and racist agenda was not lost on me. I knew immediately how dangerous he was, and began writing warning songs about him and his campaign. But then everything took on a more direct meaning a year later, when the Alt-Right attacked my adopted hometown. The whole town was shattered and heartbroken. We were in a state of shock, really. As an artist, the synchronicity of it all was surreal. I’d been writing warning songs about what was coming, and then where did it hit? My town. Ultimately, what happened made the need for the album all the more urgent. I’m proud of the way we have addressed it. To stand by and do nothing while fellow Americans -- our friends! -- are being threatened, beaten, and terrorized, is worse than cowardly. And history shows you exactly how dangerous silence is.

“You must confront Fascists and reveal them for who they are, or you will suffer them the rest of your life,” he adds. “Writing, recording and releasing Psychopaths & Sycophants has been a cathartic experience. Something’s been unleashed. I have clarity of focus, an amazing group of musicians to work with, and my writing is going great. Like I’ve tapped into a new frequency. We recorded 40 songs this year, and I’m thrilled with them, so yeah -- we have a lot of music on the way.”

Morris’s first three albums, Songs From Candyapolis, Love Wounds & Mars, and The Dirty Gospel, received great acclaim from press and fans alike.  Love Wounds & Mars and The Dirty Gospel both were included on several “Best Albums” lists-- from the likes of No Depression, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and others.

No Depression wrote, “Morris is a monster of a songwriter…. Who else could put together an album so personal and yet so universal?” I Can’t Believe My Ears said of The Dirty Gospel, “If the heavens opened and rained music down upon us, I am certain it would sound exactly like Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers’ new album, The Dirty Gospel….. Without a doubt, one of the best albums I have heard in a long time.”

~Whiplash PR



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