Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Kimberly Morgan York: “Devil Songs And Other Such Nonsense” (2023) CD Review

Kimberly Morgan York is a singer and songwriter originally from Kentucky, and now based in Athens, Georgia, working in the country realm. She put out her debut full-length album, Found Yourself A Lady, in January of last year, though it had been recorded sixteen years earlier. She followed that with Keep On Goin’ later in the year. And now on her new release, an EP titled Devil Songs And Other Such Nonsense, a theme runs through the tracks. Yup, you guessed it, these are songs about devils. Most of the songs are originals, but there is also one totally delightful cover. Joining her on this release are Kevin Sweeney on guitar, John Neff on pedal steel guitar, Bryan Howard on bass, Neil Golden on keys, and Carlton Owens on drums.

She opens the EP with its sole cover, a delicious rendition of “Somebody’s Knockin’,” a song by Terri Gibbs. I love this song, and have since the single was released back in 1980. I was eight years old when the original version was released, and heard it on a daily basis. Seriously, it got a whole lot of airplay in central Massachusetts. I heard it so much that I still have it memorized (wish I could say the same about the names of my coworkers and the phone numbers of my family), and it is a delight to hear this new recording by Kimberly Morgan York. She does a great job with it, totally capturing the spirit of the song. There is no harmonica on this rendition, but there is some nice stuff on keys and pedal steel. She changes the word “fever” to “body” in the lines “He says we’ll have one heavenly night/My body’s burning, so I know he’ll feel right at home.” That’s actually a much stronger image. I also love her backing vocal work.

Then we get into the original material, starting with a song titled “The Devil’s In Durango.” And here we get a much better idea of what Kimberly Morgan York is able to do with her voice. She has one of those great expressive and highly appealing country voices, with that classic vibe. This track features an absolutely wonderful vocal performance. “Right is wrong, understand/And wrong is right/I should be going home to Georgia/But the devil’s in Durango tonight.” The line “Going 90 in a 70” is certainly a modern line. Back in the day it was “I can’t drive 55,” right? And my van was incapable of hitting 70, never mind 90. This track features some great work on pedal steel. The band then picks up the pace with “The Devil Works All Year Long,” a fun, playful number. “Halloween is over, darling/But the devil works all year long.” The lyrics also include other expressions regarding the devil: “They say they devil’s in the details/I’m going to give the devil his due/Everywhere you go there’s a devil in disguise standing next to you.” This track also contains some good work on keys.

The EP concludes with “Other Such Nonsense.” First off, I love that this disc contains a song with that title, making it a sort of title track, and adding more humor to the album’s title. But the song itself also displays Kimberly Morgan York’s good sense of humor. The song opens in a bar, with a guy flirting shamelessly with her, using tired old pickup lines, with at least one surprise thrown in as well (the line about Sarah McLachlan). Of course, all of this is while she is trying to have a conversation with a friend. “You want to buy me a drink/Hmm, well, let me think/I guess you have been wasting my time/I’ll take a dirty martini.” Hey, at least she gets a drink out of it. And we get this enjoyable song.

CD Track List

  1. Somebody’s Knockin’
  2. The Devil’s In Durango
  3. The Devil Works All Year Long
  4. Other Such Nonsense

Devil Songs And Other Such Nonsense was released on October 13, 2023.

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