It’s remarkable that an artist like Ken Will Morton can continue to offer one superb album after another and still fail to connect an apparently indifferent public. Remarkable and a shame. With his down-home delivery, everyman attitude and gritty, gut-wrenching tunes that tread the precipice between remorse and resolve, Morton makes music every bit as essential as Springsteen, Earle, Townes, Mellencamp and any number of other so-called heartland heroes.
Slow Burn further affirms that premise, in that it boasts a series of rugged rockers that amp up the attitude and ring with his usual resilience. Whereas his last album, the appropriately dubbed Contender, progressed through a series of loosely constructed narratives, the new album spares no effort when it comes to airing his raging recriminations. If song titles like “No Place for a Sensitive Man,” “Asshole” and “Slow Burn” don’t already hint at the venom within, the fiery sentiments, whiplash refrains and sprawling arrangements clearly lay bare his wayward musings. Slow Burn simmers and ultimately ignites.
Those who desire an overall introduction might opt to investigate its companion piece, Tell It to the Wind, a compilation that includes tracks from his five previous albums, a song from his early band, the Indicators, and the blistering bottleneck romp that previews the title tune off Slow Burn. Given the tattered melodies and frayed emotions stirred up in songs such as “Oh Lord,” “Make Believe Love,” “China Blue,” and “Devil in Me,” anyone heretofore unawares may feel remorse for having neglected Morton before. No worries though. No doubt further triumphs still lie ahead.