Keith Richards, “Trouble” from Crosseyed Heart (2015): One Track Mind

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Keith Richards isn’t much of a singer. He isn’t much to look at. He’s not even that much of a guitar player, really — more scroungy tics and oddball strums than virtuoso. But there’s something about the strange concoction that emerges when he puts it all together, something that’s so much bigger than the sum of its parts.

Listen as he moves with a loose-elbowed sense of fun through “Trouble,” a track which doesn’t betray the ruined darkness that completes the Keith Richards persona so much as illustrate his winding path to that ruination. See, he’s got a twinkling eye for bad things, in particular bad women, even though he knows just where that will lead.

Like the best of his Rolling Stones-rejuvenating late ’80s solo work, this advance music from Keith Richards’ forthcoming solo project Crosseyed Heart comes off like a loose, late-night aside. Nothing so calculated as Mick Jagger has become, nothing so commercial. Instead, Richards digs deeply into the rangy roots of his sound, playing with a could-give-a-shit demeanor that’s at once all over the map – kinda rock, kinda R&B, kinda Americana – and yet completely identifiable as the work of his pirate-smiling rock savant.

Due Sept. 18, 2015 via Republic Records, Crosseyed Heart finds Keith Richards again working with Steve Jordan and Waddy Wachtel, Ivan Neville and Bernard Fowler. Everything feels familiar, just right. He doesn’t have to try that hard. In fact, “Trouble” shows once again that Keith Richards may be at his very best when he’s not.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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