Russell Morris Black And Blue HeartThe title track could be the story of Russell Morris’ life: “You get knocked down and you get back up,” he sings, “and you’re standing right there on your feet.”

It’s a remarkable story of resilience. Who would have thought he’d score his first Top 10 album at the age of 64? And he follows his blues trilogy with a rock record, produced by Bernard Fanning and Nick DiDia.

On paper, it’s an unlikely partnership – Fanning wasn’t even born when Morris had his first hit, while DiDia, who grew up in America, was unaware of his body of work – but they have helped Morris craft perhaps his finest album. As producers, they’re not afraid to allow the songs to breathe. Less is more on this record, where the songs slowly get under your skin. “Set yourself free,” Morris declares in the opening cut, Ain’t No Angel, a garage rock gem. Later, in Sitting Pretty, he states that he feels “like I’ve been born again.” Indeed, his voice sounds as fresh as when he was starting out, though seared with decades of wisdom.

Fifty years after The Real Thing, Russell Morris remains a vital artist.

Black And Blue Heart is out April 5 via Bloodlines.

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