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RB Morris

Zeke And The Wheel – 1999 (Koch)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by RB Morris

His 1997 debut, "Take That Ride," revealed R.B. Morris, poet in search of a honky-tonk. With this follow-up he nails a captivating balance of gently chugging rhythms and narratives based in spirituality of the heart and soul.

The title track is a direct lift from the Book Of Ezekiel. Appropriately eerie-sounding guitar (courtesy Kenny Vaughn) wails against ominous percussion, rolling along under Morris' parable of the misunderstood prophet. "Maybe The Soul." finds Morris musing in John Prine fashion, "Maybe the soul can still be pure, I'd like to think its true. I know something's there for sure, but I ain't got a clue."Morris' strength as a writer began years ago with poetry, but musically, he's headed for the timeless, uncategorizable territory of Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Boz Scaggs, mixing folk, country, rock and the blues.

While this isn't a concept album, it does seem to be loosely tied to religious themes like the title character. Zeke had the wheel, and God. Morris doesn't necessarily embrace that concept, but neither does he discount it - maybe the soul can still be pure, indeed.