Van Morrison

Van Morrison is often regarded as stubborn, churning out album after album of the same countrified R&B rhythms he knows so well. But think about this: How many old bluesmen changed their sound over time? Very few. The best ones formed their sound early, stuck with it, and allowed it to evolve organically until their death. This is what Morrison's been doing since at least the 90s, but for some listeners the comfortable familiarity sounds like artistic stagnation. What they're looking for is the explosive, sweaty soul of "Caravan", the transcendence of "Cyprus Avenue", the good-time anthems "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Wild Nights". But like Dylan, Van the Man's songs have always been rooted in tradition. He's continued to sound very much like Van Morrison because, well, like those other old bluesmen, it's impossible for him to sound any other way. BRIAN J. BARR

Sun., Aug. 8, 6 p.m., 2010

 
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