Keep It Simple

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For other uses of "Keep It Simple", see Keep It Simple (disambiguation).
Keep It Simple
Studio album by Van Morrison
Released UK 17 March 2008
US 1 April 2008
Genre Jazz, folk, blues, Celtic, country, soul, gospel
Length 50:10
Label

Exile Polydor-U.K.,

Lost Highway-U.S.
Producer Van Morrison
Van Morrison chronology
Still on Top - The Greatest Hits
(2007)
Keep It Simple
(2008)
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl
(2009)

Keep It Simple is the thirty-third solo studio album recorded by Northern Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison. It was released on 17 March 2008 (see 2008 in music) by Exile Productions Ltd./Polydor in the U.K.. and on the Lost Highway Records label on 1 April 2008, in the U.S.. His previous studio album Pay the Devil was also released on the Lost Highway label, in March 2006. The album debuted at No. 10 on the US, UK and Canada charts and No. 7 on European Top 100 Albums. This album achieved Morrison's highest ranking in US charts.

This is the first studio album of all new original material since his 1999 album Back on Top. Other albums released since then have contained some cover songs. The May 2005 album, Magic Time, was composed of ten originals and three cover songs.

The album features most of the various genres that Morrison has been influenced by such as jazz, folk, blues, celtic, country, soul and gospel.

Composition[edit]

In an interview on BBC Radio Four on 10 March 2008, Morrison spoke of his inspiration for the songs on the album: "Its got elements of blues, folk, gospel all my influences - Curtis Mayfield. Its got a lot of inspiration from various things I was inspired by out there but it comes out like a new album."[1]

Morrison wrote all eleven songs featured on the album and has been quoted as saying: "I felt I had something to say with these songs."[2]

In one of the songs, "That's Entrainment", Morrison says he has explained his approach to the music on the album. In his words:

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.[3]

"That's Entrainment" was played for the first time, at the beginning of the second hour, on Chris Evans BBC 2 Drivetime show on Wednesday, 30 January 2008, with Evans commenting: "The new Van Morrison album came with a shoot to kill warning if played before a certain date, but that's now been lifted so we can play it."[4]

Promotion[edit]

Morrison announced a short United States tour to promote the album with appearances in Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tennessee at the Ryman Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts and in New York City starting on 11 March 2008. During this tour, he also performed at La Zona Rosa in Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference and festival on 12 March 2008 .[5][6]

In the U.K. on 15 March, BBC Radio 2 presented an exclusive concert performance of Morrison performing all of the songs from the album.[7]

Morrison gave an interview on BBC Radio Four's Today show in the morning on 10 March 2008[8] and an hour long interview on the Paul Jones show at BBC Two Radio the same evening.[9][10]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [11]
Entertainment Weekly (B) [12]
inthenews.co.uk 8/10 stars [13]
The Mirror 5/5 stars [14]
Popmatters 7/10 stars [15]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars [16]
The Star 4/5 stars [17]
The Sun 4/5 stars [18]
Uncut 4/10 stars [19]

On its first week of release the album reached number ten on the U.S. charts, which is Morrison's highest placement ever in the U.S.[20][21] His sixth solo album, Saint Dominic's Preview charted at #15 in 1972.

Most of the reviews were favourable with four star ratings by The Star, The Sun, The Times and Uncut.

"There's a certain grace to Van's stripped-back band and as always he evokes images of sorrow and anguish but with such beauty and warmth that you can't help but smile when you hear them."[22] Mat Strowbridge/inthenews.co.uk

"Typically the band settles into a groove while Morrison lifts off into the trancelike realm he calls 'entrainment'." [23] Anthony Decurtis/Rolling Stone Magazine

Track listing[edit]

All songs by Van Morrison

  1. "How Can a Poor Boy?" - 5:43
  2. "School of Hard Knocks" - 3:44
  3. "That's Entrainment" - 4:32
  4. "Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore" - 4:31
  5. "Lover Come Back" - 5:15
  6. "Keep It Simple" - 3:34
  7. "End of the Land" - 3:16
  8. "Song of Home" - 4:13
  9. "No Thing" - 4:31
  10. "Soul" - 3:37
  11. "Behind the Ritual" - 6:59

iTunes Bonus Track[edit]

(available U.K. week of 17 March 2008 and U.S. on 1 April 2008)

  1. "Little Village" - 6:11 (Live) (Album Only)

Vinyl Bonus Tracks[edit]

  1. "Blue & Green" - 5:52 (Live)
  2. "Little Village" - 6:11 (Live)
  3. "And The Healing Has Begun" - 7:11 (Live)

Recorded live in concert at the Blackpool Opera House (UK) 26 January 2008

Personnel[edit]

Sleeve notes[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2008) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart 10
U.S. Billboard 200 10
U.S. Billboard Top Internet Albums 2
Canada Top 100 10
European Top 100 Albums 8
Norway Albums Top 40 7
Swedish Albums Top 60 11
Irish Albums Chart 12
German Albums Top 50 12
Dutch Albums Top 100 12
New Zealand Top 40 Albums 15
Italy Top Album Chart 32

[24] [25] [26]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Van Morrison speaks about new blues - inspired album". MOB. 2008-03-10. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  2. ^ Matwychuk, Paul (2008-03-31). "The Musicgoer: Van Morrison's Keep It Simple". mgoer.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  3. ^ Van Morrison's Keep It Simple to be released by Lost Highway
  4. ^ "Chris Evans Drivetime". Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ South by Southwest Music Festival Review: Sun Media
  6. ^ SXSW Review: Van Morrison austin360.com
  7. ^ BBC Radio 2 Music -Van Morrison
  8. ^ BBC Radio 4
  9. ^ Paul Jones Monday 1900-2000
  10. ^ Music Club presents Van Morrison live and exclusive
  11. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1309760
  12. ^ Reviewed by Clark Collis (2008-03-28). "Keep It Simple Review | Music Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  13. ^ "Van Morrison: Keep It Simple". Inthenews.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  14. ^ Shelley, Jim (2008-03-14). "Review: Van Morrison - Keep It Simple". mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  15. ^ Heaton, Dave. "Van Morrison: Keep It Simple < PopMatters". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  16. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (2008-04-03). "Keep It Simple by Van Morrison". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2011-08-11. 
  17. ^ "Van Morrison: Keep It Simple". thestar.com. 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  18. ^ "Van's just a simple guy | The Sun |Showbiz|Something For The Weekend". The Sun. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  19. ^ Martin, Gavin. "Van Morrison: Keep It Simple - Review". Uncut. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  20. ^ "Strait speeds past R.E.M. to debut at No. 1". Billboard. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Morrison Hits US Top Ten". Uncut. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  22. ^ Review: inthenews.co.uk
  23. ^ Review: Rolling Stone Magazine
  24. ^ WorldWide Charts
  25. ^ US Charts
  26. ^ Top Internet Albums

External links[edit]

References[edit]