Ken Will Morton – True Grit

January 01, 1970

(Sojourn Records)


After seven albums — five on his own and a pair with early
ensembles — Ken Will Morton ought to be well entrenched among the roots rock
hierarchy. Sadly, he’s still on the fringes of Americana acceptance, a scenario that’s
clearly at odds with his expressive designs. Morton’s sandpapery vocals and
tattered sentiments are informed by blue collar sensibilities and the
bittersweet encounters that accompany some hard-fought struggles. If the title
isn’t enough of an indication, then the song titles definitely tell all –
indeed, “Hard Weathered Life,” “On My Feet Again” and “Don’t Feel Bad For
Crying” offer first indication of Morton’s everyman ambitions.


Happily then, True
isn’t all bruised and battered. Morton’s honest appeal is apparent
early on, in his amiable shuffles and aw-shucks humility. “Gamblin’ Man’s
Blues,” “Cannot Win For Losin'” and the aforementioned “Don’t Feel Bad For Crying”
retain an equal mix of resolve and resignation, in narratives that are steady
yet subdued, weary but resolute. He’s Steve Earle without the belligerence, a
down-home troubadour possessing Steve Forbert’s formidable charms. Mostly
though, he stands on his own merits, one of the best – albeit belated –
discoveries in quite some time.


“Breathe,” “Open Road,” “Hard
Weathered Life” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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