Van The Country Man

by | Jun 3, 2006

Thanks to artists like Jim Lauderdale, Mary Gauthier, Steve Earle, Darrell Scott and Gillian Welch, it’s safe to say I’m now fully into country music. Not NashPop. Real, old-time country.

I’ve always been a sucker for genius singer-songwriters, but I’ve tended to focus in years past on rockers like Warren Haynes, John Bell and Jerry Joseph. At any rate, I’m now highly receptive to country-influenced music, or straight up country. Which makes Van Morrison’s new release Pay The Devil so rich.

A master of reinvention, Van’s appreciation of America’s oldest music, from jazz and blues to folk and gospel, has inspired countless recordings, so it’s not surprising he would come out with a country album at the age of 60.

“Pay the Devil” features by songs popularized by Webb Pierce (“There Stands the Glass”), Hank Williams (“Your Cheatin’ Heart”), Conway Twitty (“What Am I Living For”), Emmylou Harris (“‘Til I Gain Control”), Big Joe Turner (“Don’t You Make Me High”) and George Jones (“Things Have Gone to Pieces”), among others. There are three originals, as well.